What is a Nibbler

Metal Nibblers

A nibbler is a sheet metal cutting tool that rapidly reciprocates a punch to cut, or ‘nibble’ away small pieces of metal. This continued motion allows the tool to cut through a range of sheet materials including Steel, Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Copper, Fibreglass, Plastic and soft materials like Paper or thin Cardboard. Traditionally used to cut sheet metal, nibblers have both industrial and non-commercial applications, seeing particular use in the aviation industry in the 1980s.

Traditionally nibblers referred to either bulky industrial machines, pneumatically-driven cutting tools or manually actuated devices powered by the application of force through the tools handle. Industrial nibblers tended to be big, immobile and expensive cutting machines with large cutting capacities and fast cutting rates. Similarly, pneumatic nibblers saw notable industrial use, offering greater mobility at the cost of a reduced cutting capacity. While more mobile, they were limited by their need to be connected to an airline. Unlike their more industrial counterparts, manual nibblers were inexpensive and mobile at the expense of being slow and tiring to use with an inferior cutting capacity.

A Traditional Industrial Nibbler

A Manually Actuated Nibbler

An Early Pneumatic Nibbler

 It wouldn’t be long till advancements in drill technology would see the first drill-attachment nibbler in 1985 by Ken Turner of Croydon, London UK. Unlike their more industrial and hand-actuated counterparts, the drill-attachment nibbler combined the mobility, maneuverability and cost-effectiveness of both pneumatic and manual nibblers with the power and ease of use of the more powerful and immobile machines. While drill-attachment nibblers (and later electric nibblers) struggle to match the cutting capacity of the larger industrial nibblers, they have become the industry standard with workable capacities for most applications.

Drill-attachment nibblers like the Professional Nibbler have become popular in recent years after our infomercial went viral in 2017. It was commonly used by unscrupulous e-commerce sites to mislead customers into buying cheap knockoffs. The Professional Nibbler remains the most advanced attachable nibbler on the market, and the spiritual successor to the nibbler that changed the course of the tools’ history back in 1985.