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Old 03-18-2012, 02:49 PM   #1
Mike Cohagen
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Default Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Hello,

I make various things out of sheet metal (mostly aluminium, sometimes copper or brass); from women's handbags, to coal miners-style lunchboxes, to guitars. Some of my work can be viewed here, although I have not updated it in a while and am working on a new website.

Currently, I am working on a line of women's handbags made of aluminium -- here is a prototype of one of the models:




This was completely hand made and took over the course of two weeks to complete. I would like to be able to make these much more quickly and precisely, yet still have them be completely handmade.

The process I use now involves hand nibblers (Jilson SuperSnips/Edma NR1 Super Coup), and hand snips (Wiss A11). This is the most time consuming part of the process as things always need to be filed and hammered so they are straight.

Basically, I need a press shear but I do not have a large enough workspace or budget at the moment. I have been looking into bench top guillotine-style shears like this, which seems like it would be great as I could tuck the shear under one of my work benches when it is not in use.

I have also been looking into the 3-in-1 (shear, brake, roll) tools that various companies sell but it seems as if they are junk. They also weigh about 325 pounds so they cannot be moved around easily.

Because I am working in the inside of a house and space is an issue, I need:

-Something that can fit on top and under my bench and is not too heavy (80-100 pounds max?)
-Can shear at minimum 20 gauge aluminium (18 would be great)
-Can shear at minimum 12" wide although wider would be better
-Something that is fairly easy to set up for quick cuts
-Can shear perfectly straight like a press shear


My questions are:

-Can guillotine-style shears like the 2001EVO achieve clean, straight cuts like a press shear, or do they bend the edges of the cuts like tin snips? Does the waste side curl up or does the tool shear the metal in half?

-If not a guillotine style shear, does anyone have recommendations for something else? Are there decent bench top press shears? I'm open to any ideas.


I would like to keep this under $500 if possible -- something used would be probably be best.

Any help would be much appreciated!
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

http://www.tennsmith.com/notcher.html

http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?P...PMAKA=130-5700 (you'll need to make a new pull down handle, the one that comes with this is worthless)

I have both. they both cut well.

Last edited by waggie; 03-18-2012 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

if you're cutting anything under 10-12 inch, the shear will be perfect. if you're going to cut curves, look into Beverly Shears.

there's also tin snips (manual, pneumatic, and electric) $20 to $200

if you're cutting anything over 3 foot long, then you're going to need at least a stomp shear.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

- Look at sheet metal equipment at grizzly.com and Baileigh. I like Baileigh's stuff (getting a large combo shear/brake/roller from them myself), but I hear good things about Grizzly, too.

A combination roll/shear/brake might be good for you. The 20 gauge steel machines will likely accommodate the 18 gauge aluminum you want to cut.

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Old 03-18-2012, 05:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Not knowing the results of your market study, that handle looks like it would get uncomfortable after about two minutes. The copper handbag /MPB on your site looks pretty sweet..
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Thanks everyone.

The handle on the green handbag is pretty comfortable as it is light and thin -- I've never had any complaints about it.

Regarding the Baileigh 3-in-1 -- how does this compare to the 3-in-1 that Harbor Freight and Grizzly sell? The Baileigh is rated to cut 16 gauge aluminium which is more than the other two are rated for. I think the Baileigh is rated to cut thicker metal than any other 3-in-1 I have seen.

Last edited by Mike Cohagen; 03-18-2012 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Forget the HF 3-in-1. I bought one, cleaned the packing grease off of it and took it back the next day. Supposedly rated to cut 20 ga, all it would do it bend 22 ga.

Freaking crap.
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

A Beverly throatless shear will cut straight cuts and contours in as long a piece as you can hold up to the tool. You will need to find a used one to fit into your budget, but they can be had. I bought my Beverly B2 on eBay. They are great American made equipment and will likely outlive you.

Last edited by mike13u; 03-18-2012 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 03-18-2012, 09:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

I have thought about a throatless shear, but it seems like it would still allow for too many errors when constantly doing straight cuts, which is what I mostly do. When I say straight cut, I mean as straight of a cut as you would get from a press shear. The objects that I make are fairly small and mostly consist of right angles, so any small cutting errors really show. This is why I am thinking a guillotine or small press shear would work well -- I just don't know which one would be best.

After doing lots of research this afternoon, the 3-in-1 deals from any manufacture seem questionable to me. All of them appear to be the same piece of equipment and from the same factory -- even the Baileigh. I found a thread on another forum where everyone seemed to agree that any 3-in-1 tool on the market should be avoided. I love the idea of having all three in one, but after reading so many negative comments I'm thinking maybe I should save for three quality tools instead.

For curves, I have an EDMA NR1 hand nibbler which works really well.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:36 AM   #10
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

for your needs, IMO the best option is the 12" hand shear waggie recomended. i have it and it works nicely (although i only used it a handful of times) since i have a stomp shear, which is the best purchase ive ever made.

the hand shear will cut straight as long as you can hold your work piece straight. if i were you, id modify it and mount a table top on it so you can lock a fence on one side to make repeatable straight cuts...

youre asking kind of a tough question. most sheet metal tools are heavy or fairly weighted. the old, better constructed ones are even heavier... imo youre going to have to give up the "store away" solution..
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:02 AM   #11
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

You need a little 32" foot shear. They also can double as a workbench.

A guilloutine shear in good working order will produce straight cut with a small burr and little to no rolled edge. The offcut will be slightly curled due to the rake angle of the shear blade.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:42 AM   #12
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

You can always keep an eye out on Govdeals.com for a used shear or try hgrinc.com
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

I might be tempted to find a friendly shop who would cut the major blanks for you?
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by muibubbles View Post
for your needs, IMO the best option is the 12" hand shear waggie recomended. i have it and it works nicely (although i only used it a handful of times) since i have a stomp shear, which is the best purchase ive ever made.

the hand shear will cut straight as long as you can hold your work piece straight. if i were you, id modify it and mount a table top on it so you can lock a fence on one side to make repeatable straight cuts...

youre asking kind of a tough question. most sheet metal tools are heavy or fairly weighted. the old, better constructed ones are even heavier... imo youre going to have to give up the "store away" solution..
I have actually thought about modifying a throatless shear the way you mentioned, which is still not out of the question.

Yes, I realise what I am asking for might be a bit much, but I the more I search; the closer I get. This, for instance, is small yet claims to cut up 14 gauge mild steel. Who knows if it actually can. The price is twice as much than other 12" guillotine shears, which can only mean it is either overpriced and doesn't do what it claims, or is like nothing else on the market. Does anyone know anything about the brand PEPE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Pmech View Post
You need a little 32" foot shear. They also can double as a workbench.
Someday!

The biggest issue right now with buying something heavy is that I will probably be moving sometime this year, maybe a few times; and I would rather avoid having to move an 800 pound shear, or else I would just buy a used 36" press shear on eBay. As soon as I live in a more permanent location, I will buy something larger.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by NUTTSGT View Post
You can always keep an eye out on Govdeals.com for a used shear or try hgrinc.com
Thanks! I will definitely keep an eye out on those -- some interesting finds on these sites.

Quote:
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I might be tempted to find a friendly shop who would cut the major blanks for you?
Honestly, I don't think I am quite ready for that until I need to make a amount, but thank you very much.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Just as a data point Mike.......I used our TS,Clarke(not that it makes a bit of difference) today....thinking of you(haha).But did use it instead of other equip today to fabricate a kitchen exhaust hood.It was some leftover,22 G steel roofing material donated by a cabin building bud.

This is just a cvr for range hood in a kitchen I'm doing.Painted dark bronze to match some xst BS.

Anyhow,the 3 N 1 worked.It cut square,bent(standing seams) and in general,half paid for itself on this one job......the 22g is all the thing wanted.Also used a HF Bev shear ripoff(that will be replaced with the real thing asap)for a cpl trimmed edges.And it also did what its sposed to do.

Both the above pcs are payin their way.I'd buy them again....but they're no-way,no-how in the league with older US equip.And thats after really working both(tuning,replacing chit hdwr)over.Best of luck,BW
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

What about using a jig saw? if you were able to clamp and protect your work from scratches I would think a saw would work ok. Need to clean up the edge of course.

I too have been looking to buy a shear and brake....deals are out there but you have to be on your toes.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:38 PM   #18
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cohagen View Post
Someday!

The biggest issue right now with buying something heavy is that I will probably be moving sometime this year, maybe a few times; and I would rather avoid having to move an 800 pound shear, or else I would just buy a used 36" press shear on eBay. As soon as I live in a more permanent location, I will buy something larger.
A Pexto 132 like mine can be disassembled in about 20 minutes with a large flat screwdriver and a couple adjustable wrenches. The heaviest piece is around 150lbs (the bed) the legs are in the 100ish lb range. I think the assembled machine is 500lbs +-.

I carried mine down about 6 flights of stairs to get it out of the attic it was in.



As an alternative, you might look for a Pexto 125 bench shear. Most data plate etchers prefer the 125 for shearing aluminum to make small data tags and whatnot. They're in the 250lb. range.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

Quote:
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Just as a data point Mike.......I used our TS,Clarke(not that it makes a bit of difference) today....thinking of you(haha).But did use it instead of other equip today to fabricate a kitchen exhaust hood.It was some leftover,22 G steel roofing material donated by a cabin building bud.

This is just a cvr for range hood in a kitchen I'm doing.Painted dark bronze to match some xst BS.

Anyhow,the 3 N 1 worked.It cut square,bent(standing seams) and in general,half paid for itself on this one job......the 22g is all the thing wanted.Also used a HF Bev shear ripoff(that will be replaced with the real thing asap)for a cpl trimmed edges.And it also did what its sposed to do.

Both the above pcs are payin their way.I'd buy them again....but they're no-way,no-how in the league with older US equip.And thats after really working both(tuning,replacing chit hdwr)over.Best of luck,BW
Do you have any photos of what you made?

I think I will skip a 3-in-1 tool.

Quote:
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A Pexto 132 like mine can be disassembled in about 20 minutes with a large flat screwdriver and a couple adjustable wrenches. The heaviest piece is around 150lbs (the bed) the legs are in the 100ish lb range. I think the assembled machine is 500lbs +-.

I carried mine down about 6 flights of stairs to get it out of the attic it was in.



As an alternative, you might look for a Pexto 125 bench shear. Most data plate etchers prefer the 125 for shearing aluminum to make small data tags and whatnot. They're in the 250lb. range.
I never thought about being able to disassemble a foot shear. Do most brands disassemble like yours?
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:42 PM   #20
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Default Re: Introduction/Need a Sheet Metal Cutting Solution

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What about using a jig saw? if you were able to clamp and protect your work from scratches I would think a saw would work ok. Need to clean up the edge of course.

I too have been looking to buy a shear and brake....deals are out there but you have to be on your toes.
I have considered this, but I would rather have a manual tool.

I think for now, I am going to go with a 12" guillotine bench shear. I like that it will be fairly quiet and clean. I think one should allow me to do what I need to do for the time being, and will always be useful for smaller cuts. It seems as if the resale value of these types of things are fairly high. so I could always resell it when I have space for something larger if I no longer have a use for it.
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