Rising machine tool prices



I have two air-powered nibblers that can cut large sheets - I sliced an old metal swimming pool into manageable pieces with one.
This one makes the needle-sharp crescent chips. It's better for tight freehand curves. http://www.ebay.com/bhp/air-nibbler
This curls the cut strip into coils. It's easier to control on straight cuts and doesn't require thorough cleanup with a magnet afterwards. http://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-air-shears.html
The steel of the uprights and top rail from the pool is a good balance between stiffness and workability and the coating stands up pretty well to a planishing hammer. The wall is thinner and easier to bend with hand tools.
-jsw
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On Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:47:01 -0500, "Jim Wilkins"

Is 18ga a casually suggested or actual maximum for sheet thickness? Salesmen usually oversell specs.
The body men where I used to work used air chisels and either electric or air shears like the above. The chisel bits worked well on thin sheet like fenders and 1/4 panels. Hover over the 3rd one down: http://tinyurl.com/h3xmoun
Have you seen or used the Beverly style throatless air shears from HF? I just saw them online. http://tinyurl.com/hpejdn8

Was that the skirting and frame for a pool, or the actual pool?
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wrote:

The 22 gauge pool column steel was difficult to cut with a hand model, more from slipping out than the cutting force. I don't remember how I cut the approximately 18 gauge stainless for the bucket of my loader, maybe the 8" Enco shear? I don't have any mild steel in that thickness. A 24TPI blade in the 4" x 6" bandsaw cuts thicker sheet metal well enough.
The companies I built equipment for chose 0.062" and 0.093" 6061 aluminum for electronic enclosures. I bought 0.050" 5052 for my hobby work because 0.062" strains the 3-in-1, and most recently used unlabelled 0.031 to fold a box. It cuts and bends like 6061 rather than the flimsy aluminum in a Bud chassis, which had mistakenly convinced me that 0.031 was too thin. The only minor problem is that my stock of PEM nuts was salvaged from 0.062" scrap and they protrude slightly through the 0.031". The flange can be bent back a little to make the visible edges close flush.

I've used one to cut patch material from a scrap fender, so I wouldn't have to shape the wheelwell flare from a flat sheet. I think it's overly aggressive to cut out a small rust area near an edge.

I've used a bench mounted Beverly shear at work. IIRC it distorted the metal a little too much for flat control panels someone else paid me to make but would have been fine for auto body repair. A warped control panel can break meter bezels and pull out molded-in mounting screws.
I always tried to make my sheet metal work look as professional as my soldering. The Enco 8" bench shear leaves one side straight.

It was an above ground pool that bulged from freezing after the winter air bags deflated. I sheared the wall into manageable sections that now protect my woodsheds from brush/leaf fires. The thicker columns and top rail sections are slowly disappearing into projects like splash guards around the bottoms of the sheds and a closable box I can neatly scoop the woodstove fire into to carry it outside and separate the ash buildup from the hot charcoal without having to let the fire die down as far. Shoveling the hot coals into a pail releases too much ash and smoke. The custom box fits the door opening closely enough that the draft draws the ash back in.
I bent the 2" wide decorative strips of wall metal that faced the columns into U channels to rim 2' x 4' fireproof ceiling tiles to make a generator sound dampening enclosure. Their unprotected edges shred easily, otherwise they make good high temperature insulation with some structural strength. A propane torch flame merely darkens the surface. The wall metal is thin enough to bend by clamping between wood planks and hammering down on a block that spreads the force and tightens the fold.
-jsw
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2017 08:48:41 -0500, "Jim Wilkins"

Jig or recip saw?

Yeah, if the piece is small enough that you can get it into the machine.

Huh? How in the heck do you salvage PEM nuts? Do you reuse pop rivets, too? <bseg> I'm thinking Type F, which was used in the aluminum cases at Southcom, Intl's manpack radio accessories. http://catalog.pemnet.com/category/nuts-for-sheet-metal Are we on the same page here? I can't figure out how you'd unclinch one.

Yeah, the body guys primarily used them for removal of material. The new quarterpanel was often cut to fit with the air/elec shears. I liked watching them flange, spotweld, and lead-in the welded area.
Isn't rust/hole removal easily enough handled with a 4-1/2" grinder? Oh, and a blue sharpie to do the layout. ;)

Press flat or hammer and dolly. As long as the distortion isn't excessive that the hammer/press-die marks would show. Masking tape takes a lot of the danger out of that, though.

Often good enough, especially if the scrap side is small.

Cool! Well done. Ash dust is nastyass stuff, both to clean up and to breathe.

I have yet to take the old carpet and make a sound dampening enclosure for my compressor. That's a woodworking, not a metalworking project, though. Ply and carpet make a damned good sound deadener for most frequencies. Wood stops the low/mids and carpet absorbs the mid/highs.
I need to deepen the shelf density in my shop so I can get enough floor space to fit a small mill. I'm tired of deer paths and stepping -over- stuff. <sigh>
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wrote:

On the left side there's about 2-1/2" clearance to the frame, plenty of allowance for a rough cut with a grinder or torch. On the right I support the sheet with a hydraulic lift table so my hands are only guiding the cut and I can let go to shut off the power.
The metal I buy new is within the capacity of my equipment, 6" for the saw and 30" for the shear.

Insert a screw part way from the back, place the PEM/Southco insert over a hole in a bench block and tap the screw head with a hammer. The taller round ones remove easily, the hex flush Type F ones are a little more difficult but they don't interfere as much with repurposing the metal for something else.

I usually fix rust before it gets big enough for a flanged patch, although I do have the flanging tool and a set of Clecos. I trace around the patch, trim the hole to the line, then hold the patch in place with magnets while tack-welding.

My workmanship was good enough to show to a customer, which helped get me promoted into engineering over techs who beat out their sheet metal mistakes with a hammer.

We used carpet scraps to quiet the sound of walking on raised theatre set platforms. If the "Bus Stop" lunch counter could hold a row of burly carpenters making like Rockettes, it was safe for the actress with the Marilyn Monroe part to dance on.
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The nibbler is an ancient black & decker simular to this one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-amp-Decker-8-Gauge-nibbler-model-3255-Reduced-100-/271725607607
You take off the handle on the bussines end and replace it with a steel plate that has a linear bearing mounted on the left and right sides. I used 1" DOM that i picked out of the scrap bin at my steel supplier. Made 2 clamps, one clamp is placed on each end of the tubes. The clamps are high enough to allow the nibbler to move thru the work without any binding. You want to use DOM with a fairley thick wall so it won't sag if your gonna make long cuts. Sorry i don't have any pics. Every thing is in storage at the moment until the new shop gets built.
Best Regards Tom.
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Can you resharpen it?
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I don't know for shure. Never had a problem cutting metal. I assume the punch and die are removable and could be sharpened when needed.
Best Regards Tom.
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On 1/18/2017 12:09 PM, Howard Beel wrote:

Yeah - that'll do it. Mine is like the one in the link Jim posted. Sheet metal.
I seldom have to make long cuts in 1/4". When I do, it's with a steel-cutting blade in a worm-drive circular saw: http://www.toolfetch.com/construction/saw-blades/metal-saw-blades/l/price:-30.html
VERY noisy, with orange-hot chips flying everywhere. Started a small fire once.

So, the tubes are at least 8' long, or do you re-position for a cut that long?
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The tubes are 9' long. I haven't noticed any any saging at that length, if they do sag it does not seem to effect anything when cutting ( no noticable binding ). As i recall the tubes have 1/4" wall thickness. I also have shorter tubes for smaller work.
Best Regards Tom.
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    [ ... ]

    Depends. My first nibbler was hand powered, made by Adel, and sold for making cutouts in sheet metal to make instrument panels and the like. That one cuts rectangular pieces -- 1/4" wide and something like 1/8" or perhaps 3/64" "long". Nominal thickness limit is 16 Ga in steel, IIRC, but by filing a flat on the side of the screw which acts as the stop, it can go a bit thicker in aluminum.
    <http://adelnibbler.com/
    It can be started in a hole in the sheet metal, so you don't have to start at an edge. Back when I used one regularly, I would drill a hole (lagest bit I had at the time was a 5/16 S&D bit with a 1/4" shank to fit the hand held electric drill, and then use a tapered reamer to enlarge the hole to where the tool would fit through. Accroding to the on-line instructions from the site above, it needed 7/6" as a starting hole, and I usually went up to the 1/2" diameter of the tapered reamer.
    My God -- the price has increased. $49.95. I seem to remember paying something like $7.00 for one. :-)
    Later nibblers which I have acquired are air-powered tolls which make the crescent shaped punchings. (Nasty sharp ones, BTW). I would be careful using them in areas where you are likely to drive, as I can see the crescents working their way through a tire.
    There is also another tool -- once available as a hand powered tool, now electric or air powered, which is a three-fingered shear -- the middle finger gones into a drilled hole, and shears on both sides of that against the other two fingers. That produces a coil of metal, and is best for cutting straight or gently curved lines. I've used one air-powered one cutting against a bit of angle iron C-clamped to sheet aluminum to get it down to the dimensions which my 24" DiAcro shear will accept.

    With the crescent or the double-shear styles I can do that against a angle-iron guide. The old Adel would tire my hand and make reach rather difficult for an 8' cut. (Or, even a 4' cut for stock 4'x8' sheet metal.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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wrote:

I'm certain I paid less than $7.00 for mine when I bought it from Allied Radio around 65 years ago,I still have it and use it occasionaly. I think the toughest job I ever used it for was to cut an 8+ inch hole in the stainless steel lid from a commercial washing machine to make a single burner, "in counter" stove for my home brewery. I had blisters when I completed that little project!
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wrote:

That's good to know if one appears second-hand.
I try to restrict my discussions to price-sensitive home hobbyist equipment instead of the larger industrial stuff that would do the job easily, if you have the need, money to invest and space to store it. I like my 10" South Bend lathe very much, spent the morning on it, but wouldn't send a newbie out searching for one.
I do have a plasma cutter and a bandsaw that can cut thicker steel to eyeball tolerance, and if the better accuracy is worth the cost could use the Maker Space's plasma cutter or have a shop do it.
Bending steel plate is a bigger problem unless I pay for fab shop time. The 30" 3-in-1 shear/brake/roller can barely manage its rated capacity.
-jsw
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On Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 11:22:04 AM UTC-5, Jim Wilkins wrote:

Have you checked job-shop prices for that work? Unless it's very narrow pieces, it sounds like a job for a press brake. I can get you a rough idea of how that is priced if you want. Just post a description of a typical job.
--
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I designed parts to be made on a Strippit and a Niagara press brake though they wouldn't let me run either one. The model shop I inherited at Mitre had a 24" manual press brake and a nice finger brake.
I'm attempting to stir up some discussion about what a hobbyist needs in general instead of asking for help with my own personal projects, other than to describe what I've learned about the equipment I own. I can weld flat pieces together if the stock is too thick to bend, as I did for 1/2" plate on a logsplitter.
-jsw
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I agree price is always a consideration. I bought a lot of industrial equiptment on ebay back in days when sellers were individuals and the prices were right. Now it seems that ebay has been taken over by dealers and resellers. I see the same equiptment relisted over and over at retail prices. Sometimes i get lucky and come accross a undervalued buy it now. Most of the time i buy things from pawn shops or thrift stores, usually when they don't what they have and underprice an item. At the moment i am out of room and plan on building a bigger shop. I rent some space to store things i rarley use.
When i need to bend heavy plate i do it in a 50 ton hydraulic press. I made my own dies and punches out of 4140. For round and square holes i use the stripit or unipunch holders.
Best Regards Tom.
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I have only a 6 ton press and hardly use it enough to justify the space it takes up. I lengthened the frame, put wheels under it and store an arbor press (that gets more use) nested into it.
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On Wed, 18 Jan 2017 07:47:21 -0500, "Jim Wilkins"

No, I haven't, being in the same boat as you. Luckily, my Griz 18" bandsaur came with a nice metal guard.
I bought an HF tabletop bender but haven't yet used it. It's more for band/strip/tubing, and small square/round stock though.

Do you have the fence/foot for it? If not, consider making one. I've used them with and without, and WITH is the way to go. No more bent stock (or shears!)
Hammers and dollies are your friends, too, where applicable.
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wrote:

Yes, it has the foot. If I keep the blade sharp and the pivot tight it isn't really necessary for thinner metal.

Oh yes, I've made costume armor and fitted a large watertight rust patch at the complex junction of a rear fender well and strut tower. However I'm just an amateur. I'll let those who knock tin for a living give the advice on it. -jsw
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Am Montag, 16. Januar 2017 15:56:40 UTC+1 schrieb snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com:

By the way, that link doesn't work.
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