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Sheet Metal Shear

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From auto parts to cookware, there are innumerable everyday products that are formed from sheet metal. Obviously, starting with a flat or coiled piece of metal, there are two functions that need to be performed; shaping and cutting.

Shaping sheet metal can be done by stamping, rolling or bending. Cutting the material itself has to be done with a shear. A sheet metal shear is a precision tool with a high-carbon steel or chromium blade; various styles of shears can be used with aluminum, plastic, copper, brass or light-gauge steel.
Depending on the application, some of the machines available include:

* Foot pedal powered shears, for things like duct work. A foot pedal powered shear is a lower-cost alternative when high production volume isnt a concern. This type of shear might have a certain amount of deflection in the action of the blade.
* Air or hydraulic-powered machines. Larger and heavier, these shears can be used to work with heavier materials like stainless steel or heavier-gauge steel.
* Mechanical shears. Driven by a flywheel, mechanical shears are good for high-volume industrial applications where production is important.
* Glider machines. This type of machine has a moving head and is commonly used when large fittings or multiple, complex cuts are involved.

There are many products on the market that can incorporate more than one function and can do the shearing action at the same time. The most common is the shear/press-brake. A shear/press-brake can do shearing and bending/shaping operations, with a lower up-front cost and taking up less space than two separate machines. Shear/press-brake machines can offer 45 to 320 tons in bending capacity, allowing them to work with metal up to 3/4" thickness. Available in a number of different sizes and styles, shear/press-brake machines can be incorporated with hydraulic systems and set up for use in CNC applications.

Sheet metal bending rolls are often found in fabricating plants, and can range in capacity from 1 foot to 20 feet. Smaller bending roll machines are hand-operated and can be set up on a shop bench. Larger machines are hydraulic or electric, and can handle a full range of metal gauges, sizes and lengths. Sheet metal bending rolls are compatible for CNC applications.

When making any decision about buying sheet metal shears, press/brake or any other sheet metal equipment, its important to make sure that its a good fit for your needs and applications. Its almost always a good idea to invest in equipment that has a greater capacity than what you need, rather than something that may not be able to handle the work down the road. Remember that it takes a lot more force to bend a long piece of sheet metal stock than a shorter piece thats the same gauge. Its also essential to keep safety considerations in mind, and to remember that a well-trained operator is a key factor to safety in any industrial setting.

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