What machines should every good fabricator have in their arsenal? Below, you will find a list of the most common, and the most useful pieces of equipment any serious metal fabricator should own.
Every fabrication workshop requires the ability to cut metal. When you’ve upgraded from a manual hand saw, the bandsaw is the logical next option. Incredibly versatile it its operation, it can cut almost all metal profiles you can throw at it. As its name suggests, it utilises a long flexible blade, or band, with alternating teeth to make the cut.
The alternative to a bandsaw is a coldsaw. Sometimes referred to as a chop saw, this machine uses a spinning circular blade to make the cuts. Because of this, coldsaws are often ideal for workshops with much less space available. Coldsaws are often preferred due to their ability to create burr-free cuts. Additionally, a coldsaw blade can be reshaped dozens of times, rather than replaced.
Accurate drilling is a must for any self-resecting metal fabricator, and a hand drill will often not make the grade. DIMAKIN pillar drills are industrial floor standing units with robust and rigid columns that allow zero flex. Inverter driven and DRO controlled, the precision on these machines allows for perfect production.
Sheet metal is ubiquitous within the metal fabrication industry. Not only that, but it cannot be cut with the previously mentioned coldsaw or bandsaw. For cutting sheet metal you require a shear or guillotine. These can be manually operated machines, but if you want to cut straight it must be short. If it must be long, it won’t necessarily be straight, as you’ll be using a throatless shear and eyeballing it. Also, neither can be particularly thick. However, the next step would be a treadle guillotine, such as the HS-1316-M. With this machine you can utilise a foot pedal to shear over 1,300mm sheets of 1.6mm mild steel at once. Need more? Hydraulic is the way to go! Hydraulically powered guillotines can cut through much thicker material at impressive lengths.
Once you’ve sheared your sheet metal, you’re likely going to have to form it in some other way. Very tight radiused or even square edges can be achieved with a box and pan folder. As the name suggests, they’re perfect for creates boxes, and pans (just a box without a lid!) from metal. These machines, such as the BP-1225, are sometimes referred to as finger brakes. This is due to the segmented nature of the upper bending surface. Separated into many ‘fingers’, the top half of the machine can be configured to support the material when needed, but allow material to pass where a bend is not required.
If you’re not bending tight radii or squared corners into your sheet metal, you’re likely bending much wider radii, or shallow curves. For this, you would require a slip roll. A slip roll is smaller than a plate roll, as plate is defined as 6mm and above. Sometimes this machine is also called a pyramid roller, due to the orientation of its rolls in a triangle. Adjustments of these long machined and polished rolls allow fine manipulation of sheet metal into cylinders and other curves.
Hydraulic presses are valuable pieces of machinery in many industries. With a broad variety of general and specialised uses, presses are a necessity for any industrial machine shop. Hydraulic presses can also often be used in sheet metal manufacturing, as well as bearing pressing, deep drawing, punching, metal forming, blanking, stamping, molding, forging, clinching, and many other applications.
How many of these machines are currently in your workshop? How many do you have your eye on for the future?
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