Manual or Hydraulic Sheet Metal Shears, which one is the right for you?
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Manual or Hydraulic Sheet Metal Shears, which one is the right for you?

Manual or Hydraulic Sheet Metal Shears from DIMAKIN, perfect for entry level or industrial level metal fabrication workshops

All fabricators will, at some point, require the use of one variety or another of sheet metal cutting equipment. Sheet metal shearing apparatus varies broadly, from small, manual snips, all the way up to CNC hydraulic sheet metal shears. From the lowest-tech scissors to the highest-technology machinery.

What is Sheet Metal?

We recently covered the question, what is sheet metal? If you missed that, you can catch up here: Sheet metal, plate metal. What is the difference?

Manual Sheet Metal Shears

Sheet Metal Shears for mid to high capacity

Now that we have covered what sheet metal is, we want to fabricate with it. At its most fundamental, the cutting process involved in shearing sheet metal requires enough force to be applied to the material that it will fail along a predetermined line. Most commonly, shearing is used to cut a sheet parallel to an existing edge held square at 90°. However, equipment such as ‘throatless shears’ exist, allowing complex shapes of undefined length to be cut.

DIMAKIN provides for the market between the levels of hobbyist and fully CNC industrial. As such, DIMAKIN produce sheet metal shears for mid to high capacity. Supplying both manually operated and hydraulically activated machinery.

If entry level to sheet metal shearing is all that you require, the foot operated HS-1316M is the perfect introduction to guillotines. For more capacity and a little less physical exertion, the hydraulic versions (HS-1320 and HS-1335) are powerful workhorses operated at the press of a pedal.

The main question you must ask yourself is whether your output requirements are too much for manual exertion. When considering this question, it’s important to consider the next 10-15 years of fabrication, too. Is your workshop likely to grow beyond this requirement enough to justify a hydraulic version?

For the most part, all sheet metal shears work on the same principles and that is certainly the case for DIMAKIN’s range. With the exception of the actuation, all DIMAKIN shears operate in the same way, with almost the exact same anatomy.

Hydraulic Sheet Metal Shears

About Sheet Metal Shears

1. Cutting

Sheet metal shears such as the ones supplied by DIMAKIN, work on the principle of two straight-edged blades passing closely together to generate the force on the material necessary to shear. Just prior to contact with the material, a number of pads will descend and apply pressure on the material, preventing it from slipping. When the top blade lowers, it will descend at an angle. This creates a ‘scissor effect’. The benefit of this is allowing the shearing force to focus on a smaller, concentrated area of the material being cut. This allows for much higher capacities, with much lower forces required.

2. Actuation

Almost the only notable difference in a manual or hydraulic guillotine, aside from their capacities, is their actuation method. In the case of a manual guillotine, sometimes called a foot shear, you can accurately deduce how it works. A long foot pedal, connected to two heavy duty industrial springs, are connected to the operation of the blade. With a push down on this pedal, the blade will descend accordingly, and shear the metal. These machines are generally easier on your wallet, but require more exertion from the operator. However, in the case of a hydraulic machine, operation is moved to a manoeuvrable foot pedal, complete with emergency stop. On the body of the machine, you can also select the mode in which it shears. These options vary between single descent, or continuous descent with the pedal held down.

3. Safety

Safety in shearing is of the utmost importance. Because of this, all DIMAKIN guillotines have CE compliant finger guarding. In addition to this, curtains around the rear of the machines dissuade personnel interference while the blade is descending. One advantage to a powered machine in this respect is the addition of a safety light curtain feature. Any obstruction within the back of the machine, such as an employee, will apply the emergency stop. This ensures maximum peace of mind for the well-being of operators.

4. Measurement

All models of DIMAKIN sheet metal shear include a scaled bed. More importantly, however, they also include adjustable and lockable material stops. These heavy-duty material stops allow for precise measurement of the material up to 600mm along the full length of the machine.

5. Accuracy

In addition to the heavy-duty, scaled material stops already discussed, all models have material view holes down through the top of the machine, allowing for peace of mind when cutting important material or during crucial cuts.

6. Material Support Arms

All models of guillotine from DIMAKIN feature two 600mm material support arms that extend beyond the equipment’s bed. These support arms on all models aid the positioning of larger materials, making the operators task much easier. In addition, these support arms are slotted, and allow for squaring bars – even further improving accuracy!

Do you have any questions?

By now hopefully you are more familiar with the anatomy of a shear, the process in which it achieves a cut, and the ways in which features on the machine can assist the operator.

If there is anything you feel we haven’t covered well enough, or have any further questions at all, feel free to call us on 02476210123 or email us on

You could have your Manual or Hydraulic Sheet Metal Shear tomorrow, so what are you waiting for?!