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Metalworking (rec.crafts.metalworking) Discuss various aspects of working with metal, such as machining, welding, metal joining, screwing, casting, hardening/tempering, blacksmithing/forging, spinning and hammer work, sheet metal work.

Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 31st 11, 09:43 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 1,955
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears

I have noticed there are two types of cutters for sheet metal. One a
nibbler, one a shear.

The one nibbler I see apparently cuts out small pieces, almost circles, and
imagine that would be for very fine work. The other "nibbler" has two
blades that are about 3/4" long that go up and down, pinching and shearing
the metal.

The third is a shear, much like a pair of electrified scissors.

A brief description of each and its use would be appreciated. When it comes
down to it, I will probably need all three for various stuff.

And lastly, I see some run on air. If one has a good compressor, is there
any important differences between the electric and air models?

This is going to run a few bucks, so wanted to ask first.

And is buying refurbished worth the savings or not? Problems later vs: new?

Steve


Ads
  #2  
Old January 1st 12, 01:25 AM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 2,301
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears


"Steve B" wrote in message
...
I have noticed there are two types of cutters for sheet metal. One a
nibbler, one a shear.

The one nibbler I see apparently cuts out small pieces, almost circles,
and imagine that would be for very fine work. The other "nibbler" has two
blades that are about 3/4" long that go up and down, pinching and shearing
the metal.
The third is a shear, much like a pair of electrified scissors.
A brief description of each and its use would be appreciated. When it
comes down to it, I will probably need all three for various stuff.


This one:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Pneu...Nibbler/T23085
punches out crescent-moon shaped chips with devilishly sharp points. Mine's
inaccessible behind firewood now. IIRC you can't directly see the cut line
and have to offset the guide or drawn line. They cut fairly tight curves.

http://metal-engravings.com/wp-conte...al-Tools04.jpg
has two stationary blades straddling one that pivots up and down, like twin
scissors. It's the one that sometimes jams on me. They cut larger diameter
curves. If you make blind cutouts with them the corners will need cleanup.

I haven't tried other hand-held powered versions.

And lastly, I see some run on air. If one has a good compressor, is there
any important differences between the electric and air models?


Mine are all air so I don't risk sharp edges or splinters cutting into a
power cord.

This is going to run a few bucks, so wanted to ask first.
And is buying refurbished worth the savings or not? Problems later vs:
new?
Steve


No idea. Mine are cheap imports that don't get much use.

jsw


  #3  
Old January 1st 12, 12:55 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 635
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears

Steve B wrote:
I have noticed there are two types of cutters for sheet metal. One a
nibbler, one a shear.

The one nibbler I see apparently cuts out small pieces, almost circles, and
imagine that would be for very fine work. The other "nibbler" has two
blades that are about 3/4" long that go up and down, pinching and shearing
the metal.

The third is a shear, much like a pair of electrified scissors.

A brief description of each and its use would be appreciated. When it comes
down to it, I will probably need all three for various stuff.

And lastly, I see some run on air. If one has a good compressor, is there
any important differences between the electric and air models?

This is going to run a few bucks, so wanted to ask first.

And is buying refurbished worth the savings or not? Problems later vs: new?

Steve


I bought a nibbler. Cuts thru thin stuff like butter.
Two problems.
1) it's hard to make it go in a straight line. I find
that the hand shear is easier to control where it fits.
2) the little crescents of aluminum go everywhere.
Not a problem if you're working on the bench. But if you
were working in an electrical box, those conductive chards
going everywhere would be a disadvantage.

You might want to ask about the availability of replacement
die. I'm quite sure that I won't be able to get a replacement
when my HF unit gets dull.
  #4  
Old January 1st 12, 02:04 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 447
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears

On 12/31/2011 1:43 PM, Steve B wrote:
I have noticed there are two types of cutters for sheet metal. One a
nibbler, one a shear.

The one nibbler I see apparently cuts out small pieces, almost circles, and
imagine that would be for very fine work. The other "nibbler" has two
blades that are about 3/4" long that go up and down, pinching and shearing
the metal.

The third is a shear, much like a pair of electrified scissors.

A brief description of each and its use would be appreciated. When it comes
down to it, I will probably need all three for various stuff.

And lastly, I see some run on air. If one has a good compressor, is there
any important differences between the electric and air models?

This is going to run a few bucks, so wanted to ask first.

And is buying refurbished worth the savings or not? Problems later vs: new?

Steve


There is actually another kind that is a rotary shear. I got two
variable speed electrical ones at an auction sale at an aircraft repair
shop. These allow you to see where you are cutting and allow all kinds
of curves, etc. Actually cut faster than I like! Just need to practice!

Paul
  #5  
Old January 1st 12, 02:46 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 2,301
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears


"Paul Drahn" wrote in message
...
...
There is actually another kind that is a rotary shear. I got two variable
speed electrical ones at an auction sale at an aircraft repair shop. These
allow you to see where you are cutting and allow all kinds of curves, etc.
Actually cut faster than I like! Just need to practice!

Paul


If you are young, daring and carefree an abrasive disk in a circular saw
cuts steel plate.

not signing this one


  #6  
Old January 1st 12, 03:52 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 1,955
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears


"Jim Wilkins" wrote

If you are young, daring and carefree an abrasive disk in a circular saw
cuts steel plate.

not signing this one


I once cut one sheet of 39" wide roofing panel. It used up one blade. At
that rate .....................

Steve


  #7  
Old January 1st 12, 04:35 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 269
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears

On Dec 31 2011, 2:43*pm, "Steve B" wrote:
I have noticed there are two types of cutters for sheet metal. *One a
nibbler, one a shear.

The one nibbler I see apparently cuts out small pieces, almost circles, and
imagine that would be for very fine work. *The other "nibbler" has two
blades that are about 3/4" long that go up and down, pinching and shearing
the metal.

The third is a shear, much like a pair of electrified scissors.

A brief description of each and its use would be appreciated. *When it comes
down to it, I will probably need all three for various stuff.

And lastly, I see some run on air. *If one has a good compressor, is there
any important differences between the electric and air models?

This is going to run a few bucks, so wanted to ask first.

And is buying refurbished worth the savings or not? *Problems later vs: new?

Steve


Just depends on what you want to cut and to what accuracy. I've got
the pneumatic nibbler that cuts the little partial circular nibbles,
like the other poster said, they're nasty sharp. Takes quite a hole
if you want to start in the middle of a panel. The other nibblers I
have are hand-powered, good for small stuff like the electronic
chassis and circuit boards they were designed for, not so great for
roofing sheets. You can follow a line quite closely with those, the
handle is under the work surface and you can see the punch very
easily. They will cut to a sharp corner. Any of the nibbler types
need to have sufficient material allowed for when laying out for
filing, the cut tends to be ragged. Punch sets can be had for both
types, you just have to dig around to find them. The small hand
nibblers only take a 1/4" hole to start in the center of a workpiece.

The electric shears I'm familiar with can do the job, but like hand
shears, they'll distort the material edge while doing it. People tend
to crowd the limits of what they can handle, leading to busted blades
and sometimes busted innards. Blades sets, when obtainable, tend to
be a little expensive. I see a lot of the shears in the pawn shops
with one blade gone, good luck finding a replacement. Every OEM has
its own design.

I don't do a lot of compound curved sheetmetal work, if I did, a set
of the rotary wheel shears would be nice, I believe the formal name
for those is "Beverly", you see them used a lot for aircraft work and
making custom car body parts. Only worth it if you do a lot of it and
can take the tool cost off the taxes.

For a lot of things, the fastest way is to get out the angle grinder,
equip it with a thin metal cutting blade and go to it freehand. I
had a brand of wheel called "Razorblade", were like super Dremel
cutoff wheels on steroids. Just about that thin, too, but stood up
better. I bought what that weld shop had on hand, haven't found them
anywhere else. I've got a "shoe" for the 4 1/2", looks like the base
for a Skil saw and works the same way. Kind of a pain to put on, so
not really worth messing with except for long cuts. It does keep the
spark tail down. Fewer holes in shirt and pants.

Stan
  #8  
Old January 1st 12, 07:16 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 2,301
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears


-"Stanley Schaefer" wrote
-For a lot of things, the fastest way is to get out the angle grinder,
-equip it with a thin metal cutting blade and go to it freehand. I
-had a brand of wheel called "Razorblade", were like super Dremel
-cutoff wheels on steroids. Just about that thin, too, but stood up
-better. I bought what that weld shop had on hand, haven't found them
-anywhere else. I've got a "shoe" for the 4 1/2", looks like the base
-for a Skil saw and works the same way. Kind of a pain to put on, so
-not really worth messing with except for long cuts. It does keep the
-spark tail down. Fewer holes in shirt and pants.
-Stan

I use cheap cutoff wheels from the discount store, freehand without a guide
shoe. The cut tends to wander off the line because I keep my head as far
away to the side as possible. Sometimes the job is easier and neater if I
grind a shallow groove the length of the cut first and then follow it with a
severing cut.

jsw


  #9  
Old January 1st 12, 08:44 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 946
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears

On Sun, 1 Jan 2012 14:16:22 -0500
"Jim Wilkins" wrote:

-"Stanley Schaefer" wrote

snip
-anywhere else. I've got a "shoe" for the 4 1/2", looks like the base
-for a Skil saw and works the same way. Kind of a pain to put on, so
-not really worth messing with except for long cuts. It does keep the
-spark tail down. Fewer holes in shirt and pants.

snip

If your interested, Harbor Freight has a generic version:

http://www.harborfreight.com/safety-...ers-45921.html
===
Safety Guard for Angle Grinders
Item # 45921
Fits 4" and 4-1/2" Angle Grinders
Only:$6.99

Description:

Designed for use with cut-off discs or diamond blades on your angle
grinder.
-Adjusts from 1-3/8" to 2-3/4" high to accommodate 4" and
4-1/2" wheels
-All-steel construction
-Powder coat finish
Guard blade diameter: 4" or 4-1/2" x 1/8" thick
Shipping Weight: 1.45 lbs.
===

Happen to see this awhile back as I was searching for
something else...

--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
Remove no.spam for email

  #10  
Old January 2nd 12, 07:05 AM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking
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Posts: 50
Default Sheet metal nibbler vs. shears



"Steve B" writes:

I have noticed there are two types of cutters for sheet metal. One a
nibbler, one a shear.


Around 1980, when I was relatively poor, I was making quite a bit of
hand-formed stuff out of 16 ga m/s shapes. I bought a Bosch electric
nibbler and that, together with a Beverly B3 fixed me right up. The
nibbler was a big ding in the budget at that time but I never
regretted it. I did break the die -- easy to do -- once early on but
Bosch had a new one in stock. (As someone else observed, a HF cheapo
replacement die might be a problem.)

I find it hard to follow a line with the nibbler but easy to rough out
the shape, then tidy it up pretty accurately with the B3. Beats
trying to manage a 4x8 or 4x4 sheet of 16 ga. though the B3 by a mile.

Recently someone gave me a cheap Chinese air nibbler. It never worked
right and I threw it away after determining that I couldn't figure out
how to make it right.

Now that I have air, I use one of those two-prongs-up, one-prong-down
bits for an air chisel/hammer on light stuff with excellent results.

--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
 




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