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Thread: Custom-corrugated sheet steel panels needed for my DIY project. Scotland / Britain

  1. #1
    Peter Dow's Avatar
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    Red face Custom-corrugated sheet steel panels needed for my DIY project. Scotland / Britain

    I am looking for help to source corrugated sheet metal panels of a custom design of my own to use for a home DIY project. I haven't seen any such panels available off the shelf (if you have please tell me where? ) which would be close enough to the design that I want and at an affordable price. $1000 or 600 a sheet is not affordable in my book!

    I don't have a well-equipped workshop at home so I think I will need to pay someone or some company to make the panels especially for me. So in part this is a Request for Quote especially for those who can supply to Aberdeen, Scotland (Great Britain / UK). Otherwise, I would value your expert advice.


    Me

    I have a part-time home DIY project in the planning stage and as part of that I have in mind using a custom design of corrugated sheet stainless steel because the off-the-shelf corrugated sheets are either common and have far too large corrugations or rare and prohibitively expensive and still not all that close to what I would like.

    For me, half the fun of the project is learning how things are best done so I have been researching what tools do this job most easily and cheaply. So I am looking for more than a quote, I am looking for an explanation as to "how?" and "why?" as well.

    I live in Aberdeen in the north of Scotland and a bonus for me would be placing the order with a company within travelling distance so that I could come and see how the panels are made. Alternatively, for companies in southern England or further away if you could video key stages of the production and send me the video that would hopefully satisfy my curiosity and save me a long journey.

    The tooling

    All that follows below is about one fabrication method - a press brake - which method I have researched as I have tried to source my panels. Before this project, I have never even heard of a "press brake". Before this project, "press brake" is what I did when I wanted to stop a car.

    Before I discuss the press brake option which I have focused on up until now, I would like to mention that maybe some other tools could do this? A hand-brake perhaps? A box and pan brake maybe, or its simpler cousin the cornice brake?

    Some bending brakes can use an "insert bar" to achieve closely spaced or offset reverse bends. 1/4" is typical for a insert bar but I might need a specially made thinner insert bar, say 0.2" or 5mm for my desired profile.

    One other manufacturing option suggested to me is to use a "Pullmax" reciprocating hammer.

    Mass production of similar architectural facade panels uses roll-forming most often but this is not practical or affordable for a custom design of panel.

    There may be those and other methods using different tools which would be worth considering so if you can think of another (cheap) way to make this panel please feel free to make suggestions for alternative manufacturing methods to me.

    The Job

    I'd like to find a manufacturer to bend stainless steel sheets to make some corrugated panels of a custom design of my own, which would be a similar profile but bigger panels than this small sample made by a company in England, though in the end we did not agree a final sample, never mind a price for the job, before the company pulled out from quoting.



    The shape of the corrugations profile would be about this size, or perhaps slightly smaller. (In my diagrams, the dimensions are typically millimetres (mm).)



    I think this sample was made using an Amada press brake from flat stainless steel sheet by making bends perhaps using a 6 mm V-die as shown in the diagrams. The sheet had to be manually turned over before each fold, easy enough for the press brake operator making a small sample but turning over before each fold becomes an issue with larger panels.

    This image shows the position of the sheet relative to the 6mm V-die block before the 3rd bend is made. The top tool is not drawn in.



    There would seem to be two alternative possible ways to position the sheet for each fold

    If a CNC press brake is used, the back edge of the sheet could be positioned against the back-gauge which would move under operator sequenced CNC control by a set distance before each fold.

    Or, and this would seem to be the only method for a non-CNC press brake, a strip of steel could be attached (either using a strong epoxy glue such as Araldite, or soldered) along the vertical side of die block which would serve as a shim between the die block and the vertical side of the previous bend and the sheet could be positioned against the shim on the die block.

    Each proposed method of manufacture has its own advantages and disadvantages no doubt.

    This diagram shows the position of the sheet after the 3rd bend is made. Again the top tool is not drawn.



    Not all die blocks with a 6mm V are suitable for this job. The 6mm V does have to be quite close to the edge of the die-block. Fortunately, this is the case with some of the Double V Dies, of the type to fit an Amada press brake.



    There are a few similar Double V-dies listed in the Amada catalogue.


    2 of those 123061 bottom tools would cost 254 which would give me panel length folding of up to 1670 mm.

    3 of those 123061 bottom tools would cost 381 which would give me panel length folding of up to 2505 mm.

    Or, here is a diagram of the 5mm V-die as well, this is straight from the Amada press-brake die catalogue.



    Alternative makes of similar tools might be slightly cheaper to buy, or it might be possible even to hire out those dies and suitable punch tools for this job?

    Not every company with a press brake will have the correct V-dies and punches to do this job in house to begin with so we may need to look at the options to buy or hire the right tooling to do the job.

    This extract from the Amada reference pdf recommends tonnage of 17 per metre and to bend to an inner bending radius of 1mm.



    The appropriate punch or top tool to use we can discuss later but I think many punches would work well enough providing they are 88 degrees or less with a point of 1mm radius or less.

    As you can gather I hope, I have researched this method of manufacture in some detail so I believe these panels can be manufactured this way.

    Also there is the question of exactly how big the panels can be made? There is no set size demanded, but I would prefer bigger panels all other matters being equal. Bigger panels are more difficult to make well so there will be an upper limit to the size of panel which can be made which may well be less than the size of the steel sheet as supplied.

    For the sample profile and using a 6mm V-die, I'd like to use 1.0 mm thick stainless steel sheet.

    For a proportionately smaller profile, using a 5mm V-die, I'd suggest around 0.8mm thick stainless steel sheet.

    The total area of sheets to be bent is likely to be about 10 metres squared of 316 grade in total - possibly less if the expense of manufacturing each panel is more than I hope.

    I can certainly afford the sheet steel, the question is how much would it cost to get the corrugated panels manufactured?

    Perhaps you would like to quote for this job, ask for more details or make a helpful suggestion?

    Thank you for your interest in my project.

  2. #2
    bryan_machine is offline Titanium
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    Peter -

    So it's good to see that you are doing research about all of this.

    Here are a couple of issues that I didn't see in your post (perhaps I missed them) and a relatively low cost alternative to think about.

    First, the bend radius and so forth depends on the material, and you will therefore need to pick a material and a shape that work together, unless you are happy to see cracking. (Oddly, just yesterday I saw a stainless hex bar crack badly while being bent, even though it was heated.)

    Second, in addition to a press brake (which does basically the same things as a hand brake or box brake) there is a kind of machine called a "folder" - the claim to fame of which is that they can bend material up or down.
    For example (first one I could find):
    Davi - MFD - Oscillating dual beam folding machine

    These are of course big costly machines.

    Third, a more "small shop" approach to *think about* (I've not tried this) is to get an edge roller (bead roller, roller machine) with a set of dies suited to the task, and roll the sheets one corrugation at a time. Not a practical production scheme, but something you or somebody you know might do.
    For example (again, the first one I found, not a comment on goodness):
    Variable Speed Rotary Machine for Mild Steels for Automotive Usages
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    Miguels244 is offline Diamond
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    These guys might be able to help you out.
    Welcome to Robinson Fin Machines, Inc.
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    Mark McGrath is offline Diamond
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    Peter,you have obviously did a bit of research into this.
    Have you wondered why the company who produced the sample did not want to proceed further with it?
    The answer to that is in the following statement you made in your post:-

    " I haven't seen any such panels available off the shelf (if you have please tell me where? ) which would be close enough to the design that I want and at an affordable price. $1000 or 600 a sheet is not affordable in my book!"


    I have got the equipment to do this,I am in central Scotland,but I would never spend more than a few minutes considering this as a job before declining it.
    There are loads of reasons for declining it,the main one being what you want to pay,the price of a 3 x 1.5mtr sheet of 1mm 316,the cost of two men and a 135 tonne pressbrake per hour against what that 135 tonner and two men can earn in an hour doing paying work.
    and
    "the company pulled out from quoting"
    I also think in your nice little drawings of how it could be done you have made no allowance for the radius inside the bend and that you may find the height of the corrugations will have to be slightly higher.
    It may also be easier to form with a joggling tool set.

    As an aside the person who suggested a Pullmax for this job has been reading too many books while skipping on practical experience.
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    adama is online now Diamond
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    Also worth bearing in mind is pulling the sheet out and flipping it for every other bend is one hell of a lot of work. 1mm Thick stainless is colossal for a sheet that finely corrugated, look into more like 0.4mm Will be as stiff and tuff as hell with that many bends.

    Gotta remember that although you only want some 10M square that its probably getting on towards 16m square plate to start. Bending stainless in steel dies can also lead to surface contamination and rusting.

    Seeing as your prepared to buy the tooling, why not just buy your own cheep press of ebay or similar? Equally you might find a machine dealer with a press that has the electric to run it and will hire it to you for a week or so for you to run it for a far more reasonable sum.

    Making a sheet full of even bends like that is not rocket science, but its not easy either. Even slight discrepancies add up and variances in sheet thickness and such could make for several ugly panels!

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    Ries's Avatar
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    I have responded to you at length on the metalshapers forum, but I would add here-

    There used to be a formula- "cheap, fast, or good, choose two".

    However, with stainless steel, it is really, CHOOSE ONE.

    I still want to know what you want to do with these panels, how big they actually need to be, and why they MUST be this exact corrugation.

    You wouldnt, by any chance, be an architect?
    (says he who has spent 30 years fabricating nonsense for architects, and failing at educating them about the actual physical world)

    I once had a girlfriend, long long ago, who told me, "wanting isnt getting".

    And when you are talking about stainless steel, custom fabrication, and CHEAP, all in the same sentence, well, thats gonna be even harder to get than that girlfriend of mine.

    My usual rule of thumb, when quoting stainless steel, is 5 times the material costs of mild steel, and 2-3 times the labor costs- but thats for 304. 316 can sometimes be as much as double 304, depending on the profile.

    One thing you do not address at all is desired finish.
    304, mill finish, is currently running me somewhere north of $2.50 a pound, in the quite small quantities you are talking about- I usually dont get significant price breaks on stainless til I am north of at least 500lbs, and, really, it gets much more palatable north of a US ton (2000lbs).
    But if you desire a smoother finish than mill, which is dull gray oxide, prices can easily double. "mirror" finish, and they can triple.


    I own a quite stout hand brake- and I have made a fair amount of "corrugated" metal with it. It is never as precise as you want, it is quite labor intensive, and it doesnt have those theoretically perfect curved bends. To do so with a handbrake is not feasible. Only a few brakes ever made in the USA are both stout enough and well made enough to adjust them for a very small nose bar, and, even then, to get that perfect curved bend, would require custom (probably CNC) grinding of the upper leaf. And then, require absolute perfect registration every time on the flip. Much finer than a pencil line. And any errors would multiply and enlarge distortion very quickly.

    So I would rule out hand brakes.

    If I was doing this in production, I would be bidding it in the range of your german suppliers. And, probably, requiring a minimum order of something like 50 1meter x 2 meter sheets.

    Unless you can get away with something like a 4" wide strip, which you have not made clear- in that case, it could be rolled, or stamped, from strip, with auto feed on a punch press, or run thru custom dies on a set of powered jewelry type rolls. Again, not cheap, but more feasible.

    As I mentioned in the Metalshapers exchange, a company like Rigidized "could" make this for you, but setup charges would be in the ten thousand dollar range, and minimums would be high.

    "affordable" is one of the most misused words on this, and other forums.
    A saudi prince thinks a million euros is affordable for a limited edition Italian sports car.
    The illegal immigrant farmworkers in my area think $300 is affordable for a little old lady's used Buick.
    Which is correct?

    I have said this before, but I will repeat- sourcing custom metal work is NOT like Priceline, with William Shatner. You do not get to name your price. It costs what it costs, and when bidding, most of us will add the "pain in the ass" multiplier for a job like this. Which can be a substantial multiplier. There is a reason why satellites cost $100 million dollars...
    Last edited by Ries; 07-26-2011 at 05:08 AM.

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    Peter Dow's Avatar
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    Post Press brake job request for quote - Scotland / Britain / elsewhere

    ATTENTION PRESS BRAKE OPERATORS - Please read my REQUEST FOR QUOTE!

    I have drawn up a few diagrams showing the appropriate way I believe to produce small-corrugations, "wave profile" panels using a press brake from steel sheet of thickness 0.9 mm, which would I think give a wavelength of about 7.6 mm and an amplitude of about 3.6 mm.

    To make this profile using a press brake, a standard #12306 Amada 6 mm V-die or equivalent needs first to be custom ground to suit.



    The next diagram shows the position of the sheet after two bends have been made and before the 3rd bend is made -



    The above diagram assumes a CNC backgauge stop is being used because I have left a 0.2 mm or thereabouts gap between the vertical side of the sheet and the die.

    The next diagram shows the position of the sheet after the top tool (not drawn) has been pressed down onto the sheet to make the third bend.



    One slight variation on these drawings is simply to use the side of the die as a stop (no CNC back-gauge required) which presumably would produce a 0.2 mm shorter bend separation width than as shown.

    Using the die as a stop might mean a wavelength dimension of about 7.4 to 7.5 mm and an amplitude of 3.4 to 3.5 mm.

    REQUEST FOR QUOTE

    So whether using a CNC back-gauge stop or the die as a stop, will anyone, especially in the UK but I'll consider quotes from elsewhere, with a press brake please now step forward and quote to make 12 panels by bending 12 sheets of stainless steel, grade 316, 0.9 mm thick, sheet size 2 m x 0.5 m, which involves making about 101 bends (using the CNC backgauge stop method and a bend separation width of about 4.95mm) to 105 bends (using the die stop method and a bend separation width of about 4.75 mm) per sheet, to this profile? The bends would be along the longer length of the sheet - 2m long bends in a 2 m x 0.5 m sheet.

    Either that or quote me for what you and your press brake could make something like this plan please.

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    <jbc>'s Avatar
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    Corrugated sheet is most Practically Roll Formed.

    &#x202a;Corrugated Steel Panel Roll Forming Machine&#x202c;&rlm; - YouTube

    Doing is on a Brake is silly, and the uniformity is Practically impossible to maintain.

    Rolling Dies.

    Cheers
    <jbc>
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    Peter Dow's Avatar
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    Cool Not "silly" in my opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by <jbc> View Post
    Corrugated sheet is most Practically Roll Formed.

    &#x202a;Corrugated Steel Panel Roll Forming Machine&#x202c;&rlm; - YouTube

    Doing is on a Brake is silly, and the uniformity is Practically impossible to maintain.

    Rolling Dies.

    Cheers
    <jbc>
    Thanks. The problem being that roll forming machines are expensive and each set of rolling dies produces only the one profile.

    So when I want a particular non-standard profile there is only maybe one set of roll forming dies in the world which makes close to the desired profile and the company with those dies can charge a premium price because they have no competition.

    I am hoping that by appropriate use of the press brake by a skilled operator an acceptable result can be achieved.

    There is nothing "silly" about the sample I had made - see attached file.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails sample.jpg  

  10. #10
    adama is online now Diamond
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    Look its not a case of silly. Get with a friend, buy a sheet of stainless and try flipping it over 105 times. Try doing that whilst maintaining precision to get that bend even and not allow any errors to walk in. If that bottom to top V is not aligned even with in 0.01mm then you 1mm out by the time your at the far edge of the sheet. That's possibly acceptable, but its likely to vary a lot more than that do to other variables on the press.

    Add in you need custom bottom V's now modified from a standard and your not going to get this cheep. Its not simple, its not quick and your looking for a quality outcome. With stainless in this sizes over here touching on what 80-100 for just the material for each sheet its going to be expensive and the odds are good that a sheet or 2 might not make it.
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    Peter Dow's Avatar
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    Exclamation 1260 bends and flips - it is a lot!

    Quote Originally Posted by adama View Post
    Look its not a case of silly. Get with a friend, buy a sheet of stainless and try flipping it over 105 times.
    The sheet size is supposed to be light enough to be flipped by one man. That's the intention anyway. I am trying to make this a one man job so as to keep the labour costs down.

    My plan is to cut the sheet to size 2 m x 0.5 m. For thickness 0.9 mm such a size steel sheet weighs 7.5 Kg or 16.5 lbs. Is that too heavy?


    Maximum Manual Lifting Weight Levels

    It is 105 flips (and 105 bends) per sheet. 12 sheets means a total of 1260 flips (and 1260 bends) for the job.

    Quote Originally Posted by adama View Post
    Try doing that whilst maintaining precision to get that bend even and not allow any errors to walk in. If that bottom to top V is not aligned even with in 0.01mm then you 1mm out by the time your at the far edge of the sheet. That's possibly acceptable, but its likely to vary a lot more than that do to other variables on the press.
    I am not exactly sure what you mean but for example the job needs the use of side stop guides to keep the sheet aligned.

    Quote Originally Posted by adama View Post
    Add in you need custom bottom V's now modified from a standard and your not going to get this cheep. Its not simple, its not quick and your looking for a quality outcome. With stainless in this sizes over here touching on what 80-100 for just the material for each sheet its going to be expensive and the odds are good that a sheet or 2 might not make it.
    You are right Adam it is not cheap and easy to do but I think the press brake method is the cheapest and easiest way to make my 12 panels compared to all the other ways.

  12. #12
    Gary E is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Dow View Post
    ATTENTION PRESS BRAKE OPERATORS - Please read my REQUEST FOR QUOTE!

    I have drawn up a few diagrams ...............................................

    Either that or quote me for what you and your press brake could make something like this plan please.
    First thing....... You dont need that die radiused..... just chamfer it so the die does not interfer with the punch formed radius....do it with a hand held disc grinder

    Next... ya better make that sheet several inches wider so the brake operator has something to hang on to...

    And why dont you find a LOCAL SHEETMETAL HOUSE to DO this????

    and practice with Alum...
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  13. #13
    adama is online now Diamond
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    Don't see what practising with alu achieves. One sheet of mild steel yeah thats a cost saving and will bend similar, alu is too soft and won't react the same - a lot more spring back and in open die bending ends up a larger radius than alu in my experience!
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    Gary E is offline Diamond
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    Yeah..mild steel will do just fine...
    and I'll bet a dollar to a donut hole the bends wil end up being coined.
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    Thanks for all your helpful comments guys.

    Here is a new diagram I have drawn to show the range of profile sizes I am interested in.


    1 millimetre = 0.0394 inch
    5 millimetres = 0.197 inch

  16. #16
    Peter Dow's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Corrugation Dies



    I have extracted the above image from the R-K Press Brake Dies Inc., Alsip, Illinois, USA, catalogue. PDF download - Right-click, Save target as ..

    Quote Originally Posted by R-K Press Brake Dies
    R-K Press Brake Dies Inc., website - C-5 Corrugation Die Set

    The C-5 die set is used to form continuous corrugations in a sheet. After the first operation the spring loaded pressure pad locates the sheet and becomes self-gauging.
    I had previously seen a diagram showing the principle of how such corrugating dies work.



    Now I am pleased to find a company who do seem to be offering to custom-make the dies themselves from a few customer-provided parameters.

    I wonder if there is a British company similarly capable of producing such corrugating dies to order?

    I guess it will probably cost me too much for a 2.5 m length of such corrugating dies for my modest corrugating requirements.

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    Mark McGrath is offline Diamond
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    Peter,a simple vee top punch and bottom die will cost about 7-900 for a small pressbrake.
    A corrugating die I would hazard a guess at 2-4000.
    It`s back to the old problem,without tooling it`s a PIA job and you want it cheap.Nobody is going to waste their time on something which is going to give them grief and in all likelihood little remuneration.
    Instead of wasting your time doing pretty drawings and drooling over tooling you wouldn`t buy,pick up the phone and get talking to people who own pressbrakes.Out in the hinterland to the west and north of Aberdeen are people with pressbrakes who will work for less than 70/hr.You might be lucky and find a village with an idiot.
    For pressbrake tooling the leaders in Britain are Amada,Wilson Tool and Ashmores.Give them a call,if nothing else they may have a customer who already has the tooling.
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  18. #18
    Peter Dow's Avatar
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    Smile I have a quote!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McGrath View Post
    Peter,a simple vee top punch and bottom die will cost about 7-900 for a small pressbrake.
    Why "small"? For that money I could buy 2.5 m long tooling and that is "full size" in my book.

    I posted a price table and double V-die-cross-section diagrams above. They are from the Amada catalogue - 127 for a 835 mm length of V-die bottom tooling - times 3 = 381. Maybe same again for top tooling then again all that is required is a punch of radius of the thickness of the sheet or less and some companies may have suitable top tooling already.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McGrath View Post
    A corrugating die I would hazard a guess at 2-4000.
    - Sharp intake of breath -

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark McGrath View Post
    It`s back to the old problem,without tooling it`s a PIA job and you want it cheap.Nobody is going to waste their time on something which is going to give them grief and in all likelihood little remuneration.
    Instead of wasting your time doing pretty drawings and drooling over tooling you wouldn`t buy,pick up the phone and get talking to people who own pressbrakes.Out in the hinterland to the west and north of Aberdeen are people with pressbrakes who will work for less than 70/hr.You might be lucky and find a village with an idiot.
    For pressbrake tooling the leaders in Britain are Amada,Wilson Tool and Ashmores.Give them a call,if nothing else they may have a customer who already has the tooling.
    I don't liking approaching people in the first instance by telephone - I find it inefficient. I prefer first contacts by email or in forum posts or PMs.

    I tried following up a few references from tooling companies without much luck.

    However, my luck may have changed because I think I may have one promising quote on the table as of yesterday and I must say it is very refreshing to receive an encouraging and hopeful reply for a change after all this time.

  19. #19
    adama is online now Diamond
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    Who? you gotta share the details if it works out as there is a lot of us here that would probably have work for them if they can do it meeting your requirements and price.

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    Mark McGrath is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Dow View Post
    Why "small"? For that money I could buy 2.5 m long tooling and that is "full size" in my book.
    Because tooling going in to a 250 ton pressbrake is more expensive than tooling for a 35 tonner.
    It`s nothing to do with length,it`s to do with tonnes per metre and stroke of machine.

    You will find that most companies ignore unsolicited emails requesting quotes because an email leaves too many questions unanswered and the attitude is if you can`t be bothered to talk to them,why should they waste time pursuing you.Companies who are most likely to want your work don`t tend to hang around forums so you can`t PM them either.
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