After getting a load of 4x10 aluminum sheets, and having to cut it into 2"x3" squares via circular saw/sliding miter saw/bandsaw/tablesaw, I think we need to get a foot shear.
99% of what we do is low alloy aluminum, 3003 mainly. We use it for heat sinks, spreaders and occasionally enclosures. .020 and .040 are our main thicknesses. We make power electronics.
On the front page of the Enco flyer for $989.95 shipped is a 20 gauge, 52" foot shear. Anyone have any experience there? I hate to spend a grand on an import of dubious quality. The free shipping is enticing, though.
Alternatively, if there's a beefier 36" or even 24" shear for the same or less money, I could have my sheets cut in half before they're delivered.
I'm certainly not wedded to new, all the major tools in our shop we purchased used, but I'm not seeing anything around me at the moment.
Have a nice 36" Pexto. $800 pick it up here. It is a nice tight one - snips off .007" stock with no burr.
Where is Sterling Machinery when you really need him?
We were tempted by the Enco shear as well. But I was leery of shears..I can envision all sorts of headaches with a poor one, things that are difficult to remedy. The Enco slip rolls or brakes if a little out or off can be adjusted...they're designed to be. But a shear, well if that bed is bad, or the edge, well it's pretty major. We opted for a new Tennsmith 16ga 52" stomp shear and it does the aluminum as you speak of just fine.
A good used one is ideal...like the Pexto John has. Once again it has to be a tight straight one as his is. We couldn't locate one at the time.
Our first shear was a Grizzly 52" foot shear. For the money it was acceptable, but it does not cut anywhere near as accuratly as a unit such as the Pexto. The specific problem is in the hold-down mechanism. The up and down movement of the hold-down is very sloppy and therefore the hold-down tends to move the work off of the line as it applies hold-down force. We have relegated it to cutting plastic for guards, and cardboard for packaging! It makes for an expensive "box cutter". I do not feel that it is junk; however I am not impressed with its precision. In addition, knife adjustments are difficult due to the coarse cutters used to machine the castings that support the knives. We bought a great used Cincinnatti 1/4" x 120" Mechanical power shear and would sell the Grizzly if you are interested. If the Pexto that John is offering is wide enough, however, I would steer you in that direction. I have used the wider version of the Pexto product and there is no comparison between it and the Grizzly or Enco. I hope that helps.
I have a Northern Tool 52" 16ga shear. I bought it used, but like new, for $600 and thats about what it is worth.
I noticed the same blade clearance problems that Christopher mentioned having with his Grizzly. Optimum clearance is around .002" IIRC. I was only able to "average" that after much tinkering, grinding, and adjustments. I ended up with from .001 to .006.
It also suffers from all the standard bargain import malladies such as metallic or "metal-like" hardware (as opposed to steel), overall terrible fit, sand everywhere and so on...
Although it works OK for now, the N.T. shear will be relegated to box cutting duty once I find a good shear to replace it.
I have not used one of the 20ga rated units but after using my 16ga rated shear (I cut mostly .020-.063 2024T3 and 6061T6)I would be very wary of the lower rating (Enco is not known for over -rating their stuff)
If the Pexto John has for sale was a 52" I'd be knocking on his door by now.
Just my observations.
a new pexto is probably around 3000 [must be more than the National] I would guess, used ones probably 1000 to 1500 if over 48 inches but not many are normally available. Nationals are $2800 in MSC and somewhere in between Pexto and the imports, maybe more towards the low end I heard mixed reviews. I had a 52 inch Pexto bought new in 79 that made easily 100,000 cuts in .040 al and worked great and is still in daily use. If you are making production stay away from the low end stuff, you will be sorry. Also I suggest going to a 16 ga, far more useful and easy to sell. a 20 is sketchy.
Pexto is now a division of Roper Whitney.
They aint cheap.
I have used, and really liked, the air assist Tennsmith- its still only 16 ga, but it doesnt wear out your leg.
$4700 - you want cheap, buy 2 or 3 chinese ones. You will go thru em. And it will cost you the same, in the end, but it will seem like you are saving money at first.
You should only buy a enco if you are looking to do light duty work sparinly. They are built for home use and not production. Pexto is a great footshear, tennsmith is not to bad. You should be able to find a 4' pexto used for around $2000.00. Acra is a good brand, we have been selling them for over 6 years and havent had any problems with their products, they are more heavy duty than enco.
I kinda figured that the enco wasn't going to be the ticket.
John if you were in Ohio, Michigan, western PA or another reasonably close state I'd be all over that for $800. But I can't afford the four days of machinery moving adventure that it'd take to drive all the way down to TX and back to get it.
We are in production, but we're not a metal production shop, if that makes any sense. I'm very happy if I sell 100 of the products that I need the shear for in a month. 20 cent part in an 80 dollar product and all that. If it was a more obscure tool I'd just sub it out, but we could use a shear anyway.
I'll keep looking for a good used one closer to me.
Local trader ad- Stomp Shear 52" Tennsmith w/new blades, 16 ga EC $1650. 904-614-1118 . Ad came out Wensday this week. I'm located in Jacksonville Florida. Not much closer than Tx. though.
I have a 52" 16 gauge Pexto stomp shear for sale $1375.00 if your interested.
I also can deliver for a reasonable fee.
I just bought a power shear and don't need both.
We just got a new 52" Pexto. It's not running yet but my first impression is that the casting quality is mediocre at best. Here's some pics of ours. The main beam is the worst part; the legs are much better.
Another dept. at our school also just bought a 52" Pexto and it is considerably *worse*, especially the main beam.
I imagine (hoping) the appearance won't affect the functionality, but I'm still disappointed that this is what $3k gets you from the USA. Our $1300 Grizzly brake looks and works beautifully. A closeup:
I agree a brake is easier to make than a shear, so I'm not advocating a Grizzly shear necessarily. Just that you don't always get what you pay for.
the Pexto is being made from 50 year old pattens! it does seem like they could clean them up a bit tho. I assume the griz is welded steel which is allot easier to make look nice and would not be as suitable as iron in the shear
I'm not sure if it's a pattern issue or just plain sloppy foundry work. In either case that casting looks like something poured 75years ago. Have they not progressed any?
the Pexto is being made from 50 year old pattens! it does seem like they could clean them up a bit tho.
The Tennsmith we have looks infinitely better than that.
The smooth "fillet" in the grizzly picture is not deposited weld metal... You see, they mix the white stuff in the big can with a pea sized amount of the red stuff in the tube... I have the 48" Grizzly box and pan brake and can confirm this. Again, great serious hobby tools, and fair price... Be aware though, there is some "American junk" out there...( I drove it to the office!)
I just looked at both my Pexto shears, one is 1977 52" 16 gauge stomp shear the other 1988 52" 16 gauge hydraulic shear, the castings are basically the same and are alot nicer than the later model one pictured above.
My guess would be off shore castings from a different supplier.
Quality goes down and the price goes up, thanks again to the bean counters of the world.
Tennsmith and National are a better choice as far as quality and price IMHO.
I bought a National shear and a finger brake for a company I was working for and would spend my own money on them as well.
Good luck on your quest, Kevin.