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New Fab Shop: First Ironworkwer

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Ironworker bending is more for thicker short bends, like 2" wide x 1/2" thick
Trying that in a press brake will damage it.

if you make brackets and the like, it is handy to have that set-up on the ironworker.
If doing sheetmetal, go for the press brake.
 

Mross506

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
We would likely be doing both. I would 100% want the Ironworker that I purchase to have the ability to bend easily. Is there any of the brands that are better at using attachments to bend than others?
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
We would likely be doing both. I would 100% want the Ironworker that I purchase to have the ability to bend easily. Is there any of the brands that are better at using attachments to bend than others?

I think having that punch/bend station being larger goes a long way to help.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
In a general fab shop, I think you will find that 75% of your use is punching, 25% shear to length.
Once in a while I have a run of parts that can use the notch station.
I bend with the hossfeld or the hydraulic press, myself, much more flexible setups and capacity.
If you really have enough bending work, buy a horizontal hydraulic table bender.

the big reason to go with geka is the x y table stops for punching, and the auto cut length stop for shearing. Far too many shops i have been in have crappy kludges of sharpie marks, visegrips and scrap metal for stops and measuring. Time saved on accurate measurements will pay for the higher price of the geka in no time. Imagine not having to center punch, then manually locate, every single hole.
I have 2 extensions for the length stop, at a meter each. The standard one is one meter, so I have 3 meters in total.
That means I can accurately and repeatedly set up to cut any length from a 20 footer, without tools or a tape measure, in 30 seconds.
pirannha and scotchman have both tried to compete by offering inferior, optional at extra cost, punch tables and back gages, and miter attachments for plate shearing. They arent as good as the stuff that comes standard on a geka.
 

Mross506

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
This was very helpful! Thank you. Would you mind sending a photo of how you set up the extensions?

We have a decent hydraulic press so it wouldn't be hard to get jigs set up to bend in it. All in all, I think your comments pretty accurately reflect the type of work we would be doing also.
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
I just bought a brand new edwards ironworker 60ton, it does what i need it to, not too many frills, was about $20,000cdn but I didn't buy all the accessories and decided to make most of my own.
i like it, there are some limitations, but for punching holes and shearing stock it can't be beat. used i wouldn't bother. Ive only had mine since August so far and its fine. some minor design things Im not a fan of, but it does the job I ask it to.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
A question about the intended users of this machine.

While the machine Ries Describes can make you money, are your employees such that they will use those features ?

I've been down this road before, spec out a machine with time saving features, and come to find the users only do tape measure, soapstone and big hammer work, and refuse to learn.
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
We would likely be doing both. I would 100% want the Ironworker that I purchase to have the ability to bend easily. Is there any of the brands that are better at using attachments to bend than others?

best way with attachments, they all need to be switched out of one particular station, so larger runs are better to do. mine stays set up as a punch 99% of the time and using the shear only for 14" flat or angle.
switching over everything to put a press brake in or something else takes about 30 minutes. so for one part its best to have a dedicated machine for each.
mind you some $$$$ units have multiple stations independent of each other, but that is like $40K or more for 100 ton size.
 

Mross506

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
A question about the intended users of this machine.

While the machine Ries Describes can make you money, are your employees such that they will use those features ?

I've been down this road before, spec out a machine with time saving features, and come to find the users only do tape measure, soapstone and big hammer work, and refuse to learn.

This is absolutely not my team. We have the privelidge of being able to pay well and approach our fab shop as a resource to build worldclass equipment in house rather than being forced to bring in $20/hr employees that come with the baggage that often comes with that. All of our techs are professionals...That being said, I don't want to pay extra for frills that we would never use.
 

Ironhead52

Plastic
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
I know it is not high on your list but I have a 50 ton Scotchman with 24" shear and quite a few accessories available. PM me if you are interested.
 

Steven-Canada

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 16, 2015
Location
Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
I heard that the swing motion wears the punch's on one side.
the only hydraulic ironworkers I know that dont pivot (swing) are the peddis and maybe some later mubeas, which had a machined vertical slide for the punch ram, so it went vertically up and down. So most machines will havea slight initial angle of approach on the punch. But punches are aconsumable anyway and unlss its 8 hr a day production, I doubt the punch wears enough on one side before its dull anyway. ( correction- scotchman does make a couple of 2 cylinder machines that have vertical punching- 85 ton and 135 ton, I think. both are more expensive, and harder to find used, than their standard single cylinder machines, which is what you mostly see)
I have always trained my guys to do it right, or I get rid of em, so never had the problem of somebody who wanted to take longer to make reject parts due to stubbornness. Everybody I have had was happy to just slide stop to, say, 3”, rather than measure, mark, center punch, then put the punch in creep mode and align the punch nib with the center punch, then switch the machine to punch mode, then repeat.
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
I heard that the swing motion wears the punch's on one side.
Mostly use the punch side as bending brake, squisher or matched die forming on the big piranha- the 90 has a punch on it well worn and used on one part. We have hanging punches and 2 pirhana plate punches that are easier, bigger, stronger at punching.
I can not imagine a shop without an iron worker- but they are not dedicated punch machines. Standard fab shop practice is 1/16 punch die clearance, for any thickness up to 1”. The punch doesn’t wear to much cutting sub 3/8 (ironworker size). The shear slicing 3/4 by 12 with a buttered edge, or 1/4 flat bar with no adjustment, bending a Lentil bracket or off 90 clip with no set up time, and then clipping its corner to clear the beam k- ironworkers are the goto machine.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
The back stop on the Geka has a one meter bar bolted to the machine when it leaves the factory- this has a stainless steel rule (in inches) riveted right on it. There are two hand tightenable levers that move the stop in and out for the first three feet, and allow you to swivel it to line up with the round bar, square bar, angle, or sheet shear, so the same stop works with all of them.
All you do is slide it so the front of the big knurled collar is on, say, 18". Then lock it with the lever. Go to the other side, slide in the material, when it hits the stop, the shear works, the part drops, and you slide it in again- until your 20 footer is cut up, if thats what you need.
We have, hanging on the wall, the two extension bars- you can add one, or both, to extend for 78", or 117", cutting capacity. They fit right in, with one set screw needed to secure them.
The extensions have matching stainless steel rulers that go up- so you dont have to do any math- you want a 47 1/2" piece, you set the stop at 47 1/2".

The punch table has an x and a y bar. You slide the x bar back and forth, it has two locking knobs. The ruler on that table is set up to measure to the center of the hole- if you need a hole 3/4" from the edge, you set the back bar on 3/4"- its very intuitive.
Then, the y, on the right, goes out to 24". I think you can get extensions for that, too, but I never bothered. Again, stainless rules, you set it a the distance you want.

There are also adjustable stops on the notch station and the flat bar shear station, including miter adjustability for the shear.

I dont have a $20k dedicated punch, we have punched tens of thousands of holes with the ironworker.
Sure, if it needs to be very precise, I do it on the mill.
But bolt clearance holes is mostly ironworker territory, and the 1/16" clearance is just fine for that.

I like the sounds of the shop Jed works in, but I have a feeling he didnt pay for all them fancy tools himself.
Me, I did, so I go for quality, cause I hate fixing em and buying new ones. But compromise on space and money, too- and an ironworker is not as good as a big dedicated punch, but it works just fine for most punching.

My geka is a smaller one, which has a pivoting arm for punching, like the pirannhas or scotchmans. But the bigger machines from Geka that are two station machines, have vertical punching with a dedicated cylinder.

This vid, from Geka, shows the auto back stop for shearing at about 4:45. and the punch station with stops at 2:20 or so.
https://youtu.be/IvyDJpX-Kj0

Personally, I dont understand why all ironworkers dont have these features.
 

Bondo

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 14, 2011
Location
Bridgeton NJ
I have 2 scotchman [component not fully intergrated] 90 and 65. I really like them as they are both the newer model which has all the controls right next to the punch station. The older style has them at ground level.

I like the scotchman because I can design all kinds of custom tooling and insert it where I like it. Also the fact if something breaks, besides the main pivot pin and cylinders, the whole rest of the machine is still usable with any disassembly.

I have seen 2 brand new geka's that broke in the first couple days of use. 1 micro crop and the other was a bigger one. Both broke the pivot pin and caused further damage as operators couldn't shut it down fast enough.

I have used piranha, geka, scotchman, Edward's, at other places. They all seem to have their goods and bads.
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
I heard that the swing motion wears the punch's on one side.

I think if everything isn't tight or loostens over time the die block can creep enough to start rubbing the punch, we had a shop near us that would set up and punch, never again checking anything and they were hard on punches, well hell, they wrecked just about everything they got their hands on.
 

BlackBart

Plastic
Joined
Feb 25, 2022
There are currently 278 ironworkers listed on eBay. I you fiddle around you can see the completed listings showing what the various items sold for. I find that helpful in determining fair market value. I have bought lots of things off of eBay and am rarely disappointed.Good luck.
 








 
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