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New Fab Shop: First Ironworkwer

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
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.

He has a 15k budget, lots fall into that, features is his inquiry
 

Rocketdc

Aluminum
Joined
May 24, 2020
I have a Geka Bendicrop which has the brake built in over the notching station. It's good for 3/8 up to 6" wide and awesome for notching then bending angle. Doesn't have the capacity as some of the other wider break attachments, but it's ready to go without having to set anything up. I hate dicking around with setups so I try to minimize that as much as possible. I know most shops consider the ironworker to be more of a rough tool that's not known for tight tolerances and I use it plenty in that regard, however I had some work that required pretty accurate, repeatable parts so I outfitted it with additional DRO's on the punch table and at the shearing station. The Geka back gauge is great although it does flex some, especially with longer cuts so I fastened the end of it to my outfeed table to help stiffen it up.

Here's some images of my setup, probably not a typical way most shops use the ironworker, but it helps keep my parts consistently accurate and quick to setup. If I was looking at new ones I would also consider the Sunrise Ironworkers.

IMG_3842.jpgIMG_3844.jpg
 
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Mross506

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
I have been checking it daily. There are only a couple Gekas on the list in the smaller capacities so I am watching for one to pop up.
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
Mine I bought in about 2000, and it was standard with all the tables and stops. That 70 ton is way older than that. On a really old machine, you would need to see if you can upgrade the tables and stops or not, from Geka. Geka is something like 100 years old, and have been making hydraulic ironworkers since something like the 70s. So some of the used hydraulic ones can be 40 years old.

The sunrise stuff looks pretty decent, and is reasonably priced, new. I have some Taiwan made machines, and quality is pretty good. I would consider one. They look like they definitely looked at Geka's when designing them.
This one, at $16,500, seems like a deal. 66K- TrilogyMachinery.com | SUNRISE USA Distributor | SUNRISE K Series Ironworkers
I would probably want the dealer to tell me where I could see one in person, or, at the least, talk to an actual customer who has had one for a while.

Trilogy is the same family as the old Comeq, who I bought my machine from more than 20 years ago. Third generation Baltimore family of machinery dealers, straight shooters, and good on support and parts as well. Not some fly by night startup.
 

Overland

Cast Iron
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Location
Greenville, SC
I've owned a Mubea mechanical ironworker, that was fast !

I've currently got a Geka 55. Very nice machine. One of the best features is the gauging, tables and guides that make this machine a treat to use.

I've also done some repair work on a 70 ton MetalMuncher. Heavily built machine, but not as easy to use as Geka.

Bob
 

Mross506

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
I am looking for that exact model just a little cleaner. I have some quotes on 60 ton models from Geka (Hyrdacrop and Bendicrop), Pirahna, a Cleveland/Marval, and an Edwards. I really didn't want to have to buy one new but have scoured the web and haven't found any in good shape in the 60T range and I don't have room or need for an 80-100ton unit.

I really like the fixturing tables on the Geka and the Marvell's are basically knock-offs of the Geka built local to the US.
 

dkmc

Diamond
I bought my Edwards 50 ton back in the late '90's. The only machine I've ever bought new. I realize Edwards are low end, are a bit crude in some ways, and are probably considered the Pinto or Yugo of ironworkers, but it's served me well over the years. It's been treated like a machine tool and not a demo-derby car. I've done some mods, added larger tables. stops, clamps, etc. It gets the job done and has never needed any repairs.
 

Kalispel

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Location
Ohio
We have a 70 ton and a 100 ton Metal Muncher. They are great machines. We fitted them with slotted tables for easy mounting of flexible fixturing. We set them up for short run jobs. We have made a wide variety of special punching, notching and shearing dies for them.
 

Bondo

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 14, 2011
Location
Bridgeton NJ
I am looking for that exact model just a little cleaner. I have some quotes on 60 ton models from Geka (Hyrdacrop and Bendicrop), Pirahna, a Cleveland/Marval, and an Edwards. I really didn't want to have to buy one new but have scoured the web and haven't found any in good shape in the 60T range and I don't have room or need for an 80-100ton unit.

I really like the fixturing tables on the Geka and the Marvell's are basically knock-offs of the Geka built local to the US.

You dont have a need now, or you wont ever have a need for bigger? That is the question.

If you could buy a 80 ton used for less then a 60 ton new, I would definitely go that route. This way you never max out the machine. Motors are not much bigger and the frame only only a foot longer, 700# heavier roughly.

Not much goes wrong with an ironworker. So a good one used should stay a good one forever if you keep it running good.
 

gary-sc

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 20, 2010
Location
Santa Cruz, CA USA
I have a Geka Bendicrop 50, wonderful machine. I bought new about 8 years ago after endless searching for a used one that wasn't all clapped out. We use it in production and for one offs and short runs. For the one offs it is a really great machine, mainly because of the design of the stops but also because all stations are always setup and ready to go (both things others here have mentioned.) We've used the bending feature in both production and for on offs, it takes some time to get the depth of bend stops dialed in but once you do the angle is very consistent. For lower quantities it's controllable enough that you can eyeball the bend angle. Smaller gauge and anything longer goes to the press brake or if suited for it the hydraulic Hossfeld. Also, sometimes Comaq has demo machines for sale.
 

Fish On

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Location
Mobile, Alabama
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.


Actually, that's only true on the little Gekas (Minicrop, Microcrop and I think just the smallest Bendicrop) - once you get into the Hydracrop series, the punch has it's own vertical cylinder that runs independent of the pivot function on the rest of the machine. Additionally, this makes the Hydracrop line a true dual operator machine (designed as such, not just something you 'can' do).

The way I see it, there are 3 trains of thought on ironworkers:

-If you're primarily repairing farm equipment, and need a machine to cut stuff out of remnants or scrap by eye, or just want to hook a tape measure on the blade, get a Piranha. They're a very durable machine that will put up with some serious abuse, and a very simple design with good visibility. Last I looked, they still haven't gotten with the program on providing decent quick set gauging systems.

-If you primarily are doing new fabrication and prefer to use positive stops, and work from measurements instead of just eyeballing where a hole needs to be, the Geka is absolutely the way to go.

-If you want a glorified shop press to be able to cludge together your own oddball tools and setups, go the Scotchman route.

Each one has their place, just a matter of what it is that you make, or how you typically work.


My shop has a Geka Hydracrop 55. I'm really the shop that a Minicrop was designed for, the Hydracrop is way more machine than I need for the type and quantity of work that I do, but while I was looking for a Minicrop, I ran into a deal I couldn't refuse on the bigger machine. For your needs, I don't think you can go wrong with a Hydracrop (or the bigger Bendicrop, if the flatbar bending attachment would do you some good).

If I was looking at new, I would give Sunrise a good look. They seem to be pretty much a Geka clone, and thus have most of the features that really make a Geka shine. When I priced both Gekas and Sunrise a few years back, the Sunrise was a couple or 3 grand cheaper for a similarly outfitted machine.
 

Kalispel

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Location
Ohio
Examples

We make a lot of short-run sheet metal pieces. Repair parts, special racking parts and prototypes. We use the metal munchers with repetitive setups to make parts in the 500 to 10,000 quantity range. We have simple die sets for common features. We use UniPunch tools for unique features. We have a coil feeder, strip leveler and edge conditioner in line. Longer runs go on a punch press with a servo feeder and compound dies. We laser cut shorter runs where material yield is not a consideration. We use the Metal Munchers to cope, notch punch and shear heavier / larger sheets in small quantities where plasma edges are not acceptable. We laser anything over about 50 parts.

The outer guards are off the die for the picture. The slotted tables, back stop, parts tub and shear safety interlock give these machines great utility. They are slow but incredibly flexible and simple.
 

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Mross506

Plastic
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Thanks Everyone! After a couple weeks of looking and analyzing our needs here is what we came up with:

Alot of our plates are 5/8" x 12" (approx) We want to have a little more capacity than not enough so we decided to roll with an 80 ton so we don't have to worry about it. The angle iron sheering capacity was a big decider for that need to go bigger, as well.

As far as models, we like the European style like the Geka's more than anything else due to the fixturing and quality. Along that family we also looked into the Sunrise machines, Cleveland, Marvel, Edwards. It looks like a new 80 ton on the cheaper side is around $25k. The Geka's run a little more than that but not by much.

We also came across these Mubea units that seem really clean and really cheap. Are they good units? I am approved to spend around $20k but am at the point that I need to get something ASAP. So it is one of these vs a used 80 ton Geka (several online) or a new 80 ton Sunrise which really pushes my budget.

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82 Ton 20" Thrt Mubea HIW 750/510 IRONWORKER | eBay
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
Mubeas were great machines. Made in Germany, and tough as nails. But Mubea stopped making them and sold the ironworker division in 1996- they are still in business, but as an OEM manufacturer for the global automotive industry, bending and forging suspension parts.
Hence Mubeas are somewhat orphaned.
Haco bought the Metalworking machine division, but they then concentrated on much bigger industrial machines. They are actually making 3 to 5 axis machining centers for beam and rolled iron lines, and dont make ironworkers or support the old ones. Mubea Systems - 5-axis CNC machining centers - Mubea Systems

There was a company in Florence Kentucky that did repairs and stocked parts for the ironworkers, but they went out of business in 2019. Mubea Ironworkers,Mubea Tooling,Punches and Dies, Owners of Mubea TM

So, I would think for you needs, a used Mubea is probably not the best fit.
Shear blades and punches are readily available from the tooling companies in Cleveland, but technical support and parts are pretty scarce.
 

Bondo

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 14, 2011
Location
Bridgeton NJ
I recommend spending the time at the very beginning to build the perfect tables, with adjustments, so it lasts a lifetime. Too many companies get bad results because they build bad roller tables for their ironworkers.
 

dana gear

Hot Rolled
Joined
Feb 27, 2013
Location
Northern califorina, usa
Used iron worker kind of fascinate me, If a person/company is going out of business that's one thing but who gets rid of good Iron workers that is to say we never really consider Iron workers as a rotating replacement item like a welding power source might be, if we get rid of one it's because it's had it and it goes to auction or is used as a trade in on a new one. We traded two in last year, the dealer cleaned them up and repainted and sold them both. All I can say is buyer beware!!!!!!
 








 
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