experience with manual shears and brakes for light industrial use - in africa
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    Default experience with manual shears and brakes for light industrial use - in africa

    I am involved in a project to improve the productivity of a factory making cookstoves in Africa. (Different from prior projects I've mentioned here.)

    Their current process involves cutting a great many rectangular blanks in pretty light gauge galvanized material 0.51mm thick, some of it 0.35mm thick (still to work out what gauge standard is being used there. But clearly pretty thin stuff.)

    The goal is to find manual shears (stomp shear) and brakes (or folders) because electricity is highly unreliable.

    And of course, most of what I see on the web seems to be cheap PRC imports, and so one would have to have hands on testing to decide if it would stand up to the kind of continuous use expected here. (The sorts of intermittent use in HVAC or race shops aren't really "industrial" enough for this application. But the kinds of power shears and brakes that factories buy now require power and are hopelessly expensive.)

    Anybody have positive direct experience with good brands to dig into?

    I have a mittler brothers bead roller (powered), and it seems just fine. I don't have any of their manual equipment, and don't run a factory myself.

    Bevery makes some fine hand-lever shears, but they're not really ideal for cutting up "sheet" stock - though they'd likely be a step up for what's currently being done (guy bending over with hand shears cutting blanks on dirt floor.... )

    Anybody have recent tennesmith/roper-whitney/diacro etc manual stuff? How is it? Shears or brakes or benders from mittler brothers or the like? Particular models of machines from the usual suspects?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    I am involved in a project to improve the productivity of a factory making cookstoves in Africa. (Different from prior projects I've mentioned here.)

    Their current process involves cutting a great many rectangular blanks in pretty light gauge galvanized material 0.51mm thick, some of it 0.35mm thick (still to work out what gauge standard is being used there. But clearly pretty thin stuff.)

    The goal is to find manual shears (stomp shear) and brakes (or folders) because electricity is highly unreliable.

    And of course, most of what I see on the web seems to be cheap PRC imports, and so one would have to have hands on testing to decide if it would stand up to the kind of continuous use expected here. (The sorts of intermittent use in HVAC or race shops aren't really "industrial" enough for this application. But the kinds of power shears and brakes that factories buy now require power and are hopelessly expensive.)

    Anybody have positive direct experience with good brands to dig into?

    I have a mittler brothers bead roller (powered), and it seems just fine. I don't have any of their manual equipment, and don't run a factory myself.

    Bevery makes some fine hand-lever shears, but they're not really ideal for cutting up "sheet" stock - though they'd likely be a step up for what's currently being done (guy bending over with hand shears cutting blanks on dirt floor.... )

    Anybody have recent tennesmith/roper-whitney/diacro etc manual stuff? How is it? Shears or brakes or benders from mittler brothers or the like? Particular models of machines from the usual suspects?

    I don't know much about current stuff. But I can comment on manual equipment more generally which is that manual tool like shears need to be adjusted fairly regularly by a skilled competent operator and they need to be mounted on smooth flat concrete and the metal needs to be clean to not dull the blades quickly. Also the blades must be sharpened every 5000 to 20,000 cuts using fairly precise equipment..

    Most of the machines are flat ground castings and rust easily in hot humid environments. Without nearly constant oiling and cleaning they will rust to junk.. I'm in Florida and I see sheet metal tools rusted to junk very often because most shops are open air and temperature swing in the morning soaks the tools as the metal is below the dew point.

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    A plate shear can be used and is probably better than a beverly for your application.

    You can feed material through for 'infinite' cutting.

    Sample:

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...xoCBjwQAvD_BwE

    Cheap import, yes, but I've had one in my shop for a long time. Bottom blades on these can normally be flipped 4 times.

    Real US stomp shears seem like they may be too expensive.

    I have a nice older Famco 16gax52" stomp shear. I'm not a huge fan of the tennsmith stuff I've seen but it's better than the imports.


    You might consider some sort of hand crank rotary shear with a fence too, for light gauge applications. Easy to sharpen I would think.

    I'm assuming your bead roller isn't in Africa, but they make rotary shear dies for those too, and a hand crank version is more easily made or bought than a stomp shear.

    Good luck with it,

    James

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    My shop is in WA (seattle metro) that's where the power beader is. But the project is in Uganda. (If they had the conditions of my personal shop this would all be trivial...) But a hand cranked beated with shearing dies could be very useful, might be a better tool for circle cutting than the funky old circle shears.

    Beverly seems to be part of Elite Metaltools now? Anyway, they list the throatless shear they're famous for (may have applications here to for found parts), but also a "slitting shear" - wondering if that has much advantage over the import linked above. (Then again, for $169, maybe it's test it to be sure it works, then send over 1/2 dozen or something.) My (10+ years old) beverly throatless is a fine machine, I wonder if their new slitting shears are too?

    @cssspecs - good points.

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    Are there no sources for used equipment in Uganda? Or Africa? Seems USA to Uganda shipping, customs, possible payoffs along the way would drive their cost way up.

    Maximum width of pieces to be cut? A hand cranked bead roller is unlikely to have much throat.

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    Are you definitely shipping from the US? If so, I would be looking at tennsmith, connecitcut, pexto, wysong, chicago- stuff like that. Have you talked to Bob Benoit, or whoever runs Benoit now? Bob is a really good guy, knows the industry, and seems to have a pretty decent inventory of exactly what you want. https://benoitsheetmetal.com/wp-cont...05/WEB-203.pdf

    A power beader is a very different animal from a real circle shear- the good circle shears work very well, and they are out there, used.
    When I lived in LA, I did some business with the industrial blacksmith part of this family business- their circle shears are excellent- Metal Shops, Metalworking Tools | Los Angeles, CA
    Pexto and Niagara also made good ones. Lots of em used on ebay, usually.

    If you are not shipping from here, I would look for used tools in Italy. They export to africa all the time, my guess is the dealers would have shipping contacts.
    a page like this would give you dealers to contact- they usually will not pay to list manual equipment on these websites, but if they dont have it, they know who does.
    Used Shear for sale in Italy. Schiavi equipment & more | Machinio
    or this one- which has several euro dealers listing manual shears and brakes-
    Used Shears, Universal Punching machines, Cutting-to-length machines & Clitting lines, Lockformers & Metal band sawing machines machinery, second hand Shears, Universal Punching machines, Cutting-to-length machines & Clitting lines, Lockformers & Metal

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    @Ries - thanks, some names I hadn't seen before. By the way the Benoit name was apparently bought out by some other folks in Kent or Renton (I got an email from them.) - I've not visited them yet.

    Other places in Africa (Kenya - not at all the same place) a fair amount of stuff does come from Italy.

    @neilho - africa is a big place, circumstances are from consistent, but prior information (Kenya) leads me to be mostly skeptical of getting such machinery in country. There are oddnesses though - in Nairobi you can get the same Kaeser compressors we use here. But that factory is still buying drills (packs of the same size industrial stuff) from.... a supply house in Auburn WA.

    But of course, a decent quality in-country supplier would be first choice.

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    Chicago Dreis & Krump makes very nice manual machines. I have one of their hand brakes. It's war surplus but still works fine. I don't have one of their shears, but the look nice. 16ga x 52"

    If you want a press brake as opposed to hand/pan brake, take a look at the Atek Bantam units. They are pneumatic. The lighter units are 12 tons and come in 24" and 48" widths. The are an elegantly simple design and are still in production.

    I don't know of any good manual press brakes; there are the crappy 3-in-1 machines. Actually, I think there is a German company that made a good 3-in-1 unit, but I don't remember the name.

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    On the Benoit web site, it says Bob is back, after being retired for a while.

    You sound like you might need multiples- which means maybe new?

    I have purchased one Tennsmith machine new, it was a while ago, but their designs havent changed much. I would say its workshop or school shop quality, but I wouldnt call it "production".
    Especially for foot shears, I would be looking at used. Older Pexto and Niagra and Wysong are the best american made manual shears.
    Most of the stuff like this on Ebay is actually from dealers, which means if you find one you like, you can ask if they have others.

    Chicago/ Dries & Krump (same company, they added "Chicago" to avoid anti-german sentiment during WW2) are the gold standard for US made stuff, and ARE production machines. But not cheap. Especially for brakes, either straight or finger.

    European stuff like Fasti are very good as well. Generally the Europeans demand better quality and are willing to pay for it, so all the Italian and German and french and spanish sheet metal equipment I have ever seen is quite good.

    I would avoid the Taiwan or Chinese shears- but I think the brakes arent too horrible, as they are mostly cast iron, and mechanically pretty simple. Still, I would prefer D&K. My 4' 12gage D&K finger brake is underrated, if anything. It does weigh, literally, a ton, though.

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    Bryan, I have a Whitney hand shear, use it all the time. I like it because I can cut a straight line with it. I have had a couple of Beverlys too and don't recommend them. Their claim to fame is cutting curved lines. I don't seem to need curved lines.

    I would be happy to bring the Whitney over and give you a demo. I think such a demo would work from 6 feet.

    Much of Uganda is mountain uplands, nothing whatever like Florida.

    But really, they need a stomp shear.

    There is a local guy who has health problems and a 3' shear and also a slip roll. He needs to sell them but doesn't want to, but since this is for such a meritorious cause, perhaps he will let them go.

    metalmagpie

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    Grant - how wide is that hand shear? (They list all manner of specs but I cannot seem to find a width of cut.)

    Ries - I'll look into that - and yes we may need multiple, we'll see.

    Oh, and I have an older di-acro lever press brake, which if set up correctly would work well for this - but it's mine and will stay mine, and they're hard to find, and sometimes in poor shape.

    (The atak bantams are non-starters because with no reliable electricity, there's no reliable compressor....)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    Grant - how wide is that hand shear? (They list all manner of specs but I cannot seem to find a width of cut.)

    Ries - I'll look into that - and yes we may need multiple, we'll see.

    Oh, and I have an older di-acro lever press brake, which if set up correctly would work well for this - but it's mine and will stay mine, and they're hard to find, and sometimes in poor shape.

    (The atak bantams are non-starters because with no reliable electricity, there's no reliable compressor....)
    My Whitney shear is like a pair of scissors.



    And Bob Benoit has died. Another Bob is running the business, now in Kent.

    metalmagpie

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalmagpie View Post

    And Bob Benoit has died. Another Bob is running the business, now in Kent.

    metalmagpie
    Thats too bad, he was a good guy. I remember when he ran the business out of a big panel truck, and it was all in person visits to shops. I still have a big pair of Klenck snips I bought from him that I use all the time.

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    Our local Metal Supermarkets only sells sheared material down to 22Ga which is around .03" or .75mm because their big hydraulic shears apparently can't reliably cut 24Ga (.024") properly. That might be because the same machines have to shear 1/2" Aluminum, but it speaks to the need to have a stomp shear set up pretty carefully and properly sharpened to cut the thin stuff, as others have mentioned. I have encountered a number of dubious import stomp shears in recent years, bought for student labs, that were completely useless, though I'm not sure how much if any knowledgeable setup was applied.

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    I think Tennsmith could be used if oiling and such was regularly attended to.

    Like light swab on the edges every couple of cycles, oil the eccentrics & pivot on the finger brake. Counteractive to cycle time but good for the machine long-term.

    Worst is the edges could wear out, so it might be prudent to source extra cutting edges, feeler gages, and potentially extra fingers from the very start if using the brakes.

    I've looked at National online but never seen one up close & personal, they seem to have a higher price than Tennsmith. (edit: researched slightly, the Mittler Bros has a 1 year warranty, Tennsmith a 3 year warranty and National 5 year warranty. National also claims 4 cutting edges per shear blade, so that's a positive right there, not sure on the other mfg: wasn't listed and I didn't click further)

    https://www.trick-tools.com/Manual_Shears_111

    Are corner notchers in-use?

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    no corner notchers in use so far as I can tell - but so far nothing but hand shears and chisels and a whole lot of people working hard.


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