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    Default Ironworker Questions

    I am a long time practicalmachinist lurker and recently signed up. I refurbish Hydraulic Ironworkers, Scotchman, Piranha, Geka, UniHydro, Mubea, Metal Munchers, and Edwards. I would be happy to share my experience and hopefully answer any questions.

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    OK, why dont you take us through what is involved with rebuilding one of these. Step by step and pics of course.

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    I’m sure you’re being very sincere, but we’ll have to save that for a different thread. When I bought my first Ironworker everyone had opinions about Ironworkers but most were from experience from the few machines they owned or operated. I have experience with multiple brands and can hopefully provide a little broader insight. Take it or leave it.

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    Shane, once in awhile I see the metal munchers come up for sale used.

    They are quite different from other machines.

    How are they to use ?
    And how well do they last ?

    Also, I see a few ironworkers offer a press brake attachment, set's
    in place of the punch station.

    What are you hearing from customers about their usage ?

    Easy to hold size ? Multiple parts come out the same ? etc.

    Any one attachment above all the rest ?

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    Do you have any experience or opinions regarding ficep brand machines? From Italy?

    I recently bought one that can shear 2" round or square bar ,the coping attachments are gone and a shop made bending set up put on. Im ok with not having it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Shane, once in awhile I see the metal munchers come up for sale used.

    They are quite different from other machines.

    How are they to use ?
    And how well do they last ?

    Also, I see a few ironworkers offer a press brake attachment, set's
    in place of the punch station.

    What are you hearing from customers about their usage ?

    Easy to hold size ? Multiple parts come out the same ? etc.

    Any one attachment above all the rest ?
    Metal munchers are great machines. They’re two cylinder machines that use leverage for the shear/notcher side and the punch uses direct cylinder pressure. They are a bit overbuilt like Piranha. Downside on Metal Munchers is they are loud and slow. Upside they are very dependable, large punch table, and has two cylinders. As far a press brakes, it is one of the easiest ways to ruin a machine. They have their place with a careful operator but I would never under any circumstance use a press brake on the punch stem, if material isn’t centered it puts an insane amount of torque on the stem and you end up ruining the most useful part of an Ironworker, the punch. They other issue you will see is bent, worn tables. Scotchman brake attachments are spring return and if something gets bent it’s the attachment not your machine, but still it’s very hard to get consistent bends and doesn’t compete with an actual brake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roll-a-leblond View Post
    Do you have any experience or opinions regarding ficep brand machines? From Italy?

    I recently bought one that can shear 2" round or square bar ,the coping attachments are gone and a shop made bending set up put on. Im ok with not having it.
    Unfortunately I haven’t had much experience with Ficep. If the brake isn’t a stand alone attachment I would be careful. Let’s say it’s a 100 ton machine and the stroke control isn’t set properly, then imagine the material isn’t centered, that is 200,000 lbs of force that can easily open up your machine, twist your beam, bend your stem, etc.

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    I have scotchman 6509 and the adjustable stop is nowhere near accurate for repeatability. any suggestion? The other thing I dont like about it is there is no fine adjustment on it, it is difficult to make small adjustments in when the stop hits the limit switch. Have you seen other machines with a better stroke stop set up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    I have scotchman 6509 and the adjustable stop is nowhere near accurate for repeatability. any suggestion? The other thing I dont like about it is there is no fine adjustment on it, it is difficult to make small adjustments in when the stop hits the limit switch. Have you seen other machines with a better stroke stop set up?
    Gekas have the best stroke controls. All of the American machines have basically the same micro switches or proximity sensors and none in my experience are repeatable or very accurate. It wouldn’t be very hard to upgrade your controls to something similar to Geka.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneHarman View Post
    Gekas have the best stroke controls. All of the American machines have basically the same micro switches or proximity sensors and none in my experience are repeatable or very accurate. It wouldn’t be very hard to upgrade your controls to something similar to Geka.
    Thanks, can you post some pics of Geka controls? I think I saw you have a scotchman like mine as well, a pic of those controls for comparison would be helpful for those who are not familiar. Not being familiar with Geka how would those controls be retrofitted to Scothman?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    I have scotchman 6509 and the adjustable stop is nowhere near accurate for repeatability. any suggestion? The other thing I dont like about it is there is no fine adjustment on it, it is difficult to make small adjustments in when the stop hits the limit switch. Have you seen other machines with a better stroke stop set up?
    I have a Unihydro and a Piranha. I use the brake on the Unihydro. I ended up mounting a 2" travel dial indicator on it so I can accurately repeat bends. My process (for better or worse) is to bend in the ballpark and note the indicator position. Repeat until the desired angle is produced. It usually takes me 2-3 bends to get my bend "dialed in". From there, I just bend to the same reading on the dial indicator. It's pretty crude, and a bit wasteful, but works for my limited bending needs. When I have lots of bends, I farm it out to PM members with proper brakes.

    I only use the stroke adjustment to set the return height of the punch to a little above the punch stripper. It's not very repeatable on either machine.

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    aa9a40a9-4136-4ff0-ad1c-cbd505be1274.jpg3fdeb8d3-462c-4ac0-ac16-9b682ba9ac3b.jpg87bc664f-7279-44bd-974c-9b2c32f3168b.jpg

    These pics are from a Minicrop, Microcrop, and an older model Scotchman 6509. On the Geka Hydracrop models the stop is threaded into another lug that holds the set screw(3 pieces for both up and down strokes)and can be turned for a fine adjustment. These Gekas are adjusted by set screw, with the outside lugs being your max down and up travel. It would be fairly easy to set up your Scotchman in a similar fashion but I would use threaded rod. I would mill a flat spot the length of the rod for the set screws. It would take a little longer to adjust but would stay put and give you more control.

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    For what it's worth all those oiltite limit switches are not the same.

    I was working on some piece of equipment, and it had a warning
    about replacing with the "Hi accuracy" version.

    some of these switches do publish the repeatability accuracy, would be
    good to seek out this info when buying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Impractical View Post
    I have a Unihydro and a Piranha. I use the brake on the Unihydro. I ended up mounting a 2" travel dial indicator on it so I can accurately repeat bends. My process (for better or worse) is to bend in the ballpark and note the indicator position. Repeat until the desired angle is produced. It usually takes me 2-3 bends to get my bend "dialed in". From there, I just bend to the same reading on the dial indicator. It's pretty crude, and a bit wasteful, but works for my limited bending needs. When I have lots of bends, I farm it out to PM members with proper brakes.

    I only use the stroke adjustment to set the return height of the punch to a little above the punch stripper. It's not very repeatable on either machine.
    I like Unihydros brake attachment for the power cavity because there is no arc in the head. I like Unihydros in general they are underrated machines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneHarman View Post
    I like Unihydros brake attachment for the power cavity because there is no arc in the head. I like Unihydros in general they are underrated machines.
    Mine's been rock solid for 15+ years. It only gets used occasionally, but I haven't had any issues so far. It's small enough to throw on the trailer and use in the field with a 6.5 kW generator. It's not a speed demon, but works great for certain things, and has paid for itself many times over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneHarman View Post
    Metal munchers are great machines. Downside on Metal Munchers is they are loud and slow.
    After the exquisite pleasure of being around mechanical Mubea's in the 70's all the later ironworkers were loud and slow, but MUCH cheaper to buy.

    Good Luck in the biz
    Matt

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    How often do you run across/resell Geka Minicrops? When I was looking for a press brake, I mentioned to every salesman that I'd also be looking for a used Minicrop, and all of them said it's not happening - they could find me a Hydracrop with no issue, but never a Minicrop.

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    Hydracrop’s have two cylinders, so shear and punch can be used simultaneously. They are great machines but pricey. Maxicrop, Minicrop, and Microcrop machines are single cylinder. They have plenty of capacity but sell at a lower price point which makes them more difficult to find in the used market. I do have a Micro and a Mini.

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    Shane,
    Wondering what you think of the older Edwards "Jaws IV" machines.
    They seem to be about the lowest cost (and maybe lowest quality) of all the brands.

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    It’s funny, people in my neck of the woods love them. They always sell fast and for decent money. It’s a bad design, the head is shaped like a T with the punch on one side of the machine and an open station for a brake, notcher etc on the other. So when you punch or notch you put side pressure on the guides in the center of the machine. They are replaceable but it creates sloppy linkage and all the issues that come with that. That said parts are easily bought and they have lots of tooling at reasonable price. They have their place and if you get a good price it is still a very useful machine.

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