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Wirecutter
04-28-2005, 01:12 PM
This is more of a sheet metal question: Everyone's probably seen a nibbling tool - the little hand tool that takes rectangular "bites" out of light weight sheet metal. There are some things that are just perfect for this tool, but only in low quantity. Like cutting a square hole in an aluminum panel.

Problem is that all the ones I've seen are pretty cheaply made, and this type of tool is usually considered "bush league". The one I've used most recently is so poorly designed it'll blister your hands after about an hour's use.

Is there such thing as a "power nibbler"? I'm imagining a table about a foot square with the working part of the tool sticking up out of the center. Come to think of it, it might be a little like a shaper with the stroke being vertical, rather than horizontal, and a lot shorter.

Sorry if this is a dumb question about a tool everyone else has seen - I'm just curious and wondering if I'll have to build one.

Wait, wait. I don't mean the handheld or air powered thing used by body shops. I mean like a table-mounted thing.

-M


[This message has been edited by Wirecutter (edited 04-28-2005).]

mixdenny
04-28-2005, 01:46 PM
Sure, at least hand held versions. Available in air or electric, even an attachment for a standard drill motor. Harbor Freight carries several, just search for nibbler on their site.

Dennis

Weston Bye
04-28-2005, 01:49 PM
Like this?
http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=81556

I have one but have not used it much. I may make a table mount to improve controllability.

Wes

Allan Waterfall
04-28-2005, 02:05 PM
I've found a metal cutting blade in the jigsaw works pretty good,although a bit noisy.

Until I tried it I was a bit sceptical but it did the last job I needed it for on 1/16" thick plate.

Allan

Nick Carter
04-28-2005, 02:52 PM
I bought a used Kidde "Kibbler" Power Nibbler a while back in a moment of insanity. It has a hydraulic pump and the nibbler is mounted on a table similar to a saw table, with a fence, etc. The nibbler die pokes up through the table and comes down on the die mounted on the table surface. It came with a number of different shaped nibbler dies. Unfortunately it draws more amps than my poor carport wiring can handle so I have to wait until I build my shop to put it to use.
As far as I know they are no longer made.

gkman11
04-28-2005, 03:29 PM
Powered? This one is powered by me?
http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//Forum1/HTML/009664.html

Wirecutter
04-28-2005, 04:11 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nick Carter:
I bought a used Kidde "Kibbler" Power Nibbler a while back in a moment of insanity. It has a hydraulic pump and the nibbler is mounted on a table similar to a saw table, with a fence, etc. The nibbler die pokes up through the table and comes down on the die mounted on the table surface. It came with a number of different shaped nibbler dies. </font>

I'll have to look for something like this. It's what I think I'm looking for. The next step up is a shaper and a special jig.


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nick Carter:
As far as I know they are no longer made.</font>

Yah, that figures. Maybe someone makes 'em - I'll have to do some web searching tonight if I can keep out of the shop. (yeah right)

Thanks all!

-M

Wirecutter
04-28-2005, 04:13 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wes1:
Like this?
http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&T ype=Product&ID=81556 (http://www.ares-server.com/Ares/Ares.asp?MerchantID=RET01229&Action=Catalog&Type=Product&ID=81556)

I have one but have not used it much. I may make a table mount to improve controllability.

Wes</font>


I need to consider this one. Maybe it can also be table mounted, maybe it wouldn't need to be. I'll bet it makes a hell of a noise!

Thanks for the info.

-M

jfsmith
04-28-2005, 04:19 PM
HF sells power nibbler, I have an air powered set. Works great.

Jerry

Nick Carter
04-28-2005, 05:33 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nick Carter:
I bought a used Kidde "Kibbler" Power Nibbler </font>
I should have said Kidder, "Kibbler", made by Kidder Manufacturing Company, Inc. In Vermont.
See what happens when your 2-1/2 year old wakes you up every 20 minutes all night?




[This message has been edited by Nick Carter (edited 04-28-2005).]

IOWOLF
04-28-2005, 07:54 PM
ENCO #DG505-3151
Electric gobler

wierdscience
04-28-2005, 08:58 PM
I picked up and old Pexto punch press with a 24" deep throat for less than $100.

Had it setup for nibbling plate up to 1/4" thick.Just a round punch and die and a ball bearing stripper.

The whole thing only wieghs 1500 lbs.

Why not take a regular hand held air or electric nibbler and mount it under a table with the business end sticking up?

bobbybeef
04-28-2005, 10:29 PM
I cut a lot of brass plate up to 1/2 inch with a metal cutting blade in a jigsaw. Find it best to clamp some guides to the sheet to get straight lines. Give the jigsaw a rest now and then and keep checking the blade.Given steady speeds wear is not a problem. If you try to rush you pay the price. Hell blades are cheap.
For circles I cut outside the line by hand and clean up on the lathe. My old hands make for some funny looking circles.
Best of luck,
bobby.

Weston Bye
04-29-2005, 06:51 AM
Quote: I'll bet it makes a hell of a noise!

Really not too bad. Actually quieter than a saber saw or sawzall. The tool is smaller than it appears in the ad, maybe 8" overall length.

Wes

bernie l
04-29-2005, 07:34 AM
I've no actual experience with them but I believe Diacro makes/made stationary nibblers and I assume some of the companies that make sheet metal equipment do as well. As far as hand held nibblers go I've considered buying one in the past but haven't located one to my liking. It seems they're either too small, limited to about 16ga or too large rated to 8ga. What little sheet metal I work with is usually in the 14-10ga range. An 8ga nibbler would handle it, but they're expensive and heavy.
Just curious, what's your application?

take care
bernie

gkman11
04-29-2005, 11:33 AM
I bought a Harbor Freight air nibbler to replace a small manual unit. Punch and die are round and will not turn a sharp corner just a radius about like a jig saw.

Miss the little manual one which cut out little retangles and could make 90* corners.

Ries
04-29-2005, 02:22 PM
There have been power nibblers made in a whole bunch of sizes-
The best of the bunch-

First- hand held power tools- I have a very nice Bosch, built like a tank. They make em in sizes from 18 ga up to 10 ga. Not cheap, but they last a lifetime.
http://www.boschtools.com/tools/tools-subcategory.htm?H=175975&G=54921

Then a medium sized bench mount machine is the Heck Trace a punch- meant to be used with a template, for repeatable part making.
http://www.heckind.net/Trace.htm
These run from 2 grand to 3500 new, but there are a lot of used ones out there.

Then there is the big dog- a pullmax. These were made by a variety of companies, although the swedish made Pullmax brand was the best known, there are also Libert and Trumpf models out there. They weigh a couple of tons, stand 5 feet tall, and will nibble all day.
When these first became obsolete, 10 years or so ago, they were cheap- but now metalshapers are using them to shape sheet metal in 3d for things like auto bodies, and the used market these days is more like $2500 to $8000, depending on condition and tooling.
http://www.usedequip.com/q/showdlist/,,ST,,,008611,20067398

But in this day and age, I gotta ask, why nibble?
Nibbling is slow, noisy, makes a big mess, and takes out a very wide kerf- from 3/16" or so for a small one, up to 1/2" for some of the bigger ones.
Thats a lot of material wasted, only to be transformed into razor sharp little half moons that stick to your shoe soles until you get back in the living room, whereupon they all bail out onto the good carpet.

In industry, big nibblers are almost completely obsolete- they have been replaced by either laser and plasma cutters, or by CNC punch presses. Both run completely unattended, and spit out parts at much higher rates than any nibbler ever made. Pullmax itself might still make a nibbler, but they make the majority of their money from selling CNC laser, plasma and punching systems to their old nibbler customers.

Plasma is the home shop answer for most old nibbling applications- a tiny kerf, almost no heat affected zone, will cut any metal, and they are actually very price competitve- for a plasma cutter that will do what a very large nibbler will, you pay from $1000 to $2500 for brand new, big name equipment- compare that to twice to 5 times the price for brand new nibblers.
Obviously, used equipment in either category costs whatever you paid for it, but I think aside from a pullmax, a plasma cutter has better resale value, and it certainly is smaller and easier to deal with.

darryl
04-30-2005, 01:29 AM
Every damn thing you plug in is a power nibbler. Nibblenibblenibble, nibblenibblenibble-

Swarf&Sparks
04-30-2005, 01:37 AM
As Weird suggests, I just use my little air nibbler mounted in an MDF table. Works great cutting thin stainless numbers, letters, etc. Mounted upside-down, punchings come out the top http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif bit of string and a board for foot control.

zman92020
04-30-2005, 10:22 AM
I think what youre refuring to is what is known as a Trace-A-Punch, and I just happen to have one available, punches out little holes while you guide the sheet through, and can cut out any design as long as you slip the sheet around, mine is a model 3C and punches up to 1/8 inch sheet email me off line daveanne@pacbell.net

paradise
05-03-2005, 12:48 PM
Check out 7512589138 on ebay.

Wirecutter
05-03-2005, 01:12 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by wierdscience:
Why not take a regular hand held air or electric nibbler and mount it under a table with the business end sticking up?</font>

These are all really great ideas, fellas, and I appreciate it. I think Wierd's got the right idea, unless I take the plunge on a plasma cutter. Seems that there are a lot of cases when the best way to get the special tool you want - just the way you want it - is to build it or modify something more ordinary. I guess that'll go in the queue right behind the new lathe table I need to build.