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3-in-1 sheetmetal tool

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  • 3-in-1 sheetmetal tool

    greets all.
    this place has turned into my support group.

    maybe we should have an HSM chant.. or at least secret handshake.

    anyway-- got my eye on a little 3in1 sheetmetal tool. shear/bend/(slip)roll. 4' long and the spec sheet says 1/32" thickness.

    i imagine thats only for the shear.

    its a "press" brake.. ie, only does 90deg.

    for an import its a little spendy at $500, but it seems heavy/solid.

    anyone own one of these? i know the old addage, probably won't do anything well, but its so compact i can fit it nicely in a corner and hopefully get a clean bend now and again when i need it.


  • #2
    Ours from HF had a cracked bed. Not sure what caused it. They replaced it.

    A real tool is usually much better than a 3inOne. I know space is limited in my shop too. The 3inOne is up Mikeys.

    I ended up with a heavy 12" pan brake, a nibbler for shear, and a sliproll for the bending, in addition a bead roller to further add to the toys. Most my small things can be formed using these. The whole shebang is on a roller-table with lockable wheels.

    The english wheel, it opens new worlds, I am still learning. I have beat the metal oversand bags then rolled the bumps and pimples out.

    Seeing the Tucker Torpedo sketch makes me want to build one. possibly with the V8 Honda motorcycle engines a local guy welds together (325hp in about 100lbs).

    But, I got more going than I can complete in a year.

    And I got this crazy ideal about using the camera-laser-scanner on the english wheel to automate it.


    • #3
      I have a 30" inch model. The brake press on mine is adjustable up to 90 degrees and it is a pan type brake. I use it for small enclosures, mostly made from sheet aluminium and stainless and every so often some tubes. The one I have does everything I want it to and very well. This is not a production machine, but for one-of and prototyping it's very handy. I've had mine for about 3 years and use it several times a week and have had no problems with it. I hope this helps out.



      • #4
        I've also had my eye on such a machine. My wallet has been heating up. I posted earlier about this - maybe some of the group's replies would be helpful to you, too.

        My concern is that I like working in stainless steel, but the gauges I use (and have on hand) tend a bit on the heavy side for a 3-in-1 machine.

        This goes right to what ibew was saying - when you try to combine multiple functions in one device, you have to compromise. Look at the various lathe-mill combos, or for an even more extreme example, amphibious vehicles. (another interest of mine, but OT) An amphib can't really compete with either a car/truck on land, or a real boat on water, but it can still be real handy.

        So anyway, veering back to topic here... I'm beginning to lean in favor of dedicated tools for bending, shearing, and rolling, unless I can find a machine that can do all 3 up to about 12ga mild steel about 20" wide, while still being movable - say, less than 1500 lbs. I may be asking a lot, though.

        Whatever you wind up with, let us all know what you get and how it goes. I'll sure do the same...



        • #5
          I have had the 30" model for about 5 or 6 years now. It works pretty well. I made a few minor modifications to it that make it a little better to use. If I get a chance, I will post them if anyone is interested.
          Location: North Central Texas


          • #6
            Don't forget that imported machines(shears, brakes, slip rolls, punches, etc.) are more than likely over-rated. If it says 18 gauge assume that to be 20 gauge.


            • #7
              I have the HF 30" model. I find that the slip roll works pretty well, and the bending dies work better than I expected. Even with heavier sheet than the shear will handle. Someday I'll make 1-1/4, 1-1/2, and 1-3/4" fingers so that I can do jobs in smaller increments than 1".
              The shear is another story. The front surface of the back (stationary) guide, and the back surface of the front (moving) blade holder were planed flat, but with a sharp nose tool and a large stepover. The surfaces were "corrugated" and would lock together and be completely immobilized with any cutting force at all. I fly-cut the surfaces smooth, surface grinding would be nice, but at least they can slide against each other now. Of course, I then had to rework the upper bend die mounting to get it aligned with (now altered) lower die. But the shear works now, kind of. It does a pretty good job with aluminum up to about .040", But I've never gotten very good results with even light gauge steel. It seems that most 3-in-1 owners are more satisfied than I am. Maybe I got a lemon, but I've checked out other 3-in-1s on display at HF, They've all had the same problem.


              • #8
                I have the Grizzly 30" for about 4 or 5 years now and have been happy. Like others have said, it is limited to lighter gauges. I have done 0.040" aluminum but that is about the limit. And it needs a bit of extra help to get the full 90 degree bend in that gauge (like a 2X6 block and a 1.5 lb hammer). It will do 0.032" all day.

                The $500 sounds a bit high. I would never, NEVER buy anything from HF. The Grizzly is listed at $320 but you must pay shipping. Still less than $500. I have visited both Grizzly and HF showrooms and can tell you there is absolutely no comparison. Night and day.

                All the usual disclaimers.

                Paul A.
                Paul A.
                Golden Triangle, SE Texas

                And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                You will find that it has discrete steps.


                • #9
                  I just got a broken one (the work bench) was broke,I would call it a table. fixed now with a backup plate good as new. I paid 50 bucks for it, Clark brand. Enco has a machine for sale in there new flier,$249.00.

                  As a side I plan on useing licence plates as they are not embossed here any more and are aluminum.


                  • #10
                    This year I needed one really badly, and quick. Also live in an area where tools don't come up for sale so jump in the truck and drive over 100 miles to a harbor freight and bought the 30 inch combo {$400}. Normaly for me to buy chinese is a last resort and when I do, I take whatever it is completely apart and clean it. I have never bought anything that wasn't loaded with sand. Also gives you a good chance to fix problems and get it lubed properly. So, after spending several hours doing this I was astonished to see it was well made {for the money}. I'm sure the castings are junk, but the shear works great and have cut .060 tempered aluminum easily {always spray wd40 along the cut line before shearing}. I haven't used the rollers yet. The one job payed for it and having a shear in the shop is always nice. Be sure to adjust everything properly and don't abuse it.


                    • #11
                      Joel, I would like to see the improvements you made to your combo. Something I might like to do to mine.


                      • #12
                        Yes Joel, maybe even for the tips book 2.


                        • #13
                          I've gotten a lot of satisfaction from the HF 30" which has sold recently here (Dayton OH ) for $260. I use it possibly twice a month for prototyping and odd stuff , tonight I used it to speed up my project of making a perminant sheet metal template for Bridgeport felt way wipers. Its a really nice machine for the money for occasional work the shear makes cutting straight cuts so quick and convenient. Theres pleanty of room on the press brake part to add all manner of additional jaws , with the new bottom (female )die grooved out to sit right ontop of the existing bottom die and the new female die just bolted in place where the origonal male dies were. I 'm thinking of making a set with a narrower angle on the female and a more knifelike male to go down into it so bends could be made to 150 or 160 degrees which could then be closed to 180 in a vise or with handtools.


                          • #14
                            These are all relatively minor modifications, so I don’t expect you guys to be too impressed by what I am outlining here.

                            The first thing that needed to be done was to deburr the holes where the blade guide bolts went through the blade. It originally came with cheap smallish washers to retain the blade, so I used some thicker stainless fender washers that I had on hand. I lapped one side smooth, backed it with smaller washer, replaced the bolts with something respectable, and greased everything up. The blade operated smoothly enough that I could snug the bolts up for good support, yet not bind. I then carefully readjusted the clearance between the shear blade and the table.

                            The second thing I did was to dull the die fingers on the press brake a little bit. They were as sharp as a knife, and I wanted a little more bend radius without it cutting into my stock. A few minutes with a file took care of this. I had to be careful not to take too much off.

                            I don’t use this machine frequently enough to dedicate valuable bench space for it. This thing is heavy (over 300 lbs for the 30â€‌ model), so I built a minimalist cart out of some cheap H.F. solid tires, a couple of 30" long pieces of 1â€‌x1â€‌ square tubing, and some thread all. I tied some rope around the frame to use as a handle. I later added a short piece of PVC over the rope so it wouldn’t pinch my hand when pulling it around. The wheels and handle make it quite easy to move around.

                            I wanted an easy way to align a piece of metal in the press brake and there was an unused tapped hole on the die, so I made this alignment gauge out of 1â€‌x1â€‌ angle. It is self aligning because the fence piece hangs over the die about 1/4". I should add a piece of flat stock to the bottom of the angle to add support to the piece being bent. The 1â€‌ of support that I currently have helps quite a bit, but it would be better if it were full length. Now I can get away with a little mark for length instead of a full length mark at the bend line. This has turned out to be a very convenient addition.

                            I also replaced the tiny and non-square fence that was included, with a longer piece of 1â€‌ channel. I put graduations on both fences, but probably shouldn’t have bothered.

                            [This message has been edited by Joel (edited 06-27-2005).]
                            Location: North Central Texas


                            • #15

                              [This message has been edited by Joel (edited 06-26-2005).]
                              Location: North Central Texas