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Iron Worker Attachment: Notcher

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  • Iron Worker Attachment: Notcher

    As some of you may remember, I picked up a tiny iron worker on the cheap several months ago. The punch station was missing the punch retaining nut, stripper, and punches / dies. It did come with the coping attachment but no angle iron shear. The coping notcher was severely damaged and I will need to buy new blades for it and replace the pivot. Instead, I decided on a different strategy:

    1) Build a notcher to work in the punch station. This notching attachment would be able to take bites out of angle iron, similar to this: https://www.trick-tools.com/Rectangl...4aAi_pEALw_wcB. My notcher will be built using material I already have on hand, including a bar of 1" by 2.5" O-1 tool steel. However, it's only a 35 ton unit so I've decided to make the notcher 1" wide by 3.25" long. Unfortunately, this means I will likely need to take 1-3 bites to notch the sizes of angle iron I use most often (2" to 3"). But I think that is still preferable to notching with an angle grinder.

    2) Build an angle iron shear to take the place of the coping attachment. It's not often I find myself notching to bend an angle iron frame. More often, I need to cut lengths of angle iron and then notch various locations along the length to weld in cross members. Ideally, I'd have all three - coper, notcher, and shear. But I don't think I can pull that off on this little machine. Best I can do is a small notcher and an angle shear with the ability to remove the shear and replace it with the coper if the need arises.

    Iron worker as purchased (it has since been repainted and tuned up):

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20190916_155009.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.70 MB ID:	1875315

    So... here's my late night attempt at a notcher design. I'm sure it's not an optimal design but the main constraint is using material I already have on hand. I'm trying to make this without spending any money on new material. But I do have concerns, perhaps greatest of which is the clearance on the top blade. I initially tilted the blade down by 2 degrees to provide some shearing action (reasoning that it would make it somewhat easier on the machine than having to punch straight down) and the negative tilt meant that it would grab at the root of the angle iron and try to suck it in slightly. To get clearance for the nose of the top blade, though, I had to angle the bottom blade and that meant that it wouldn't be fully symmetrical, reducing the number of cutting edges.

    I then decided to tilt the top blade to a positive angle of 1 degree. Now the nose has clearance while all blades are fully symmetric. But it means it will try to push the angle out as it shear... at 1 degree I don't think this will be an issue but then, at 1 degree, is it really doing any good? Should I just keep it straight? All of the bottom blades are designed to be adjusted with shims to maintain clearance all the way around.

    Also, replacing any of the blades requires some disassembly / order-of-operations care. It's not the most elegant design but I guess blades won't have to be replaced very often with the kind of volume I do.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Notcher Installed.png Views:	0 Size:	143.2 KB ID:	1875316

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    An amusing anecdote you can probably relate to: I've bought several old machine tools that need to be rescraped. Some of them have fairly long bearing surfaces so I bought a used straightedge to fix the machine tools. But the straightedge needs to be scraped before I can use it so I bought a larger surface plate at auction. Unfortunately, this plate was not on a proper stand and was sitting on a very unstable cart. So before I spend the money to have it lapped and calibrated, I want to make a proper stand for it out of angle iron. I bought the iron worker to help speed up fabrication projects using angle iron and strap. But first I need to build the shear and notcher for it and I need to sharpen the existing flat shear. So I bought a surface grinder and a heat treat oven. But the heat treat oven doesn't work so I need to build a new controller so I can heat treat the blades for my ironworker so I can build the stand for my surface plate so I can scrape in the straightedge so I can fix my machine tools. And now I'm thinking about buying an autocollimator so I can check and maybe even lap my own plates <sigh>
    Last edited by Fasttrack; 05-15-2020, 11:25 PM.

  • #2
    here is the controller for your oven:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/0-1300-C-Th...72.m2749.l2649

    and here is the burner for it:


    btw, my experience in building something like you show, is that you do it three times until it does what you want. usually you give up after the second attempt and it doesnt do what you want.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by dian; 05-16-2020, 01:05 AM.

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    • #3
      Sure am glad I never get caught in situations such as your anecdote.......Nope, not ever!

      My old Buffalo mechanical iron worker has a noticeable amount of shear angle on the cope, notch, and flat shear stations. Five degrees or more I would guess. Probably inevitable with the radial motions built into the machine but I’ve never noticed any squirting effect on the cope or notch.

      Flat shear blades are available smooth or serrated. Smooth have lower rating for thickness so Buffalo was aware of the issue. Thicker material would have a steeper angle when the cut initiated. Serrations grip to prevent squirting, but do leave a mark.

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      • #4
        The long blades on the sides don't have near enough support. They will bend outward at the top when cutting. Get the yellow blade supports out to the edge of the base with 2, 3/8" dowel pins each (and bolted down). Same on the end blade.
        Kansas City area

        Comment


        • #5
          An amusing anecdote you can probably relate to: I've bought several old machine tools that need to be rescraped. Some of them have fairly long bearing surfaces so I bought a used straightedge to fix the machine tools. But the straightedge needs to be scraped before I can use it so I bought a larger surface plate at auction. Unfortunately, this plate was not on a proper stand and was sitting on a very unstable cart. So before I spend the money to have it lapped and calibrated, I want to make a proper stand for it out of angle iron. I bought the iron worker to help speed up fabrication projects using angle iron and strap. But first I need to build the shear and notcher for it and I need to sharpen the existing flat shear. So I bought a surface grinder and a heat treat oven. But the heat treat oven doesn't work so I need to build a new controller so I can heat treat the blades for my ironworker so I can build the stand for my surface plate so I can scrape in the straightedge so I can fix my machine tools. And now I'm thinking about buying an autocollimator so I can check and maybe even lap my own plates <sigh>
          Different set of tools and issue, but Whoo boy, do I know this story!
          "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi,

            Here is a quick and dirty rendering of a notcher top blade. Notice the front where there is a cylindrical cut in the center to make the intial power needed to start a cut much lower. Also notice the cut clearance angles at the sides of the blade. The whole blade should angled about 10 to 15 degrees front to back when mounted in the carrier. Hopefully this will help you to spark a design that works for you.
            Click image for larger version

Name:	notcher top blade.jpg
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            If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have the Scotchman notcher attachment. It works OK. Why not just buy a new blade from Scotchman and use it? I fitted a table to my notcher to help align the parts before stepping on the pedal.

              Actually, why not just buy an oxyacetylene cutting torch and learn to make your cuts? Super quick, done. I spent a year once on a Navy ship being built. All I did was fit angle iron together building steel walkways in engine rooms. I got real dang good at cutting angle.

              metalmagpie

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              • #8
                Hi,

                Because while a torch is far more portable, it ain't faster when making such cuts in the shop. Nor can it make as accurate of a cut for size and location.
                If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Once you have an iron worker no way you’d pull out the torch! I bought a Geka twice actually one on the east coast one on the west. Much prefered the Geka design.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
                    The long blades on the sides don't have near enough support. They will bend outward at the top when cutting. Get the yellow blade supports out to the edge of the base with 2, 3/8" dowel pins each (and bolted down). Same on the end blade.
                    Thanks, Toolguy. When I knocked this together in Solidworks, I was thinking only about the forces right as the cut starts. I didn't really think all the way through the process and it seems obvious now that there will be a much larger side load than I had anticipated. Glad you pointed this out... I'll see what's on the stock rack that might be big enough.

                    Originally posted by SVS View Post

                    My old Buffalo mechanical iron worker has a noticeable amount of shear angle on the cope, notch, and flat shear stations. Five degrees or more I would guess. Probably inevitable with the radial motions built into the machine but I’ve never noticed any squirting effect on the cope or notch.
                    Great to know. I just don't have an intuition on what the angle should be but I know I don't want to get in an arm-wrestling match with iron worker. Pretty sure I won't win!

                    Originally posted by dalee100 View Post
                    Here is a quick and dirty rendering of a notcher top blade. Notice the front where there is a cylindrical cut in the center to make the intial power needed to start a cut much lower. Also notice the cut clearance angles at the sides of the blade. The whole blade should angled about 10 to 15 degrees front to back when mounted in the carrier. Hopefully this will help you to spark a design that works for you.
                    Hey Dalee100 - thanks very much for model and the advice. I'll shoot you a PM.

                    Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
                    Actually, why not just buy an oxyacetylene cutting torch and learn to make your cuts? Super quick, done. I spent a year once on a Navy ship being built. All I did was fit angle iron together building steel walkways in engine rooms. I got real dang good at cutting angle.

                    metalmagpie
                    That's not a bad solution. I just replaced my ancient, hand-me-down Harris set with a nice Victor Performer Edge 2.0 set that, so far, has been great. I'm sure I don't hold a candle to the guys who run them all day, but I'm a reasonably deft hand with the ol' gas ax but there are some disadvantages:

                    1) I have to sweep up when I'm done. With the ironworker, you put a bucket where the slugs come out (along with a rod to go fishing if they get stuck, but that's another matter) and that's it. With the torch, I wind up with dross / slag stuff all over the floor.

                    2) I have to make sure I have plenty of fuel and O2 on hand. My personal projects happen after business hours and I'll admit that I've been stalled on a project more than once because I ran out of O2 and none of the gas suppliers were open. Sure, I could get another O2 cylinder and be diligent about getting the empty one filled so I always had a back up, but now I've got an ironworker and I feel like tinkering

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by garyhlucas View Post
                      Once you have an iron worker no way you’d pull out the torch! I bought a Geka twice actually one on the east coast one on the west. Much prefered the Geka design.
                      Everyone I've talked with who has used a Geka says the same thing. I've only used an Edwards and this little Scotchman. At $250, I guess I can't complain but I'm the first to admit it is a limited machine. What do you like about Geka design?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Have a look at the tooling for a Buffalo for ideas on die design-

                        https://www.clevelandsteeltool.com/i...lo&model=1%2F2
                        I just need one more tool,just one!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dalee100 View Post
                          Hi,

                          Here is a quick and dirty rendering of a notcher top blade. Notice the front where there is a cylindrical cut in the center to make the intial power needed to start a cut much lower. Also notice the cut clearance angles at the sides of the blade. The whole blade should angled about 10 to 15 degrees front to back when mounted in the carrier. Hopefully this will help you to spark a design that works for you.
                          Click image for larger version

Name:	notcher top blade.jpg
Views:	130
Size:	18.6 KB
ID:	1875403
                          Note that while the above seems like a good idea, it is certainly not the only way to implement a notcher top blade. I've run notchers designed for sheet metal and several notchers on ironworkers and none of them looked like the above.

                          metalmagpie

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dalee100 View Post
                            Hi,

                            Because while a torch is far more portable, it ain't faster when making such cuts in the shop. Nor can it make as accurate of a cut for size and location.
                            Of course. But there's no long design/prototype/build stage for a notcher attachment either. He can just cut up his angle, build his stand, and later when he has time if it's still a priority, then make his notcher attachment. Plus, he already has a notcher attachment (Scotchman). It's got to be easier to fix his than to make a new one.

                            metalmagpie

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post

                              Note that while the above seems like a good idea, it is certainly not the only way to implement a notcher top blade. I've run notchers designed for sheet metal and several notchers on ironworkers and none of them looked like the above.

                              metalmagpie
                              Hi,

                              It most certainly is not the only way to do it. It was offered to spark ideas. But it is a design I built and had sold for 15 years. It's been proven to hold up repeatedly cutting through up to 1 1/4" A36 plate. It does lessen the amount of tonnage to make such cuts. The entire cut is done as a shear rather than brute force piercing. Much easier on lower tonnage machines or in stations where the support isn't perhaps as good as it might be.

                              Brute force is easy to design. Efficient design takes more effort.
                              If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

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