There are a lot of metal fabrication tools on the market and some of them have names that don’t always tell a beginner what they actually do. Obviously a Metal Shear, shears metal and a metal punch punches metal, but what does an “IronWorker” machine do? We decided to give a quick rundown so you can be better educated when shopping for your next metal fabrication tool to add to your garage.
An iron worker traditionally is the term used to describe the tradesmen or “metal workers” that build structures from raw materials. They are the ones that tend to build the framework or base structure of bridges, sky scrapers, buildings, etc. but in the tool industry an “IronWorker” is a tool used in shops to help fabricate raw materials or “iron”.
The IronWorker Machine or IronWorker Shear is a class of tool that uses a mechanical advantage to shear, punch, form or bend and notch metal with the pull of a lever or push of a button. These tools allow you to perform these functions with ease without the use of an abrasive cutting tool or drill and tend to make cleaner cuts, notches, and holes in metal than with the other alternatives.
IronWorkers come in a variety of styles, sizes, and price ranges. These are almost always a larger tool that is heavy and take up a decent foot print. The size and weight is a necessary evil because of the force it requires to cut, notch, and punch thicker materials.
The cheapest and most basic ironworkers use leverage to operate them and a long handle is attached to the pivot point to work the tool. These machines must be bolted to a heavy bench or stand that is fixtured to the shop floor. The force required to cut thicker materials will vary on the strength and weight of the operator. If you’re a small production shop or a home hobbyist a manual ironworker might fit the bill as it takes up the least amount of space and will be the most afforable of the bunch.
If you’re doing a lot of cuts in thicker materials or plan to do high production work you may need to speed up the process and use a power ironworker. Power ironworkers usually have an electric motor that will spin gears to close the jaws of the tool or will drive hydraulic rams that force the cutting blades down. These modern, professional ironworkers cost many times more than a manual ironworker and usually take up a large foot print on the shop floor. Many of these larger power ironworkers also require 3 phase electrical service and may not make sense for a weekend warrior or small professional shop.
To See all of our metal fabrication tools for beginners and professionals alike visit our metal fabrication catalog here: https://www.eastwood.com/metal-fabrication.html