Thinking of setting up a small metalworking shop as a hobby? Curious to know what tools a local machine shop might have? Below you’ll find a list of some of the most useful and important metalworking tools. These tools will be enough for most small projects and will get you nicely started on your new hobby or trade.
At its heart, a bandsaw consists of a giant rotating saw blade. Most of the blade is concealed within the housing of the saw, with a single section, mounted vertically, exposed to make cuts. The saw is configured so that the blade always rotates in the same direction and is stationary. This allows an operator to move the workpiece into the blade. Bandsaws are often employed to section larger pieces; they range in size from smaller saws designed for more delicate work, to vastly large saw intended to section large pieces of sheet metal.
- Foot shear
Another common name for the foot shear is the guillotine, which should tell you all you need to know about what this tool does. A foot shear clamps a piece of metal in place against a fixed blade, then a moving blade descends to shear the piece. Simple but effective, foot shears are great for sectioning pipes or sheet metal precisely and to ensure square edges.
- Tube/pipe roll bender
If you’ve got an unusual angle in a run of pipe or tubing and need a custom angle, this is the exact tool you need. A pipe bender comes in a number of different forms, but all of them have the same purpose: shaping pipes or tubes into whatever form you require.
- Die Grinder
Die grinders are the jack-of-all-trades for a metalworker. They are handheld tools that can be used for everything from grinding to sanding, honing and polishing. Metalworkers often used die grinders as a sculpting tool, removing excess material from forms or molds to create the right imprint for their new pieces,
- Pan and box brake
A brake is invaluable for anyone attempting to shape sheet metal. Shaped something like a giant printer head, the brake pins a piece of sheet metal into place. An operator can adjust the upper arms of the brake to produce different bends in the sheet metal. Pan and box brakes include adjustable blocks that allow different shapes to be formed in a piece of metal. Brakes are often mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic, capable of handling large and heavy workpieces.
These are just five of the most common and useful metalworking tools. There are myriads more, but these five will give you a solid base - or perhaps some useful ideas for expanding your collection.
--- Bailey Hudson