Sheet metal forming tools

Written by louise balle
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Sheet metal forming used to be done by hand. That was previously the job of strong, skilled, handy blacksmiths who relied on a hammer and a hot oven to get metal to a desired format. Nowadays there are various sheet metal forming tools that are used to achieve the perfect shape for the metal pieces that are used in many types of building applications.

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Wheeling Machines

The Wheeling Machine, also called an English Wheel, is a popular type of metal forming tool that is used to create double curves in metal. The user puts a flat metal sheet (usually aluminium or mild steel) through this C-shaped machine to get even curves. These machines are usually used for the curving elements of cars, boats, and other complicated machinery. The Wheeling Machine stretches and thins the metal before forming it into the desired shape. These metal forming tools are for serious industrial projects, and the estimated cost for a Wheeling Machine is anywhere between £1,950 to £3,250.

Air Power Hammers

An air power hammer is a tool that has replaced the need to use a handheld hammer for blacksmithing projects. This metal forming tool uses a powerful force to bend even the toughest metals into desired shapes. This tool shapes and planishes metal. Shaping is done by modifying the condition of the metal (such as stretching it out first) and then turning it into another form. When something is "planished" it is being reshaped from light hammer force. You can find an Air Power Hammer for between £1,300 to £3,250.

Shrinker Stretcher

Another metal forming tool is the Shrinker Stretcher tool. These machines are built to stretch or shrink various types of metal, usually mild steel. A special adaptor, called a "jaw" is required fo this type of machine. The Shrinker Stretcher is air-powered and easily switched from a shrinking setting to a stretching setting with a simple change of the jaw. Shrinker Stretchers go for up to £6,500 (possibly more depending on the manufacturer).

Bead Forming Machines

Uniform beads are small circular pieces of metal that have been smoothed around the edges. Metal beads could be used for jewellery or as components in major machinery; think of an assembly line that requires constant movement on wheels. The beads are formed when the two interlocking pieces slide against each other continuously. Depending on where you find them, you will probably pay a few hundred dollars for these metal forming tools.

Why Do We Need Metal Forming Tools?

Metal forming tools are important for any project that involves metal. You certainly can't bend or form a heavy duty steel plate to tight requirements by hand; you need a machine that is powered by more than just elbow grease. Common businesses that need metal shaping tools include car production plants, aeroplane manufacturers, and small businesses that deal in iron works and metal fencing.

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