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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Best air tool for general sheet metal work

I have been looking at an air nibbler and shear. What would be the best all around air sheet metal tool to cut floor board patches, sheet metal to fab my CJ8 wheel houses & bed floor? Thanks for the input.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 05:26 PM
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work

Definatly a plasma cutter.

Fits your description too - it uses air pressure.

Now that I have one, I don't see how I ever lived without it.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 05:49 PM
 
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work



I assume these are what you were talking about...
---------------------

Cutting metal can be done in a multitude of ways...
You always have to hand fit body work metal, so the initial cut isn't really that important, since you are going to change every cut line and contour anyway...

I find I can't get along without flanging tool now.
Flanging by hand will drive you crazy! and it's hard as hell on the hands...
An air flanger is the way to go, and one can be had very reasonably from places like Harbor Freight...


http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=41696

This one punches holes for spot welds, rivets or removable pins as well as flanges the metal for flush body work.

If you try and use one of the 'Vice Grip' flangers on large parts you will be quite insane in a very short time, and drilling 10 zillion holes for pins or rivets will drive you crazy also...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 05:54 PM
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work

Though I like a nibbler, but they don't cut through seams very well. So, a good cut-off motor and a small saw are always a good investment.

When you're replacing floor boards, be sure to examine the underlying braces for rust damage.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 07:59 PM
 
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work



After reading this thread again, I've come to the conclusion you can't just have ONE air tool...
If it weren't for my cut off disk in an air grinder, my shop would come to complete stop, and my impact wrench and air hammer are indispensable.

Air tools are something you can pick up over time for not a lot of money, so it never hurts to have a few! (I'm lazy, so I have lots!)
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 08:47 PM
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work

Tools are something you need to make a judgment call on... Use compared to price.

If you are going to use the heck out of it, go for the good stuff.

<u>Ingersoll-Rand Products & Solutions</u>

<u>Porter Cable Products</u>

My two best air tools are a IR impact and a Porter Cable cut off.

On the other hand I was at Harbor Freight this afternoon to pick up a three jaw internal bearing puller. The throw away stuff sometimes surprises you and lasts through a few uses. Unfortunately I have never had any luck with Harbor Freight air tools other than low end paint guns.

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/40BEER.gif[/img]
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 09:29 PM
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work

No way could I preform what you want with just one tool. I use a die grinder with cutoff wheel to take the old material out, a grinder w/ flap disk or sander disk to shape the cut metal to a somewhat uniform shape, then I usualy have my pans sheered out 3/8 inch bigger all the way around so I can come back hit everything with flange tool and final fit up. then I pinch the holes and spot weld it in. I would incorporate a plasma cutter into this if I could, but I don't have one. As far as one tool for all of it,,,,, Roabably the die grinder could get it done.

If I were going to buy an air shear I would buy an IR or comparable brand, I like the quality brand air tools, saves my fingers or takes them off cleanly either is acceptable.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 10:52 PM
 
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work

Another useful tool is a zip disk in an electric 4 1/2 angle grinder. Makes a very clean cut, and straight if you have a steady hand. Doesn't even hickup when you hit a seam or other object that would stop or damage a shear or nibbler. I don't have a very large compressor (220 volt 2 hp 6.3 cfm at 90psi), so an air powered one is out of the question as there are times when I need to make a long cut and you need an appropriately sized compressor to run an air powered cut off tool near continously. Its not like an impact gun where you might use it intermittently.

I have an air nibbler, and its nice for making small openings, you just have to drill a hole and insert the head of the tool. Can cut curves tighter than any shear, so there's its likely forte'. I wouldn't use it for long cuts though as it wasn't really designed for that purpose.

In the end, you'll probably want it all, as they all have their place.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 11:01 PM
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work

It's an interesting phenomenon - however many you have, you still need something else!

Same like Jeeps - "Gee, if only I had a ---"
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 12-28-2005, 06:31 AM
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Re: Best air tool for general sheet metal work

If I were restricted to only one I would take the nibbler. There are several ways to make a long straight cut or slight curve. But tight curves are difficult, and a nibbler does them better than anything else.
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