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Hot Rods 3 in 1 sheet metal machines?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hemi Joel, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 553

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    I have been searching for a long time for some decent used USA sheet metal equipment, but there just dosen't seem to be much available around here. I'm just a hobbyist, not a pro, and the need to do sheet metal fab is infrequent. But my time in the shop working on my car projects is precious, I don't like to waste my time fixing junk equipment, converting garbage china tools into something usable, etc. Ready to work out of the box is my preference. At Back to the 50's, I tried out Woodward fabs 3 in 1 press brake, shear, slip roll machine. I think something like that might suit my needs. I found this machine at Grizzly, it is supposed to be built to a higher standard that the typical china machine. http://www.grizzly.com/products/42-3-in-1-Sheet-Metal-Machine/T26751Z

    Does anyone have any feedback on 3 in one machines in general, and any specific brand recommendations? THanks,
    Joel
     
  2. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,081

    mgtstumpy
    Member

    Those machines are similarly sold here by a number of outlets. I believe that they are all made offshore irrespective of colour and brand. They all appear to be generic from the ones I've seen. I'd personally prefer a quality unit however these suit a niche market (Hobbyist) and would most likely be OK. If I was still in a shop I'd go for a quality brand name, something more commercial than hobby. The duty cycle and quality of the brand names should be vastly superior to hobbyist machines.
     
    saltflats likes this.
  3. kabinenroller
    Joined: Jan 26, 2012
    Posts: 250

    kabinenroller
    Member

    I have a 3 in 1 from Grainger that I bought when they were closing out on them. It works fine for small projects and lighter gauge material. I found that the press brake feature did not bend to 90 degrees so I used a piece of welding rod as a spacer above the blades, it now will bend to about 95 degrees.
    If you can buy one for a reasonable price they are handy to have but you have to realize they have their limits.
     
    mgtstumpy likes this.
  4. aerocolor
    Joined: Oct 7, 2009
    Posts: 1,099

    aerocolor
    Member
    from dayton

    I've been working with the 30" combo from Harbor Freight.
    You can't abuse it but so far I'm pleased for a $320 investment.
    Just realize it's limits.
    Had to make a stand for it.
    20180609_090458.jpg
     
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  5. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 1,637

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    So all 3 functions work fair? Cuts nice? Thanks
     
  6. Tim O'Kelley
    Joined: Nov 20, 2011
    Posts: 56

    Tim O'Kelley
    Member
    from texas

    I have the 42 inch 3-1 Grizzly unit with table-mounted on heavy castors with a little extension for stability. Store in corner, roll out when needed. Works very well.
     
  7. Rocky72
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 156

    Rocky72
    Member
    from Pa.

    If your not in a hurry to buy now check out auctions on auction zip in your area , you will be surprised what deals on decent equipment you can get cheap if you don't mind going to auctions . I put together my shop for a 1/4 of what it would cost to buy new.
     
  8. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,050

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    the harbor freight ones are cheap cast iron and will crack. I bought a rolling table with brake and a corner notcher and one of the HF 3 way metal workers was on there. sold it for 40 bucks.
     
    prewarcars4me likes this.
  9. mr.chevrolet
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 6,218

    mr.chevrolet
    Member

    HEY!! you're not the guy that's always bidding against me are you?
     
  10. Rocky72
    Joined: Nov 22, 2008
    Posts: 156

    Rocky72
    Member
    from Pa.

    Well you just never know . LOL
     
  11. I've got a HF press brake/shear like shown above, and one of the arms broke trying to cut something too thick. Made new ones out of 1/2" thick bar stock, no issues since. If you're cutting steel, 18 gauge is about it for long cuts. It will cut thicker material in shorter lengths, but struggles if you go above about 6". I have found that clamping the material to the table when cutting does help.

    A box/pan brake has more utility value and I'd have one if I had anyplace to put it, but if you are willing to fab some bits you can do a lot with a 3-in-1...
     
  12. aerocolor
    Joined: Oct 7, 2009
    Posts: 1,099

    aerocolor
    Member
    from dayton

    I just don't try anything heavy and it's done well.
    Usually fab flat floor panels and patch panels with it.
    It does what I need and doesn't take up a lot of room.
     
  13. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 553

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Maybe I should start by just getting a box pan brake. I can use my Milwaukee handheld power shear for cutting
     
  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 41,664

    squirrel
    Member

    I got a HF clone of a Beverly Shear. It takes effort to cut a straight line, but it can be done. I also got the 36" straight brake, it works ok for what I've used it for. Being a foot longer would be nice, though. Being a pan/box brake would also be spiffy.
     
  15. Off shore junk,I bought one from HF and spent one day making a stand and the second time I used it a week later it broke!

    Even reputable company's sell this same piece under different names.HRP

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  16. KandN Kustoms
    Joined: Dec 15, 2008
    Posts: 170

    KandN Kustoms
    Member

    Anyone have any luck with the woodward fab units?
    Or are they pretty much like HF brands?

    Sent from my SCH-R970 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  17. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 9,070

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    Just a different paint job.
     
    zman likes this.
  18. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 1,637

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Ouch!!
     
  19. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 1,637

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Makes me miss the old made in USA equipment that was built in the 30s/40s. My dad a drill press that used a 4" long wide belt that would drill any thick metal you could throw at it. Worked at a place in the 80s/90s that had a 150 to press built in 1936. Seals weeped a bit but it did it's job.
     
  20. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 553

    Hemi Joel
    Member
    from Minnesota

    I phoned Shane from Baileigh today. He recommended a magnetic brake over a 3 in 1. So I ordered it, hopefully it will be here by the end of the week. Thanks for all the info, guys.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
    saltflats likes this.
  21. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,541

    zman
    Member
    from Garner, NC

    All the 3-in-1's are questionable at best. They may get the job done but are all compromise. I'd say shop farm sales, yard sales, estate sales, craigslist, etc. and pick up some old stuff from back in the day. If you are going to get a 3-in-1 Grizzly's prices aren't bad, but look at Klutch at Northern Tools, same one different color and could be on sale.
     
  22. That's the typical break. Replace those side arms with 1/2" plate steel and problem solved....
     
  23. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 2,495

    southcross2631
    Member

    I am using my 3 in 1 Harbor Freight unit every day to make my floor pans and firewall for my Morris Minor Gasser. Know the limitations of the tool when you buy something and it will serve you well.
    I bought mine 4 years ago with a 25% off coupon and have been using it for sheet metal and aluminum and it works for me.
     

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