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Technical Differences in off-shore shop equipment?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 57JoeFoMoPar, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,918


    So I'm looking for some new equipment for my shop, and specifically a manual 48" box and pan brake. I'm checking out the typical companies that have offerings including Woodward Fab, Baileigh, Eastwood, and Grizzly. Obviously the magnetic brakes are sick but over $2k for a machine I'm going to use only on occasion is more than I want to spend. I'm not making a living with these machines. Just a basic machine of reasonable quality that can bend a rocker panel, fan shroud, battery box, etc. out of 18g, but with a nice crisp edge, is all I'm looking for.

    Let's also be honest about this; none of these machines are made in the USA, either. The prices as offered are:
    Baileigh - $1,695 (which includes a stand while the others do not)
    Tennsmith - $1,595
    Woodward Fab - $1,000
    Eastwood - $850
    Grizzly - $625

    While the Baileigh machine looks somewhat nicer quality than less expensive offerings, the Woodward Fab, Eastwood, and Grizzly brakes literally look identical with different paint. Yet there is a $375 swing in price. Does anybody have any experience with these machines that can explain the discrepancy?
  2. I don't have direct experience with those particular machines but did just buy a 48" box and pan brake. If they give specs check to see if the capacity is full width or half the width of the brake. I had far fewer choices up here but did find that even similarly priced units were quite different quality wise. Some are just more robustly made. The big difference I noticed is the triangulated reinforcing on the top and bottom. The thickness of the rod used to reinforce is substantially different on different units. This is the unit I bought which has pretty heavy reinforcements and is speced for full width. The Eastwood, Woodward Fab and Grizzly ones all have the thin reinforcing. They often don't come with the counter weight either. I paid $1175 Cdn for mine. Stands are $300 up here.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
    TFoch and VANDENPLAS like this.
  3. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,918


    That's a good point. Looking a bit further, Eastwood will only bend up to 16g aluminum, and 18g steel, though it doesn't mention whether it's across the full 48" or not. The Grizzly states that will bend 18g mild steel across the entire length, and 16g mild steel at half. Oddly, it's the only machine that comes with a counterweight and is the cheapest by far price-wise.
  4. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,965

    J. A. Miller
    from Central NY

    Become an Alliance Member and you can get a discount on Baileigh and Eastwood stuff. I don't have any recommendations.
    Are you familiar with Search Tempest? You can search a huge area of CraigsLists with it.
    Just Gary likes this.

  5. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,918


    A valid point about the Alliance membership.

    I often search FB marketplace and open the search area up pretty wide, but for something like this, a deal would have to be ridiculous to justify the trip. The prices of what people want for older metal shaping equipment from Pexto, Niagara, DiAcro, etc, are usually more than what a lot of the new machines cost, and I wouldn't have to drive 5 hours to get it.
    TrailerTrashToo likes this.
  6. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 12,464


    This may or may not help, but back in the day when NewsGroups were popular I was in a Metal Working one.
    Grizzly was the offshore source for the best turning tools, but needed to be taken apart and cleaned, etc

    TennSmith had a very good reputation for brakes and such

    Regardless of either the majority always suggested looking for used US made stuff first, Pextco always came out on top.
    I wound up with a new 48inch box/pan via ENCO, but they’ve been bought out by someone else now
    I seem to use my 36inch HF one more than the 48inch one though, but I don’t do a lot of intricate stuff that I need to use the box/pan for anymore
  7. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,965

    J. A. Miller
    from Central NY

    The prices that they want and what will actually sell it for are usually 2 different things. I usually ask for more than I'm willing to take because I know I can't raise my price once negotiations begin. My Dad used to tell me that it don't cost anything to ask someone if they'll take less.
    Good luck with your search.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  8. While I can't address the brake specifically, my past experience with some of these sellers may help.

    Back when I was buying some of my bigger shop equipment, the players weren't all the same but the same issue existed. Identical or very similar equipment, but sometimes wildly varying prices. At the time HF, Enco, Grizzly and Jet were the main importers, with Eastwood in the mix for some stuff. Enco and Eastwood also offered US-built stuff, something HF, Grizzly and Jet didn't do. What I found...

    Fit/finish. The more you spend, the better it usually is. Quality control improves. For a brake, ask about construction; Baleigh advertises welded steel construction, some of the cheaper ones may use cast parts. I'm not saying cast is inferior as it does have advantages and can reduce manufacturing costs but won't suffer abuse as well.

    Features/accessories. Some machines are basic, some have added features, price seems to get you better design.

    Check machine weight; while not an absolute indicator, less weight usually means lighter-duty.

    After-sale support. This is the biggy IMO. HF had essentially none and got out of this market. Enco and Eastwood are hit-or-miss at best, with Baleigh, Jet and Grizzly offering repair parts/service and generally better warrantees. And they supply owners/service manuals written by someone who has English as their first language, no small thing.

    As to machine stands, I be very hesitant to buy one or worry if it comes with one. All I've ran into are designed for Chinese and put the equipment at a too-low height for comfortable use (I'm 6' tall). This may not seem like a big deal but believe me, you'll get tired of it quickly. I ended up building my own stands.

    FWIW, I've got a couple of Grizzy machines (table saw and mill/drill) and know other people who have bought from them and I'm not aware of anyone who has been unhappy with their purchase. If you're considering the Baleigh or Tennsmith, I'd also take a look at the Jet. While Eastwood has many products I like, I've found in some cases you're just paying for the name and I suspect this is one of them.

    And like you, I had zero luck in the used market. Pro quality stuff turns up here so rarely and almost always for more than new import. As for negotiating price, they usually sold so quickly that wasn't an option... I can't tell you how many times I called as soon as I found the ad and the item was already sold.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
    Truckdoctor Andy and warbird1 like this.
  9. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 3,677


    Get on Facebook Marketplace and watch it for a while. Do a search for "sheetmetal brake". Then do a search for each of the name brands you are interested in. Sometimes you have to scroll a lot to find things. The point is that Facebook doesn't show you everything thats available because they want the sellers to pay them to show their add to more people. Searching different ways will often show things that the first search didn't show. Lots of times I have seen things not show for a week and then one pops up that was listed 3 weeks ago........
    Second thing is you should realize that these things retain value, so you will get most, all, and sometimes even more than you paid if you ever resell it. Its a little easier to spend money if you know its not gonna depreciate.
    Third thing is that a lot of the brakes have a tough time living up to their specs. I would rather have an old heavy made brake than a brand new one. I have owned lots of brakes, each time improving on what I had before. The older brakes pretty much always sold for more than I paid......sometimes considerably more.
    Right now I have an Enco 12 gage (4 ft) brake and I love it. The only brake I would rather have is an old one thats 12 gage, six ft wide, and has fingers. Almost got one last month but someone beat me to it. Trust me on this, you will want to bend things on a 16 gage brake that it won't want to do, and many times it may just be 16 gage. Extra money put into a decent older brake is an investment.....not a purchase. Just don't get in a hurry, the new ones are always available if you can't find anything. The Enco below cost me about $2k . From what I bought and sold over the years I figure I don't have anything in this one.

    Brake Finger 1.JPG Brake 10ft 1a.jpg
  10. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 3,677


    After I posted, I saw this......probably too far for you but I bet it gets snapped up quickly. It will always be worth that price.

    Then I saw this one......$500 more

    I am pretty sure I saw this sell at a local auction for $500 about 10 years ago. If its not the same one, its a twin because it was a similar tan looking color, and I don't think I ever saw any old brake that was tan before that one.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  11. I'll fully agree with this. But for those of us on budgets, I'd tend to look at a higher-capacity import over an expensive 'better' lighter-duty brake.
    Budget36 likes this.
  12. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,641


    I have found a lot of times with off shore equipment the only differences are paint color and stickers that are applied on them
    J. A. Miller likes this.
  13. KING Brand what @K13 posted make some pretty good stuff for the money.
    We have purchased quite a bit of there stuff at work ( drill press , bench grinders blowers etc )
    For the price , I’m happy and we have a couple of retailers and after sales support is good.
    Last thing you want, wether buying new or used is if and when you need parts you can’t find any one who supports the product !!!

    find it a lot in the forklift biz customer will buy no name brand walkies and stackers from places like granger, u-line , etc “ industrial ware house suppliers”. And when they do fall apart there is no support or parts availability. So your $1000 dollar savings over buying a name brand unit is out the window as what you have is disposable and useless now.
    Truckdoctor Andy and triumph 1 like this.
  14. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 3,677


    Let me put it this way...........
    Most people don't realize how much force is exerted when bending steel because its just a thin piece of sheet. If you notice, as you increase the gage capacity, the material used to make the machine is a whole lot more substantial. I just sold a 10' 14gage brake. The picture shows its a pretty substantial brake. Now thats just for .075 thickness. It also came with an angle iron that bolted to the leaf for when you tried to bend something at max length and thickness. I bent a piece of steel that was the full length and I think it was .060 or so. My wife and I could not bend it. I hooked my crane to one handle and put my floor jack under the other. Once I got the bend part way I was able to continue on my end and the crane on the other. It flat took some persuading to bend that thing. Brake 10ft 1.jpg I also once had a 14 foot brake that I had bought to bend some aluminum spars with. It was comparable in construction to the 10' one above..... yet it was only able to bend 22 gage (.030). Think about that for a second, this monster could only bend less than 1/32 steel. I made an angle iron brace for it like the one for the 10' brake because it struggled and bowed when I used it. Its shown on the trailer below.

    Michigan Brake 018a.jpg
    You have to realize that even with small brakes there is a fair amount of force placed not only on the main leaf parts, but the pivot points at each end. Invariably people need to bend something a "little" thicker. Not a problem if it isn't full length, but I have seen brakes that broke the pivot supports. So where is all this leading to........I have had some of the light duty 16 gage machines and they did a pretty decent job for the most part. Most of the time you aren't bending full capacity. But a brake is like any other tool in that having more capacity than you think you will ever need is the best way. Operating at maximum capacity or "slightly " more will ruin a light duty brake. Most people set a limit on what they are willing to spend.......I've had to do that many times. But, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and spend a little more. I have even cheated and used a torch to heat metal red hot before sticking it in a small brake. Thats why I finally got what I wanted. Don't need the 10' anymore and the 4' is strong enough to bend what I want. I just want people to realize that there is a lot of pressure on those brakes even though its "only thin sheet".;)
    Truckdoctor Andy and VANDENPLAS like this.
  15. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 959


    Depending on your ambitions and needs, you could build one to your specifications. Do a search for Dave Gingery's Sheet Metal Brake book from his Shop From Scrap series.
  16. upfberg
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 80


    I Have a grizzly box and pan and a slip roll. They were both rated for 18 gauge. ( I’m not sure if it was full width or not. ) it was about the same money a few years ago. I like it and use it a lot. I personally fell it’s worth the money. Worst part about it is cleaning the cosmoline ( probably spelled that wrong) off of it.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  17. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 33,088


    Someone had a 4 ft Pexto brake and shear for sale here about two weeks ago and they sold in about a day. The older good stuff is around but you have to be able to snag it when you see it.
    ekimneirbo likes this.
  18. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 6,534

    from Oregon

    I went to my local metal recycle place , and lucked out. I got the top and bottom already reinforced, two arms with weights, two side plates slotted, two 6/8” extra plates and new bearings for $36.00. You could build your own .
  19. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 5,371


    Not sure Id trust used ones, many are sprung already from being abused. Take some heavy sheetmetal with you to test it.
    Im casually looking for one as well.

    I saw a slick set up where a hand operated hydraulic press had 2 rams and the guy was using old press brake tooling v blocks, building the ram seemed to be the complex part. Tooling was all purchased used / damaged/ cheap, he just cut it down for the best chunk that fit the press frame.
  20. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,959


    Since there's a thread going, With knowledge on brake's, I just got this 8' , didn't see a brand, an was curious as to what gauge it would be rated for.. KIMG8318.JPG KIMG8316.JPG
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
    juan motime likes this.
  21. Allmotor
    Joined: Jan 7, 2007
    Posts: 135


    Mittler Brothers make some great tools, may want to look at their web site.
    continentaljohn likes this.
  22. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,628

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    For casual home shop projects such as you described, most of the imports should be sufficient.
    If you're not in a hurry and "casually" looking for used tools the search may take awhile but can payoff. You'll have to consistently search daily and really dig and look but the results can be fruitful. You'll have to be ready to scramble NOW or you will miss the deal. This may mean leaving work mid-day or heading out to look at something that was just listed at 9:00PM. (I've done both!). Having cash on hand is important. You'll find you're not the only one looking for such items. Used stuff generally goes for a premium, especially at auctions.
    continentaljohn likes this.
  23. continentaljohn
    Joined: Jul 24, 2002
    Posts: 5,367


    Sorry but having fixed many import machines with broken castings and with no replacement parts available not a big fan. Now some import machines are decent but seems like newer machines are getting cheaper and cheaper and outright dangerous if you go beyond its capabilities. I think guys forget if it brakes and replacement part is needed down the road good luck as most Chinese machines are throw aways. That being said if your not using it much and pretty much will use it once or twice the odd are on your side it will serve you fine.
    As for used machines I feel they are the best value and very accurate with most replacement parts available. Older machines were built to last forever with hardened surfaces everything is adjustable . Most of my machines these days are from the 1950s to the 1970s and work fantastic everyday and have been for over 40 years.
    stanlow69, Budget36 and ekimneirbo like this.
  24. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 3,677


    I would say its probably 16 gage at best. Might be 18. Look at my above picture of a 10 ft and at how much heavier it is than yours. 2 ft longer and only 14 gage(.075). You can get a "heavy" angle iron and fasten it to the folding leaf to give it more strength, as flex and bending of the movable leaf is usually where you notice problems. If the pivot points are forged steel rather than cast, they usually fare better when stressing the brake. Most brakes will have a tag somewhere like this one. Even if there is no name on it, there usually is a stamped number signifying its gage capacity.....but sometimes they get knocked off over the years.
    The pic below signifies 14' and 22 gage
    Brake 1422 a.jpg
    Hollywood-East likes this.
  25. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 3,677


    continentaljohn likes this.
  26. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 12,464


    I think the time to get the good “old” when you wanted, is a good 25+ years past.
    I was living in the SF Bay Area when a bunch of shops were closing or upgrading to new fancy equipment. Lots of auctions and things went for easy money.
    Now you have to be lucky in the right place at the right time. But who has the years to wait for something you need in the next month?

    Import stuff, regardless of quality, serves a need for a majority of back yard folks.

    I know this thread isn’t a old American made stuff vs Import stuff. Thing is if you’re buying a new “xxx” made offshore, find out about a warranty, if bought through a store front you have some recourse if a 16 ga 4 foot brake, explodes bending 18 gauge 3 foot piece.
    The advice of using angle iron to beef it up is spot on, I did that on my 100 on sale HF 3 foot brake. I’ve abused the hell out of it. Thing I learned is open up the gaps and don’t expect sharp bends when using it past it’s capacity, but generally if I’m doing that its just narrow flat bar
    ekimneirbo, continentaljohn and K13 like this.
  27. Yup and my time is way too valuable to be pissing around with looking through classifieds every hour of every day, buying stuff I don't need so I can deal with a bunch of clowns trying to sell it again so I can go through the whole thing again to upgrade and find what I am actually looking for. I am not running a professional shop and have never had an offshore tool break that I wasn't abusing way past its recommended use. I spent an hour researching online then 5 days later a guy was wheeling it into my garage. My spare project time is for that, working on projects.

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