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Hot Rods Iron Workers

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by poopeye, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. poopeye
    Joined: Mar 26, 2007
    Posts: 51


    Question for you guys, anybody have any thoughts on Ironworkers? I'm thinking about buying one, something around the 50-60 ton range. Anyone have any thoughts on price vs performance, quality ect...
  2. The best brand I have used and the most versatile is the 50 ton Pirana love them
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 4,380


    We had one in the lab where I used to teach welding. To be honest with you It was nice for preparing samples and shearing plate and bar stock but in an auto fab garage I think the space could be better used with other more "precise" and "delicate" power tools. It seemed better suited for a blacksmith or metal sculptor.
  4. i would pick the biggest strongest one you can find!
    f184photo1.jpg oh did you mean the machine? i know nothing about those

  5. I think an iron worker in the 50-60 ton range would be a rather LARGE guy? don't you think?
  6. Figgered that would show up^^^^^.:D
  7. BTW, x2 on Frenchtown flyers response. It would be good for mass production, but starting at $5K, I'd be looking for something more versatile for the shop. Maybe a stomp shear, 60" finger brake, a NICE English wheel, etc.
  8. I'm with Frenchy, buy a good plasma cutter and a small hydraulic press. You will never want to turn the ironworker on.
    They might work OK for chomping up rat rods though!!!!!!!
  9. chriseakin
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 385


    My dad was an ironworker and he was big but nowhere near that big. He was good at fixing stuff that broke and needed to be welded back together or making stuff out of pieces of metal. Wish he had taught me more about it.
    What are you planning or hoping to use the machine for?
  10. nickk
    Joined: Feb 2, 2011
    Posts: 760


    we have 2, 35 ton Pirana's at our families shop, worth every penny and made their money back quick!
  11. Doing what? One place I worked we did production tube punching on one, rumored to be the best paying square footage in the shop, better than lasers, punch presses, press brakes, and welding tables.
  12. I find them to be a space killer.
    I am a welder fabricator in a large shop we do not have one.
  13. rouye56wingnut
    Joined: Jan 14, 2008
    Posts: 352

    from mn.

    I have to ask if you have ever used one for any project ? They are not designed to replace a plasma or H press but to complement them . No tool is the be all end all device that will do all your tasks . I do a lot of sheet metal fabrication that requires me to make tooling and fixtures for most projects I get into . I would challenge anyone to use one for a short time and you will be trying to readjust your finances. If all you use it for is the punch and plate shear , you would see how this would save you so much over time .

    I have punches that are dedicated to the correct size for tapping holes and I am talking in up to 1/2" plate . With your best drill in 2 stages , lets see if you can keep up . I am not talking about a hobby shop but a shop that is in business to be competitive with other shops out their that may have one .

    There are creative ways to make bending fixtures if you don't want to purchase a factory one and the angle shear I use all the time for Xing a body before chopping or removing from a frame .

    Here is a pic of mine and you couldn't drag it out of my shop for anything (but a larger one) 008_8_1.JPG 009_9_1.JPG 008_8_1.JPG 009_9_1.JPG
  14. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 578

    from grandin nd

    once you use it,you will wonder how you ever got by without it!the hole punch alone is worth it.don't bother with the angle iron shear,instead try to get one that has a press brake attachment.
  15. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 1,363


    Used one today. 50 ton at the fab shop at the nuke plant where I work. Punched 100 1/2 inch holes in 1/2
    plates in way less time than drilling. Also sheared the same plates from 8 inch to 7 inch in short order compared to cutting with a track torch. The tool is not really very large but uses 3 phase 440 volt power. I did see a hobbyist
    model some time back for about $ 2,000 with a few starter dies and punches. I think the small one would be cool for a car shop, but the cost of additional tooling would run the cost up quickly. By the way I am a fairly large Iron worker
    at 300lbs I take up a lot of shop space myself LOL!
  16. wayne-o
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 285


    We have a 50 ton Phirana in our fab shop. I used it for all sorts of things when building my roadster. Mostly the notcher for trimming gussets, brackets, etc to size. Used the bending attachment to reverse the front leaf spring and bend the transmission mount. As someone remarked and I have said before, one of the best investments we have made. Bought it used 10 years ago for 6k. They do take up a lot of room as you have to leave room around it to work. I would find it hard to justify for a home shop. Their advantage is the speed for multiple parts/operations and you are not buying bandsaw blades.
  17. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,783

    from washington

    Had one in the large fab shop I worked in. 90% of the use was for punching holes and cutting birds mouths on hand rail. More of a industrial tool than for the home shop. Would work in a home garage and be useful for other things but takes up a lot of space. For the $6000.00 I would rather buy a CNC plasma cutter.
  18. it is on my wish chips, no sparks, no dull blades, minimal noise
  19. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 2,054

    from New York

    Baileigh has one in their catalog, 95 tons punching power, 123 tons shear and notching power, a bit pricy at $30K, made in Taiwan.
  20. Get it you'll like it.
    Once you have it you will find more stuff for it to do.

    The hydraulic units like the piraña are nice, more control and feeling of being in control. but they are relatively slow compared to some of the older mechanical ones. You could cut a 40' angle into 48 @ 10" clip angles in about 2 mins with a mechanical, not so with a hydraulic.

    The notcher feature on the hydralic was my favorite. I used to cope a lot of angles and that was so nice.
  21. walker
    Joined: Dec 29, 2008
    Posts: 223


    I have a piranha in my shop, I don't know how any commercial shop can survive without one. I use it daily for shearing, notching, and punching. I use the press brake quite a bit too, though I have another bender as well.
    They hold their value very well too, so if it doesnt work out you should be able to sell it without taking a big hit.
  22. samurai mike
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 527

    samurai mike

    i have a 1944 buffalo 1/2. paid $800 for it ten years ago. i use it all the time!
  23. rouye56wingnut
    Joined: Jan 14, 2008
    Posts: 352

    from mn.

    There is no reason to even think of a 90 ton off shore overpriced unit when you can get an American made one for around 6500. That will lose only a slight amount even after years of service . A far better purchase than the 40 g everyone thinks they need to invest in a new truck with shop logos all over it . Buy good equipment and stay in the shop and let your work do the talking instead of the truck . Those that are complaining of the huge footprint they consume have only been exposed to old mechanical ones or ones made for industrial uses . Take a look at the size of mine and you will see that it takes up about as much floor space as a small sandblast cabinet .
    Beau likes this.
  24. Beau
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,884


    I used one at my last job and I have to say it was well worth having around. If you are making little brackets, gussets, mounts, fixtures or anything out of 1/8" plus, it's awesome. The angle iron cutter comes in very handy as well. I think the most important part of this is the speed in which it will do the work, and not having to buy consumables for it. There's no dust created (no clean up), and you are often left with cut off's and punch plugs that are useful. Any tool that will save time and not pollute the air and shop with filth is a win in my opinion.

    EDIT- Well shit...route56wingnut is my old boss. There you have it. The one in Dan's shop is about 3'x3'. Most shops probably have a shelf full of shit that never moves. get rid of that and put an ironworker in! Dan also saves the busted old punches and had converted some to press shapes into sheetmetal. He had one that was rounded for putting a quick dome into a piece.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
  25. hugh m
    Joined: Jul 18, 2007
    Posts: 2,143

    hugh m
    from ct.

    We had a 40ton Unihydro single phase unit....perfect for a small shop. Now we have a 55 ton Geka....a little bigger but also vary nice. Try to find one with a true vertical punch....not one that pivots on a radius.

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