Introduction: How to Use the Iron Worker at Techshop

The metal worker is a great machine to use for metal fabrication and for making bends on schedule 40 piping or standard 11 to 16 gauge tubing with the hydraulic bender.  The metal worker has 3 main components; the punch, shear (angle & flat), and notcher.  It is hydraulically operated machine and can cut through thick sizes of metal.  Ask Techshop staff for specifics for each component. 

To start on the Metal worker, make sure it is plugged in and then push the green start button to start the hydraulics.  You are now ready to go.  To actuate the machine make sure that your hands are completely free and then use the foot pedal to actuate it.

This machine is very powerful (55tons).  Using correct procedures and adhering to safety precautions is extremely important.

Step 1: Using the Punch

The punch can be used with metal up to 5/8" thick and there is a whole set of round and square size die's that can be changed out.  Ask the Techshop staff to install the one correct for your project.  Once the correct die is installed, utilize the wrench for the machine and lower the safety guard down onto your material.  The guard should be lowered tight enough that your material cannot be lifted at all, but it should still be able to slide somewhat freely.  You can use a center punch to mark where you need the hole and then slowly lower the die on the metal worker to line up with your mark and then continue to punch all the way through. 

Step 2: Using the Shear

The shear can cut up to 1/2" steel flat stock and up to 1/4" angle iron.  There is a adjustable guide for the flat stock that should again be tight enough to prevent the metal from lifting up, but you should be able to still slide your stock freely.  For the angle sock there is a lock screw that should be tightened down tight against your material.  After you have your guide/stops set depress the pedal to actuate the machine.

In order to cut your material at the right distance on the flat shear section make sure everything is clear from the shear and then depress the pedal and hold it until the shear is fully actuated.  Continue holding it and use a tape measure to measure the distance from the the outside of the guide to the shear face.  Offset your measurement this distance to cut the correct desired length.  For the angle stock section you can see your line through the top of the guide.

Step 3: Using the Notcher

The notcher is just like the other components of the metal worker, however the guide is not adjustable.  Simply hold your material securely under the notcher and then depress the pedal to actuate the machine. 

Step 4: Using the Bender

The hydraulic bender attachment for the iron worker enables you to create specific bends in schedule 40 pipe, tubing, and square stock.  Setup the machine with the appropriate die's for your material and size and slide your stock into place.  Secure it using the material loop and material lock (set screw).  On each of the drive die's (rounded die) there are 3 drive holes.  To begin you should be on drive hole 1.  Before you begin make sure you lubricate your material and the die's with either WD-40 or grease.  Once you are set, turn the metal worker on and switch the control box to "accessory".  Now you are ready to control the bender with the "in/out" control box.  Bend your stock to the desired angle and if the piston is fully extended and you wish for a larger bend release the tension on your material, slide the drive pin out, turn the drive die to the second position and reinsert the drive pin.  Continue this process if needed for the third drive hole position.  Once you have completed the bend you desire release just enough tension to release your material and then remove the guide die (straight die) from the bender before you bring the piston in.  This will prevent any parts of the die and machine from getting damaged.