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3 in 1 sheetmetal bender

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BOB BLACKSHAW14/09/2018 12:21:50
124 forum posts
12 photos

I have been looking at the 3 in 1 sheetmetal folders 300mm, are they any good.

I have read some reviews and they vary from good to not worth having.

The prices from £219 t0 over £300 they all look the same design but for colour.

I use to be a fine limit sheetmetal worker so am I expecting to much to be up to my expectations,I don't mind a bit of tinkering with it to get reasonable.

I shall be going to the Midlands engineering show in October are these machines usually on show.

Thanks Bob.

Edited By BOB BLACKSHAW on 14/09/2018 12:22:35

Dave Smith 1414/09/2018 12:43:40
47 forum posts

I have the Warco version, bought new in April. The rolls are ok and also the bender. The guillotine is crap on mine (warped blade) and I am waiting for Warco to get them back in stock and replace it. Is it fine limit machine, in my experience sheet metal and fine limits are more operator dependant unless you are using CNC press brakes etc.

Dave

martin perman14/09/2018 12:55:16
avatar
1266 forum posts
57 photos

I bought my 3 in 1 bender from Machine Mart and I make fuel tanks for my engines with it, the guillotine has a max cut of 1 mm for steel which I'm happy with and generally happy all round with it all.

Martin P

Edited By martin perman on 14/09/2018 12:55:49

Baz14/09/2018 14:20:17
124 forum posts

I purchased a Warco version,the small one, a few years ago. The rolls are reasonable, the guillotine is total rubbish and the vee bender is a total waste of space. On the plus side it makes a good doorstop.

not done it yet14/09/2018 15:23:40
2044 forum posts
11 photos

Possibly, but I’ve not noticed them, if they are. Ask Warco (or other exhibitors) if they take any? They do all look very similar, don’t they!

I don’t think, I would rate the sheet bender, unless it goes beyond the 90 degree (to allow some spring-back), but stand to be corrected by someone who knows. I expect they are demonstrated on thinner sheets than the maximum! Anyone comment?

IF (a big ‘if&rsquo I were to buy one from machinemart, I would expect them to be 20% cheaper at times. They have had a 20% price reduction day, either recently or shortly up-coming, where they call it a “VAT free sale” but is simply a price reduction (probably to what others may be offering all the time). They may have a ‘returns item’ cheaper at one of their shops - maybe enquiring of the inventory may show where one might be...

Unfortunately, I am not a keen enthusiast for multiple operation machines - the separates likely function far better, but the possible sectional bending option looks good for those making boxes.

I do have a set of bending rolls but have never owned a brake. Sheet folders do seem quite easy to knock up, if I did not have options, with friends around the area. My large metal shear copes with much thicker material than these guillotines, so I will stick to that, along with other cutting options. Anyway, I could rely on Murphy’s Law - of needing something larger than 300mm if I were to get one...

mgnbuk14/09/2018 16:25:44
453 forum posts
10 photos

I have a Chester 300mm version.

I was going to buy a "damaged-repairable, includes the replacement parts" machine from one of Chester's Hawarden open days (it had a broken foot on one side frame), but it turned out that Chester only had LH frames in stock & the RH side was broken (or vice versa). They offered me a good deal on a new one, so I went for that instead..

Got it home, stripped it to clean off the gunk & deburr the razor sharp edges on all the ground parts, then found on re-assembly that it wouldn't work properly. The holes in the moving bending vee/ guillotine blade holder for the actuating arms were bored out of postion & as a result it wouldn't do all the functions. I took the offending part back,& explained the situation, but Chester had no spares - they arranged instead for the faulty machine to be collected when another new one was delivered. This one I tried before stripping it !

The guillotine isn't great, as the moving blade beam is poorly held back to the main frame & tends to want to tilt when near cutting anywhere the machine's stated capacity - 1mm steel is hard work & the "real" capacity is less than this. It's OK on thin aluminium, but won't touch thin stainless. The bender is OK-ish - it doesn't give sharp corners, but I have not used it much. The rolls work fine - probably the best bit.

It is a heavy little lump & really needs bolting down to a bench to use safely, as you need to swing on the handle to cut and the base is quite short. I have mine G-clamped to an inexpensive Lidl "Workmate", which has worked so far for the limited use it has had - a purpose made stand is on (but probably a long way down) the "Round Tuit" list.. I tried to get clever & bought a second handle on another visit to an open day (the single handle supplied can be fitted at either side), thinking that two-handed operation would make cutting easier. Unfortunately the lever slots are cut in different angluar positions on each end piece, so the levers sit in very different positions !

I sometimes look at it with a view to improving the method of adjustment & support of the moving bending/guillotine blade holder, which I think in requires to be useable, but thinking about it is as far as this has got . So far, not one of my better purchases !

Nigel B

BOB BLACKSHAW14/09/2018 18:43:46
124 forum posts
12 photos

Thanks for all replies, as not done yet said Machine Mart looks the best for the 20% reduction on certain days,the reviews on the bender look favourable.

Bob

Dave Halford14/09/2018 18:43:46
218 forum posts
3 photos

The rollers are OK, I rolled a 3mm thick smoke box on one and nothing broke.

The castings get miss drilled and so things go out of alignment (also a Chester)

larry phelan 114/09/2018 21:43:03
211 forum posts

I never did believe that one size fits all or one machine does all or that one machine does three different things. They dont ! they tend to do one thing OK,the next thing,sort of alright,and the last thing,total crap ! That makes them a total waste of money.Same thing applies to woodwork machines; A saw is a saw,A planer is a planer, A spindle is a spindle,simple as that ! There is no such thing as a machine for all seasons !

Trevor Crossman 114/09/2018 21:44:32
97 forum posts
9 photos

Well BOB, having worked sheet metal for much of my working life, from aviation standards down to agricultural repairs and tried and rejected a large version of one of these some 20 years ago, I would suggest that you, as an ex professional will be sorely disappointed with these 3-in-1 devices.

I think that Baz sums them up quite well with the suggested use as a doorstop, or perhaps as a mooring weight.

I think that you'd be much better off buying used individual machines such as Edwards/Keetona/Crefco etc. If even the smallest, usually 2 foot type, are too big for your needs ( or workshop!) with your experience you'd most likely get better results from home brewed bend bars and rolls.

Trevor

John Paton 114/09/2018 21:58:05
43 forum posts
7 photos

I have been impressed with what can be done on this machine, It is compact but the drive gear tooth depth on the rolls limits the thickness they can be asked to handle (I don't go over 1mm thick)

I don't have space for several or larger bending tools so am very happy with it. It has been a godsend when making trim components for my kit car and the guillotine makes a much neater job than tinsnips if adjusted correctly.

What I would like is a set of blades for the folder part with slightlyradiussed tips rather than sharp ends, as the sharp angle can cause ally to fracture along the bend on 90 degree folds.

Bandersnatch14/09/2018 23:11:51
avatar
1045 forum posts
38 photos

I have a 12" 3-in-1. It's .... OK .... but it's not a quick "whip it in", "whip it out" kind of deal. It needs careful marking out and setup. Often the material needs clamping and not infrequently, test setups on scrap. Experience with the machine helps.

For some reason, people (including me!) tend to think that a machine like this is something that you can figuratively just pick up and use with good results or else it's not fit for purpose. It's generally accepted that getting, say, a lathe for the first time you need time to gain experience before you get decent results. To me, the 3-in-one is the same in perhaps a somewhat lesser sense.

Georgineer15/09/2018 15:10:34
177 forum posts
10 photos

Some years ago I bought a vice-mounted sheet metal bender from Machine Mart. I couldn't make sense of it, then discovered that it had been wrongly manufactured, with weld nuts on the wrong side of one of the members. I took it back, asked to exchange it, and found that the next one was the same. My guess is that the whole batch was like it. The guy behind the counter didn't seem to understand the problem, but refunded my money. I presume they continued to sell them to innocent customers.

George

Andrew Tinsley15/09/2018 17:12:46
787 forum posts

I have an Axminster version (small type). As long as you don't expect to bend, cut and roll thick material then it is fine. It isn't a professional tool, so don't expect professional results.

For thin gauge material it produces a perfectly acceptable job. At the price I paid for mine it was a bargain. A little practice will pay dividends before you use it in anger.

Andrew.

The Oily Rag15/09/2018 18:02:50
21 forum posts

I have the Warco 12 inch version. It does all that I ask but it has limitations. It is not a 12inch machine. Eleven and a half inches in the guillotine is as much as it will handle between the side castings behind the blade. However with all the various manufacturing tolerances within the machine the guillotine can be made to work very well. Within some pretty small variation it can be "bent " with the adjusting screws to give a clean cut in aluminium and brass up to 1mm thick and steel to 0.7 thick across its full width. The fence for the guillotine is a nighmare as delivered but is easily modified to improve it quite a bit.

The worst part of all three in my view is the press brake. It takes a bit of practice and some failed parts to judge exactly where to place the material to get the right bend or fold. I had to clean up the moving part holding the blades to ensure that the blades were held at the same height and were square.

For the money and the space I can afford it does the job. Anything it won't do for me I knock up something that will like miniature bending bars in the vice.

John Pace17/09/2018 12:38:33
104 forum posts
103 photos

I have had this Warco 24 inch formit machine for nearly
20 years,clearly these 3 in 1 machines will never compete
with the more industrial size sheet metal work machines.
Mounting the unit on the frame seen in the first photo
has made the the unit much more rigid and capable of cutting
and folding beyond the stated capacity ,mounted on 4 castors
allows it to be stored under the bench alongside the 4 1/2 inch
cut off bandsaw also reduced in height.
The frame is welded up from 4inch x 3 inch angle iron,a welded
box is formed which sits under the lower blade of the shear.
In the second photo you will see a jack screw that supports
the cross plate and also two welded on blocks and two screws
that provide some rearward thrust on the lower blade,the two side
pieces are a convenient mounting for the castors ,a single
piece of angle at the rear third photo completes the frame a
small metal tray not shown rests in the frame to catch the cut
off parts.
Brushing on some cutting compound on the guillotine ,i use
trefolex makes cutting a little easier especially with stainless,
also greasing the vee and blades can also make the folding
easier.

Like all of these Chinese products the fixing screws and bolts
are not the best quality,one of these end bolts at the lower end
of the curved arms bent and broke off the end of the arm last
photo ,i can't complain too much about this as i was folding
some 2mm steel sheet,the holes in the ends of the guillotine
plate are drilled much deeper than they are tapped and is worth
tapping them out to full depth and replacing the bolts with
a better quality.
All in all a very useful piece of equipment if you can live with
the usual Chinese construction.

John

formit 1.jpgformit 2.jpgformit 3.jpgformit 4.jpg

BOB BLACKSHAW18/09/2018 04:56:42
124 forum posts
12 photos

Again thanks for all replies and photos of the bender,I shall have a look at one before I buy one which seems the best bet.

For small jobs up to six inches with 18g steel max, a flypress with attachments which were shop made could not be bettered.

A rough cut blank would be cut to size, all holes put in, notched and bent to a limit of 5 thou on the flypress. I doubt if jobs are done in the workplace using the press today, all laser cut I would of thought.

Bob.

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