Posts filed under Sheet Metal

Tin Knockers Tool Bag: Straight and Bulldog Tin Snips

Why are my cuts coming out so jagged!? Why don't these snips cut a radius well? Why do all of my long cuts A.) Take so long and B.) Have all these little notches every inch or so?

You may or may not have asked yourself these questions or many others while hacking through a piece of tin. 

I've had all these frustrations over the course of my career and some of those issues come down to experience cutting with any kind of tin snip by hand. However, another answer could be that you may be using the wrong snips for the job. One size does not fit all when it comes to sheet metal snips. 

The one tool that I would have gold plated and mounted on the wall of my office is a pair of Straight Tin Snips. They are on the front of our company T-Shirts and will forever be a building block of any micro tin shop.

  Straight Tin Snips I use daily

Straight Tin Snips I use daily

Known as Lather Snips to some, I have always labeled them as straight cut tin snips or shears. I have spent over 15 years of my working life cutting straight duct, plenums and fittings by hand with these and other kinds of tin snips. However, these were by far the Labron James of snips in my Tin Knockers tool bag and on the sheet metal fabrication table.

The manufacturer will tell you wide curves can also be cut, and to a point, you can with the Straight Cut. However, I would argue that the longer handle Bulldog Pattern Snips provide an easier cut when dealing with radius shearing. The Bulldogs are for "nibbling" heavier gauge and they do a great job in that forum. But they do a much better job than the straight cut snips when you have to cut a 40" flat elbow cheek and especially when cutting smaller radius lines by hand. Bulldogs saved me a lot of frustration on those days when fittings prioirized the schedule. 

  Bulldog Tin Snips We Use Each Day

Bulldog Tin Snips We Use Each Day

The straight cut snips hang up too much as you make your way through the radius. They can't make the corner nice, especially on those tighter curves. Think of a good handling car versus a bad one. Both vehicles can make the turn. However, you can feel the difference if you've driven the car that really handles well in the corner. It can make all the difference when time is of the essence. 

Having both pairs of snips at your disposal can only help your fabrication prowess. 

Every sheet metal worker, roofer or HVAC technician will have a pair of Straight Tin Shears at the ready. They are tried and true; the backbone of a Tin Knockers tool bag. I would bet many of them carry a pair of Bulldogs as well.

Today at K & E Sheet Metal they have taken a back seat to the CNC plasma table and pneumatic jump shear, but they still hold tremendous value in our shop on a daily basis.  They were the tools that built this company to where we could afford the plasma table and jump shear.

If you're working in the field and you don't have a pair in your tool bag, do yourself a favor. And if your're starting a small fabrication shop, they are a must. Those aviator snips you may have picked up at the local Home Depot are immensely important, but they will soak up your time and forearm strength in seconds.

The Straight Cut Tin Snips and Bulldog Pattern Snips will help take care of that problem and keep your cuts straight and true.  

Happy Cutting!

SaraSpa Rod & Gun Club Duct Fabrication

After installing the filter boxes and elbows shown in my previous post, it is now time to fabricate the next set of duct and transitions that will run up the wall. There are three total units and each will need a 90" drop. Below are the in-progress fittings lined up in a pretty little row.

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Our next task is to cut and install the Ductmate Flange System on each section of duct for easy installation when we get to the jobsite.

Wolla!

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We finished up a few 90 elbows with turning vanes for the job as well. Probably could have managed a better photo but I had to assist my helper uncle with that tub of screws :)...JK

 

SaraSpa Rod & Gun Club Duct Installation Photos

Here are a couple pics from our most recent duct installation at the SaraSpa Rod and Gun Club in Greenfield Center, NY.

    Installation of the Exit Air Unit ductwork and filter cabinet.

Installation of the Exit Air Unit ductwork and filter cabinet.

  Installation of Make-up Air Unit duct.

Installation of Make-up Air Unit duct.

The job has been progressing nicely with a lot of custom duct and fittings. Each section is fabricated with 24 gauge metal and secured together with the Ductmate Flanging System.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel regarding finishing up the installtion and fabrication. I hope to get all the photos gathered together and share them after the project is completed. With our move to a new fabrication shop space and other jobs, time has been at a premium. We are finally getting back to a somewhat normal schedule.


 

4 Resources You Can Use to Find Specialty Metals Online

Finding specialty metals locally can be a difficult task, no matter where you live. You can go to your local hardware store, but chances are they only stock small sections of limited gauges and alloys of metal sheets. So you try the local metal distributor, only to find they are far from receptive when it comes to small quantities of steel sheets or structural metal. So where do you go when you only need a small lot of steel or sheet metal for a minor project?

Here are four online metals sites you can use to find specialty metals for your small project.

5 Venting Issues When Installing Your New Built in Microwave

Are you installing a new built in microwave for the first time? Before you rip the box open, take a minute to make sure you have checked out the area where you will be installing the microwave first. Over the years I have helped many customers who have entered the fabrication shop looking for duct fittings needed to vent their brand new microwave oven.

Here are five of the most common venting issues they have conveyed to me.

 

Posted on October 16, 2013 and filed under Duct Tips, Fabrication, Sheet Metal.

Old School Custom Trunk Duct Fabrication

Currently I am fabricating some custom transitions to marry a new heat pump system to this existing trunk duct. The customer emailed these this morning to give me an overview of what I would be hooking the new duct transitions up to. Always helpful when a customer is willing to take the time and snap a few shots of what the job looks like.