GUIDES

6 Essential Pieces of Metalworking Equipment

Metalworking is the process of creating different items using metals. It involves using many processes such as drilling, casting, and smelting to create metal products that can be used in ships, bridges, industries, machines, and homes.

To create each of these different pieces, users have to use an array of tools, such as calipers, boring bars, deburring wheels, grinders, chisels, hammers, and drills. Each piece of equipment is made of different metals, such as iron, steel, aluminum, nickel, and bronze to suit the metalworking projects that users are involved in. Since these tools help the user to handle different metalworking processes in an efficient manner, it is important for the users to know what tools are needed for each kind of product before heading out to buy them. These essential pieces of metalworking equipment can be bought from specialty tool stores, directly from manufacturers' websites, and through online marketplaces like eBay.

Essential Pieces of Metalworking Equipment

There is a staggering variety of metalworking equipment available on the market today and the choice of equipment depends on the nature of the job. Regardless of the end product, there are some tools that are essential for all metalworking projects. These pieces of equipment are explained below to give users a good idea of what they should have on hand before they begin a metalworking project.

Essential Item 1. Lathe

A lathe is a piece of equipment used for performing many metalworking processes, such as cutting, drilling, turning, and sanding. The lathe has an axis on which users can place their workpiece to create an object of their choice. They work similar to a potter's wheel in allowing users to shape a particular piece of metal to match the design of their choice.

Most lathes have a stand or four legs that help it sit on the floor or on a workbench. They also have a horizontal beam or bed on which the workpiece and other accessories can be placed. Some lathes also have a vertical beam to hold high precision bearings and accessories. Other parts of the lathe include the spindle, headstock, tailstock, carriage, faceplate, mandrel, and cross-slide.

Essential Item 2. Drill Press

The drill press is used for many metalworking tasks, such as drilling holes, sanding, and polishing. Many drill presses available on the market today have a fixed style that can be mounted on the floor or workbench. It consists of a base, a column or pill, drill head, spindle, and a motor to run it. Some portable drill presses are smaller and have a magnetic base. Both of these drill presses can be adjusted manually to achieve a higher degree of precision.

The drill press is better than a handheld drill in many ways. Firstly, it requires less effort and delivers better precision. Additionally, the equipment comes with clamps that hold the workpiece in place so that it is easier for the user to make holes. There are varying speeds and a more powerful motor in a drill press to give a higher degree of versatility to users.

Essential Item 3. Milling Machines

Milling machines are used for a range of operations, such as planing, cutting, drilling, and contouring. To perform each of these tasks, users can choose from a horizontal or vertical milling machine. The axis or orientation of the spindle on the machine determines whether a milling machine is vertical or horizontal. The vertical machine is used for deep cuts and drills because the spindle can be extended, raised, or lowered. Horizontal milling machines, on the other hand, are used for making specialized cuts and bevels because they have a fixed rotary table that makes it possible for the spindle to move through different angles.

Essential Item 4. Angle Grinders

Angle grinders are a handheld piece of equipment used for grinding and polishing different metals. They are used for removing excess metal from an item by finely polishing it and for cutting a piece of metal in the required shape. These angle grinders consist of discs that can be changed to meet the task at hand. For example, sanding disks are used for sanding while abrasive grinding discs are used for polishing metals and removing excess material. The biggest advantage with an angle grinder is that it has large-sized bearings to withstand the huge force that is given out during cutting.

Essential Item 5. Metal Shears

Metal shears, also known as snips, are used for cutting sheets of metal. They look like scissors and have sharp blades to cut through metal. There are two broad kinds of metal shears: tinner's snips and compound snips. Tinner's snips are the most common kind of metal shears and they have long handles and short blades. These snips can cut anywhere between 16 and 23 gauge steel sheets with relative ease.

The compound-action snips, on the other hand, are primarily used in the aircraft industry to cut large sheets of steel. They can cut up to 18 gauge aluminum, 24 gauge steel, and 26 gauge stainless steel.

Essential Item 6. Welding Machines or Welders

Welding machines are those used to join different pieces of metals by melting them and adding a filler to keep them together. When the filler cools, it hardens the joint, thereby increasing its strength. Welding machines are categorized into different categories based on their power source and some of the popular categories are battery-powered welders, gasoline-powered welders, and diesel-powered welders. Users can choose diesel-powered welders when they plan to use it for an extended period of time. For short term uses, battery-powered or gasoline-powered welders would suffice.

There are many kinds of welders available in the market today and one of the most popular piece of welding equipment for metalworking projects is the stick welder. It consists of a small machine that uses AC or DC current to heat an electrode stick that is made of steel.

Right Metal for the Right Equipment

Different metalworking tools are made of different materials. However, only some materials bring out the best in each piece of equipment, so it is a good idea for users to know which materials are best-suited for each process. The table below shows the best metal for each process to ensure that users are able to make the best use of their equipment.

Name of the Process

Kind of Metal

Screw Machine

Steel, aluminum, copper, and bronze

Die Casting

Aluminum and zinc

Sand casting

Iron, steel, nickel, and bronze

Ablation

Steel, aluminum, copper, and bronze

Extrusion

Magnesium and copper

Mold Casting

Iron, aluminum, and bronze

The chart shows the best choice of metal for each piece of equipment. Besides these metals, users may also use other metals for each piece of equipment, which will give them limited usage or results. However, there are some metals that should be completely avoided to ensure that the workpiece is not affected.

Buying Metalworking Equipment on eBay

When you want to buy any kind of metalworking equipment, one of the places you should head to is eBay. This online marketplace gives you the convenience of shopping right from your home without ever having to step out of the house. It is also easy to find the products you want using the search feature found on top of every page.

When using this feature, you should ensure that the right keywords are used. If you know the model number, it is a good idea to type it in, as this will bring up the most relevant listings. On the other hand, if you do not know the model number but want a specific feature such as a "vertical milling machine," then type in the features to get more specific results.

Seller Feedback

You can leave feedback for your seller, which includes a star rating and a comment. This will help other future buyers to get a better idea of the seller. This is why eBay encourages you to leave appropriate ratings and comments for the seller. Based on your experience, you can give a positive, neutral, or negative feedback to the seller. You can leave feedback within 60 days after the transaction.

Conclusion

Metalworking is the art of making items from different metals using the right equipment. To help users get the desired shapes and finishes from metal sheets, they need a range of tools, such as cutters, grinders, and welders. The exact choice of equipment depends to a large extent on the nature of the task on hand. However, there are some pieces of equipment that are essential for any kind of metalworking project and it is important for the user to have these on hand before they begin working on the metal sheets. Some examples of such metalworking equipment include lathes, milling machines, angle grinders, metal shears, and welders.

One of the best places to buy these essential metalworking equipment pieces is eBay because the site has an excellent selection of metalworking equipment, which means users are sure to find the product they are looking for. Another advantage of buying through eBay is the low cost. Since sellers from around the world sell their products on eBay, the prices tend to be highly competitive.