I have been doing more metal work lately, and since TechShop is no longer around, it has been a real pain working with sheet metal. My Hypertherm Powermax 45 plasma cutter works, but the edges need to be cleaned up, it was hard to keep thin metal from getting distorted, and cutting straight and square pieces was always a challenge. I had somewhat better luck with some pneumatic shears from Harbor Freight, but even with a straight edge, it was not as accurate as I would have liked After a few months of fruitless searching, I had a week where several quality shears popped up on my local Craigslist. After some searching, I made an offer and ended up getting a great deal on this used Pexto 137.
It was pretty old, but looked well cared for. It was fully pneumatic, as opposed to the much more common manual stomp shears, and came with the back gauges. Even the skids it was attached to looked to be original (notice the holes in them for holding the back gauge bars).
The seller had a forklift, so loading all 700 pounds of it on my trailer was easy. I had no such luxury at home, so unloading it was another question I had to answer along with, “Where am I going to put it?”. I have been looking for a quality engine hoist on CL for quite some time, but have had no luck. Rather than compromise with one of the Harbor Freight units, I spent $30 and rented a nice Bluebird brand unit from my local equipment rental place (I’d really like one of those hoists, but they are over $1,000 new). Regardless of where I was going to store it immediately, I knew I was going to need some sort of wheeled stand for it, so the first order of business was to come up with something.
These things are quite top heavy, and not designed to be moved much. After some thought, I welded up a frame from 2″x2″x1/4″ angle iron and added some wheels and a wheeled trailer jack to make it barely movable. With the help of my neighbor, I was able to get this into the back yard next to my shed where it will reside for the near future.
This is not an ideal solution, but with my current space limitations, it will have to do. I run the air hose back to the garage and use my big compressor there to operate it. The blades on it need to be replaced, but I have been able to cut a 2′ wide piece of 16 gauge mild steel. It is unfortunate that I cannot handle a full 4′ wide sheet, but since my local steel supplier sells sheet metal in 2′ x 4′ and 1′ x 4′ sheets for no extra cost, it shouldn’t matter much.
We don’t get a lot of rain here in Arizona, but we do get some, so I wanted a cover for it. The overall size of this shear was approximately the same as my grill, so a quick search on Amazon came up with a waterproof grill cover that fits, so now it is ready for weather.
At some point I’ll want to repaint this so it looks better, and there are a few leaks in the air system, mostly from dried out gaskets probably, but it works great. I spent an hour or so today cutting up some 18 gauge steel for use as dividers for one of my drawer organizers in the garage. It was real nice being able to make rapid, repeatable cuts that were always square. I am looking forward to many future projects that utilize this.