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Has anyone had any experience using a bench shear? I have though about purchasing one lately but haven’t actually used one before. It looks like they cost anywhere from $100 - $250. The descriptions on a few of them say they can cut 3/16” plate and 1/2” rod. Granted, I wouldn’t expect to be using it to cut much 3/16” plate but mostly sheet metal and some smaller 1/8” plate. Seems like it would be a great tool to have for a pretty low purchase price.

So if you have used one before, post up your experience with them and if it’s worth looking further into. If you own one, do you use it often during projects?



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I have a generic Chinese 12" version. Will shear 1/2" round bar if secured to a heavy work bench. 3/16" plate? No way. I only use mine for 16ga. Or less.

It cuts 18ga. Like butter. If you use it a lot and get used to working with it you can cut a 4' perfectly straight line with it. Also you can do curves in one direction. (Outside corners, circles)

It has been my go to tool when doing sheetmetal work for the last 15 years.
 

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I have a 12" version from northern tool. It said it would do 3/16 but there is just no way. I have done 1/8 steel several times. It worked well as long as it bolted down to something sturdy. I have a doall bandsaw now so it only gets used on 1/8 aluminum and it cut its like butter with a nice cleaned edge. Definitely worth the 80$ i spent on it.
 

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I have one (enco) and it's used often in my 4 man shop...even though we have a shear on the ironworker.

As mentioned, 3/16 is too much for it but it's great for 1/8" and less.

I made a little table for the left side to which I can clamp the material or set up an angle 'fence'

A lot of people don't know but you can use these like scissors and feed material through...and cut unlimited lengths if you have room behind it.

edit: get the largest one you can.
 
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