Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Sheet Metal Fabrication techniques, questions and help. "Tricks of the Trade"

Moderators: Harold_V, GlennW

Post Reply
User avatar
davesisk
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:53 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by davesisk » Sat Jul 24, 2004 10:55 pm

Hey guys:

Well, after finding unitized tooling to do vee notching on angle iron and discovering the price is typically $600-800 for a simple notcher, I started thinking about how I could make one. Here's what I have so far:

Front view:

www.ipass.net/davesisk/Notcher_FrontView.JPG

The square "die" that will slide up and down is 2" x2" x 1" mild steel. The back sides are the same 1" material cut to the right lengths and standing up. The front sections are 2" x 3" x 3/8" and 2" x 5" x 3/8". There are two small 1.5" x 1.25" x 1/4" pieces on the sides to keep the square "die" aligned properly (they should see little or no force). All this is sitting on top of a 6" x 6" x 1/2" piece of mild steel plate.

Front view with "die" removed:

www.ipass.net/davesisk/Notcher_TopRemoved.JPG

There's a stiff spring sitting under the die to push it back up after something has been notched. I'll actually attach the spring to the base some way...haven't figured out exactly how yet.

Here's a top view to help clarify:

www.ipass.net/davesisk/Notcher_TopView.JPG

All these parts are mild steel, and I intend to notch mild steel. So, I decided I needed some tool steel for the cutting surfaces. I grabbed an 8" file and marked off where to cut:

Cutting surfaces (ie. file):

www.ipass.net/davesisk/Notcher_FileCuttingSurfaces.JPG

I quickly ran into small oversight. The file is of course tool steel. After burning up a bandsaw blade, I went "duh" and realized I don't have a way to cut tool steel. [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/blush.gif"%20alt="[/img]

Final picture...this is the intended way to use this contraption. You'd put the whole thing under a hand-pumped hydraulic press, place the angle iron to be vee-notched in the right spot, and pump the press to push the die down and notch the angle iron.

www.ipass.net/davesisk/Notcher_Use.JPG

Now, here's the thoughts/issues/questions at this point:

1) I intend to weld all the pieces that make up the base together than to the plate it sitting on. For material this thick (sounds like a good task for the new MM210, eh?), how can I best minimize distortion. I plan to do the usual clamping, tacking, welding different sides, etc. Any other suggestions? Most stuff like this is machined from a solid block, but I don't have any machine tools available to me. I think I can make it work (possibly losing a little bit of accuracy) by welding it all together.

2) How much gap should I leave between the upper and lower cutting surfaces? None? 1/8"? Something in between? The purpose for this contraption to notch 1" x 1" x 1/8" angle iron...nothing thicker, but maybe something thinner occasionally. If I can make it work with 1/8" thick angle, then I'll be quite happy.

3) I'm sure if I attempt to use the mild steel as the cutting surfaces, it'll bend, chip, deform, etc. That's why I snagged the file and intended to cut it up and use pieces of it as the cutting surfaces. However, that means I have to cut it into 4 pieces and drill and countersink holes in it. How the heck do I cut tool steel? I've already proven to myself that the bandsaw won't do it. Will an abrasive circular saw blade do it? A diamond blade? What do you guys suggest?

4) Along the same lines, what do I use to drill and countersink holes into the file pieces? I intended to drill and tap the mild steel and attach the file pieces with flat head machine screws. Any ideas on this?

5) Any other thoughts? Is this likely to turn out pretty good, or am I losing my mind? [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/tongue.gif"%20alt="[/img]

TIA!
Dave
Metal Projects: [url=http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm]www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm[/url]

User avatar
davesisk
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:53 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by davesisk » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:04 am

Hey guys:

Well, I've got this partially finished. All the pieces are welded together. I've tried it out with a penny and a small piece of 1" x 1" x 1/8" angle stock as well. It's ugly, but it works like a charm! I made an surprisingly accurate notch in that piece of angle iron...I'm pleasantly surprised.

HOWEVER, I've still got to find a way to attach the file pieces or some other form of tool steel. Just punching a notch once rounded the corners just a bit. I definitely need a hard surface as the cutting surface. Someone suggested that I abandon the file idea, and I might very well do that in favor of the other tool steel mentioned.

I've got some pics that I loved to post, but my FTP server is unavailable right now, so I'll post them as soon as it's available.

Remaining questions:

1) OK, so I essentially can't drill the file pieces. Any thoughts on any other way to attach them? Most of the force they'll see will be downforce, but there will be some sideways force at the very beggining of the notch. I'm pretty sure this tool steel can't be welded...think JB Weld or something similar might work?

2) If I'm not very careful, the top punch will get itself sideways and jam. I'm still thinking how I can correct that. I've kind of already got the heel that was posted above...there's still just enough wiggle room for it to get a little sideways. I'm still thinking a bar that it slides up and down on make help keep it square...any thoughts?

Thx!
Dave
Metal Projects: [url=http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm]www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm[/url]

User avatar
davesisk
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:53 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by davesisk » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:05 am

OK, my ISP's FTP server is still down, so I've resized the photos so I can just post them here.

Here's the almost finished view. The file pieces are simply lying there, not connected. The ones on the die obviously go in that position. The ones on top of the punch would of course go on the underside surface rather than on the top, but in the same position.
Metal Projects: [url=http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm]www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm[/url]

User avatar
davesisk
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:53 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by davesisk » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:06 am

Here's a pic without the file pieces in their intended positions as cutting surfaces:
Metal Projects: [url=http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm]www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm[/url]

User avatar
davesisk
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:53 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by davesisk » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:07 am

It actually works remarkably well. I don't actually have a shop press yet (waiting on HF to put the 20-ton model on sale), so I used the 12-ton pipe bender to do this example. It was a pain to get the notcher assembly and a piece of angle iron positioned correctly, but it's served it's purpose as a "proof of concept", so to speak. I notched a penny first just to see if I apparently had everything lined up right and this was indeed going to work as intended, then I notched one piece of 1" x 1" x 1/8" angle stock. You can also see in the pic where I had an initial false start (got the punch a little out of square). Here's the pic:
Metal Projects: [url=http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm]www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm[/url]

User avatar
Jacin
Posts: 1046
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2002 12:14 am
Location: Near Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by Jacin » Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:08 am

Very impressive indeed!!!!
I take it you must have a project lined up for it????

Thanks for sharing - and keep those pics coming!!!!!

User avatar
davesisk
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:53 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by davesisk » Mon Jul 26, 2004 12:08 pm

I really enjoy making ornamental iron and slate tables and such. The PITA part of it is cutting and welding the table top frame that will hold the piece of slate or whatever (made from angle stock). With this notcher (when I get it finished), I can make a 12" x 12" table top frame by cutting 4 notches in a piece of angle stock that is 48 1/2" long, then simply bend to 90 degrees at the notches, and weld the two ends that now touch together. Voila, table top frame with lip to hold the slate!

The first table I ever made was done by cutting and welding all the pieces together. That took forever to get it square, weld all the corners, grind all the corners, etc. This should turn making the table top frame into a 30 minute or less exercise.
Metal Projects: [url=http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm]www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm[/url]

User avatar
Marty_Escarcega
Site Admin
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 8:17 pm
Location: Mesa, AZ USA

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by Marty_Escarcega » Mon Jul 26, 2004 4:49 pm

I really enjoy making ornamental iron and slate tables and such. The PITA part of it is cutting and welding the table top frame that will hold the piece of slate or whatever (made from angle stock). With this notcher (when I get it finished), I can make a 12" x 12" table top frame by cutting 4 notches in a piece of angle stock that is 48 1/2" long, then simply bend to 90 degrees at the notches, and weld the two ends that now touch together. Voila, table top frame with lip to hold the slate!

The first table I ever made was done by cutting and welding all the pieces together. That took forever to get it square, weld all the corners, grind all the corners, etc. This should turn making the table top frame into a 30 minute or less exercise.

I would be interested to know how well the angle iron bends at the corners. In my experience, without the angle iron bender, the bends are not clean. They are sharp at the notch but fairly rounded on the opposite end. I would expect it to be more prevalent on the heavier stock.
Marty
"Jack of all Trades, Master of None"

User avatar
Steve_in_Mich
Posts: 1119
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 4:14 pm
Location: Mid Michigan

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by Steve_in_Mich » Mon Jul 26, 2004 7:49 pm

I hope this builder is successful - I'm watching with great interest.
FWIW, It is difficult to get a good sharp corner without shearing the fillet when notching. The R-W #50 angle iron shear does this quite nicely (without requiring a press) while it maintains alignment of the angle iron and makes a progressive shear cut from the root of the angle. My experience is notching 2" X 2" X 1/4" and it does have a larger fillet but most 1/8" has some that needs to be eliminated to get a good square corner bend. I agree that the angle iron bender is a big aid in keeping the angle iron square top to bottom. Of the two items (notcher and bender) the bender would be much easier to build. The #50 notchers could be had on eBay for between $300.00 and $400.00 maybe 18 months ago, I haven't watched the selling price for any lately.
Just because you don’t believe it - doesn’t mean it’s not so.

User avatar
davesisk
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:53 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by davesisk » Mon Jul 26, 2004 10:25 pm

Just FYI, I updated my signature with a link to pics of some of the ornamental things I've built so far. There's quite a few more on the list, like a section of wrought iron fence, a wrought iron bed, some other home decorations, etc.

Enjoy!
Dave
Metal Projects: [url=http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm]www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm[/url]

User avatar
davesisk
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:53 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by davesisk » Mon Jul 26, 2004 10:44 pm

After reading your post, I went and tried bending the piece I notched in the picture. It bent quite well using on of the Metalcraft knockoff's sold by Harbor Freight (which my wife and daughter gave me for Father's Day this year). It didn't bend to a perfect 90 degrees...more like around 87-88 degrees, but that's good enough for what I'm doing. Of course, I'm working with 1/8" thick material, and that probably makes a considerable difference compared to 1/4" material. I'll try to post a pic tommorrow...

Thx,
Dave
Metal Projects: [url=http://www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm]www.ipass.net/davesisk/metalprojects.htm[/url]

User avatar
Ries
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:05 pm

Re: Home-made angle iron notcher - In progress...

Post by Ries » Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:23 am

Dave- usually when people make tool steel blades, they buy the steel in an annealed state from somebody like MSC (msc.direct.com).
You do all your cutting and drilling when the stuff is soft, then harden it.
But if you want to try using your files, you could spot anneal them before drilling- heat up the spot you want to drill with a oxy/fuel torch, till it is a red dot. Then let it air cool as slowly as possible, and it should be soft enough to drill. Some people pile a little vermiculite on the hot spot to slow the cooling process even more. The trick is to soften the area you want to drill without softening the future cutting edge.
You can cut files or other hard steel with a cutoff disc for your 4 1/2" angle grinder- available at welding supply stores for 3 bucks or so. Clamp the file in a vise, wear a face sheild, or goggles at the very least, and chop it up.

Post Reply