Yes, our Air Power Hammers really do shrink with these dies. And they do a fine job... even shrinking in the middle of a panel, once you
master the technique (learn how on our Air Hammer Operations DVD). Many shops are using our dies. I have spent much time over the past few years working on these (and other) die sets. Please understand that I will only sell something that works well. Not only well for me, but for my students. If they can do it without my help, then I know it will work for you.
For shrinking harder metals, such as cold-rolled steel, 5052 1/2 hard, 6061 T3, and soft stainless. Up to .040" with medium air unit, .050 with heavy unit, and .063 with very heavy unit. Note: These ratings are not absolute, but are based on true results with the benchtop model, and using Kent's skill. Your results may vary, depending on air pressure, type of metal, and skill level.
Max Capacities - 12 gauge mild steel
About our Dies
We designed these dies based on 20 years of experience with our TM Air Power Hammer. We make these dies ourselves from high quality steel which is precision machined, hardened properly, tempered, and in some cases precision ground, for a perfect face or contact area. These are not cheap “make-do” tools. Our staff of engineers and metallurgists have many years of experience in industrial design and manufacturing. When you buy our parts you are getting U.S. industry-standard quality. Every item we sell is tested in our shop, not on the customer. What you receive from us is tried-and-true. Guaranteed!
Hold the metal at a 45 degree angle upwards into the dies, allowing a hump to form over the lower die.
Hit the foot pedal so the hammer hits regularly, but not rapidly.
This will shrink the metal into itself in a few hits. Allow the metal to shrink left and right or right and left.
You may shrink in or back out towards the edge of the panel. Work the shrink back into the panel, if this helps make
the radius of the shape larger.
Start over at the edge of the panel and shrink more if you need more curvature. The higher the crown offered into
the dies means the more they will shrink.
Now, as for the number of pieces: The upper die is two pieces, one inserted into a cup. The lower die is another
piece. This makes the count of three pieces. -Kent
These customers describe in their own words how the shrinking dies work:
"I'm no expert but here is how I think about it. The idea with many shrinking techniques is to somehow trap the excess
metal in some form of ruffle, tuck or bubble and then drive it back into itself making the metal thicker.
With the air hammer you shrink the edge, which gathers the metal along the edge and this imparts a curve to the panel.
Any edge shrinker does this. Anyway, if you were to now lay that panel on the floor and push the edges to the floor you
would see a bulge just inboard of the edge you have just finished shrinking. This is in effect what you're doing on the
air hammer when you start to drive the shrink inward ... you're flattening the edge of the panel on the lower die with
gentle taps (so you don't stretch it back out) and this creates a the bubble of extra metal just ahead of the upper die
which you then chase into the panel.
It's a bit like taking a rolling pin and rolling from the edge to the interior of the panel. If you're careful you catch
up with the bubble and drive it down without expanding the surrounding material. On one of Kent's videos, he shows how to
shrink with an E-wheel using this general idea.
I have found the system to be incredibly flexible ... and portable. Moreover since I have tendonitis in both arms
(from playing the fiddle!!! ) .... and I have to keep the hand pounding work to a minimum, being able to stretch, shrink
and planish all with the same power tool has been a real life saver. In some situations you can actually do all three
operations with a single pair of dies just by varying the air pressure with the foot pedal.
The technique is not difficult, it's just hard to explain. The first time you see someone who's good at it work a piece at
a quick pace, it really is almost like magic because the metal seems to flow like plastic as the ruffles appear and then are worked back in."
Cheers, - Howard "It is difficult to describe "HOW" to shrink on the Kent White style dies. I'll try by describing what one does. It would be a hell
of a lot easier to just see one in action. The reaction is UH-OK.
You first use the power-hammer to bend a flange where you need a 'shrink'. Then, using the post, the hammering action and some "body-English",
you bend the panel around the post of the tool, pull it out, rotate the panel and bend it again.
If properly done a 'tuck' results. The tucks are flattened just as one would do with hand tools. These 'shrinks can be "Worked-in" or
"chased" inside and as one becomes more proficient, the panel takes shape and gets partially planished at the same time- DOH.
A medium air unit seems about right for 20 Ga steel and 1.5 mm Aluminum. The pressure can be turned down and 1 mm Aluminum can be shaped/shrunk
with the same unit - and same diameter tool shank (.498). Smaller units can be used for planishing."
A set of shrinking dies on the job!
These dies shrunk the edge of this .125" 3003 using the very heavy AU. Minor marks, if any.
These videos demonstrate how quickly you can remove a flared and/or flanged edge. The panels shown have a reverse curve that was created with the Large Reverse Die Set, that then had a flange created on its edge of the flare with the Flanger Die. Both demonstrations below use the medium air unit.
20 Gauge Steel using the Shrinking Set for Hard Metals:
Here 1/8 inch, 3003, aluminum is worked using the Shrinking Die Set for Soft Metals and the Extra Very Heavy Air Unit. Notice how smoothly the metal moves as it is worked and how the shrink that is made is worked back into the panel. This gives you full control to work anywhere on the panel which is just not possible when you are using Thumbnail style dies.
The videos below show 18, 16, and then 14 gauge steel all of which are worked with the Shrinking Die Sets for Hard Metals. The 18 gauge steel is shrunk using the Heavy Air Unit while the 16 and 14 Gauge are shrunk using the Very Heavy Air Unit. Please note that the air units chosen for each operation work the metal very controllable, if faster results are desired then upgrading to next heavier air unit to perform the same shrinking operation is an option. So for example, on the 14 gauge steel, the user could use the Extra Very Heavy Air Unit in place of the Very Heavy Air Unit that is shown here.
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