Rapid Metal Shaping with Pneumatics

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Rapid Metal Shaping with Pneumatics

Pneumatic tools can be faster and more effective than hand tools for metal shaping, because they hit more consistently – and consistently for much longer – than the human arm can. They simply do not get tired and erratic at the end of the day. We’ll introduce students to the three main pneumatic striking tools: the rivet gun, the hand-held autobody air hammer, and the bench-top air power hammer. There are many “air hammers” on the market, including sand rammers, chipping hammers, air chisels, plating rack scalers, destruction guns, needle scalers, stone carvers, and rivet guns. Choosing the most effective tool can involve considerable time and expense; this workshop will help you avoid unnecessary trial and error.

If you have been wanting to try out a TM Air Power hammer to see what it’s capable of, or if you already own a machine but want to know how to get more out of it, this is a great opportunity to get hands-on training directly from Kent on the machine. Days two and three will introduce hand-held pneumatic tools. Although we began day one with the Air Power Hammer, students will have the opportunity to use these hammers and flow-forming tools on subsequent days.

Students are encouraged (but not required) to bring a project, whether it’s mild steel, aluminum, copper, or brass. There will be ample time to practice these techniques on different metals.

Day 1 – Shaping with the Air Power Hammer
Students will learn to quickly and accurately shape complex parts using an Air Power Hammer. We’ll stretch, shrink, contour, and planish, plus use this rapid-shaping machine to make complex parts such as hollows, reverses, and compound shapes. We’ll have a wide array of tooling and a wide range of air motors available, so it will be possible to work .032” to .125” aluminum.

Day 2 – Flow-Forming
Day two focuses how to do Flow-Forming with rivet guns. Using “form blocks” (aka hammer forms in autobody), students will “flow” sheet metal over and into different shapes using a variety of tooling (including tooling you can clobber up in your own shop). We’ll cover forming without marks, and rapid shrinking and stretching. Students will have plenty of opportunity to practice this incredibly useful, very cost-effective shaping technique.

Day 3 – Using the Hand-Held Autobody Air Hammer
We will begin the day using the hand-held autobody air hammer (“fender machine” or “autobody reshaping machine”) commonly made by Water Vliet, Milwaukee Electric, Chicago Pneumatic, Seiden, and Ram's Head, among others. In this class, we will focus on the Ram’s Head, although Kent has considerable experience using the other machines. Students will have a chance to smooth out some body work using one of these hammers, with its various yokes and all tooling provided. It’s helpful to know yoke sizes, shapes, and stiffness when acquiring one of these hammers, as well as how the tooling sets work. Some of our class work will come from one of the original training manuals that came with these hammers.

Cost: $395 per day (Includes breakfast, lunch, materials & supplies)

Pre-req: Sincere interest and basic metalworking skills.

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