Endlessly variable and hardworking, ironworker machinery simplifies many difficult metal fabrication tasks. This week, we look at how you can improve the productivity of this already invaluable piece of machinery.

getting the most from your ironworker

Ironworkers have a punch, but don’t throw away your drill

Ironworkers tend to be limited in the hole sizes they can punch relative to the thickness of the material and cannot be used to punch a hole smaller in diameter than the material thickness.

More is better when it comes to throat depth

Throat depth should be deep enough for most of your work and be able to punch your largest part. Remember, you can’t add it later and if there is a special job, a drill can do the work instead.

Think carefully about the ironworker table

If you plan to use your ironworker for pipe notching or bending, it’s important to choose a table where the die holder is attached in a user-friendly way. Die holders can be attached with T slots, drilled holes, or tapped so it’s important to closely inspect before investing.

Die holder positioning is also important

If you need to punch close to the web, get a die holder where the die is near the edge of the holder rather than in the centre, as this can inhibit punching ability.

Different types of angle iron shear have different pros and cons

The slug-type angle iron shear is the best choice for those seeking a good cut quality, but it does cause some material loss and shimming. It also requires blade changes. If you need to cut a large piece of iron and want to avoid wasting materials however, the cropoff shear is the best choice, although it produces a lower cut quality.

The flat-bar shear is great for fabricating base plates, but quality varies

Different ironworkers offer different quality levels at this station and the rake angle in particular, can have a significant impact on the resulting cut quality. Broadly speaking, the higher the rake angle, the more distortion the drop piece has causing the material to roll or bow.


Acra stock a dynamic range of new and used sheet metal manufacturing machinery including ironworkers. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6675.