Five Cutting Edge Tools in the Sheet Metal Market
Tools that can gouge, crimp, cut, seam, and more
HVAC professionals working with sheet metal, ductwork, and tubing need tools proven to stand up to the test of time: tools that can gouge, drill, crimp, cut, seam, fasten — or maybe a combination thereof. Following are five examples of the latest tools and technology available to the duct and sheet metal professional.
The Xtreme Subcompact Series™ tools, a line of five compact brushless 12V MAX* tools by Dewalt, perform tough applications in hard-to-reach spaces. The line offers powerful, ergonomic solutions for a variety of applications including electrical, drywall, remodeling, automotive, metalworking, woodworking, and masonry applications. The 12V MAX* lithium ion battery included with each tool kit now features a fuel gauge charge indicator. With a quick button press, three LEDs display remaining battery charge.
The XTREME Subcompact Series™ tools include:
- The 12V MAX* Brushless Drill/Driver, optimized for use in small pilot holes, which can handle up to a ½-inch spade bit,
- The 12V MAX* Brushless Impact Driver, which works well with small fasteners and can handle up to a ¼-inch lag bolt,
- The 12V MAX* Brushless Screwdriver, best used with hard-to-reach fasteners that need the control of its 15-setting clutch,
- The 12V MAX* 3/8-inch Brushless Impact Wrench, designed for hard-to-reach nuts and bolts
- The 12V MAX* Brushless Hammerdrill, optimized for creating a variety of holes in brick and block as well as smaller holes in concrete.
A TIGHT FIT: The Xtreme Subcompact Series™ tools, a line of five compact brushless 12V MAX* tools by Dewalt, perform tough applications in hard-toreach spaces.
“The 12V MAX* Xtreme Subcompact Series™ of tools from Dewalt is designed for precision, power, and versatility — all necessary in applications for the air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration professional,” said Lauren Chell, group product manager. “Each tool in the line includes premium features such as multiple LEDs and several mode and speed selections.”
HVACR technicians spend much of their time every day cutting sheet metal. With the hilmor Hole Cutters, these jobs can now be done quickly and easily.
HOLE IN ONE: HVACR technicians spend much of their time every day cutting sheet metal; the hilmor Hole Cutter helps speed up the task.
“Our Hole Cutters allow technicians to bring more precision to working with sheet metals,” said Greg Lain, product line manager. “Previously, this was a manual job, and by creating a tool that can accurately cut holes quickly, we’re making their jobs easier.”
Available in two sizes, one for 2- to 12-inch holes and one for 2- to 20-inch holes, the hilmor Hole Cutters help technicians “retool and conquer,” according to Lain. The Hole Cutters feature both inch and metric scales, fit into any corded or cordless drill with a ¼-inch or larger chuck, and feature a lightweight aluminum frame with a milled bit for life and durability.
Plasma is adept at cutting and gouging thin roofing panels, ductwork, rebar, and thick steel supports. HVAC and mechanical contractors can use Hypertherm Powermax systems for a wide range of cutting jobs, including fabrication of duct work, supports, brackets, gussets, and flanges; ductwork changes and additions; and piping installation, alteration and removal.
Powermax® air plasma systems by Hypertherm are equipped with a handheld torch for cutting metal at the work site. Their small size and light weight are especially convenient when needing to cut up high or in tight spaces. The lightweight Powermax30 AIR offers a built-in air compressor and can run on a standard 20-amp, 120-V power outlet, or on a generator.
PLASMA CUTTER: Hypertherm’s Powermax plasma systems are adept at cutting and gouging thin roofing panels, ductwork, rebar, and thick steel supports.
“Hypertherm is setting new performance and portability standards with this new model,” said Harry Mellott, a specialist for Hypertherm Powermax. “With a recommended cut capacity of 8 mm and a severance capacity of 16 mm, the system can easily and quickly cut a variety of metal types and thicknesses, making it a great entry-level cutting tool.”
HVAC shops can make use of mechanized systems such as Hypertherm’s Powermax45 XP and Powermax65 models. Both systems can be integrated into a CNC table, offering the same functionality as a dedicated duct cutting machine.
“The Powermax45 XP’s FastConnect torch connection makes the integration incredibly easy, and automatic gas adjustment allows for quick, simple setup and operation,” he said. “The systems can automate the manufacture of ductwork by automatically feeding roll stock onto the cutting table and labeling finished parts.”
Klein Tools’ new Aviation Snips are two-for-one products, designed to save time and extend tools’ lives by offering the convenience of cutting sheet metal as well as duct, suspension or ceiling extension wires without damaging the snip blades.
“After hearing that HVAC professionals often damage snip blades by cutting wires, we thought about how we could extend the tool’s life by integrating a wire cutter on the outside of the blade,” said Sabrina Kalsi, product manager at Klein Tools. “Klein’s new Aviation Snips prevent damage from normal, everyday usage and allow professionals to cut sheet metal as well as duct and suspension wires with the convenience of just one tool.”
DOUBLE DUTY SNIPS: Klein’s Aviation Snips can be used to cut sheet metal as well as duct and suspension wires.
The cutter has serrated, forged steel blades for strength and durability, with an integrated wire cutter on the outside of the blade for use on duct and ceiling suspension wire. It cuts up to 18 gauge cold rolled steel and 22 gauge stainless steel. A spring-loaded lock allows one-handed, self-opening action. It is available in left-, right-, and straight-cutting styles.
Trumpf’s TruTool F 301 seam locker uses an independent roll-glide process to quickly and quietly close Pittsburgh seams in straight or curved ducts. The tool can lock sheets between 0.018 inches (26 gauge) and 0.04 inches (18 gauge) thick. It adjusts automatically to sheet thickness, and the self-feed feature ensures continuous, tight seaming. There is no need for conversion for the processing of shaped and curved pieces. It has a working speed of 8 feet per minute.
TIGHT SEAMS: Trumpf’s TruTool F 301 seam locker uses an independent roll-glide process to quickly and quietly close Pittsburgh seams in straight or curved ducts.
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