Our Apex Fabrication Equipment Vendor Explains the Types of Shearing Machines

If you’re starting a metalworking project and need to know which type of shearing machine you need to rent or buy, here’s a handy guide from our Apex fabrication equipment seller that can help you make your decision.

Alligator Shears

An alligator shear, also known as a crocodile shear or lever shear, gets its named from its hinged jaw, powered by a flywheel or hydraulic cylinder. Alligator shears can be used to cut long pieces of stock metal and scrap, like steel pipe, rebar, angle iron, and I-beams. They are used when accuracy is not an important consideration, because they are typically not very precise. They are often used in the metal recycling industry to “clean” or prepare scrap for shredding.

Bench Shears

A bench shear is a bench-mounted shearing machine that is generally used to cut rough shapes out of medium-sized pieces of sheet metal. Like alligator shears, bench shears cannot perform delicate work, and are typically used in instances where precision isn’t necessary. Bench shears are small, lightweight, and yet very sturdy, making them a great option for facilities and garages with minimal space. The cutting blades can be adjusted to make 90-degree cuts on angles, T-sections, and round/square bars.

Guillotine Shears

Also called a “squaring shear” or “power shear,” a guillotine shear works a lot like the famous beheading device from which it gets its name: the material is clamped down with a ram, and a moving blade comes down across a fixed blade in order to cut the material. In larger guillotine shears, the moving blade may be set on an angle, or “rocked,” in order to shear the material progressively from one side to the other. Guillotine shears can be foot-powered, hand-powered, or mechanically/hydraulically-powered, depending on the machine’s size and capabilities.

Hand-Powered Shears

The smallest category of shears include power shears, throatless shears, and tin snips.

  • Power shears are designed to cut straight lines and large radius curves. Larger power shears can cut up to 12-gauge sheet metal.
  • Throatless shears are used to make complex straight and curved cuts. They are “throatless” because the metal can be freely moved around the cutting blade (it does not have a throat down which metal must be fed). This allows greater flexibility in terms of what can be cut.
  • Tin snips are small hand tools similar to common scissors. Compound-action snips use a compound leverage handle system to increase the mechanical advantage and cut thicker materials.

Buy a New or Used Shearing Machine in Apex NC

If you’re looking to buy machining equipment in Apex, call Active Machinery! No matter your job—whether it’s fabrication, automatic loading, cutting, or folding—we have exactly what you need to get it done. Browse our available stock or send us a message; we’ll get back with you as soon as possible with a free, no-commitment quote.