Which Metal Stretching Tool is Right for You?
Several tools like English wheels, shrinker stretchers, and planishing hammers are used to shape sheet metal. These tools allow the user to stretch the metal, curve it, or create interesting shapes. This is extremely useful when creating components for automobiles, HVAC systems, and other structures.
Three Main Tools Used to Stretch Sheet Metal
For various applications, sheet metal needs to be stretched into shape. To do this effectively and efficiently, three main types of tools are used:
1. Planishing Hammers
These hammers are used to form metal as well as to smooth metal after it is formed. Metal is placed on a hard surface and lightly beaten with planishing hammers until they stretch out into the desired shape. It is important to maintain low pressure when using these tools. These tools provide amazing control.
2. English Wheels
English wheels feature functionality that is similar to planishing hammers. A piece of sheet metal is placed between two wheels. Once the wheels are tightened, the sheet is moved back and forth. With the pressure exerted from the two wheels, the metal slowly stretches in the desired shape. This process can be used to smooth out any imperfections in the metal too.
3. Shrinkers & Stretchers
(Here, we will only refer to the functioning of the stretcher.)
A piece of sheet metal is placed between the serrated jaws of a stretcher. A lever is worked which causes the jaws to slowly pull the sheet metal in opposite directions. This causes the sheet metal to stretch out.
It is important to remember to use the right die size when using any of the above-mentioned tools. The die will help you get the right effect you need. The die should be chosen according to the physical properties of the metal like the thickness, reaction to pressure and temperature, etc.
The three tools mentioned above provide brilliant results if used right. These tools can be used in conjunction with other tools to achieve fantastic results. However, we believe that each individual has his/ her own preferences. You should experiment with these tools to understand which one works best for you. As each tool offers different advantages, they can be used depending on the material at hand and the end result required.