View Full Version : Duct notching

11-12-2008, 01:29 PM
We are a small HVAC company. In our shop, we have basic fabrication tools such as a brake, pittsburghs, foot shear, beader etc., that is used frequently but not constantly. Most of the duct we use is purchased from a shop and the fabrication machinery is used to build the odd plenum, transition, duct, etc. that can't wait for a duct shop to produce.

We have some good upcoming projects but not enough work to avoid laying off some good employees. Therefore we intend to keep the fabrication of the duct in house over the next few months. We will at least break even on a cost basis and we will be able to retain some proven employees that will be needed when work picks up next year.

What I need to know is what type of machine do I need for duct notching? The hand notchers are difficult below 26 g and impossible below 20 g. Aviation snips won't leave a uniform or clean look. Is there a bench tool that is cost effective to use on an inconsitent basis? Keep in mind the notches we would need would vary. Normal corner notches, notches for hammer lock, nothches for button punch etc. Any advice would be appreciated.

11-13-2008, 03:54 PM
A 5' duct notcher works nice and fast. You can pick up some used ones cheap. I have a few if you need something quick! The other possibilities... hand notcher, mark and bandsaw.

Clinton Ray

11-13-2008, 06:30 PM
At one time we had a 5' notcher mounted at the end of the layout bench. it had 5 heads although we generally had it set up with three; 2 ends and then the center "V" If I recall the limit was 20GA which is all we could run through the snaplock machine. It was nice, easy to setup, quick to work with. I miss that 'ol thang. Same with drive cleat notcher, mad nice rounded cleats but now-a-days we just slit and fold drives through dies set up on the Pittsburgh lockformer.

11-17-2008, 07:25 PM
I took a set of 1" black handle Malco hand notchers and welded about a 14"-16" extension on the handles with 3/8 square tubing.The tubing fits just inside the handles with the cushions pulled off .After welding the tubing on the handles put the cushions back on the the end of the tubing .WOW what a difference a little leverage will do .Can notch 20 ga one handed.And notching (2) two pieces of 24 ga. together no problem. Might have to put a little kick downward on the tubing till you adjust it to fit your needs .The black handle 1" notchers are hard to find had to special order mine.

03-09-2009, 03:21 PM
Lockformer produces pipe notchers that are 10 foot long with five heads. It's a thrill notching 18 ga. five foot long joints of pipe from 5 X 10 full sheets.

I've seen them for sale by used equipment dealers on line. They come with either a V notch for slip and drive, pocket slips (yes I'm old) or for TDC/TDF.

I was a shop foreman for 25 years I know your pain of laying off good people.

09-02-2013, 09:44 AM
If you are going to continue to Fabricate for your self then yes I would invest in a speed notcther! If not and money is a problem then hand notching is not that much of a big deal, once you get use to it the speed of notching gets faster and th hand power is developed! With 20 ga duct I would most certainly use the Large bulldog shears to notch. (that's what I use anyway for non s&d duct)

09-02-2013, 01:26 PM
we used to stack the duct blanks in a pile clamp the edge and use the top as a pattern and use a handheld bandsaw to notch the whole stack at a time..
worked well.. cheap investment and can keep pace pretty good..

09-06-2013, 11:02 PM
We stacked and clamped like pieces and cut them on the band saw. I think the porta-band would also be great.