5 Jun 2009
PLANISHING HAMMER OR ENGLISH WHEEL?
When teaching my classes or at the numerous car and trade shows two questions are often asked:
1) Which one works best?
2) If I can only have one which one do I need?
My answer is, what are you going to use the machine for? Lets look at your feet for an example, if you are going to jog, work boots could work, but sneakers are better. The same is true with these 2 machines. The Planishing machine is basically a hammer and dolly which hits at 4500 blows per minute to thin the metal to form shape. The English Wheel rolls the metal through the dies and squeezes the metal to make shape. The planishing machine leaves a hammer appearance to the finish even though the metal is smooth, while the English Wheel will leave an almost chrome like finish. Once the
panel you are working on is sanded and painted, the end results are the same.
HERE IS WHERE EACH ONE'S STRONG AND WEAK POINTS COME OUT. If you are doing larger panels such as quarter panels, door skins, aircraft under cowling, etc., the English Wheel is the machine you want. On those types of panels, the process will move much quicker and the finish will be much nicer. On smaller pieces such as patch panels, motorcycle fenders, or aircraft wheel pans, the planishing machine works much nicer, but the panel has a hammer looking finish. The planishing machine does move metal faster than the English wheel but the finish is not as pretty. Another place where the planishing machine works better is in a small tight radius. You are limited on how tight of a radius you can do on an English Wheel because of the width of the wheel. The english wheel allows you to make a tighter radius than others because of its 2" wheel width. THIS IS A HUGE ADVANTAGE OVER OTHER WHEELS ON THE MARKET! Another area that a planishing machine works well is to smooth out welded joints. Often after welding a panel together, I will pass the weld joint over the planishing machine to reshape and smooth the weld area. Do not try this with an English Wheel as you will ding the wheels.
In my shop, I have both machines and use both. I do use the planishing machine more often due to the type of work I do (patch panels). Here is my production trick to save you time and money on smaller or high crown panels. I will rough out the shape using a sand bag and mallet then move over to the planishing machine to smooth and shape the panel. Next I go to the English wheel do a real nice final finish. The English Wheel will remove the hammer finish and make your panel shine like chrome, so when your customer gets the finished product it shows well on your craftsmanship.
In summary, the bottom line on what machine is right for you is really based on what the primary type of panels you are most often making. For more info call us at 603-669-1475. We would rather spend the time helping you decide which machine will work best for you than buy the wrong machine and be unhappy.