Punch and shear machines, also known as ironworker machines, can shear, notch, bend and punch holes in sheet metal. Modern machines use hydraulic rams movers that are powered by a heavy electric motor, while older machines used energy stored in a revolving flywheel to drive the tool.

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To ensure clean shearing and punching these machines feature high strength steel blades, punches and dies of various shapes.

Generally, punch and shear machines are semi-automated or automated machines that are very heavy and require a fair amount of workshop floor space. There are manual punch and shear machines, however these still require fixing to a stand or workshop bench that is also fixed to the floor to ensure there is enough support for the machine during operation. The manual models are less common but are good for hobbyists or small production workshops as they take up less space and are more affordable.

Most large punch and shear machines feature at least 4 different stations with safety boundaries around each one. These stations are used to shear sheet metal, create angles, round and square bar stock, and punch plates. Some machines can also notch, bend and form different materials. If the machine is large enough, it's possible for two operators to work together using pedals without interference. This flexibility and efficiency in the workshop is what makes the punch and shear machine a popular choice among metalworkers.

If you're looking to invest in a punch and shear machine, it's important to look at some of the key specifications including, the weight and power, punch and shearing depths, as well as dimensions for notching and bending materials. It's also important to look at whether the machine comes with any extra attachments. Some machines are available with a range of punch and die accessories and plate bending attachments which increase the versatility of the machine.

Punch and shear machines are an investment and can range in price from $15,000 up to $57,000. Some of the most popular brands on the market include Steelmaster, Trumpf, Ehoma and Geka, to name a few. Of course, the type of punch and shear machine you choose will depend on the type of work you're doing, your budget and workshop size. Speak to local dealers and sellers to find the right machine for your needs.