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Joe Jensen
10-01-2008, 6:52 PM
I need to add a couple of vents (outlets) for the HVAC system. It's already installed in the house (20 yrs ago). My plan is to cut the drywall, and the use a nibbler to cut into the branch.

Anyone here have experience with nibblers? I assume this is pretty light guage, 26 guage maybe? I see the electric ones are over $300, and air nibblers are as cheap as $30. I have a big compressor, so I have enough air. Any recommendations?

Anthony Watson
10-01-2008, 6:57 PM
Back when electronics were my main hobby, Radio Shack used to sell a little hand held nibbler. You drill a hole, then position the nibbler and squeeze the handles. Repeat about 40 gazillion times and you can make any hole size you need. I still use the nibbler from time to time, but I don't know if Radio Shack still sells them. I'm sure someone must make something similar if you're interested.

Otherwise, check with a tool rental place. They're bound to have an air powered nibbler you could rent.

Of course, a pair of metal shears would probably work just as well for a small job.

Anthony

Joe Jensen
10-01-2008, 7:05 PM
I'll be working through a 5" by 16" hole in the wall trying to cut into the side of the existing HVAC branch. No way I'm going to try a sheers :eek:

Ross Ellis
10-01-2008, 7:13 PM
I'll be working through a 5" by 16" hole in the wall trying to cut into the side of the existing HVAC branch. No way I'm going to try a sheers :eek:

Nibbler will work great if the duct is square. Curves can be tricky. Nibblers work best with flat stock. A cheap one is fine if you are going to use it once in a while. Another tool you can consider is an air saw, Basically an air hacksaw. They would be in the automotive tools section.

Kevin Groenke
10-01-2008, 10:27 PM
Joe,

We have a couple ~$20 air nibblers from Harbor Freight, also a ~$200 Kett electric. They work about the same, though the electric has more gitty-up and is less likely to bind up (not an issue in 26 ga). The pneumatics on the other side are smaller, lighter and more maneuverable. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the cheap air nibbler for a one-off project. Save the big $ tools for the pros, and save your own $ for the tools you WANT to use, not the ones you just need to use (once). Hey, you'll save enough that you's be able to buy a pneumatic shear too. You never know, you may find you have more use for these things than you knew.

-kg

Bruce Wrenn
10-01-2008, 10:34 PM
Assuming that you are going into a rectangular duct, why not use a round take off. Make a trammel from a piece of wood and two nails. One is center point, and other is cutter. Drill hole at desired point, insert center point nail into such hole and turn trammel around, with nail cutting into ductwork. About a half dozen turns and you will have a round hole. Malco makes a tool to do this, which operates on same principle. Any HVAC warehouse will stock them.

Joe Jensen
10-01-2008, 10:38 PM
Assuming that you are going into a rectangular duct, why not use a round take off. Make a trammel from a piece of wood and two nails. One is center point, and other is cutter. Drill hole at desired point, insert center point nail into such hole and turn trammel around, with nail cutting into ductwork. About a half dozen turns and you will have a round hole. Malco makes a tool to do this, which operates on same principle. Any HVAC warehouse will stock them.

We live in the Phoenix area and the main living area in our home is 3-4 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. The main room is 25 by 30 with vaulted ceilings and it only has two outlets for the HVAC that are about 6" by 16". I want to add two more. The only place I can add would be 4 feet from each exitsting outlet. I would like them to all match.

Jim Nardi
10-01-2008, 10:41 PM
Just use a jig saw to cut thru the drywall and metal.

Joe Jensen
10-01-2008, 10:48 PM
Just use a jig saw to cut thru the drywall and metal.

I have drywall. studs, and then the duct on the back side of the studs. In the little space I have to work, I don't think my jigsaw can get in there. I do a little with sheet metal so I ordered an air nibbler. Pretty cheap...joe

Roger Bell
10-01-2008, 10:57 PM
I have used the French-made one from Garrett Wade to trim up my DC ductwork a lot. Nice clean and very straight cut with no hand slicing sharp edges. Not too expensive. Replaceable cutter.

Mike Heidrick
10-02-2008, 3:00 AM
You will like it joe. Congrats. Try that magnet trick.