KETT KD-200 Double-Cut Power Shear
Fast, smooth-cutting and industrial tough
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 3-18-2011
Cutting sheet metal is a common task in nearly any form of metalworking. Good quality hand-operated shears might do a good job but as the cut go beyond several inches motorizing the shears sounds like an increasingly good idea. During my life around racecars cutting sheet metal was nearly an everyday task and during those years I had the chance to try several different powered shears. The one we always seemed to go back to was the KETT power shears of the day. Here we look the KETT KD-200 Shear, the modern day version. KETT sure hasn’t lost any of their engineering or quality over the years.
The KETT KD-200 Shear weighs in at 4-lbs with much of that coming from the stout motor and heavy-duty cutting head. In a tool like this you have a choice between light and durable and while KETT went for durable the overall weight is not bad at all. Part of that is that the KETT KD-200 Shear does not “feel” heavy in use because much of the weight is on the cutter head while it is working. The KETT KD-200 Shear is also just 14’-long overall making it easier to use in tight quarters.
The KETT KD-200 Shear is capable of cutting cold-rolled mild steel 18 gauge and lighter as well as common grades of stainless steel up to 20 gauge. The double-shear cutting action of the KETT KD-200 Shear allows it to cut straight or curved lines (minimum radius of 6”) in 18-ga steel at 300 inches per minute and 20-gauge stainless at 180 inches per minute without distorting anything but the waste strip that curls up as you go! Try that with your hand shears.
The KETT KD-200 Shear features a high-quality aluminum cutter head and a composite housing that surrounds the motor. The pistol grip has a plain-Jane appearance but has subtle curves that make it very comfortable to the hand. I suspect that KETT snuck in some ergonomics when designing the handle area.
The KETT KD-200 Shear features a 2500-RPM, 5.0-amp (120V) motor wrapped in a double insulated housing that seems to just cruise along when cutting metal. It has an effective internal fan that moves lots of air over the motor to keep it cool when the job is big. This motor is a little deceiving in that it is surprisingly quiet and smooth-running but listen closely and you will notice that the cutting action does not slow appreciably while working. I like tools that are not straining under the loads of normal use!
The motor is controlled by a simple trigger-type switch. This is an ON/OFF type switch because there is no need to vary the speed. Here again, common sense durability is favored over unnecessary functions. KETT also installs a tough, 2-prong, 8-foot-long cord to let you work more and find more receptacles less.
There is a small switch-like fitting below the trigger but I am told that is just a filler as a lock-on button is not a good idea on a power shear. I suspect that this handle configuration is used on other tools which do use a lock-on button.
The KETT KD-200 has a tough 60/20 aluminum shear head that houses the replaceable A/2 tool steel shear blades. The slicing action of these blades produces a clean, burr-free edge and a waste strip that is a material-saving 7/32”-wide. All of the distortion is in the waste strip that curls out of the way as you cut. This double-cut shear mechanism feeds quickly, runs quietly and does its job without warping or bending the material being cut.
The design of the shear head affords the operator good visibility. Since the cutting arm is clearly visible you can accurately follow layout lines with the KETT KD-200 Shear. Because this is a double shear machine you can use either side of the main blade to follow the layout line. That lets you put the small waste strip to the side of the layout line that works for that job. KETT has other versions of the KETT KD-200 Shear that are designed to meet specialized needs. Check out the KETT web site link at the end of this review.
In the Shop
Actually using the KETT KD-200 Shear is very easy and requires a very short learning period to get the feel of how it likes to move while cutting. Essentially the KETT KD-200 Shear just wants you to guide it and it will handle the rest.
It is obvious that the KETT KD-200 Shear has plenty of power for any sane cutting job. All of the sheet steel I could find in my shop was sliced quickly and cleanly by the KETT KD-200 Shear, including so 18-gauge steel that had given me fits with my big-box hand shears. Though I strained mightily with the hand shear the KETT KD-200 Shear cruised through the same steel without a hint of the motor slowing under the load.
Cutting curves is also easier than many might anticipate. Here also you need to get used to how the KETT KD-200 Shear likes to move around a curve - a gentle tilt into the corner – but after that cutting a radius around something like a wheel well is a no-brainer. KETT literature says that the KETT KD-200 Shear can cut a 6”-radius arc and I have found nothing to suggest that it can’t.
The KETT KD-200 Shear is a very well made, well-designed tool that does its job as advertised with ease for both it and you. When actually cutting metal the KETT KD-200 Shear feels very light in the hand a surprisingly nimble for a powered metal shear.
The KETT KD-200 Shear has a street price that hovers around $150.00 to $180.00 (3-17-2022) and either price really makes it a good deal. If anything the KETT KD-200 Shear is over built for the task which means that barring a catastrophic error on your part it will last a very long time. The replaceable cutters mean you can renew its performance cheaply and quickly. If you cut sheet metal with any frequency or just don’t like working harder than you have to, the KETT KD-200 Shear is a must see. I know I will never fear sheet metal again.