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Sheet Metal Bending Brake

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  • Sheet Metal Bending Brake

    I've been wanting one of these for a while but couldn't find anything reasonable priced...or portable enough. I even went so far as to buy one from HF, which I took back the next morning (nothing but junk, should have known better)! I wanted something that could bend up to 16g. I had some scrap in the garage and decided the other day to see if I could throw one together and this is the result. It's basically in 3 pieces; the base plate, the blade and the bending beam. Right now, it will bend stock up to 20 1/2"" wide.

    I made the handle & hinges out of 1/2" pipe. The hinge pins are 3/4" x 6" bolts. I left room between the hinges for a 24" sheet but I only had enough scrap to make a 20" blade. I can always make another in the future if I need to bend something 24" wide.

    The base plate is 33" long and is made out of 2 1/4" x 1 3/4" pieces. I drilled through the base plate & my Nomad welding table (with a 1/4" top added to it) so that I could attach the bending brake to the table. Instead of using nuts on the bolts, I drilled each bolt to accept a spring-pin so that I could attach/detach it quickly without tools.

    The blade is also made from a 1/4" x 1 3/4" piece. I drilled through both the blade and into the base plate and tapped the base so that I could attach the blade to the base with bolts to hold the pieces to be bent securely. I beveled the bending edge 45deg with the angle grinder.

    The bending plate is made from 2" x 2" x 1/4"" angle. The handle is 18" long. The grip was something I saved from an old string-trimmer that died.

    I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. It puts a sharp bend on 18g and just a little less sharp on the 16g but it's good enough for me.

    That's about it. I hope someone finds this useful. I'm sure there are lots of people out there who could use something like this.

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    Last edited by HomerJSapien; 04-13-2013, 06:30 AM. Reason: wrong title

  • #2
    I've never looked at one in person, but could see how handy this would be. So do you put the sheet metal under the bar material that is bolted down and then bend by hand with the handle?

    If so, do you see that bar flexing since you didn't bolt right near the end?

    Do you adjust the bolts for different thicknesses of sheet metal or do you keep it at a fixed height with washers?

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    • #3
      Yes, the metal you want to bend goes under the blade. You can adjust to the thickness by just tightening the bolts on the blade. You bend the piece by lifting up on the handle. So far, the blade has not flexed but if it does, it is a pretty easy fix. A stiffener can be welded to the blade, or a thicker blade can be made. The steel I used was 1/4", so you could go 3/8 or even 1/2" if you wanted. You know a project is almost never finished...I've thought about drilling & tapping more holes in the blade closer to the center to accommodate small pieces, but I'm not sure that doing that wouldn't actually cause the blade to flex more on the larger pieces. It bends 18 & 20g really well. It's a little tougher bending a small piece of 16g (it bends larger pieces just fine) so I kind of put some down pressure on the blade while I'm bending them. As I said earlier in the post, it puts a nice sharp crease in the lighter gauge pieces. The 16g come out a little less sharp, but not too bad. You could always score the piece a little to help sharpen the bend on 16g if you needed to.

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