Making a Low Cost but effective sheet metal brake from steelyard rems.
I wanted to make some bends in 3 foot wide sheet metal but could not find an inexpensive brake anywhere. I did not need the capability of a box and pan brake, one that has removable "fingers" and bends metal by pressing a "v" shaped anvil into a groove, I only wanted to bend lengths of sheet metal up to 90 degrees. A few sketches on our drafting board (a napkin at Copper's, our local beer-and-wing joint) and we had a plan.
|Here's most of the necessary parts:
2 lengths of "c" beam, 1/4" thick walls
|Here's the original sketch, it gives a pretty good idea of where this project is going|
|Here the hinge plates and spacers have been welded to the "c" beam and an old bolt dropped through the hole to use as a mock-up hinge pin.|
|Pivoting on the hinge|
|We need a bar to clamp down the metal being bent, so here's a piece of "L" beam that will be used|
|Another shot of the clamp and the hinge. The bolts to secure the clamp and the mounting tabs will be added next.|
|Here's how the clamp mounting tabs and brake look. Two bolts were welded to the brake and two tabs with holes in them were welded to the clamp.|
|Just place the sheet on the brake, lay the clamp down and spin on two nuts, insert the bending handle and ...|
This is 0.090 wall non-annealed 6061 aluminum, it's pretty tough stuff but it bent nicely. There's no picture yet, but a large square piece of tubing will be welded onto the bottom non-moving side of the brake. Then a long piece of thick walled square tubing will be slid into the receiver hitch of a truck and slid into the tubing on the brake, forming a portable work stand.
|The brake worked great for short lengths (up to 20" or so) but the clamp began to flex on longer bends, so a gusset had to be welded to the top of the clamp bar to fix the problem.|
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