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
4 pieces of 3/8" thick by 1.5" wide steel for hinge plates
2 pieces of 3/8" thick by 1.5" wide steel for hinge spacers
1 length of 1/4" wall "L" beam

Not Pictured:
Bolts for hinge and clamp
Nuts for clamp
2 pieces of 3/8" thick steel for clamp bar
3 pieces of thick walled tubing

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 ...
Bend away. 

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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