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Technical TOOLS, How to Build a Sheetmetal Brake for 10 Bucks or so.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by just steve, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. just steve
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 234

    just steve
    Member Emeritus

    Somebody asked, so here we go. This was the subject of an article in Midwest Rod & Machine in about 1989, and it was reprinted in "Real Hot Rods," a Rodder's Digest one-shot that came out in '98. They're both hard to find, and I don't have the original photos, so I did some kitchen-table sketches that should give you the idea.

    Materials list:

    One chunk of 4x2, 1/4-inch wall steel channel, 42 inches long.

    Two chunks of 2x2, 1/4-inch wall angle iron, 39 inches long.

    Two 3-inch long, 1/2-inch grade 8 bolts.

    One chunk of 3/4-OD, 1/8-inch wall tubing (1/2-inch ID), 6 inches long

    Tools:

    Metal saw, (hack saw, Sawzall, bandsaw)
    A welder capable of welding 1/4-inch steel

    The channel forms the base for the brake; you can build a stand for it or mount it on a bench vice temporarily.

    One piece of angle forms the hinge that pivots up to bend the metal. The other piece is used to clamp the sheetmetal work piece to the channel iron base.

    To get sharp bends, the pivot point of the hinge has to be exactly where the channel butts up against the angle iron. Like this:




     

    Attached Files:

    55 on bags likes this.
  2. just steve
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 234

    just steve
    Member Emeritus

    In that previous pic, you can also see the cut lines needed to make the hinge.

    Since our hinge tubing is 3/4-inch OD, make the cuts 3/8-inch from the pivot corners. Make the slot 3-inches long to accommodate two pieces of 1-1/2 inch long hinge tube.

    Once the cuts are made, assemble the hinge tubes on the 1/2-inch bolt (or if you can find a chunk of 1/2-inch round bar stock, even better).

    Align the edges of the channel and the angle as precisely as possible and clamp them together.

    Lay the hinge assemblies in place -- weld the outer ones to the channel, and the inner ones to the angle.

    Like this:
     

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  3. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 18,502

    Roothawg
    Member

    Not to throw cold water on your post but......I built one of those. It worked ok but not great. Kinda like chucking up 2 2x4's in a vise.

    Thanks for sharing anyhoo.....
     
  4. just steve
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 234

    just steve
    Member Emeritus

    If you do it all right, it should end up hinging like this . . .

     

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  5. just steve
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 234

    just steve
    Member Emeritus

    This last drawing is a bit crude, but it shows how to place the sheetmetal on the brake and clamp it down with that second piece of angle iron. Then just use a big crescent wrench as a handle on the hinged angle, and raise the brake to bend the metal.



    We ended up gussetting the angle on the brake, and adding a truss to it to keep it from bending. We could do 20-gauge 3 feet wide, 18-gauge 2 feet wide, and 16-gauge between 1 and 1-1/2 feet wide.

    The materials really did cost less than 10 bucks too -- they came from the cutoff pile of a steel supply place in St. Paul, and were bought by the pound. If you have to have the pieces cut, you might end up blowing the budget by a buck or two.

    So, who's gonna build a brake?
     

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  6. just steve
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 234

    just steve
    Member Emeritus

    It probably doesn't work as well as a store-bought, but it didn't cost like a store-bought, either.

    Our goal was to build something that would allow us to bend a flange on a hood side -- and it could do that if you used 20-gauge.

    Once the angle was reinforced, it made pretty sharp bends.

    And keep in mind, you can use heavier materials to add bending capability.

    later,


    Steve.
     
    pat59 likes this.
  7. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 9,810

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

    Thanks Steve! Thanks for taking time and giving us this info. It takes alot of work to retype and draw this stuff. Good information!!
     
  8. hotrodladycrusr
    Joined: Sep 20, 2002
    Posts: 20,727

    hotrodladycrusr
    Member

    GREAT Tech O'Matic material here. Thanks!
     
  9. Mild Mitch
    Joined: Nov 5, 2001
    Posts: 117

    Mild Mitch
    Member

    Thanks! Good info. I've been thinking of building the same kind of brake to do the same job! A new hood.
     
  10. thanks ......thats just what i was looking for.....

    CT
     
  11. burndup
    Joined: Mar 11, 2002
    Posts: 1,938

    burndup
    Member
    from Norco, CA

    Dope, thank you. Excellent base for future mods, too.

    If the surfaces were machined to be more flat/ butt up tighter, would that yield sharper bends, or would that give a poor return on investment of time?

    Already thought of a couple things... building an frame over the top you you could stick in a little bottle jack instead of clamps...

    And then a beefy handle on the bendy part... think of something resembling a trailer tongue...

    ... not original ideas, but ya know...
     
  12. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 18,502

    Roothawg
    Member

    Steve, don't take that the wrong way. I appreciate the fact that you posted something to help all of us.

    Keep in mind also, that the one we built was a little different as well.
    It was mediocre but I had really hoped that it would have ended my search for a home made brake.

    I get spoiled sometimes because I have access to a full blown sheetmetal shop. Too bad I can't crank out any bigtime home projects out of there.
     
  13. steve,i used your basic plans (which was in rodders's digest #47) to build two brakes,one was 24" and the other 36". i scaled up the size of the material and added a truss to both the upper clamp and the lower hinged part,and added over center style clamps to help hold down the main clamp. for box and pan stuff,i remove the upper clamp and use a piece of short angle of the correct size. both of these brakes have served me well over the years,and cost next to nothing to make.

    i agree,once it's beafed up,it will make some sharp bends

    thanks for designing and publishing the plans....i'm sure many others will find find them usefull too
     

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  14. just steve
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 234

    just steve
    Member Emeritus

    Root ---

    Don't worry about it. I got thicker skin than that!

    I am wondering why burndup called me a dope, though. . [​IMG]

    later,
    Steve
     
    pat59 likes this.
  15. just steve
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 234

    just steve
    Member Emeritus

    Burndup --

    See 36threewindow's post a couple down from your first one . . .

    Machining the surfaces wouldn't improve the sharpness of the bend, I don't think. What causes the bends to get round are the angle starting to bend or bow away in the center when you work it too hard. Adding the gussets and trusses and stuff, or going to heavier material, goes a long way toward helping that.

    In fact, you might do better if you substituted a hunk of 1/2-inch by 4-inch plate for the angle -- use the 1/2-inch side as the face that makes the bend. Tougher to cut the hinge slots (probably have to get them machined), but it'd be hell for stout and probably wouldnt allow any bow at all. You'd also want to have a very true 90-degree surface on that bending face.

    later,
    Steve.
     
  16. av8
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,716

    av8
    Member

    Nifty how-to, Steve. Slow day at the book farm? [​IMG]

    Seriously, tool-making how-tos are some of the more valuable pieces that the magazines used to feature. Don't see much of that stuff anymore.

    Good on ya, guy!

    Mike
     
  17. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 9,810

    Petejoe
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Zoar, Ohio

  18. just steve
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 234

    just steve
    Member Emeritus

    Actually it was a sick day from the book farm, so instead of laying on the couch with a stuffedup head, I did some doodling for the HAMB with a stuffedup head.

    I agree with you on that count . . . your tool-building how-tos were some of the coolest articles that were ever in AR, or any modern hot rod mag, for that matter.

    later,
    Steve.
     
  19. kustombuilder
    Joined: Sep 18, 2002
    Posts: 7,744

    kustombuilder
    Member
    from Novi, MI

    a good candidate for the tECH-O-MATIC I THINK----DAMN FAT fingers!!! [​IMG]
     
  20. Here is the one I build outta the scrap pile... Never saw the article refered to but it sure looks like I used it. I have bent some wide peices of 16 gauge in it and found that if I used a deadblow hammer to beat on the angle it would make a real nice bend. I have a neighbor about 4 miles away that has a 75 ton press brake that I do the big jobs on. But it's nice to have this little guy at the shop for the small stuff like patch panel edges and stuff.

     

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  21. Here is a shot of the pivot that I used. I thought I might need to remove the lever... never have in over 7 years.
     

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  22. rusty snack
    Joined: May 19, 2014
    Posts: 11

    rusty snack
    Member
    from ARCADE,NY

    I just made a nice brake today using these plans as a rough guide. 12 years after the original post.lol I used 3 pieces of 1/4" 2x3 angle instead of the channel.it worked out nice.
     
    volvobrynk and prewarcars4me like this.
  23. Rusty Snack,
    This thread was originally posted by my brother Steve. He passed away several years ago, and really would have got a kick knowing it is still being referenced.
    By the way I used his on his old brake on his old '32 project recently!
    Eric

     
    pat59, rusty snack, bct and 2 others like this.
  24. beater40
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 62

    beater40
    Member

    DSCF4705.JPG
     

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    Roadsir likes this.
  25. beater40
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 62

    beater40
    Member

    post 24 is one I made to bend 1/8" plate, works great for thinner metal also, used a 7/8" pin as the hinge on each end and the base and bender part are 1/4" thick 5x2" channel scrap left over from another job, is about 30" long and bends easy, top clamp is 2 1/2 x 1/4" angle and added 4 ribs along length to stiffen, 4 G clamps on the chassis table holds it there and easy to put away after, not so good for the finest bends but real handy for chassis brackets etc
     
  26. How about some pictures?
     
  27. rusty snack
    Joined: May 19, 2014
    Posts: 11

    rusty snack
    Member
    from ARCADE,NY

    I just used my metal brake again this past weekend and it made me revisit this thread..I have a picture this time of the brake i made.Its not the best picture but you get the idea..I put a 90 degree bend into a piece of 1/8th plate. which is beyond the thickness limit of what my brake should do "as is", But it got the job done..I might add a "bracing truss" to it to cut down on the flexing it does when bending heavier stuff.. RIP Steve, Thanks for the plans.
     

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  28. Awesome! really made my day. Thanks
    Eric

     
  29. sirmonte
    Joined: Mar 5, 2017
    Posts: 3

    sirmonte

    Just got done making mine came out nice. Per your instructions. Works great for what I need it for 20170305_174314.jpeg 20170305_174241.jpeg 20170305_174421.jpeg

    Sent from my SCH-S968C using Tapatalk
     
  30. i made two of them by Steve's plans and they have worked out great
     

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