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 Post subject: Home-made metal brake
PostPosted: October 16, 2011, 11:04 pm 
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Location: Ashland, Ohio
Any one have any ideas on making your own sheet metal brake?

I think of something around 50" long

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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 4:09 am 
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Location: BC, Canada. eh?
My buddy & I built one, roughly 5 1/2 feet long. Heavy brute - we've only used it a couple of times, but it is probably able to bend 5' long 14 gauge, or maybe more. We used a piece of 6"X6" angle iron for the fixed corner with a piece of precision-cut steel bar for the critical edge. The rotating part (whatever you call that) is hinged on 3/4" steel pins, and the bending handles are 2" steel pipe. The rest of the beast is made of 2" galvanized steel pipe from an old commercial steel scaffold.

If I get a chance, I'll take a couple of pictures of this thing. It's kind of the T-Rex of homemade benders...

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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 7:00 am 
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How heavy duty do you want to go?

If its only for light sheet, something like this seems like a good idea: http://www.eaa.org/experimenter/article ... brakes.asp

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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 7:09 am 
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Location: Niagara Falls, ON.
That's the kind of deally I had in mind to make with some old bed rails. There was a great thread about this on a vehicle specific forum, that "went the rounds" on a few others a year or so back, but I'm having no luck recovering it so far.

I was wishing I'd gotten around to it already last week when I was making a repair panel for the rocker on my Escort. Just had to muddle along with the workmate and a few lengths of wood.

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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 7:23 am 
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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 7:40 am 
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Yeah, there was a plug missing out of a 1/4" hole inside the wheel well, and over the years it managed to get an inch thick layer of road dirt inside, which held moisture of course and ate the back 18" of the panel. The stone guard stuff was holding it together, there was barely any surface sign.. until I started digging at a "tiny bleb" :roll: :ack:

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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 9:20 am 
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Location: Tennessee
I built one for my build using two pieces of angle. It works pretty good. The only problem I have sometimes is the clamping system. When trying to bend a piece very close to the edge it tends to slip, so I put c-clamps on the piece to hold it in place. I would advise spending some time designing the clamping system. Here is a not so good photo.


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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 11:04 am 
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I am in process of building my own metal brake that will be able to bend 54". It is very similar to the one in the link that a.moore supplied. I oriented the parts the same way. The top part is braced with a tensioned 1/8" strap and the movable portion will be done the same way. The bottom is going to be braced through the base of the unit. I plan on making it short so that it can be stored in a corner. The hinge is 3/8" plate that uses a grade 8 bolt with brass washers for to ease turning. I oriented the bolt so that it is centered with the bed and the hinged portion so they turn corner to corner. I have thought about ways to add springs to the clamp portion so that when the bolts are loosed the clamp comes up by itself. I made this so that the body of the locost will form a U bend to go over the top of the frame rails and a 90 to go under. This will allow me to bolt the panels on the inside of the rails (to brackets not drilling holes in the frame) and under the frame (same brackets not drilling holes in the chassis). I am making the body out of 20 gauge steel and will be painting them inside and out. When I get a chance I will take some pics of where I am with it.


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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 11:05 am 
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BTW, you can sometimes buy very beefy angle iron at Home Depot etc. in the masonry section. It's used to support the mantle on fireplaces, I think.

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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 11:11 am 
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I forgot to mention that the angle iron is 1 1/4 and is 1/4" thick.


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PostPosted: October 17, 2011, 2:29 pm 
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Just so you all know, (and anybody reading this post in the future) while a nice idea and a fun off-focus exercise, a sheet metal brake is not needed for forming the aluminum. The brake will not help in prefitting around the top round tubes in the rear, nor the larger radius in the 2 corners. Nor help put the variable radius roll in the bonnet. It won't help in the forming of the lower-front corners of the side panels were they meet the nose and taper from some radius (~3 or 4 inches) to no radius. All this forming is done by eye/hand. Once you accept that forming these will be done by hand, it is just a small step to accepting forming the few remaining bends by hand.

I have a 2-1/2 car garage with a 8X24 storage loft. I wouldn't know where to store it for the next 30 years after my 1 day use. Now I might just want a 24 inch version someday for other uses.

Cool that you want to build a brake, but it is not necessary for the one-time build.

Just my opinion.

Chuck

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PostPosted: October 18, 2011, 7:24 am 
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.... Unless you looked at all those curves and said "Screw it, I'm making an F-117 style body" :D

I think there's a way to form the hood/bonnet with a brake though, you just slip it and turn it and tweak it a bit at a time, with it not being clamped fully tight.

Then making fenders you might wanna turn the lip down first, then gather it with the mallet while you curve them.

Though it's a case of if you have one you can find work for it.... (If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail... :D ) but not really need it.


edit: Oh and with an eye to the future, if the wifey sees you do a good job on a car and a boat, she might let you start on a plane ... :D

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PostPosted: October 23, 2011, 9:35 pm 
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Thanks for the info fellas, I'm not just building a brake for the aluminum side panels, but also to help with the making of the fire wall.
What guage of sheet metal are you guys using for the firewall.

I am planning on using prepainted .040" aluminum for body panels, and I'm thinking of either .018" or .020" metal for fire wall.

whatch ya think????? :?:

I think I have come up with a plan, I will try to get it from paper to computer soon.

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PostPosted: October 24, 2011, 9:10 am 
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First, The fire wall needs to be at a min, .04" thick aluminum. You will be attaching varoius items to the fire wall or passing it thru, which will need structural support. .018-.02" is just to thin without any ribing.

A couple suggestions on the brake design. Make the forward bending edge adjustable for set back. To get the best bend radius you should adjust the set back when you bend different gauge matl. I just added a couple 1/4 jack screws on each end, puhing against the back side of the Angle Iron and sloted the hold down screw holes. The other suggestion is add springs to lift the bending edge, makes life a lot easier when all you have to do is slide the piece under the angle iron Vs having to pry it up and slide to stock in at the same time.
Dave W


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PostPosted: October 24, 2011, 10:17 am 
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rx7locost wrote:
...I have a 2-1/2 car garage with a 8X24 storage loft. I wouldn't know where to store it for the next 30 years after my 1 day use...

This. If you have a barn, fine, but otherwise, building something that's used once will lead to its dismantling soon after.

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