Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I regularly have a need to bend pieces of sheet steel or aluminum, or strap of either persuasion. A small brake was in order, so....I built one. The component parts are shown here.

There are three pieces of 1.75" x 1.75" x 0.200" steel angle, some 0.200" thick pieces of plate [at the ends of two of the angles], a couple of 0.50" diameter "J" bolts, a 6.0" piece of 0.75" O.D. pipe, and two 7/16" bolts with nylock nuts.

Here it is, assembled, with a piece of 18 gauge sheet steel set in place, ready to be bent. [The light colored piece in the middle of the brake is the steel to be bent]. The aft, LOWER angle is mounted in my bench vise. The aft UPPER angle holds the piece to be bent into place by tightening the nuts on the welded-in-place bolts on either end. So now it is just a matter....

...of lifting the handle to bend the piece of steel sheet. The brake will accept metal up to 12.5" wide,
and will easily bend aluminum sheet up to 0.125" thick and steel sheet up to 16 gauge. It will also bend steel strap up to 0.125" thick and 2.0" wide.

The angle of the photo isn't great, but it does show the piece of 18 gauge bent to about 45 degrees. At this point, I simply loosen the two nuts on the aft TOP angle and slide the bent piece forward, out of the brake. As they say in the translated instructions, "Welding, some drilling and cut is to be required." Followed by three equally well translated paragraphs on how not to kill yourself with your welder, your drill press or your hack saw.
At any rate, this is an easy to build, and very useful little tool that takes up very little storage space for the 98% of the time you won't need it. And it works like a champ for that 2% of the time when you DO need it.

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