DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)

Have a question or want to show off your project? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
Hi All

    Yea,, I am looking at my windows and I can see that some are rotting
out. They are 20 years old and are near the end of the road. A complete
replacement is a $14K deal.  So,,,, to soften the blow I was thinking of
cutting out the rot, replace it as required and refurbishing the surfaces
with a resin paint and then try my hand at surfacing everything with light
aluminium or vinyl. I think I can permanently bond either to the existing
frames with PL Premium and or calk.

    I guess there are a lot of ways to tackle the problem but I am partial
to buying a roll of AL at home depot and bending it up as required. I see
that there is a Bandito bender for $449 I.E.:

But not being a tin man I am not at all sure that it's what I would need and
also I would like to try my hand at fabricating a bender. Does anyone have a
simple plan for a brake and or any advise on the subject??

Bill D

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
I want to thank ATP and Mark (on the side)  This Tapco Port-O-Bender is
quite the rig. I would love to work with one but they do cost a lot and I
have no plans that could justify owning one.
I guess it's back to the drawing board. Perhaps there are some common shape
components in al or vinyl that are avail. ??

Bill D

Quoted text here. Click to load it
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
William G Darby wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
They're available, but usually expensive. I'm sure you could make an
aluminum trim brake, but if you make it with steel rust marking of the trim
is going to be a problem. I think you could find a used trim brake for $300
with some patience, then resell it on ebay when you're done. The simple
"windy City" model was only about $700 new when I bought it, although that
was a while back.

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
Vince D. wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The typical bend when you're capping trim is between 30" and 80". If you
don't get everything perfect it looks like hell and you might as well put
away your tools. Plus, the job is a PITA with a 10 1/2' brake. I can't
imagine doing a whole house with a 30" brake. At that point, just do it with
wood and paint it, which would look better anyway, although require more
maintenance. Or, heaven forbid, hire someone. BTW, to answer an earlier
question, IIRC, Fypon makes exterior trim profiles in plastic, and Wolverine
makes a lot of accessories, and the stuff looks pretty good. There is also a
new type of supposedly exterior MDF but I could not find a dealer for it, it
looks like an interesting alternative for creating some interesting exterior

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
If you want a cheap bender, Harbor Freight has a number of them that
fit the bill.  Bear in mind that there are many different benders.
For example, I have a 48" Harbor Freight brake in a style known as a
pan & box brake as it has metal dies that can be removed/moved to bend
insides of pans.  If you don't need to do complex bends, there are
cheap benders out there that will just bend whatever size of metal you
put in - depending on the gauge rating though.  For example, my brake
is rated to 16 ga mild steel but I rarely bend anything thicker than
20 ga in it.  

You can spend a ton for a production bender - Tennsmiths and other
name brands just go up and up and up.  They are beautiful machines but
out of my price range at least.  On the other hand, There are small
light duty benders starting at $40 that should make short work of thin
aluminum.  Do some digging at Harbor Freight, Enco, US Industrial,
Williams Lo-Buck Tools, and MSC and you'll quickly get an idea of
prices and features.

I've heard of guys putting sheet metal on their bench, angle iron on
top held down with clamps and then bending the metal by hand.  If you
are dealing with real thin aluminum, maybe that is an option.

Hope this helps,


On Sat, 12 Jul 2003 21:59:49 -0400, "William G Darby"

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
First I want to thank everyone who has offered comments. I sure have learned
a lot about brakes that I never knew before. So again thanks to everyone.

To be honest I took a long look at the hinge type bender found in the
Port-O-Brake but they are far to difficult to build a one of. What did catch
my imagination was the idea of milling something like a 3/4" dia ball nosed*
end mill slot 3/8" deep along the top edge of a .5" by 3" al/steel bar about
7' long. If I then placed a half round 3/4' rod in the channel and a
clamping plate whose edge lay exactly along the center line of the rod I
would have a 7 foot "light metal" brake.

All I need do is clamp the line to be bent along the centerline of the slot
and rotate the rod using  handles at both ends simultaneously. (perhaps a
rotation handle in the middle as well)  I should be able to get a perfect 7
foot 90Ebend. This arrangement seems quite sound as it provides support for
the full length of the bend and axis of the bending face is forced to rotate
exactly about the axis of the required bend and therefore there should be no
deviation from the desired bend line.

* The slot could be made with a square end, end mill as the half round would
still rotate properly but the wear point would be restricted to the two
(three) points upon which the half round would rotate upon.

In any case I am in no rush to build this thing and I do enjoy playing with
various ideas.

Thoughts and comments would be appreciated.


Quoted text here. Click to load it
Quoted text here. Click to load it
have a

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
"William G Darby"  wrote in message news:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
not sure if i have read this right, i think you will get a bend with a
large radius one side.
I make sheet folders when i need to, never made a neat one to keep..
if the material isn't bent down against something it doesn't bend
sharply, you will be bending it down against part of the half round
stock, which will be below the level of the back of the slot/groove?
or have i got it all arse about face....
hinged benders are easy to make.
i did put a webpage together with a simple one on.

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
"William G Darby" wrote in message news:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
A friend of mine who repairs cars found a biiiig flypress in his
he scounged some offcut's of pressbrake[?] tooling and it is very
He was intending on just doing the odd repair panel but he has done
brakets for shelving and all sorts of stuff, all his scrap metal had
bends in it;-)
A hinged bender is very easy to make the only thing is the bit's needs
to be very ridgid to hold a precise radius, if you try and make
repeatable bends with a floppy bender it's real grief, especially if
they have to fit together.
I knocked up a short bender to do some chassis patches IIRC it's some
bit's of 1/4" 2"x2" angle and it was ok bending 12 swg sheet about
eight inches long.
I used the same priciples on a folder to do 6 feet 20 swg aluminium
sheet. or maybe .htm

I like the magnabender - aussie thing with an electromagnet- the
hinges are very neat, they are clear of the bend center. you can get
the drawings for the hinges from the pattent office.


Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Thanks Richard

Enjoyed your site!

The hinge bender plan is nice and straight forward. I know what you mean by
having to have a rigid set up in order to get good bends. That's why I am
partial to using the milling vise as a means of clamping the work. At the
moment I have 12" by 2" jaws in my 6" Kurt type (Indian) vise and my thought
was to just add a hinge to the end of the non moving jaw that way the vise
would do the clamping. Anyway it's still mulling around in my head.

Thanks !!

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
There's a Gingery book on building a sheet metal brake.  Of course, you can
rent them.  There's also a tool used by roofers (years ago)on the roof for
standing seam tin roofs, bends about 16" per action, probably impossible to
find now (my moron neighbor had one from the junkyard, but left out it in
his yard for the local scum to steal).  But consider well if tin
encapsulation is really what you want; it prevents the wood from drying out,
and promotes rot and insect damage, besides giving an older home that ghetto
look.  Open, painted wood of the right species should last at least a
century, and dutchman patches might double that.  Epoxy wood fillers are a
nifty way to save complex shapes.  Note that this is the last year CCA
treated timber will be sold.
Quoted text here. Click to load it
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)

Quoted text here. Click to load it

And I just built a complete deck and gazebo with the stuff.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: DIY Sheet metal brake. (how to make one)
wrote something
......and in reply I say!:


Really? Is this as in "not sold at all"? Fencing and all?

I have wondered when it would start. I think the stuff is pretty evil,
mainly because of the long-term problem, apart from any poisoning
troubles. Pity. It is so durable and completely rot and pest-proof.

I live in Oz. We are of course way behind all this, and I have heard

I will check out a search. Any suggested sites?

Thanks in advance.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I could never _see_ myself as anything!

Nick White --- HEAD:Hertz Music
Please remove ns from my header address to reply via email
   _/ )
   (   )
  _//- \__/

Site Timeline