I am looking into getting a metal brake for making 90 degree bends
lengthwise in 24-3/8" long, 16(or possibly 14) gauge steel.
I'll also need something that will allow me to turn .005 to .020"
thick sheet metal into "U" channels with 1/4" sides.
Assuming that I'll need two different brakes for these two projects,
I'd appreciate any advice on the approximate size and cost of the
hardware I should be looking into.
Thanks a lot.
Staten Island, New York.
Why would you need two brakes? There are all
sorts of brakes, but the most flexible are called
finger brakes. Some only allow the side flages to
stick up so far before the brake beam hits them.
Others have a lot of clearance.
Newer models are in the press brake form, and have
even more clearance than most finger brakes. But,
these often can't go past 90 degrees with the
standard die sets.
16 gauge is petty standard for serious brakes. That is what my
24" DiAcro has as its maximum. The Chinese imports (Harbor Freight and
the like) are probably limited to 18 gauge instead. For 14 gauge and
thicker, you are talking about *seriously* heavy equipment. :-) It was a
major task getting my 16 gauge 24" DiAcro up onto a workbench. Two
people siding it up a board ramp which was bowing significantly.
And what *width* of 'U'?
I don't think that a finger (or pan) brake would be very easy to
produce a U with 1/4" sides -- depending on just how *wide* it is. If
it is say an inch wide -- fine. When I hear 'U', I think of something
not as wide as it is tall (like the letter 'U' on my screen. :-)
If it is as wide as the side height (1/4") then that would not
work well at all -- unless he makes custom fingers for the brake.
Again -- custom die set for the 'U'. Perhaps with a guide
included for the width of the stock prior to bending, so it remains
centered as the punch enters the die.
You will need a pretty HD brake for that length of 16GA. For the U
channel, think outside the box. This needs to be rolled, not pressed.
A bead roller will work for that material; you will need to modify the
female die to allow the sides of the channel to form.
Dweller in the cellar
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Doubt yourself, and the real world will eat you alive
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That bend will require serious force. A leaf brake (is that what
they're called?) would be massive & expensive. A press brake would be
more reasonable. Even so, it would have to be big. I can make a 21"
bend in 14 ga in my 20T press, but only with a cheater. I made mine
from a 20T HF hydraulic press & it doesn't have a 24-3/8 opening. The
HF 50T has the width & the muscle, but it's $700 vs $200 for the 20T
How long is the bend & how wide is the U? For a narrow U, clearance can
be a problem with the 2nd bend. But it could be done with a dedicated
die in a press brake.
Maybe not, it depends.
What's that Lassie? You say that Searcher7 fell down the old
rec.crafts.metalworking mine and will die if we don't mount a rescue
by Mon, 5 Apr 2010 17:13:07 -0700 (PDT):
harbor freight has a 48" box and pan brake that is rated for 16 ga.
part # 45876-1CYH
for the 'U' channel, you might be better off if you find some square
tubing(1/4 x 1/2) and have it cut in half. Plasma cutter would do it,
or a band saw.
[ ... ]
[ ... ]
It is close enough to 1/16" so you can use that as a guide.
That will be difficult given how much steel will be clamped to
the metal right where the bend goes. It will take you hours to heat it,
and you will be reducing the hardness of the fingers and other contact
If you are starting with mild steel, you probably won't need to
do the heating -- unless you work-harden it by the first bend.
O.K. As a couple of points of reference:
24" 325 100
36" 470 140
So -- do you plan to use it in the basement? You certainly
don't plan to haul it upstairs use it and then haul it back down. You
are still in the apartment building?
And in the basement, you want to be sure to coat it with a good
oil or rust preventive (certainly not WD-40. :-)
And the limit for my Di-Acro is precisely 24".
Hmm ... from the manual for the #24 and #36 Brakes:
NOTE: Di-Acro Brakes are rated for 1" minimum flange when
bending full capacity. Caution should be used if necessary to
bend heavier gauge material in short widths.
And 16 gauge is the full capacity - especially at a full 24"
long. So a press brake with a custom punch and die would probably be
better for you.
Here is the Di-Acro page dealing with the brakes (24" and 36"
ones). They used to have their manuals available for download in pdf
format. I think some others have the files still available.
Ok, no heating...
Yes, mild steel is what I'll be using.
The basement would be my only option. The small room in my apartment
is for the lathe, Mill/Drill, and other smaller machines.
I use WD-40 to clean, and depending on what the tool/machine white
lithium grease or 3-in-1 oil.
Ok, I guess this will be more difficult than I thought. I'd assume I'd
probably need a larger and heavier machine than your Di-Arco. :-(
Ok, I'm doing my research on those.
Thanks a lot.
Staten Island, New York.