Metal Bending - Another Crosspost

Ok... there are obviously sheet metal brakes out there to do this, but the price gets up there pretty quickly. I was wondering if it would be
practical bend some small pieces of aluminum in my hydraulic press by positioning them between a couple pieces of steel angle iron or perhaps making some "special" angle with a sharp inner corner or rounded outer corner to better match the two pieces and get a more uniform bend. Not a lot of work this way. Just some simple one off stuff.
The second part of my wondering, and hence the cross post, is would this result in to much contamination of the aluminum for good quality welding?
Bob La Londe http://www.YumaBassMan.com
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Bob La Londe wrote:

This is called a press brake, and is quite common.

If the surfaces of the angle are clean and smooth, it shouldn't be any problem. Of course, only certain alloys weld well. Don't try to bend 2024, either, without annealing first, or it just breaks.
Jon
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This is the way most high-volume bending is done in production -- albeit with fancier tools. The female tool is usually positioned with the angle at the bottom, making a V-shape as you look at it from the side of the press. The male tool -- the mating V -- is positioned on the ram.

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Unless you reinforce the angles they will bow and the bend in the aluminum will be uneven.
For a few thin pieces a better way is to screw one angle to the edge of a heavy plank and clamp the aluminum against it with another angle, then make the bend with a rubber hammer.
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I have a lot of aluminum to bend so I made some hinges to join the angle and channel stock I had been hammering on. The grey color is epoxy paint to protect the finish on the siding. The hinges are on short bolt-on sections, allowing the brake to be shortened for heavier stock.
http://picasaweb.google.com/KB1DAL/HomeMadeMachines/photo#5213895632358276434
I showed it to a neighbor who then told me he had a Tapco siding brake I could borrow.
Jim Wilkins
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You can make your own for not much money.
The Miller welding site has a list of simple projects with plans and a sheet metal break is one of them....
http://www.millerwelds.com/interests/projects/bending-brake/

Sure, that would work. As the other poster said, that type of configuration is the standard way it's done in industry. But of course, the dies are custom made tooling with a female tool steel V block at the bottom and a mail V block in the top.
Here's an example of a typical Hydraulic Press Break...
http://www.betenbender.com/Press%20Brakes.htm
As the other poster said, if you just use angle iron alone it might not be strong enough. You might have to reinforce it one way or another to keep it from bowing. It's just a function of how much force it takes to bend the aluminum and how large and strong of an angle you use. I'd just experiment and adjust as needed to make it work. If you have a press strong enough to do it, it sounds like a good way to do it.

Shouldn't be an issue. As the other person said, make the steel surfaces smooth and clean and the contamination should be minimal. Just clean the aluminum (as is always advised) before welding.

The clamp and hammer solution as suggested by the other poster is also dead simple and very effective. I just did that this morning to make an aluminum bracket to attach a tall cabinet to the wall. Creating dies for your press will probably produce better bends but will take you a bit more time and effort and experimenting to get it working correctly.
--
Curt Welch http://CurtWelch.Com /
snipped-for-privacy@kcwc.com http://NewsReader.Com /
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wrote:

This works well for me for short bends:
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/ArborPressBrake01.jpg
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/ArborPressBrake02.jpg
Longer bends. Those are v-bottomed grooves milled in the stock with a single flute countersink in the first pic.
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/Mailbox00.JPG
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/Mailbox01.JPG
http://www.suscom-maine.net/~nsimmons/news/Mailbox02.JPG
--
Ned Simmons

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Interesting stuff. I actually have a hydraulic press. Don't think I'ld have the strength to much bennding with a manual press. A few weeks ago I wanted to due some stuff, and found the seals where bad on the jack in mine, so I replaced it with an air operated one. Whoooooeeee! Now that some cool sh, er, stuff. I used it to straighten a shaft on something. Roll, mark, bend, roll, mark, bend. And talk about fast. I wish I'ld ponied up for an air operated jack a long time ago. I then figured out an easy way to gget the jeck in and out so I can use it for other stuff. I just extend it, put in two blocks, and then release pressure. Takes about ten seconds to take the jack out so I can use it for things like lifting trailers and trucks. Now, I'm thinking about getting a longer air operated ram for my cherry picker too. Work is kinda fun when you have cool tools to do it with.
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Ned Simmons writes:

You're really dating yourself with that tape moistener.
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I do this in my hydraulic press.
Go to: http://www.spaco.org/Press.htm
I don't know about the contamination, but I doubt if it would be problem. I'd say that more alumimum is going to rub off on the steel of the dies that the other way around.
Pete Stanaitis ------------------------
Bob La Londe wrote:

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Hmmm... I like the idea of putting some casters on it. I may do that too. Right now its out in the middle of my shop.

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Not sure what your price limit is, but Northern Tool has a couple of hydraulic press add-ons the create a press brake.
Ken
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That's some cool stuff. This one got my attention not because if its overall size or anything, but its capacity. http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_21896_21896 1/2 material. That's pretty incredible.
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Speaking of Northern Tool. Are there any other hardware vendors out there with the diverse product lines like they carry?
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Well, there is Harbor Freight. But much of Northern Tool's stuff seems a bit better quality.
Ken
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Harbor Freight is a great place to pick up cheap wrenches for torch and hammer bending to make single use custom wrenches, but... LOL.
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