You can build a sheet metal brake to bend metal for different tasks like auto body restorations or steel parts fabrication. It’s almost impossible to bend sheet metal manually; the machine will help you finish the task with ease. Sheet metal brakes are available in stores selling industrial equipment; but if you make your own, you can customize it according to the size and specifications you need. Regardless of size, metal brakes works on the same principles.
Step 1 - Prepare the Angle Iron
Get an angle iron and cut three pieces of angle iron, 2x2 inches and 1/4-inch thick. Each piece should measure 30 inches long. Using an electric drill, bore a hole on either end with each one measuring 1/2-inch. The hole should be a quarter from the ends, i.e, 1/4-inch from the ends and clear 1 inch from the side.
Step 2 - Attach the Nuts and Bolts
On the underside of the hole you made on the angle iron, weld carefully a 7/16-inch coarse threaded nut and attach an inch long 7/16-inch bolt to the threaded nut. Repeat the same procedure on the other end of the angle iron.
Step 3: Making a Hinge
To make a hinge for your sheet metal brake, align the two angle irons: the angle iron with a welded threaded nut and the undrilled angle iron. Put the nipple pipes in between the two angle irons and carefully weld the nipple pipes onto the steel rod, do this alternately to form the hinge. Take care not to weld the pipes together.
Step 4: Installing the Lever
Measure the exact center of the angle iron and place the pipe here. Now weld it at the back of the angle rod in an upright position.
Step 5: Clamps Lock
Thread the two remaining 7/16-inch nuts on the 3-inch long bolts with the remaining piece of angle iron with the drilled holes. This will serve as the clamp that will keep the sheet metal in place while bending.
Step 6: Testing Your Sheet Metal Brake
Get a metal sheet to be bent and place it in between the angle iron you have drilled. Using a wrench, tighten the bolts to clamp your sheet. On the metal sheet you are going to bend, put a mark on which part you want to bend it. Align this mark with the clamp bar. By lifting up the pipe nipple handle, you can now start to bend your metal sheet to your desired angle using your custom-made sheet metal brake.