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Guide How To: Metal Bending Guide

Discussion in 'Modding' started by GuardianStorm, 13 Jan 2007.

  1. GuardianStorm

    GuardianStorm Active Member

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    As requested, a short guide on how I bend metal

    First off I'll start with what tools I use.

    [​IMG]
    ^ A Large Hammer, And Square.
    From Top to bottom:
    A piece of wood
    German Beech Mould
    A piece of softwood
    A Sheet of metal to be bent.

    The piece of wood and the Mould are used to clamp the metal in the vice, and the second (the discoloured piece) is used for absorbing the hammer impacts, as to not dent the metal

    [​IMG]
    ^ This is the Vice setup I use. The mould is on the far side, followed by the metal, followed by a piece of wood. The mould and block of wood really need to be longer than the piece of metal to be bent, and when put in the vice, keep the tops level.

    I also point out that you will need to take into account the thickness of the metal you are bending.

    [​IMG]
    ^ This is roughly how I work the length of my metal. The length of the long side you want is 20mm and the short side 5mm. You have 1mm thick metal, and thus I overlap my dimensions by 1mm, to allow for the thickness of the metal to make up the rest of the distance. NOTE: I always have a piece of metal too big in the direction of folding, so that I can trim off excess, and make the piece the exact correct length.

    [​IMG]
    ^ I start off the bend using the thin end of the softwood. You only need to behind the metal slightly, one or two hits of the hammer per area is generally fine. Work along the length of the metal to keep a consistent bend.

    [​IMG]
    ^ This is the angle I have ended up with after my first set of hits. A little too far bent over for a larger sheet of metal. As this is only a narrow bend, I will continue to bend the metal with the thin end of the softwood.

    [​IMG]
    ^ For a taller sheet of metal, I would now flip my softwood, and use the large flat side. This stops this happening:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    ^ The bend is now fully down onto the top of the mould, however it is not complete yet.

    [​IMG]
    ^ I would next use the thin end of the softwood along the corner of the metal. This is to help press the metal right into the corner of your mould, and thus end up with a cleaner 90 degree angle (this works with other angles too, obviously)

    [​IMG]
    ^ Next I flip the bend, so that the side we were hitting with the hammer & softwood is now in the vice, and the original held side of the join is exposed. This is then hit with the hammer & softwood to also help the angle form properly.

    [​IMG]
    ^ If the piece is the right size to fit into the smaller metal vice we have, I will finish the corner off on that. This is how the corner went into the vice.

    [​IMG]
    ^ And here we have it post flattening (Again using the hammer & softwood). All that remains to do is make sure the flat parts of your metal are properly flat.

    [​IMG]
    ^ One finished bend. The metal is not perfect, as I wrote the guide using a scrap piece I had lying around.

    I hope this was useful to everyone :)
     
  2. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    wonderful! \o/
     
  3. galimim

    galimim New Member

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    Nice guide!! It is the way I do it and it has never failed me :D :D
     
  4. h_2_o

    h_2_o New Member

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    I used to do it that way a lot, good guide btw. then one day i decided to try a break from harbor freight and to be honest it is a bit easier. if you can grab one for cheap and do a lot of bending they are well worth it. the one thing i really like about it is i do not get the vise marks on it any more and i really dont need to do the touchup with a hammer and softwood. anyway if you are not sure what i'm talking about lookie at this

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=39103
     
  5. GuardianStorm

    GuardianStorm Active Member

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    Thanks :)

    Thanks :)

    I use a very good break when I'm in the university workshop, its bending bar is made up of lots of segments so that if you need to bend up a small flap of material in the centre of something (think about how you would bend a net of a box) you can just use the block that is wide enough. Very useful.

    I would get one of those breaks, however I am in the UK, so I cant really buy that one. I am on the lookout for one though :)
     
  6. h_2_o

    h_2_o New Member

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    very cool, ever play with a cnc break? a friend has one and those things are freaky cool. I dont get to play with it much but like the one you have at the university workshop it can do crazy things. sorry you dont have any local shops that sell the small breaks they work rather well for most of the stuff i do.
     
  7. Guest-23315

    Guest-23315 Guest

    nice....

    same principal as the motorised one we have at school.
     
  8. Duste

    Duste Sierra my delta, bravo!

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    Thanks for the guide, I'll definately use it! ;)
     
  9. ỒĊBłůē

    ỒĊBłůē Also available in black

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    Nice guide :D

    When we did fabrication back when I was an apprentice, there was a formula for calculating material allowances for bending sheet metal - I'm stuffed if I can remember it though :duh:
    Here you go.
     
  10. metarinka

    metarinka New Member

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    yah I have 2 finger brakes ( the segments are called fingers) and then an 8' tradional brake as well as a press. It is the convenient way to bend things but this is the nice at home way when all you have is a vice and hammer.

    you'd be surprised what you can do on just a brake, you can make very strong joints and bend interesting shapes, I made a tool box without using any type of screw, rivet, or weld to keep it together. all I used was a brake and a shear to cut the pieces.
    [​IMG]
    here's the tool box at large I use it to carry my fabrication tools from time to time.
    [​IMG]
    here's the joint, IIRC it's called a Pittsburg lock, used it a lot back in the early 20th century when riveting wasn't practical. It's an interesting concept to phsically lock 2 pieces of sheet in a straight line or at a 90 degree angle and trust me you'll never get it undone
     
  11. mnpctech

    mnpctech bit-tech sponsor

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    I love the low buck Diy guides!
     
  12. GuardianStorm

    GuardianStorm Active Member

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    thanks very much :) (its low pound here though :p)

    the Pittsburg lock looks interesting too, might have to experiment with that when i get home from uni :)
     
  13. Rage.

    Rage. New Member

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    fantasmo. will help me a lot when/if i use metal.
    thanks heaps =D
     
  14. cr3ativ3

    cr3ativ3 New Member

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    quite helpfull, imo!

    i was thinking about using this method, and now i know that i'll need that tiny piece of soft wood to absorve(is this the word?) the hammer impact, so you dont your piece of metal "injured"..

    nice!
     
  15. GuardianStorm

    GuardianStorm Active Member

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    glad your finding it useful.

    @cr3ativ3: you mean 'absorb' but yes, it is there to absorb hammer impact.
     
  16. cr3ativ3

    cr3ativ3 New Member

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    yes, that's the word! :duh:
    tried that yesteray by the way, and the test went quite well :p

    regards
     
  17. Star*Dagger

    Star*Dagger New Member

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    Does anyone have a lead on one of those bend breaks in Europe?

    Certainly we must have them, i just dont know what they would be called in German (or in British ;)

    Thx,
    S*D
     
  18. Gordy

    Gordy Evil Teddy

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    I have one of the bending brakes linked above and they are very good. They produce almost perfect bends everytime. Without marking the metal.
     
  19. karolis

    karolis Code Monkey

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    Great tutorial, but i have a question.
    I need to bend 5mm width piece of folded 2mm thick aluminum into a 2cm radius quarter-circle.
    Now i've seen people using something similar to those tube bending machines to do that, but is there a way to achieve that with home tools?

    Also, maybe this is not the right thread for this, but, how would i go about attaching 2 perpendicular pieces of alu? Welding? As i have no experience in that at all, any other method? this is structural point, so the seal must be strong.
     
  20. GuardianStorm

    GuardianStorm Active Member

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    you could bend round a corner of suitable diameter (broom handle etc), rather than on a corner, but I don't know how a rolling machine would work I'm afraid.
     
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