I've been researching metal brakes, and I have decided I can't afford one, but I need one. I can't bend my bags without one unless I want them to look like hammered crap.
We have a nice brake at work, but it's only good for 22 ga. Everything for bending heavier gauge is $1,500 and up.
Thanks to the internet, there are a lot of DIYers out there just like us guys. After about 4 hours of research, I decided to make my own.
- again - all from scrap. I haven't bought a shred of metal yet.
The throat opening is 22", but it should have been 24". I was trying to make the hinges concealed in the base, but my battery drill took a dump in the last hour. The trigger burned out. Then I had to scab some hinges to the top, which took away an inch of working room on each side. The hinge placement was the hardest part.
The top clamp is constructed of 2" angle x 3/16". I welded in 3/16" gussets underneath. The brace of the top clamp is made of 3/4" I.D. black steel water pipe with a 1/2 bolt welded in to adjust down pressure.
The base is made with the top half I cut off my table legs shown earlier. (from old UPS battery racks) The base rotates up after you clamp your material down, making the bend. Handles are made with 1" rigid conduit. The pic doesn't show it, but I made another adjustable triangular bottom brace for the base - and it needed it! The base is also 3/16" steel C channel, and it was flexing when bending a 3/4" flange on the 1/8" x 22" piece of 3003 aluminum in the pic. Also shown - a 2" wide piece of 3/16" mild steel flatbar bent in a 90. My fugly homegrown brake bent it with little effort.
The brake bolts to my tabletop and is removeable if needed.
It took me about 10 hours to put this together and it works great! It's a bit slow since you have to tighten 3) 1/2" nuts for each bend, but it beats spending $1,500 for something made in China. I have maybe $10 in gas and wire in this bad boy.
More pics to come - I've made something every single week in the last two months since I began!