Anybody have recommendations for a good sheet metal brake for FRC? I would like something that could bend up to 1/8 aluminum. It seems most the hobbyist or light industrial brakes cannot.
I’ve looked around for the same thing. There are some guides on how to weld up some supports for the small Harbor Freight brake that will let it bend some lengths of 1/8" aluminum.
We are looking at getting thisin our new shop next year. The spec sheet says it can bend 8 gauge aluminum which is just over 1/8". I highly doubt it can do that at full width but it can probably do some length of it and bend 090 pretty easily. Haven’t used it yet though, so it could be terrible. It’s also huge.
Check with sheetmetal shops or heating and air conditioning places and see
if they have an old one they might part with…Also check Craigs list.
The Chicago brake company (which is still in business) makes very good
ones. You can get either a full brake or a finger brake. (has adjustable
brake fingers) i’d suggest the later if you can find one.
I have one for our team (its a old 1940’s Chicago full brake thats 6 feet long)
if i can ever get it out of the shipyard i work for. The sheetmetal shop here
decided to replace it with a newer one. It can probably bend 3/8 aluminum
with no problem. Its heavy as heck though.
Through the generosity of our school district, we received this 3 in 1 brake/shear/roller so we can finally process sheet easily in-house.
It does 1/8" aluminum and up to 20 gauge steel on all functions, and works quite well. May not be the best for the price but sure does what we needed and well. Seems to be pretty robust as well. Also bends up to 3/8" steel rod. The brake blades and reliefs are standard sizes, what our sheet metal sponsor uses on some machines.
Beware, this thing weighs 1200lbs and is not easy to move from the school loading dock halfway across the school to your lab without a pallet jack. Learned this the hard way.
we need one too, but rather than a pan-brake, I’m considering a brake-roll-shear. Because they’re a press-brake, they will offer more flexibility in bends.
We’ll probably buy used, but here is a new one we’ll also consider:
We have a few similar brakes in our shop. They are useful but not as accurate as a press brake. 610 has some tips for using them in their design manuals.
I would definitely check with local area shops. We got our brake third-hand for free… it’s large, heavy duty, and could probably bend just about anything we would imagine throwing at it. I think it was originally built in the 50’s and could probably survive a nuclear holocaust and still be in working order. They just don’t build them like they used to!
We have a brake and use it frequently for sheet metal parts, but I would be cautious as to what parts are being bent and how crucial the dimensions are to function. We have had solid experience with doing structural flanges on gussets for support, but when you start adding crucial holes on both sides of the bend, you start relying not just on how well those holes were cut while the piece was flat, but also how well the bends were done by hand and to a somewhat arbitrary angle. just a thought. I kinda wish we had one of those fancy sheet metal presses with the precise angle dies…
Becker High SChool (FRC 4607) just purchased one of these and I will be honest, we are not happy with it. It is not a machine that was built well. It is very inaccurate and many of the fittings are either to sloppy, or to tight.
Save your $500 and find a second hand one.
Just my 2cents.
Hard to go wrong with any old Pexto stuff. That’s what we have. That would have to be a craigslist find though.
thanks for the advice. Sorry you had to find out the ‘hard-way’.
Watching craigslist until then.
just use some steel rollers made of 1/4 mild steel a digging bar to lift it on some 2"x 4"