Sunday, July 22, 2012

DIY Metal Brake

Here is the full build tutorial for the metal bending tool (aka: a metal brake). We hope this tutorial is helpful. Happy Making.


METAL BRAKE:

This project may not seem extremely exciting but it is very useful and satisfying to create other parts with once it is finished. It IS exciting, get EXCITED! If you are a true Maker, you are already teeming with excitement over the fact that you are reading another tutorial and expanding your mind's quiver.

Recently, I needed 90 degree bends in aluminum stock to create brackets for a project I have going. I grabbed $25, ran to Home Depot and after a few hours created my own metal bending tool. Quick, dirty, simple and cheap.


video
Movie 1: Using the brake to create a 90 degree bend in aluminum


A Few Quick Notes:
The symbol " denotes inches.
Quantities come before descriptions of materials and are followed by an "x".
I used button head machine screws but in retrospect, it would be better to use flat head screws and countersink them.
Everything you need can easily be purchased at Home Depot or similar.


Materials:
1) 1x 2" width by 1/8" thick flat steel stock
(I bought 36" of this for $6.97)

2) 1x 6" lengths of 1" Steel L bracket
(I bought 36" of this for $6.47)

3) 9x #8-32 x 3/8" machine screws (preferably flat head)
(I bought a box of 100 button heads for $5.80)

4) 2x #8-32 x 1" machine screws
(I bought a 4 pack for $1.18)

5) 2x #8-32 wing-nuts
(I bought a 6 pack for $1.18)

6) 9x #8 lock washers
(I bought a 30 pack for $1.18)

7) 10x #8-32 hex nuts
(I bought a 100 pack for $3.92)

8) 2x 1/2" hinges
(I bought a 2 pack of 1.5" loose pin zinc hinges for $2.27)

This all adds up to just under $29 but if you skip the 100 and 30 packs of screws and washers and just get what you need, you should be able to get it down to $25.



Tools:
1) Metal saw
(I got by with a hacksaw with a metal cutting blade)

2) Power Drill

3) 5/32" drill bit for metal
(just big enough diameter to get a #8 screw through with a little coaxing from a screwdriver)

4) 5/16" drill bit for metal
(not a must have but useful for cleaning up the edges on the smaller holes you drill)

5) Screwdriver
(whichever type that corresponds to the machine screws you buy)

6) Pliers
(For holding nuts while you tighten machine screws)


Cost: < $25 (not including tools)

Time: ~2 hours

Drink: Coffee.



STEP 1: Cut Metal to Length
First things first, take the steel L bracket and steel flat stock you have and cut it to length. You will need the following lengths:

1) 4x 6" lengths of steel L bracket (see image 1).
2) 1x 6" length of steel flat stock (see image 2).



Image 1:  Steel L bracket

Image 2:  Flat steel plate

I cut these lengths the hard way using my hacksaw with a metal cutting blade attached. If you do not have any way of cutting metal you can pick up a hacksaw for cheap and get by. If you have a chop saw or band saw you can get through this stuff with, even better.

Note: Disregard the holes in the metal on the images above. We will take care of those in the next step.


STEP 2: Drill a few holes!
Take your four lengths of L bracket and individually label them parts A, B, C and D. From here on we will take about each length in this way.

In retrospect I should have purchased flat head #8 machine screws and countersunk them as that would make the tool all that much sexier, as well as alleviate some of the issues I had with the screw heads interfering with the hinges fully closing. Thus, if you can, find a large drill bit you can use to drill countersinks after drilling the initial holes and use flat head machine screws.

Part A:
Take the length of L bracket you labeled part "A" and drill one hole on the center line of one flange 1/2 inch from the end of the part (see image 3).


Image 3: Part "A"
Part B:
Take the length of L bracket you labeled part "B" and drill one hole on the center line of one flange 1/2 inch from the end of the part (see image 4). Note the difference in location of the hole between part A and part B.

Image 4: Part "B"

Note: The hinges mount to parts C and D and thus, the hole placement is critical and will differ by what hinges you use. The critical elements are placing the holes appropriately so that the round part of the hinge is flush with the edge of the L bracket (see image 5) and mounting the hinges close to the ends of parts C and D.

Image 5: Note positioning of hinges on L bracket

Part C:
Take the length of L bracket you labeled part "C" and drill four holes on one flange to mount your hinges to (see image 6). These four holes are for your hinges and it is critical that they are placed appropriately. Make sure you line the rounded edge of the hinge up with the edge of the L bracket when defining your hole placement.

On the opposite flange of part C drill one hole along the center line of the flange 1/2 inch from the end (see image 6).

Image 6: Part "C"
Part D:
Create part D just as you did part C but this time place two holes (one at each end, 1/2 inch from the end) on the opposite flange from the flange the hinges will mount to (see image 7).



Image 7: Part "D"

Finally, take the 6 inch piece of flat steel stock and drill two holes as seen in image 8. The holes should be placed 1/2 inch from the end edges and 1/2 inch from the top edge.

Image 8: Flat steel stock with holes


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