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Thread: How to use a sheet metal folding tool

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    How to use a sheet metal folding tool

    So I want to fabricate a couple ideas I have tossing around inside my head. How does one use one of these to fold sheet metal? I'm looking to buy 26 gauge sheet metal and I want to custom fabricate a lip for my car and an enclosure for a future car-puter. Can this be used to form an enclosure for a basic mini-ITX carputer setup?


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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    It's called a sheet metal brake. Here's some instructions.
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    I built a homemade brake just like the one in the pic,but made the lower bending arms longer for more leverage,and I added gussets on the clamp for strength.I can bend up to 16 gauge with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by juzlookzfazt View Post
    So I want to fabricate a couple ideas I have tossing around inside my head. How does one use one of these to fold sheet metal? I'm looking to buy 26 gauge sheet metal and I want to custom fabricate a lip for my car and an enclosure for a future car-puter. Can this be used to form an enclosure for a basic mini-ITX carputer setup?

    Actually, that's not a real brake. That's a sheet metal lip bender, and it's good at producing a lip on sheet metal. The one I've seen has 3/8-inch and 1-inch slots. You insert a sheet in it, press the flat sheet against a hard, smooth surface -- like a workbench -- and then twist the bender upward to make a lip or flange. While it's good for making a lip, it isn't the sort of thing to make an enclosure; it's just too rudimentary.

    For about $35 plus a few bucks in shipping, you can get a more useful tool: a small -- 18-inch -- bending brake from Harbor Freight:


    It's similar to the one Bugbyte referred you to. I think you'd be a lot happier with that. It's a tool you can use to make the box in the video demonstration, or you could use it to make your enclosure. If you go that route, you'll probably want to invest in some clamps to hold your work on the brake, plus a drill and a pop rivet tool, as well.

    On the other hand, $35 is more than enough to buy a beautiful aluminum ready-made project box and lid from Mouser.com, and that would be ready to modify for your PC:


    Here's the data sheet on them.

    For more information on metalworking tools, see posts 603 through 617 of my worklog.
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    Variable Bitrate Deric's Avatar
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    I have the Harbor freight one and it does what it is supposed to do. If you need complex bends I would look at outsourcing the box. For a basic open case the HF brake will be all that you need. One suggestion though it get decent clamps to mount your metal to the brake.

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    Clamps as in C-clamps as shown in the picture? The brake and c-clamps is all that is necessary, correct?

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    Variable Bitrate Deric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juzlookzfazt View Post
    Clamps as in C-clamps as shown in the picture? The brake and c-clamps is all that is necessary, correct?
    That's correct. you will have to clamp the metal you are bending and clamp the brake to a table if you don't want to mount it.

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    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juzlookzfazt View Post
    Clamps as in C-clamps as shown in the picture? The brake and c-clamps is all that is necessary, correct?
    Deric is absolutely on target here. Don't get small or cheap clamps; spend a few extra bucks and get really sturdy ones. I'd get a pair of 6-inch or larger ones. Good clamps make for nice, tight bends. Clamp as close to the work as possible.

    You can make your life easier by mounting the brake on a couple of 2x4s, maybe 18 inches long. Then you don't have to balance the brake when bending. Mount the brake near the back of the 2x4s, facing you. Use one bolt on each side -- at the back mounting holes in the brace feet; when you're done, the legs can be swung in for easy storage.
    .
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

    2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...res-links.html
    .

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    Ah I see! Luckily I have some 6" c-clamps already from my brake-job I did last year hehe. I guess I'm half way there lol

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