Aluminum Bending Tutorial And A DIY Brake

What makes a project really exceptional? Part of it is a, ‘gee, that’s clever’ angle with a little bit of, ‘that’s actually possible.’ One thing the Hack a Day crew really appreciates is awesome enclosures. Altoids tins will get you far, but to step up to the big leagues you’ve got to bend some aluminum. Luckily, [Rupert] sent in a great tutorial on bending aluminum sheets for enclosures.

To make his press brake, [Rupert] scavenged a few pieces of 38mm bamboo worktop scraps. After assembling a few of these pieces with some hinges, he was ready to bend some aluminum.

One trick [Rupert] picked up is scoring the sheet metal on the inside of a future bend. For [Rupert]’s project, he sent his 3mm aluminum sheet through a table saw set to cut 1mm deep. Of course this should only be done with a blade designed for non-ferrous metals with as many carbide teeth as possible. Judging from [Rupert]’s homebuilt Hi-Fi that used this construction technique, the results are phenomenal.

10 thoughts on “Aluminum Bending Tutorial And A DIY Brake

  1. An aluminum enclosure sure beats what I had planned for my electric brew kettle controller and I already have that harbor freight brake. Where does one go about buying sheets of reasonably thick aluminum?

    1. Depends on where you live. In the U.S. you can see if there is a Yarde metals near your location. There are a lot of small “Metal Supply” shops throughout the area. Or you can look for a “Sheet Metal” company and walk in asking for some material. But you have to be specific in the type, thickness and size of the aluminum. In the U.S. aluminum comes in .010 or .015 increments. Most common aluminum I use is 5052-H32 .060″. Some shops will actually give you a piece at scrap value (or free) if it’s small enough.

      1. 5052 is what we generally use for enclosure construction. It bends very well you can also use 6061 but you have to anneal it otherwise it will crack and break at your bend lines.

    1. A category about enclosures, or just dressing up a project to look nice, would be great. With or without the category, though, I think you should send in your enclosure projects.

      Also, a lot of robot kits I’ve been seeing recently use aluminum sheet bent like this, so enclosures are only a small part of what we can be doing with this info.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.