Build A Sheet Metal Brake With No Welding Required

Sometimes, there’s a job to be done and the required tools don’t fall easily to hand. [Bob] found himself in just such a position, needing to get some window flashing made up despite lacking a sheet metal brake. After waiting far too long for someone else to do the job, [Bob] elected to simply make the tools and do it himself instead (Youtube link, embedded below).

The project came about simply because [Bob] needed to bend 42″ sections of flashing, and couldn’t find a decent deal on a sheet metal brake above 36″ wide. The build starts with some angle iron and simple hinges, bolted together to form a basic brake design. With some rectangular hollow section bolted on for handles, the brake is then clamped to the bench and is ready for action.

It’s a build that any experienced hacker could whip up in an afternoon and be pumping out basic sheet metal parts by sundown, and requires no welding to boot. To learn more about bending sheet metal, check out our primer on the subject. Video after the break.


15 thoughts on “Build A Sheet Metal Brake With No Welding Required

  1. i once built one of these out of a couple pine two by fours and some wishful thinking (in place of hinges), to fold a bit of flashing to go under a door. i’m jealous of [Bob]’s contraption.

      1. the problem i had was worse than that – without hinges, i had a heck of a time bending the whole length in one consistent go, so the metal became a little rippled. the customer’s lax standards at inspection time were the only thing that made the project a success.

  2. If all you wanna to is fold metal to go around a window I guess it will sort of work for you. The method of holding the piece to be bent down leaves a lot to be desired, and it does not have fingers so there is no bending boxes or what have you. This is more of a tool for doing siding or roofing where you just want to put simple long bends in light material like flashing. For my shop space, I would hold out for a proper box and pan brake. For me this is more a jig you build to do a project than a project in itself.

    1. This is “a jig you build to do a project”, accordingly it is useful “to fold metal to go around a window”, aka “to put simple long bends in flashing”.

  3. While I echo the sentiment, if shop space is going to be committed to a metal brake, a pan brake. However if you don’t need more than this, this is a good build. Me I’d forgo the flat stock withe an angle ironreinforcement, Id get some heavier U channel stock

  4. Built three of these before I graduated hi skool. All before the Intern0t. From PLANS out of a MAGAZINE called Popular Mechanics. READING IS FUNDAMENTAL.

  5. If I were to build anything like this I would have a series of holes at six inch intervals along the flat so that as to get a good grip on narrow pieces.
    Rather than welding tabs to prevent tilting I woul fasten the angle to a piece of 6×1 hatdwood which I would clamp to the bench.

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