Prepare To Brake: Quick Intro To Metal Bending

If you want to bend metal to make shapes, you might use equipment like a brake. But if you don’t have one, no worries. You can still do a lot with common tools like a vise and torches. [Bwrussell] shows you how. He welds together a die to use as a bending jig and makes a set of table legs.

You might think that putting metal in a vise and bending it isn’t exactly brain surgery. It isn’t, but there is more to it than that. Starting with a bending plan and the creation of the jigs, clamping and bending is only part of it. You can see a little bit of the action in the video below.

Speaking of planning, the design was in Fusion 360’s sheet metal workflow. To facilitate the bends, the build uses two torches. A MAPP torch gets very hot, and a propane torch makes sure that a larger area stays hot. There are quite a few tips you can pick up in this post, even if you aren’t making table legs.

Fusion 360 does a lot of the design work, but if you want a quick lesson on what happens when you bend metal, we can help. Want to make your own metal brake?

9 thoughts on “Prepare To Brake: Quick Intro To Metal Bending

    1. While you are practically right, in basic workshop that is often unavoidable. Precision vise is not precision vise any more after much hammering and cast iron vise can easily crack. But all vises are definitely not created equal, some high quality (often vintage) vises can be beaten hell out of them and they take it like it’s nothing. Some other vise may crack even when tightened (with relatively short cheater bar). For this kind of work leg vise is better, they take beating much better and they won’t crack.

  1. There’s a lot more to it than just this 18 second clip. Try clicking the instructables link, and you’ll see a wealth of metal bending knowledge. If you can create content like that, then yes they’ll post it on hackaday.

  2. Different metals bend differently.

    Hardened aluminum (2024-Tnn, 6061-Tnn, etc) must be bent with a radius relative to it’s thickness.

    Mild steel stretches easily, so it can bend almost square.

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