Brake Press (homemade)
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,112

    Brake Press (homemade)

    I think my next project will be a hobby-use/light industrial strength brake press. i don't think i'll be doing much over 16, possibly 14 ga at the most. i'm curently planning on making this one:

    http://millerwelds.com/interests/pro...bending-brake/

    i'm not sure if this one will work well for me or not. does anyone have any input/experience with this build? any other ideas/home-made brake-presses that they have made in the past? i still have over a month before i'll be able to get it, so i have some time to ponder my options and think things thru. if i had the money, i'd much rather get a preofessionaly-built, heavy duty press, but my limited use will not justify the cost for me. any ideas you guys may have would be great.

    Later,
    Andy

    P.S. here is a link to other replies...

    http://microzone.us/weldingforum/index.php?topic=54.0

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Edison Wa.
    Posts
    712

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    You linked to plans for a very basic simple light duty sheet metal brake.
    As far as it goes, it will work fine.
    I really doubt it will bend a very wide piece of 14 gage, as it is quite light, but it should work fine on 18 or 20 gage.

    When bending sheet metal, you have to remember that the force required goes up as the square of the increase in thickness. Its not twice as hard to bend metal thats twice as thick- its four times as hard.

    So when you get into thicker sheet,you need a lot of brawn- and that means weight and mass.
    My 12 gage brake weighs 2000lbs.
    It uses that weight, and the thick metal sections its made up of, to resist the bending forces of the sheet metal.

    Frankly, you would be a lot better off saving your money and buying a "Finger Brake" which allows you to make two bends at right angles to each other- sometimes also called a "box and pan brake".
    The one on the Miller site is a straight brake. Much more limited in what it will do.
    Grizzly sells a 2 foot (the size of the Miller project) finger brake for only $215- and it will do much more than the homemade one will.
    http://www.grizzly.com/products/24-B...an-Brake/G0557

    A "Press Brake", which is the proper term, is another tool altogether- its a powered tool,not hand operated, that works by moving a ram straight down.
    The brake you linked to is called a "leaf brake" as it has two leaves that are hinged, and the opening and closing of the hinge bends the metal.

    A good leaf brake looks like this-
    http://www.americanmachinetools.com/hand_brake.htm

    A press brake, on the other hand, uses either the power from a flywheel (if its older than about 30 years) or hydraulic cylinders to run a V shaped top die down into an inverted V shaped bottom die, straight down.
    Here are some press brakes-
    http://www.americanmachinetools.com/press_brake.htm

    They both bend sheet metal, but use a totally different principle to do it.
    Press brakes can also be set up with dies to louver, or punch holes, or bend shapes a leaf brake cant get close to.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,112

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    Thanks for clearing that all up Reis... i was not aware that there were different types of brakes out there (i though they were all called "press brakes"). i was kinda wondering if the Miller press would work the way i want it too anyway. i'm thinking that i am going to build it up a bit to make it a little stronger. if i were to do this, where would i need to place re-inforcements and "beef-it-up" in order to withstand increased force? i plan on making the stand out of 1"x1"x14 ga sqare tube (lots of reinforcements and a few gusset plates out of 10 ga 304 SS [scrap from work]) and bolting it in the floor in my shop, and using 2"x2"x1/4" angle for the bending faces (if that's what you wanna call them). i know the hinges need to be quite a bit stronger, but that still needs to be thought out a bit. i'm not sure how to do it quite yet, but i'm thinking a similar design that was described on the miller site, but use 1/2"x2" flat stock and at least 5/8" round stock for the pivot pin. does that sound like it'd hold up for 14 ga? thanks again for all the help.

    Later,
    Andy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Edison Wa.
    Posts
    712

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    2x2x1/4 is way too wimpy for the bending angles if you really want to do 2 feet of 14 gage.
    Move up to at least 3/8" angle, Probably 3".
    The biggest weak spot is the 2' length of the two bending leaves- it needs to be very stiff, or it will crown, and open up in the middle, giving you very funky bends.
    The real brakes use the equivalent of something like 1" x 3" flat bar for the top leaf, reinforced with trusses on top of that.
    The bottom leaf is usually about a half inch thick x 8" or so piece of plate.

    But for the price of the scrap, just build it, and see where it bends. If it works, go with it. If it dont, rebuild.

    Just dont expect it to act like a 2000lb, $5000 commercial model.

    You do realize the Miller brake has no Clamping device?
    You have to clamp the top angle or bar or whatever down on top of your sheet every time, which is gonna get old fast.

    Get a free grizzly or jet catalog, study how they make the real ones.
    There is also a book available from Gingery, which is one step more real than the Miller one, although still pretty funky.
    http://www.runforcoverbooks.com/si/21703.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Spartanburg South Carolina
    Posts
    208

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    i would bite the bullet and buy one thats worth a d***

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,112

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    this what i came up with...

    http://microzone.us/weldingforum/index.php?topic=55.0

    i'm not sure if it can handle the 14 ga on it's own, but after i get the stand built (it'll be floor mounted by the time i'm done), it should be stiff enough to bend and 16 ga that will fit in there, according to my engineering programs/calculators at work anyway... we'll have to see tho. i played around at work a bit and talked to a few guys (welders and engineers) and they seem to think my idea will work okay... it mainly comes down to craftsmanship and the attention to detail, primarily at the hinge point. if them holes 'aint perfect, it can get messed up REAL fast. even a degree or two off could make it or break it. anyway, let me know what you think.

    Later,
    Andy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Stafford, VA
    Posts
    105

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    I found this site that has pretty good plans available for a pretty nice box/pan brake with teeth. It will handle some pretty hefty sheet.

    http://www.woodworkforums.com/f65/ma...rs-home-45792/
    Tony
    Miller Maxtron 300
    Miller Spoolmatic 3
    Victor Journeyman II
    "Twern't my ignorance done me in, but what I knowed that wasn't so." Uncle Tom's Cabin

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    3,691

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    This is a homemade Press brake.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    My name's not Jim....

    Syncrowave 200
    Millermatic 251 w/bottle mod
    Spoolmatic 30A
    Cutmaster 81
    Jet JTM-1 mill
    Jet GH-1340-W3 lathe
    Ellis 1600

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    147

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    My homemade Press Brake I made June of 2008

    I started with northern tools 40 ton 29" press brake. In actuality the die size is 26", they just rate the size by overall width.

    I was able to get 2 - 20 ton air/hydro jacks at HF on sale and then it was off to buy the steel to build the frame work. So this was my weekend project....


    After inital assembly, I did a few test runs bending a 24" piece of 11 guage and then a 20" piece of 1/4". They bent like butter with hardly any load on the rams. Not in the picture is the "I" beam added to the base, needed it when I tried to bend thicker material. had planned to bolt it to the floor but decided against it. Now I'm debating on adding casters to make it easier to roll around.

    The gap to the left of the dies was intentional, since one of the pieces I bend has a section that would hit the framework and needs to remain straight. I simply cut the base plate and added a 6" section, same with the upper die...

    Total cost came just under $700

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lansing, MI
    Posts
    8,923

    Re: Brake Press (homemade)

    Cool stuff. Pretty wicked brake Bruce.

    Here's one I built for my iron worker (that's still in about 500 pieces!)

    One day, I'll get a chance to test it out.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Dairy equipment repair, Welding machine repair, General all-around garage hack...

    DynaSteve

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