How to Bend Steel Without Brake

How to bend steel without brake? Working with steel metal can be a rewarding, albeit sometimes frustrating, experience. Metal is used for car auto-bodies, building truck beds, and other odds and ends around the house/yard. If you are a part time or “recreational” steel metal worker, you may not have access to all of the workings of a metal shop.

How to Bend Steel Without Brake

When working with sheet metal one particularly useful piece of equipment is the brake. A brake is a device that allows you to bend a piece of sheet metal at a particular angle. Metal shops have brakes mounted at different angles with automated braking arms, however it is possible to bend sheet metal at home without the use of a brake.

  1. Determine the angle at which you want to brake the metal and mark it on the protractor. You will use the protractor to gauge the brake as you bend the metal little by little. Cut the section of metal out or otherwise prepare the metal to be bent by removing any burrs or sharp edges.
  2. Slide the angle iron into the jaws of the vise so that it lays flat the length of the piece of metal you are going to bend.
  3. Sandwich the sheet metal into the jaws of the vise as well. As you bend it the metal will be heading towards you.
  4. Light the butane torch and use it to warm the metal along the section where you visualize the bend to take place. Get the metal glowing red to orange, but not white.
  5. Grab the top of the metal with the pliers as the section you heated cools off and pull towards you gently at first. The metal should bend, but only bend it as far as it goes without forcing it. If you need to, reheat the metal and redo the bend.

Tip

Perform the bends slowly in order to ensure even, decent-looking corners. If you work too quickly you run the risk of denting or bending the metal.

Warning

Do not heat the metal too hot as you could melt right through the sheet metal and create a hole.

The Drip Cap

  • Working with sheet metal can be a rewarding, albeit sometimes frustrating, experience.
  • If you are a part time or “recreational” metal worker, you may not have access to all of the workings of a metal shop.
  • Slide the angle iron into the jaws of the vise so that it lays flat the length of the piece of metal you are going to bend.
  • The metal should bend, but only bend it as far as it goes without forcing it.

Read also: How to Clean an Aluminum Manifold

How to Cut Shapes Out of steel metal

The most precise tool for cutting shapes out of steel metal is the plasma cutter. A plasma cutter yields a small precise kerf (width of the cut) and will cut any electrically conductive metal (aluminum, copper, brass or stainless steel). It is able to achieve a smooth, steady cut with the use of a hand-held torch and an air compressor. In addition to cutting straight clean lines, a plasma cutter can gouge, pierce, bevel, cut holes and trace shapes in metal.

Step 1

Make a cardboard template of the shape you wish to cut.

Step 2

Place the shape template on the metal and trace it with soapstone.

Step 3

Place the drag shield (the tip of the cutting apparatus) on the metal at the place you wish to begin cutting. Make sure the arc is directed straight down.

Step 4

Press the trigger. Allow two seconds of preflow air before the pilot arc starts. Move the torch across the metal at a consistent speed once the arc starts.

Step 5

Adjust the speed so the cutting sparks go through the metal and out the bottom of the cut. If you don not see sparks, you are not penetrating the metal.

Step 6

Achieve a finer cut by holding the tip of the torch about 1/8 inch from the surface of the work piece. The closer the torch is to the metal the finer the cut will be, and you will get a wider cut if you raise it away from the metal.

Step 7

Pause briefly at the end of the cut to sever the metal shape from the rest of the sheet.

 

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