Bench top metal brake/aluminum thickness

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Old 10-12-13, 08:43 PM
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Bench top metal brake/aluminum thickness

I bought this today 30 in. Bench Top Metal Brake | Princess Auto It says it can bend up to 17 gauge the thing is I mostly want to use it with aluminum and as far as I know aluminum is rated differently. What's the equivalent of 17 gauge for aluminum and can that brake do 1/8" aluminum? The sales guy said it shouldn't be a problem but I have lots of 1/8" scraps and I think it will be quit the work to get it to bend. I haven't installed it yet that's why I'm asking the question!!!
 
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Old 10-12-13, 10:02 PM
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Smile Good store...took home a cartfull today myself !

17 gauge sheet metal is .0538 ".
1/8" aluminum is .125".

Unfortunately it is more than twice as thick as what the bender can accommodate.
The problem is that the space between the mandrel and body of the brake will be too small.
 
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Old 10-13-13, 08:19 AM
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Unfortunately cheap bench top breaks like that are OK with thin sheet metal like you would use for ductwork. Useful if you are doing HVAC work but I've found little breaks like that to be almost useless and not worth the space it takes up in the shop.

How large are the pieces of aluminum you want to bend? Do you have a bench vice? For short pieces I'll clamp them in the vice and hammer against a block of wood to bend the metal over. For mild, not heat treated aluminum, I've even build breaks out of 2x6 lumber and door hinges. It works reasonably well though it cannot make a sharp bend radius.
 
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Old 10-13-13, 11:10 AM
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It's mostly to make brackets, hangers etc... I think 1/8" aluminum is too thick for that but I received a bunch of scraps and it's all 1/8" I did the 2 2x4 in a vise grip works well. So what's one step thinner than 1/8" for aluminum?
 
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Old 10-13-13, 12:45 PM
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Your brake is capable of bending a thickness of 17 ga which is 0538".
Aluminum in sizes smaller than 1/8" thickness are often sized in a decimal equivalent.
1/8" like I said is .125".
1/16" would be close to .062".

If you want a tool for making brackets this one would be more appropriate.
It can do up to 5/8" thickness and three inches in width and regularly goes on sale for half price.

Click image:

Image courtesy of princessautodotcom
 
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Old 10-13-13, 02:16 PM
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That's awesome I've never seen that bender at at P.A

I just bent 1/8" x 1" wide and it bended it like butter in a hot pan the real test would be bending an actual 1/8" plate
 

Last edited by audiotek; 10-13-13 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 10-14-13, 09:09 PM
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OK so I finally tried 1/8" aluminum!!! Was very hard I thought the top of my workbench was gonna come off and it's well bolted into the table frame. I was reading that passing a flame a few time will soften up the aluminum and will make it easier to bend. There's also scoring with a table saw but I heard that it weakens the material.

I'm wondering what make it harder to bend heavier gauge (beside the fact that the material is thicker? Is it the force applied? Or the way the bender is built. If it's the force applied I can extend the handles so there's more leverage but I don't want to break the brake
 
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