Introduction: Folding Sheet Metal

Picture of Folding Sheet Metal

If you're like me, the shop is full of tools...too full. I have always wanted a press brake for bending sheet metal, but it takes up too much space. Without it, bending sheet metal on a nice straight and tight line is deceptively difficult. In this instructable you'll learn a method to make nice clean bends without a press brake. The trade-off is some extra work and extra time.

Step 1: Step 1: Perforate

Picture of Step 1: Perforate

There is really only one step to this, but it's a long one. First mark the line you want to fold on. Then drill holes along that line. After perforating with holes you'll be able to easily bend the metal by hand to a nice clean corner. Here are some guidelines for how many holes:

More holes = easier to bend / tighter corner radius / less strength for the finished metal

Less holes = harder to bend / larger corner radius / more strength for the finished metal

In the pictures for this instructable I have used a plasma cutter and left about 1/8" between perforations. Several holes with a drill works too. This is 22 gauge steel and the finished strength is very close to the flat areas of steel (remember that corners are typically stronger because of their structure). I could have easily folded this with 1/4" between perforations. Thicker metal will need more perforations for a clean fold. It's best to get a scrap piece of your material and try a fold to determine your perforation pattern. That's it, you're done!

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Bio: Just your typical electrical engineer with an addiction to space and the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.
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