Picture of Homemade Mini Bend Brake
In this Instructable I will show you how I made a Mini Bend Brake to bend some 1/16" aluminum.

I needed to make clean straight bends in strips of aluminum for my Hidden Bookshelf Light Switch.

I had pretty good luck bending the aluminum in my bench vise, but it was hard to keep the bends square and even.
So, this is what I came up with.

Step 1: Gather the Parts

Picture of Gather the Parts
To build this press brake you will need:

20" of 1" angle iron
10" of 5/16" steel rod
2 - 2.5" narrow hinges
2 - 1/4"x2" bolts w/ nuts
4 - screws
1 - chunk of 2x4

drill bits 1/4" and 3/16"
something to cut the angle iron (band saw, hacksaw, cut off blade, cold saw)
a small square
a welder
a vise of some type (drinking and smoking won't work here)
2 vise grips or clamps
Gelfling64 months ago

I'm in the middle of creating a walking robot, and wanted to build a pair of Servo frames for X/Y movement, and when I saw this design, it gave me a few ideas on a simple brake design, using a single heavy-duty barn door hinge, and a U-Bolt plate. It still needs some better foundation, but your hinge idea has it going in the right direction! Thanks!!

chris_w1 year ago

Those hinges look to be galvanized. It should be noted that welding
galvanized metal is dangerous and a suitable mask should be worn and the
welding done in a well ventilated area. Right, having said that, great
instructable and I'll be making a slightly heavier duty bender based on
this idea

Upir1 year ago
This helped me a lot in figuring out how to build just what I needed. Thank you muchly. Here's a pic pre-painting.
Upir1 year ago
Did it... Kinda. Mine bends stuff down and with the use of some modified F-clamps, I can put in some spacer dies to do boxes.

Will it Cut PCB?

MiX3DJD2 years ago
What is the thickness of the 1" angle iron?
stanard 1x1 angle is 1/8th inch thick
to a 1/4th of a inch thick
padbravo1 year ago
Tks for the idea...
just one question: the distance or space that is between or offset on the "vise" (where you clamp the alum to be bended) have to be the thick of the alum? that is the idea?
streetrod52 years ago
I've been wanting a box brake for years - I'm going to make this one tomorrow. Great 'Able - nice photos and clear instructions.
djaco3 years ago
Elegant little brake.

But you're confusing your vises with my vices.
Improbable Construct (author)  djaco3 years ago
Right you are!
I am still not sure if I have too many vices or too few vises or, is that the other way round. Edits to be made shortly.
It's vice versa.
gmiguel2 years ago
Very nice, useful and cheap. Thanks.
bvsmanya3 years ago
useful brake for many small bending jobs.
Good 'ible, I'll have a go at making one of these, but I don't understand, why is there a cutaway on the right of the handle?
The cutaway is there so I could bend the metal very close in opposite directions. To get the bends the 1/2" apart that i needed I had to create the cutaway. The pictures in step 7 better explain this.
Lorddrake3 years ago
would it work to make the holes on your hold down piece oblong so that you can adjust for different width materials?
you could even engrave measurement lines on the base piece to make sure your hold down is square.
or make a set of shims from various thickness of scrap materials ... keep them with the break, all you have to do is slide in the shim .. adjust the hold down piece to fit and tighten the bolts
Improbable Construct (author)  Lorddrake3 years ago
You could do slotted holes but the setup for each bend would be tedious. Tightening the nuts would cause the hold down to shift. 1" angle is only about $7 for 4 feet so making multiple hold downs is very time and cost effective.
Good point .. makes alot of sense,
As a metal worker myself I have to make one nit-picky comment. This is a leaf brake, not a press brake as was stated in the e-mail. Still major awesome though.
I had no idea leaf brakes existed! I caught my original mistake of calling it a press break and renamed it a bend break but leaf break does seem to be more correct. Thanks!
dropkick3 years ago
I've been wishing I had a brake for a long time. And now I have a design for building one.
dfecker3 years ago
Great instructable!! This is an awesome project I can do with my kids and show them some basics of metalworking!

Keep them coming.
tundrawolf3 years ago
Awesome, thank you.
Wimpi3 years ago
Nice instructable
WVvan3 years ago
Kudos. Very nice indeed.
koogar3 years ago
Nice Job !

Heres another DIY brake thats good for thin sheet

DJ-AS3 years ago
Really nice job!!! You must show this job on video.
way cool looks just like a scaled down version of th eunit the gutter guy used after last storm.

here is one fer 20 schadoles, but then there is shipping...

http:// www.grizzly .com/outlet/18-Mini-Mighty-B ender/G9951
ksykes3 years ago
Cool setup, very friendly for the average home workshop!
lmvlobos3 years ago
pfred23 years ago
All the brakes I've ever seen the pivot points are outside the work area. Like this:

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b301/pace1980/HSM metal brake/MetalBrake002.jpg

Your design is a bit different. Seems to work OK for you though. Good job!
Improbable Construct (author)  pfred23 years ago
Interesting. I never looked at any commercial models. I can see how the external pivot points would be nice.That break looks expensive though! I made this one for under $20.00 in parts.
It was probably made in that guy's shop. Unless your pivots are external to the blades you can't really get a no radius bend, although practically I don't think you really can with any material anyways. What you did looks like it worked to me. I bet it is a lot easier to do too.

Just goes to show sometimes you're better off just doing it your own way.
CementTruck3 years ago
*step 7*

You can use one to blow square bubbles and the other as a tetris cookie cutter. Eating round cookies causes diamond shaped voids. Eating tetris cookies alleviates indigestion and gas.

Cool instructable.
rimar20003 years ago
Good design, well done!
heathbar643 years ago
Very Nice! I like that you can remove the hold down altogether when you bend a complete square. Now, for production work, how about a cam operated hold down.