Small bench top shear/break?
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    Default Small bench top shear/break?

    Had a thought it might be nice to have a small bench top sheer brake for making small parts, like brackets. I looked around and found machines like this one:

    12" 3-in-1 Sheet Metal Machine at Grizzly.com

    The issue is they are specified for a maximum of about 20 ga. mild steel. Now, this is for the full 12 in width. I am wondering if these machines might be OK for, say, 12 to 10 ga. mild steel if you are only bending, say, 2 to 4 inches.

    For further context, I have two applications in mind. One is for lab/prototype use (a few dozen parts at a time). The other would be to buy one for the local high school robotics team so they can make some of their brackets and learn about working with sheet metal.


    Anyone with experience on this front?

    Alternatives?


    Thanks.

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    A couple of interesting options I just found:

    FabBrake - CertiFlat DIY Press Brake Kit ASSEMBLED

    Eastwood Shop Press Brake Metal Bending Attachment

    No shear, but that isn't a problem at all. There are plenty other ways to cut metal for small/one-off quantities.

    The other thought I had was that a lighter weight machine could be used if the bend line is relieved with slots. One could fill in the bend by welding after the fact.

    Again, this is for prototyping, not production.

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    I used one like the Grizzly some years ago and on the plus side, it was super handy for brackets and such. On the minus side, it's of the quality you'd expect for the price. Expect to disassemble it and tune up all the parts to make it work well. Not sure I'd use it with steel at all, just aluminum. Probably OK for a few inches but you might have to true things up with a hammer and block of wood. BTW, they used to cost about half that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by martin_05 View Post
    Anyone with experience on this front?
    ....
    Yes. I bought one of these here at work years ago. We do a LOT of small copper parts and it works really well for those, and other small aluminum
    shear jobs.

    1) as mentioned you need to give it a tune-up when it arrives.

    2) mount it to a solid bench.

    3) will no do a really good job at all, on thin stuff, say below 1/32 inch.

    Otherwise it's been better than I would have expected. The 'brake' portion sort of works too, after a fashion, but is not really a decent substitute for a real finger brake.

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    Would you say it would be OK to make 90 degree bends on 1/8 in mild steel brackets, say, 2 inch max width?

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    Quote Originally Posted by martin_05 View Post
    Would you say it would be OK to make 90 degree bends on 1/8 in mild steel brackets, say, 2 inch max width?
    A good vise, a block of wood and a hammer will do that.

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by L Vanice View Post
    A good vise, a block of wood and a hammer will do that.

    Larry
    Too much work.

    There's this for $60.

    6 Inch Vise Press Brake

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    1/8" mild steel brackets? No, I think that's way too thick.

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    Here's a video on the Eastwood press brake attachment for a hydraulic press. It looks like this is the ticket.


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    Quote Originally Posted by martin_05 View Post
    Too much work.

    There's this for $60.

    6 Inch Vise Press Brake
    You go ahead and buy that.....
    and then you'll be back buying the upright press brake attachment.

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    If you think those 3 in 1 machines are a solution to your problem you don't know the first thing about forming sheetmetal and you really should learn a lot more so you can get something that will work.

    Bending with a hammer and a bench vise really is a better/smarter solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    You go ahead and buy that.....
    and then you'll be back buying the upright press brake attachment.
    Naw, you just mount your vise to the wall- Then it's just like the real thing right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    Naw, you just mount your vise to the wall- Then it's just like the real thing right?
    Ooooh....use this and it will follow you to school every day....
    Wilton Vises | Truck Hitch Mounted Vise | ATV All-Terrain Vise

    But whatever you doo....never wear gloves around it, rotating screw and all...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    If you think those 3 in 1 machines are a solution to your problem you don't know the first thing about forming sheetmetal and you really should learn a lot more so you can get something that will work.

    Bending with a hammer and a bench vise really is a better/smarter solution.
    I am not going to bend 100 brackets by hand with a vise and a hammer. C'mon. I've done that plenty of times. Sure, it works. No problem. It gets old very quickly.

    I have also done hundreds of sheet metal designs, all cut and bent by sheet metal shops. I actually got quite sophisticated at sheet metal design.

    internals.jpg

    rear-cover.jpg

    panel.jpg

    This isn't about production. This is about doing 10 to 100 parts for prototyping with as little pain and suffering as possible.

    Right now the path seems to be a 20 ton hydraulic press with an Eastwood tool (see my prior post). I haven't found anything better than that other than, perhaps, the CertFlat rig. An air-driven hydraulic press would be slicker/faster. The CertiFlat is less than $500 assembled, you just have to provide a bottle jack.

    Still looking to see if there's a better option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by martin_05 View Post
    Would you say it would be OK to make 90 degree bends on 1/8 in mild steel brackets, say, 2 inch max width?
    Copper, yes - steel, no.

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    Buy a used box and pan brake and be done with it. Like a 24 inch Pexto or similar. A way better solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by martin_05 View Post
    I am not going to bend 100 brackets by hand with a vise and a hammer. C'mon. I've done that plenty of times. Sure, it works. No problem. It gets old very quickly.

    I have also done hundreds of sheet metal designs, all cut and bent by sheet metal shops. I actually got quite sophisticated at sheet metal design.

    internals.jpg

    rear-cover.jpg

    panel.jpg

    This isn't about production. This is about doing 10 to 100 parts for prototyping with as little pain and suffering as possible.

    Right now the path seems to be a 20 ton hydraulic press with an Eastwood tool (see my prior post). I haven't found anything better than that other than, perhaps, the CertFlat rig. An air-driven hydraulic press would be slicker/faster. The CertiFlat is less than $500 assembled, you just have to provide a bottle jack.

    Still looking to see if there's a better option.
    All cut and bent by others.
    enough said.

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    that added value of that 3in1 toy is that it will quickly make him realize how really valuable was the service of people who made parts seen in those pictures

    as for 1/8" sheet bending, a lot will depend on the required radius, the tighter it the more the tonnage required, 20ton bottle jack press will have the tonnage, but the repeatability may not be there if the dies aren't hardened and will degrade during a batch of parts

    normally 5-10x the thickness of the sheet is recommended for the width of the bottom die, so it's 5/8 V width MINIMUM, and that 3-1 toy doesn't seem to have that size die, not saying it wouldn't work at all, just that it may self destruct producing those parts

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    Quote Originally Posted by martin_05 View Post
    I am not going to bend 100 brackets by hand with a vise and a hammer. C'mon. I've done that plenty of times. Sure, it works. No problem. It gets old very quickly.
    A vise and hammer is better than using one of those pieces of shit.

    If you ask the question "what can a 3 in 1 sheetmetal machine do for me?" The answer is take up space, piss you off and let anyone who knows anything about making stuff that enters your shop know immediately you are an idiot.

    If you ask the question "I need to make XXXXXX often, what equipment should I get?" The answer will not be a 3 in 1 sheetmetal machine. Guaranteed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jz79 View Post
    that added value of that 3in1 toy is that it will quickly make him realize how really valuable was the service of people who made parts seen in those pictures
    If you actually read what I post before commenting you would have seen this is NOT FOR F'ING PRODUCTION! This is just to prototype/short-run little brackets. A couple of 45 to 90 degree bends here and there, nothing super precise. Real production sheet metal goes to sheet metal vendors with the proper industrial-grade CNC equipment.

    At this point a 20 ton press with a heavy duty die attachment seems to be the ticket.

    Also, if you read my post, there are two applications here. One is to donate one of these tools to the local high school robotics club so the kids can learn about working with sheet metal. It is clear now that providing them with something that can do 1/8 might not be practical. Then again, they would only be making a handful of parts per season, so a 20 ton manual press with a die might be OK. On the other hand, the 3-in-1 little machine might be enough to give them a taste without being too dangerous. One of the things we have to contend with all the time are the liability aspects of anything we introduce into the program. The school district can be a real pain to deal with. This is why, for example, the kids are not exposed to welding or machining other than to watch videos. Pretty sad if you ask me.

    As for the other application (our shop) I don't have that limitation and I have a much larger budget. I hate the idea of having to deal with a manual press, so I have been looking for a reasonably priced "less work" setup. That likely means an electrically driven hydraulic press.

    At one end of the scale there's this:

    20 Ton Shop Press | Edwards Manufacturing

    With the portable power unit this would run about $8K

    The brake tooling and back gauge would run another $2,500. So about $10K total.

    This would definitely be a slick setup and one that would be very useful for all kinds of other applications.

    That's where I am right now:

    If the school district approves it, the 3-in-1 machine might be a decent learning tool for the kids at the high school robotics club (if the school district approves). I would actually spend more money and donate a manual (Harbor Freight) 20 ton press and die set but I seriously doubt the district would be comfortable with that.

    In our case, it seems that the smart thing to do would be to buy the $10K press/tooling package from Edwards. That goes beyond anything we might want to do and the press would add massive utility to the shop.


    At the other end of the scale I found this:

    Potter USA - Fine Tools. 20 ton Electric Hydraulic Jewelry Press

    It's about half the money as the Edwards. My concern is that this is 1/10th the machine and you'd have to make everything for it yourself. It might be OK for bending small (2 in wide max) 1/8 mild steel brackets, but it feels like spending the extra cash for the Edwards rig would be a far more intelligent decision.


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