Making Press Brake Dies
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  1. #1
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    Default Making Press Brake Dies

    Gentlemen,
    I recently acquired a mechanical press brake for my home shop. I just kind of got started selling a few things and I would like to make some small things this summer to sell and for my home. Firepits, furniture, feed bunks, etc... I would like to machine my own brake dies for this machine. I know they won't be "precision" dies but with my mill and me being careful and accurate, my product should definitely suffice. If these go well, the sky would be the limit. I could make all sorts of things when the need arises. I am watching a few different punches and dies on a local auction and will pick those up if the price is right. I can make a 1-1/4" bottom die and the matching punch for about $200. (That price is for 6' of each) That is what the steel cost is. Yes, I know I have some time, but it will be a fun project and help me improve my machining ability. I am a high school teacher and will have all summer to tinker on things. Has anyone done this on here? I can't find much when I google shop built brake dies but I found a couple of pictures of exactly what I want to do. What do you guys think? I posted some pictures below of what I googled. These are not my images.
    Andydies.jpgdies2.jpg

  2. #2
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    I used to work with an older guy, years ago. He always referred to 4140/4340 PHT as ' brake die' meaning that's the material that brake dies are made of. I never made any generic tooling for a brake press but I'd think that would give a much longer life than crs or hrs. I have made one use or temporary use press tooling out of such.

  3. #3
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    Shop I worked in made some of their own, and ordered it separate from 4140-ht,
    as you said "Brake die" material.

  4. #4
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    Close, the real brake die was a bethlehem product. Chemies were 0.50 Carbon, 1.00 Chrome, 0.20 Moly & 0.90 Manganese. Ford tool steel in St. Louis used to sell a crap ton of the stuff around here.

    Used to make a big deal about flame hardening edges of quick & dirty tooling with it safely (no water quench, just heat & let the section suck the heat away).

    Good luck
    Matt
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails brakedie1a.jpg   brakedie2a.jpg  

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  6. #5
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    The shop I'm at now uses A36 flat bar as top dies all day long we normally work on Farmer ,fisherman , Sawmill parts Etc no airplane parts if I was going to make a bottom. I would definitely make a four-way die

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    Repeatability will be important for this as I will need to machine out sections as I have a 9x42 bridgeport so I'm limited to how much I can fit on my table. I guess I will have around 28"-30" segmented dies. I drew the dies up on Autocad so I have all of my dimensions. Has anyone machined with their mill like the picture shows. I have never set up the head at 45 degrees and didn't know if this was hard on the endmill or if it machines as easily if it were straight up and down. The pictures look pretty straightforeward. I have the tools to clamp it to the bed. I need to put some round stock in my lathe and turn it down so those are my stops so I can clamp it in the right spot every time. I may start with some CRS and work up into some harder material. I'd rather screw up on something cheap vs. something expensive. Thanks for your insights. I'm looking forward to it.
    Andy

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajk2004 View Post
    Repeatability will be important for this as I will need to machine out sections as I have a 9x42 bridgeport so I'm limited to how much I can fit on my table. I guess I will have around 28"-30" segmented dies. I drew the dies up on Autocad so I have all of my dimensions. Has anyone machined with their mill like the picture shows. I have never set up the head at 45 degrees and didn't know if this was hard on the endmill or if it machines as easily if it were straight up and down. The pictures look pretty straightforeward. I have the tools to clamp it to the bed. I need to put some round stock in my lathe and turn it down so those are my stops so I can clamp it in the right spot every time. I may start with some CRS and work up into some harder material. I'd rather screw up on something cheap vs. something expensive. Thanks for your insights. I'm looking forward to it.
    Andy
    Machining part goes the same with the head nodded down, putting the head back is a PIA though. Your problem will be getting the segments to match ends well in addition to the “V’s” remaining consistent over 30 inches of travel by themselves.

    Putting V blocks at the table ends & packing, pushing or pulling the bar stock to get the V consistent would prolly be just as tedious though.

    Good luck
    Matt

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    Expect to see some mark even with perfect dies at the joints of punch or die sections. U want mark free bending google roller V, ungodly expensive, but bloody awsome to use, really easy to make if you have a old horizontal mill and a full radius cutter too.

    Other options, cheap soft steel for the V and then put a piece of hardened thomson - ground sharfting in pockets at each corner of the V, but that only really works well for air bending.

    Problem with your end mill - head nod is not the cutter life, its the fact you can't get past 45 degrees - 90 degree angle, air bend tooling - most comercial V's are nromally nearer 88 degrees, thats easily done after roughing like you suggest then finishing with a dovtail cutter or simialar angles over.

    My experiance is die wear is not such a issue, its the punch that realy takes the hammering, i much prefer to make custom blades out of something like the softer grades of hardox, they hold up so so much better!

  10. #9
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    Ive made the top tools out of ordinary mild bright bar(its england good stuff is not available from my local steel dealers) and ran a few thousand cycles with no wear just some burnishing folding 6 mm pickled plate. Naturally they wouldnt survive steel chequer plate on heavy tonnage

  11. #10
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    Don't forget about urethane press brake form dies.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by adama View Post
    Expect to see some mark even with perfect dies at the joints of punch or die sections. U want mark free bending google roller V, ungodly expensive, but bloody awsome to use, really easy to make if you have a old horizontal mill and a full radius cutter too.

    Other options, cheap soft steel for the V and then put a piece of hardened thomson - ground sharfting in pockets at each corner of the V, but that only really works well for air bending.

    Problem with your end mill - head nod is not the cutter life, its the fact you can't get past 45 degrees - 90 degree angle, air bend tooling - most comercial V's are nromally nearer 88 degrees, thats easily done after roughing like you suggest then finishing with a dovtail cutter or simialar angles over.

    My experiance is die wear is not such a issue, its the punch that realy takes the hammering, i much prefer to make custom blades out of something like the softer grades of hardox, they hold up so so much better!
    Adama, I'm wondering if the OP couldn't make a bottom die in sections like he's talking about and then put Thompson shafts of say, 6 foot length, as inserts. That would give him a bend with no marks, wouldn't it?

  13. #12
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    I'm also wondering if he couldn't get the desired 88 degree angle by making a plate with the necessary 2 degree angle ? Since he's making several, a dedicated tooling plate, say an inch thick, with an angle and an undercut step ( for 'chip relief') in it so that the part registers the same. Hopefully you'd get the over 90 degree angle you wanted plus more reliable positioning for repeatable results.


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