A lot of you occasional metalworking people out there want to know how to make your own sheet metal bender if you’re running small sized metal cutting services. That is understandable, if you only need a metal bender on a rare occasion – or perhaps if you are the type of person that has to build everything themselves. If you belong to the latter, I can tell you that making your own bending machine will probably not be worth it in terms of the hours you are going to put into it, as a commercially available sheet metal bending brake really isn’t very expensive – a couple of hundred dollars buys you a very nice machine indeed, and they can be had cheaper still.
But alright, you have made up your mind to build a sheet metal brake yourself, so let us look at what goes into a job like that. The sensible thing is to start by looking at how a commercial metal bending machine works, so try to arrange to go and look at one in person. Bring a digital camera and take loads of pictures for future reference, and if you can, try to get the owner to let you use it a few times, bend some metal and just generally get a feel for how it should be. After this, go home and set up the drawing board – you are going to be making a bunch of sketches now. The only way to try and avoid to make something that does not work first time, is to really plan it down to the smallest detail. Start by making a list of features that you want your machine to have.
How far you go, will depend on what you expect to get out of it, in terms of the quality of the parts you can make with your finished sheet metal brake, so if you need some even close to precision, make sure your machine is made to tight specs.