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  1. #1

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    Panbrake for folding sheet metal, which one to build?

    Hi all,

    Looking at making a pan brake to fold sheet metal, from doing some research I've noticed there are a couple of types available. Just wondering which would be the most usuful one to have? The second one is the most common type that most have probably seen around.

    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Panbrake...gAAOxy4eJTMA0w

    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Bramley-...0AAOSwaLhZigdv

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    Seedtick (10-20-2017)

  3. #2
    dwbachor's Avatar
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    I like the design of the first one. You may end up with a lot of angle pieces to keep track of though. It is nice that it has the ability to bend 3" sides.

  4. #3
    KustomsbyKent's Avatar
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    I have a lot of experience folding/bending sheet metal.
    Before you dive into making a folder or pan brake, what do you intend to do with this piece of equipment? How thick, how wide? Does it really need to make a closed box, or that just a nice to have feature?
    How much money & time are you willing to spend on the build?
    If you just need to make some occasional bends in light sheet metal, then a simple pan brake like this might suffice. https://www.harborfreight.com/36-in-...and-62335.html
    I have that particular one, and most of the time, I can adjust my design to work with it.
    I have purchased the full on finger box & pan brakes for engineering workshop at my corporate job, and those are extremely heavy duty and expensive. The removable fingers are nice, and the adjustability for various thicknesses is nice. However, there is a limit to what one person can bend in both thickness and width before you hurt something (yourself!). Aluminum 3mm at 1.24M wide or 1/8" at 48" wide is about the limit. Steel would be much thinner.
    I'm not suggesting to not build something, but a simply built one might suit your needs initially. If you have the time and money, then go all out, and build it heavy with full adjustability, like this one:
    https://www.baileigh.com/finger-brake-bb-4812

    Thickness of material will drive a lot of your size and weight of machine... If you look through the Baileigh Industrial website, you'll see the differences in the price/size/weight vs thickness & width.
    https://www.baileigh.com/metalworkin...t-metal-brakes
    I have purchased and used one just like this one, different brand though. It is heavy, and was overkill for most of the things we did on it.

    I just use Baileigh as an example, as they have good pictures and specs listed, I have no affiliation with them, nor to I recommend them over any other manufacturer.

    If you can describe in more detail what you're doing, I can provide more help on what would work for you.

    Thanks
    Kent

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    Jon (10-21-2017)

  6. #4

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    Would like to use it for general fabrication and panel work. Being able to do a item with a radius would be convenient at times. Also having some sort of removable fingers for doing a box would be good. I'm after a pan brake not a sheet metal folder.

    Thanks

  7. #5
    KustomsbyKent's Avatar
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    You're going to be happier with the style with removable fingers. If you can, the ones that allow you to slide the fingers is a bit more flexible than the ones where the fingers bolt into set positions.
    Do you know the thickness of material you plan to work with?
    With these style of benders, there is not a lot of adjustment for radius of bend. The upper die set should be moveable front/back to adjust for material thickness, which gives a small amount of adjustment to the radius of the bend. However, you're not going to get a 1" radius or 2" radius. I did make a rolling bender/folder that I was able to make a 1" radius bend, and could swap out dies to do a ~3" radius bend. See more here: Large Radius folding/rolling brake for sheet metal

    Any examples of the types of parts you plan to make with it?

    Offset bends don't work with these types of benders. Z-bends or bends in opposite directions are also difficult or impossible depending on the dimensions. For those, the Leaf needs to also have removable fingers.
    But if all of the bends are in the same direction, ie, all are up, then it all works good.

  8. #6

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    I will mainly be making small boxes such as electrical cabinets, oil tanks for hydraulics, drawers for toolboxes, brackets for cars etc.

    Material thickness would be between 1mm - 1.6mm mainly mild steel and aluminium maybe sometimes stainless steel.

    What is everyone thoughts on the plans on eBay? Worth it? https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Panbrake...gAAOxy4eJTMA0w


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