I needed a way to bend a right angle on a several pieces of 22 gauge steel for a new fuel tank on a tractor. I tried a couple tools or methods to achieve bending the edge to stiffen the steel and to allow me to TIG weld the tank together. I found a similar tool that I like the looks of (thank you YouTube) that was made in Austria but it was very expensive so I made one my self.
To make it I ordered 0.875 dia bearings with a 0.375 center hole that stand 0.229 high through eBay. I got a tube of 10 bearings for about twenty bucks and then picked suitable steel scraps for the scrap box to make the rest of the tool. The side plates are 0.25 thick and 2" x 3", the two guide bars for the bearing shafts are 1"x0.75" by 2.9" long. The bearing shafts are 0.500" and casehardened with chrome plating from an old printer. All the screws are 10-32 domed head screws.
It is a simple construction that can be made with a manual mill and lathe. I turned the bearing shafts down to 0.377 and lightly press the bearings on with 601 Loctite. The guide bearing bar (three bearings) I have a retaining screw and washer on the bottom also. I set the bearings apart by 0.299" which is the thickest plate steel that I plan on using. It seems to work fine with thinner steel as well.
The tool works by setting the depth of you flange and then rolling the single bearing back and forth along the edge while pulling upward on the tool. It is quick easy and stores nicely for something that I will not use very often.
Last edited by Eagle_view; 01-25-2015 at 02:37 PM. Reason: correct some wording
Now, that's a useful homemade tool! Your Sheetmetal Flange Bender is the 'Tool of the Week'!
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