Tool Reviews: 48 Inch Sheet Metal Bending Brake Bender - 30 36categories: Tools & Home Improvement, Hand Tools, sheet metal brake
48 Inch Sheet Metal Bending Brake BenderThis is an excellent tool for the money, and if it is securely mounted and a proper support such as a roller stand or bench high saw horse etc. is used it will make a perfect bend each time. You must securely clamp both ends of the heavy tubular brake fence using at least 2 "C Clamps, not cheap squeeze clamps or flimsy Home Depot wood clamps. Harbor Freight sells a very heavy duty quick adjusting (push button) iron or steel "C Clamp" which works perfectly. I was able to perfectly bend a 90 degree lip on the edges of 25 4ft x 2ft .016-.020 pieces of 6061 T6 & 2024 T3 Aluminum, as well as dozens of additional smaller Pieces. This item makes excellent U Channels, 90 degree, 45 degree, bends and quickly knocks out Boxes too. For someone wishing to work with Aluminum this item is a great bargain. The bottom Line is you need to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of Sheet metal working, and be able to Chew Gum and Think at the same time!
BR Tools BB48 48 Inch Bending Brake is JunkImagine bending 48" wide 18 gauge steel with an ALUMINUM bending brake! Don't try to imagine, it won't. REAL bending brakes have very sturdy steel bars, with adjustable preload devices to prevent them from deforming under load. This does not. It claims to bend 14 gauge aluminum (0.0641" thick, or just over 1/16"), or 18 gauge steel (0.0478" thick, or a bit under 1/16") to 48" width. If you're not familiar with sheet metal, these are fairly sturdy thicknesses. HVAC ductwork is made of steel of about half that thickness or less.
No claim is made for throat depth (how long a sheet can protrude out the back). Rather than continuous support for the clamp bar, it can only be clamped down to the workpiece at the ends, since the sheet at the back would interfere with placing more clamps. Since it can only be clamped at the ends, the clamp bar should be very rigid, but it's only made of an odd-shaped aluminum hollow extrusion. And clamps are not even provided, nor are there any instructions. I attempted to bend a piece of lightweight aluminum flashing only 12" wide. I was only able to do this by holding down the clamp bar with a considerable force. Difficult since you need one hand on each handle.
If you were bending a shorter sheet, say a piece 48" wide but only 2" sticking out the back, then you could position a number of clamps across the width to prevent it from slipping or deforming the clamp bar. But this would not prevent the bending bar (the movable component the handles attach to) from deforming. I see no way this brake can perform as advertised, and strongly recommend you find better uses for your money. There's no provision for ZERO stars, which is my rating.
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