wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/29/19 7:20 p.m.

I used to work in a metal roofing factory. We had a 26' computerized brake.

I'm looking for something for home projects. Mainly body work, and brackets.

I like 48" as a minimum, and came up with this from Northern.

Klutch brand 22ga. max for steel.

Does anyone have first hand experience with this or something similar?

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
11/29/19 7:33 p.m.

My concern would be that it tops out at 22ga which is thinner than the 18-20ga cars tend to be made out of.

Of course a brake is rated for 22ga across all 48 inches so it would do a foot or so of 18ga but it still seems on the small side to me. You will always want more. 



californiamilleghia Dork
11/29/19 7:41 p.m.

there seem to be a lot of 36 inch old metal brakes , I think sheet metal was sold in 36 inch wide sheets back in the 1950s-60s ,  

you really need  to think what sheet metal thickness you plan on bending , 

What does Bad Obsession Motorsport use ?   They seem to use one more than anyone !

Also the picture you show is a box brake which has removable sections so you can bend a box corner , 

thats great to have but most are just a single long "blade"

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
11/29/19 7:46 p.m.

I built this

With This Baileigh Magnetic Brake All 16ga steel. 

The Mag brake does have a lot of benefits when it comes to thicker materials. I couldn't have done the job as well with the Pexto box and pan 

NOT A TA SuperDork
11/29/19 8:24 p.m.

In reply to Jumper K Balls (Trent) :

Very nice work!

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/30/19 7:44 a.m.

Thanks, guys, These are all valid points. I think 1/8' aluminum would be one of the main materials bent, but yeah, I thought 22ga seemed a bit weak. Maybe I'll have to step down to a 3' brake, or better yet, just hold out for a used one. I'm off to watch Jumper's video.



Edit: Staggering work, as always, JumperK.    $2700 is a bit out of my price range, but it is nice to know a 4'er will do such work in the right hands.


Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/19 8:46 a.m.

I've been searching for a used finger brake for years, but they rarely come up and they are never ever cheap. I'd consider one of the small imports from Woodward fab if I were buying something new but I have no experience with them.

11/30/19 8:51 a.m.

Most of my work is 18 gauge. I make do with one of the three in one metalworkers.  I would be in the market for a 4" that could do thicker, but used is almost the same as new if and when they do come up.

frenchyd PowerDork
11/30/19 9:34 a.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy :

How much do you use a brake? Professionals use them enough to own one but if you're a hobbiest I'm sure there are a few out there you can " borrow", rent, or have them do it for a tiny fraction of what a decent one costs.  
Local shops let me use theirs for $20 for a 1/2 hour or so unless they are very busy. In which case I come back later when they tell me it won't interrupt them. 
It's not just the brake, but likely you'll need a box brake, shear,  and a slip roller etc.  not hard to spend $10,000 for those 4  on good, well made ones. Oh you might luck out and get used ones for a fraction of that but how long will you have to wait and how much time will you spend looking?  


Show up with  clearly laid out pieces.  You'll be surprised at how much can be done for how little.  Of that $2700 much of that was material cost and layout time.  Not to mention fitting, welding, and overhead.  



AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/19 12:04 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

You are fortunate to know a shop that gives you access. Most places won’t let a non-employee in for liability concerns.

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/30/19 3:34 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

In reply to frenchyd :

You are fortunate to know a shop that gives you access. Most places won’t let a non-employee in for liability concerns.

Agreed there, and, in response to Frenchy, I believe I'd get $400 bucks use out of the one I pictured, if not a total POS. Besides, I like to own my own tools if at all possible. Asking favors is a difficult thing.

What seems to be the sweet spot is a 3'er. Once you go up to 4', the prices skyrocket.

Weren't Lotus chassis designed to be made on a 2' brake?

frenchyd PowerDork
11/30/19 3:43 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:

In reply to frenchyd :

You are fortunate to know a shop that gives you access. Most places won’t let a non-employee in for liability concerns.

The advantage of developing relationships with a big variety of people. Some of that is friend of a friend, other is membership in sports car  circles. Some is just asking. You'd be amazed at what a friendly explanation of what you're doing and request for help can achieve sometimes. 
Plus knowing what you're doing and showing pictures of past achievements etc.  

Now I'll grant it doesn't always work. If the guy is into deer hunting or playing Hockey etc. helping you out isn't going to happen but he might sell you time for his crew to do it at a modest cost if you've got it laid out and ready to go. 

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