Metal Shaping: Using A Sheet Metal Brake

Metal forming and fabrication is one of the oldest crafts still carried on today and it involves a variety of tools and mechanized equipment to construct or repair a part. Metal shaping or forming is a common task in metal fabrication. While various pieces of equipment, including some very technologically sophisticated tools, are available for metal shaping, one of the most common is the sheet metal brake.

What Is Metal Shaping?

Metal shaping is a means through which a fabricator can alter the metal’s shape. It involves any of the following:

 * Bend
 * Cut
 * Shrink
 * Stretch

One of the most common tools for bending is a brake. While several different types of brakes exist, including the cornice brake (for simple creases and bends), one of the most commonly employed types is the sheet finger metal brake.

What Is a Sheet Metal Brake?

This type of metal shaping tool has several different names. These include:

 * Box-and-pan brake
 * Bending machine
 * Bending brake
 * Sheet metal folder
 * Folder

Its purpose is to produce clean and very precise bends and angles in the metal sheets. The machinery may be automatic or operated by hand. It will depend upon the company and/or the individual fabricator.

How Does It Work?

The metal brake consists of a flat, gated surface as well as a flat bar. To produce the desired shape, the fabricator places the sheet metal on the surface, places a clamp flat on the metal, then lifts up the gate. This final action will bend the metal to the desired degree. Some models are able to produce bends greater than 90 degrees.

Sheet Metal Brake

A metal fabricator has access to many different tools within his or her shop. They each fulfill one or more of the common purposes for working with metal. For metal shaping, a fabricator can utilize any of several pieces of equipment. One of the more common tools for bending or forming metal is the sheet metal brake.

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