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11 Gauge Aluminumn Forming

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  • 11 Gauge Aluminumn Forming

    I am trying to make some 11 gauge aluminumn quick release boat seat rails using a manual type of brake. 11 gauge(.125) thick by 48 inch long. Would a cheap (encoe) type brake be able to bend this? For example a brake with a steel bending capacity of 16 gauge(.0625) could it easily bend aluminumn 50 series ?? Mainly 45 degree and 90 degree bends. I have been getting a shop to do it but i would like to bend them in my home shop. Thanks.

  • #2
    Yikes! Probably not. 11ga. 50 series is pretty tough stuff and hard to bend. It's springy as I recall and cracks if you don't have a large radius. You're looking at much larger machine to work that gauge. Somethings are cheaper when others do the work. If you have the production to warrant a machine, there's lots of big benders (1/4"+) around. I had to pass on a 10' machine for $500 because I couldn't pick it up much less have room to set it up. They show up on Ebay a lot too.


    • #3
      Originally posted by madman
      I am trying to make some 11 gauge aluminumn quick release boat seat rails using a manual type of brake. 11 gauge(.125) thick by 48 inch long. Would a cheap (encoe) type brake be able to bend this? For example a brake with a steel bending capacity of 16 gauge(.0625) could it easily bend aluminumn 50 series ?? Mainly 45 degree and 90 degree bends. I have been getting a shop to do it but i would like to bend them in my home shop. Thanks.

      Very few import machines will actually bend material up to the capacity rating. To a lesser extend that also applies to domestically built machinery. My Di-acro 24" finger brake is rated 16ga steel over 24 inches, it takes two men and a boy to do it though. Even then the bend isn't consistent over the total length.

      From memory, aluminum takes about a third the effort to bend as steel. De-rate the Enco specs closer to reality and you might be about right at the top edge of the brakes capacity with the aluminum.

      It's never a good idea to use bending equipment near it's rated capacity if you want nice, uniform bends.


      • #4
        Depends on the alloy, but most 5000 series runs about half the tensile strength of cold rolled steel, not a third.
        But trying to bend 1/8" anything in a 16 ga brake is going to wear it out a lot quicker, probably spring it so that it no longer bends a straight edge.

        Of course, you can try it, but I wouldnt do it with somebody elses brake.


        • #5

          For the replies. I thought i could buy a brake from encoe and do all my own bending. Guess not.


          • #6
            You can buy a brake and do all your own bending- just not the absolute cheapest one from Enco.

            I am not a fan of Grizzly machine tools, but I live near Grizzly world headquarters, and I was up there the other day buying some end mills, as they are the only place within a 4 hour roundtrip that sells em.
            And I was looking at their brakes- not bad, for the money.

            Nope, they are not built to the quality standards of a my Chicago D&K- but they dont cost 6 grand, either.

            Their 4 foot finger brake, at $1650, is a good deal for the money, and would do your aluminum.

            And if you can get away with the 40" width, the euro style 40" 12ga brake is solidly built too.


            So sure, you can bend em yourself- but you need to buy a 12ga brake, not a 16 ga one.
            And you will kick yourself forever if you dont buy a finger brake. Straight brakes are fine for a sheet metal shop that has a half dozen different brakes- but if you buy ONE, it has to be a box and pan/ finger brake.


            • #7
              Ever thought about roller forming? No stress. Ya got some shiny rollers there mister?
              Excuse me, I farted.


              • #8
                Shiny Rollers

                Yeah Dave i got a Pile of Shiny Rollers. I was thinkin if i did roll form the shape it would cause the material to bow like a banana?? Or maybe more rollers strategically located. HM Interesting idea. Thanx Dave


                • #9
                  I second David's idea, think minature gutter forming machine. Also since you would be making your own rollers, you could control the corner radius to prevent cracking.
                  Last edited by JPR; 03-17-2007, 12:11 AM.


                  • #10
                    I dont know about "minature" I think its gonna be more like "godzilla" gutter machine-

                    That little gutter machine, which weighs around 1200lbs and has a 3/4hp motor, will only do .032 aluminum. So to do .125 aluminum, which is 4 times the thickness, you probably need 16 times the machine.
                    Usually when bending steel, the force required goes up as the square of the increase in thickness.

                    A real roll forming line for 1/8" aluminum would be multiple station, doing a bit with each set of rolls, probably 4 steps minimum. And it would be at least 10hp, maybe more. With big stands and rolls.
                    Not really "minature".

                    When they make diamond plate aluminum parts for truck beds, tool boxes, and so on, they usually use pretty herky press brakes. 50 to 100 ton.

                    I still think the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to do this, assuming its a profile that can be bent with a brake, is gonna be one of those Grizzly finger brakes.


                    • #11
                      See: You should've took that free 50" wide 50 ton press home from Georgia. It would have involved a trailer, or another trip. (I'd made you more biscuits)

                      I got the 12" channel bed cut up into a motorcycle frame jig since my partner would not leave from honeymooning long enough to retrieve the one I made before. (the indian clone bike is starting together)

                      You could have done a die and break in it quite easily. A piece of one inch metal, or a press form, or make them diamond plate toolboxes. I wonder about breaking no-slip tread materiels, does it crack at the thicker sections? do you cut it right there to one thickness? It'd cost $500 to rebuild the press bed section now.

                      You guys who don't already know it? Mike is a gangly tall Canuck who looks like he should be on a hockey team somewhere, got a nice wife that cooks like a chef, and My pitt bulldog loved the pair of them. I wasn't bored while they visited Georgia. My cnc controls did dissapear off my tube bender while he was here thou, and my bank account rippled for a week. (I cured that, I bought more tools) Those controls would work as well on a press-break as a bender, or a indexer. Slight programming changes.

                      I am replacing the cnc bender cntrl with a degree wheel and limit switch.
                      Excuse me, I farted.


                      • #12
                        More good ideas

                        David you got some idea there. I could build a big 50 ton or more precision hydraulic press. Then use gooseneck dies in it like a break press. Perhaps even shear aluminumn with it. Waddyah think? Could aluminumn be sheared with it also?? Perhaps 50 tons enough. ??


                        • #13
                          1/8" ought to need about 10 tons per linear foot, assuming a female die opening of 3/4". If you need a tighter radius, the tonnage goes up.
                          But with aluminum, you wouldnt want to go any tighter, or it would probably crack anyway.
                          So 50 tons would just exactly do 4 feet of 1/8", without much to spare.

                          But a 50 ton press brake is a whole lot more machine than just a 50 ton jack in an H frame. It needs to push the whole die down evenly at the same time. Which usually means they either use two cylinders, which is a big pain in terms of syncronisation, or they actually use the hydraulics to actuate mechanical cams at either end. Either way, lots of metal, lots of machining, lots of mass is required to get a straight even bend.

                          There is a guy on PM that built his own 4 foot press brake- it looks pretty nice, he got everything for free. Big and heavy, probably about 2 tons.


                          • #14
                            My 50 ton cnc'ed press has been gutted..

                            It has linear bearings on each side of the downslide. A sheet of one inch metal, would do the same thing running in ways.

                            I gave it seems $150 for mine at auction, it had the 5hp hydraulic pump on the side. I kinda lost interest in building the other one. it has been in the way. It is made from 3/4x5" cold roll, and 12 inch channel so the top could roll around and multipurpose.

                            It takes a six inch cylinder (47 tons at 5000psi) or better to make that kinda pressure. I still flinch when mine hits bottom and the pump screams, the lights dim and my arteries compress expecting doom. It would make me a lot happier to just use 2500 or so of them psi's... Cylinders explode, lines rupture.. I need to build a explosion cage around my press. No more dangerous than riding a motorcycle through Atlanta Georgia thou.

                            Mine works now by limit switches that are fine thread adjustable up and down after the rough adjustment is made. THE difference between bending and shearing is minimal if you make a mistake.

                            The press has a piranaha die in it right now.. I bought it for a motorcycle fender die.
                            Excuse me, I farted.