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Thread: Building a Big Bender

  1. #1

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    Building a Big Bender

    Work on my 1st gen tray and tailgate will necessitate a rather large sheet metal bender. Big ones are quite expensive, so I'm making one

    The main ingredients are


    a 6m length of 10mm thick angle iron (100x70mm) i got this used from a construction company and cut it into 2m lengths on site so i could 1. lift it, and b. fit it in the back of my truck.
    This works out perfect as i wanted 180cm of usable bend

    Then some 20mm ID pipe and some 20mm OD steel rod to make the hinges.
    and some small rectangular box section to make an a frame on the clamp and gussets etc

    i will also need some nuts and bolts, some kind of handle, and maybe some scooter or motorcycle springs to help lift the clamp section off the work piece


    i figured on 10cm of hinge each end, and marked it out so the pipe would sit on centre with the corner




    hinges on, admittedly a poor job. a drop saw would be nice to have, but i make do with an angle grinder.


    I cut a V into the hinge area and laid down a lot of beads, i probably also want to do the other side and grind flat. But 1 side can support the length of the whole thing, so maybe its strong enough. Amazingly perhaps the hinges also work smoothly



    The clamp section will go something like this, i may need to grind the leading edge to get a nice crisp bend
    and this way i can make the most of my bending angle



    will tap and thread a grub screw into the hinge so the pin doesn't fall out. I really want to be able to break this thing down - as you can see it takes up my whole bench - and its very heavy and awkward to move even in sections

  2. #2

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    As it went i ended up with 179.5cm between the hinges, and i have spent under $150 on steel etc, could be a good money spinner on the side

  3. #3

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    Nice build tortron. I love hack machine builds. Looks like a good worker in light sheet.

    I would like to throw in a few opinions. Just opinions.

    It looks like it is a fair bit wimpy for such a long bend. A few ideas I had was to weld a tube in the angle stock used for the moving arm. Would also work well for the toe.

    Better yet is a matrix of fence post(or angle) and appropriately sized steel tube nested together.

    I feel that hinge should have thicker walled knuckles. The pin looks like a good size. We will find out how long the ones you used last. Might be a fine setup over the long term. I would leave that area easy to work on just in case. And maybe keep an eye out for some thick steel round stock to take to a machinist to core and trim into knuckles for you(or if you are silly lucky, a thick walled tube or stand off with your needed diameter).

    I wonder how you are handling the foot(toe). Again it seems a bit wimpy, but more importantly, I do not see how you are locking it down, and a third note, it would be really handy if the heel seated at the same height as the toe.

    The way I feel I would set it up would be to thoroughly weld a heavy walled tube inside the toe angle iron with 100mm sticking out each end, making sure not to warp it, and making sure the tube is just small enough not to cause problems with your intended bends(more then one foot would not be a bad idea...).
    Then build a couple blocks out of 100mm square hardwood by drilling a hole the size of your tube, slicing through the hole, and cutting the two to the exact same height(the distance between the toe tube, and the block mount I did not mention but you added because people around here are suppose to assume this type of thing...).
    Add a bracket to hold an industrial quick clamp that centers over the toe tube.
    Add an extension to support the heel at the same height as the toe. That way you could place bends in the middle of large panels. Without you would be restricted to what? maybe 75-100mm?

    So you slide in your steel to the wanted mark, lock the quick clamps, and perform your bend. The toe always stays centered in the same place(repeatability), and


    You were talking about having to move it... And my first thought was for you to install a heavy hinge and arm(steel tube?) and use an old boat trailer ratchet to lift it up to the wall? If you were feeling fancy you could add a counterweight system instead of the ratchet.

    Just a few ideas...

    As a side note, this will not be a very accurate tool not matter how you play it. The toe should be ground to a tighter lead(to keep bends tighter and straighter). And, well, I could go on and on.

    But still it will likely serve as a basic tool as is, and could be made better as you go. Kudos on your initiative. May your project serve you well.

  4. #4

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    Hey, yeah it's not finished yet, haven't had much spare time in the garage. Top and bottom will receive gusseting, the top will get a big arch arrangement with some threaded rod to clamp the middle down. I have some M16 bolts to clamp down the ends, and the hinges will also receive some gusseting. The heal and tow will sit at the same level, I just need to trim where the hinges are fouling

  5. #5

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    So back into it, I'm getting sick of having a tray blocking my work bench and not in my truck

    Enter "the stump grinder"


    Ground the clamping edge down to give a nice crisp bend rather than a roll over the curved edge. May need to knock it down another mm but will see how it goes.

    Then cut some clearance for the hinges, and added some flat so I could run some bolts through the whole lot to clamp down.
    Have slotted the holes so I can adjust the top clamping part to the thickness of the best being bent. I will pull the springs out of the grinder jig and use them in here too.
    Bolts will go in the other way around- through my work bench so I can tighten down the nuts to clamp

  6. #6

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    Backyard engineering - geezer approves
    support the forum that supports you - join and donate to MightyRam50.Net Get perks and donations $15 USD and over receive official MightyRam50.Net window decals

  7. #7

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    Feel free to send me your head for a skim geezer, it's fully adjustable

  8. #8

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    lol I 'approve' but IDT it's that accurate... plus the shipping to Kiwiland and back is the cost of a head by itself. Anyhoo I got a pro shop to mill my head (I have to send it back at a later date to un-fudge a valve seat I accidentally buzzed while porting the sucker)
    support the forum that supports you - join and donate to MightyRam50.Net Get perks and donations $15 USD and over receive official MightyRam50.Net window decals

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