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July 2, 2021

Hagerty Feature: DIY Sheetmetal Break

Hagerty Feature: DIY Sheetmetal Break

Among the many reasons our friends at Hagerty are a wonderful partner to the SCCA is that they love #FunWithCars just as much as we do – and they are a wealth of knowledge on a variety of car-related subjects. The following article originally appeared on For this and all of Hagerty’s car-related content, visit their media site here.

We’ve poked at bending sheetmetal in a previous installment of Wrenchin’ Wednesday, but today we’re going to talk about how to build your own sheetmetal brake for the sake of getting crisp, precise edges on custom-fabricated parts. Hammering metal around a form is effective, but can leave behind apprentice marks, leave an inconsistent edge, or just be a flat-out pain in the backlite to get the bend started. Brakes do two things here to solve that, one is to clamp the sheetmetal securely against a sharp edge for its form, while also putting the bending/working surface on a solid axis, both of which make the bends tighter and more accurate.

For today’s project, you’ll only need a stick of angle-iron, a couple of hinges, and enough nuts and bolts to pile it all together. For the sake of time, our example was built out of thin 11-gauge stuff from the hardware store, and thus it’s only capable of bending thin sheetmetal, perhaps up to 1/8th-inch, definitely use thicker angle-iron and larger hardware for your own build if you plan on bending anything substantial, but the design and steps are practically the same.

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Words and Images by Phillip Thomas

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