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Thread: Cutting and bending sheet aluminum?

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Old 10-02-2011, 01:04 PM   #1
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Default Cutting and bending sheet aluminum?

I was wondering what is the best way to cut and bend sheet aluminum (maybe 1/8" thick or so) without using any heavy machinery. I don't have any space for machinery like drill presses or band saws and such. I am limited to hand tools or small power tools that can be stored in the closet.

The cutting seems pretty straight forward, but any specific info would be nice. Like what blade to use, tips for making everythign straight, etc. I have no idea how to make nice neat bends though. Only thing I can think of is clamping it into a vise where you want the bend and pushing it over. it seems like there should be a better way.

Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2011, 01:35 PM   #2
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To cut, you can use a jigsaw with a metal blade in it, To cut a straight line get some little c-clamps and clamp a piece of wood or metal or whatever you have laying around to the material and run the saw base along that as a guide. as for bending, the best way to bend sheets is with a brake. you can get small cheap brakes from Harborfreight, but they are pretty chincy. But you get what you pay for as well., something like this may work for you? http://www.harborfreight.com/18-inch...ake-39103.html
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Old 10-02-2011, 05:57 PM   #3
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1/8" is going to be difficult to bend with tools that can be stored in a closet. If you do get to the point where you can bend, keep in mind that aluminum has a grain...similar to wood. Plan your bends to be perpendicular to the grain or you will crack it.
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:09 PM   #4
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Hey cool, I never knew that tool existed. That one seems like it would work, probably even a bit overkill for what I have in mind. Thanks.

EDIT: Yeah in hind sight I think I will just be cutting 1/8". I'll stick to thinner stuff for bending.
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Old 10-02-2011, 08:41 PM   #5
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i cut all my alum stock on my 12" dewalt miter saw and hacksaw, i get nice square cuts/corners that way....i only bend alum up to 1/16" thick and it has to be softer alum so it don't crack on the outside of the bend....i tried bending street side material and it cracked, i have an alum gas tank i cut up and bends just great.........bob

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Old 10-02-2011, 08:45 PM   #6
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i have that 18" bender from HF and it works good for what i use it for....as with any yool you can only do stuff with it that it can handle....i had to use a small vise grip in the middle of the bending bar as an extra handle to bend stuff, other then that it has bent up to 1/16" thick alum and steel fine.........bob

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