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Bending up a DIY chassis

Che_Guitarra

Member
Messages
4,165
I'm looking to make my next build from scratch, and that involves bending up a chassis. I'm looking to make a tweed style box chassis, the sheet material is likely to be stainless, and i'm wanting to know how I can get clean crisp 90º folds without going to a fab shop or buying $$$ worth of tools.

Any suggestions?
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,494
With steel? Good luck. Maybe with aluminum and some long wood blocks, but you really need a brake. I gave up on that and found a guy that makes chassis in his spare time... of course right after that his barn burned and he shut down.
 

Che_Guitarra

Member
Messages
4,165
I thought as much. And stainless it tougher to work than carbon steel too.

I might get it cnc cut and bent up professionally - but the less I spend on outsourcing the more I can spend on my own tool kit.
 

amphog

Member
Messages
4,311
A rule of thumb is reduce the capacity of a brake by 2 for stainless, 16 drops to 18.
 

Mattbedrock

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,798
My wife has this brake at her shop that I use:


It works great.



If you were a bit closer, I'd be happy to help you out.
 

zenas

Member
Messages
8,872
I've bent metal plenty of times by clamping it and folding it over with a hammer.
I've also seen plenty of guys turn it into scrap metel trying to do it that way.
There's a knack to it and it takes a little time and scrap metel to learn how to get it right.

That said I'll always use a brake if I can. It just works better.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,531
I've bent metal plenty of times by clamping it and folding it over with a hammer.
I've also seen plenty of guys turn it into scrap metel trying to do it that way.
There's a knack to it and it takes a little time and scrap metel to learn how to get it right.

That said I'll always use a brake if I can. It just works better.
I do some metal sculptures from time to time and have done much more complex shapes than a box. A couple of hammers, an anvil, and a good heavy duty vice clamp that doesn't mind being hammered on are all you really need. That being said, making a straight bend is not easy with those tools. I'd definitely recommend a brake or taking it to a metal fab shop. But if you're hankering for a challenge and have the time, it could be done. Just take it slow. Real slow.

Never mind. Buddyboy69's link would be a better choice. I didn't know you could find a brake so cheap. That's cheaper than a good anvil or vice, and a LOT easier to use.
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,494
Oddly, the local harbor freight is next door to the guitar center.

I would not want to attempt steel with that break.
 

zenas

Member
Messages
8,872
One thing about stainless is it work hardens. So if your drilling it with a hand drill it can be a royal bitch.
A drill press and a good bits help alot.
 

TimmyP

Member
Messages
2,488
When drilling steel, especially stainless, use firm pressure, a slow speed, and a drop of oil.
 

xtian

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,582
With aluminum, you can use a table saw to score the bends. Makes the bends straight and much easier. Then weld the corners with alumaweld.
 

Kyle B

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,109
Check the local rental places. I bet you could rent a good brake for not much $$$
 






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