Tool Location

Metal Shop

Tool Type


Additional Information

One Page Tool Reference Sheet


The sheet metal brake is a device for bending sheet metal. It uses strong magnetic force to clamp the metal down, and long lever arms are rotated upwards to bend the metal to a desired angle. This tool is great for bending a piece of metal into a box.


Bend Angle

This tool can produce bend angles of 0-180 degrees

Bend Width

The widest piece this break can bend is 4 ft

Bend Thickness

It is not advised to attempt bending metal thicker than 1/16 in


Sheet Metal: works best with aluminum or a mid grade steel


Safety glasses and closed-toed shoes are required in the metal room. Long pants are recommended in case the metal being bent breaks and creates sharp debris

Safety Features

There is a power switch as well as two buttons for turning the machine on and off respectively. If you want to stop using the machine, press the red off button the front of the machine, then flip the red switch to the off position to fully power off the device. In terms of safety, make sure you fingers are not near the magnetic pieces during clamping, or the rotating joint during bending, as both present significant pinching hazards.

Example Work

Basic Box

Feel free to use the waterjet to cut the metal as opposed to the bandsaw for a more precise shape. Note;

Hexagon Table Base

Try thinking of other shapes you can bend with the same method

How To Use This Tool

  • Make sure the machine is plugged in. Turn on the power by flipping the red rocker on the front of the machine to the on position.
  • Ensure that the brake surface is free of any unwanted metallic bits or contaminants that you wouldn’t want clamped/magnetized. They can safely be put on the mat behind the brake
  1. Once the machine is turned on, use whatever magnetic clamps would fit the use of your part to secure the metal (options shown below), trying to maximize the amount of area that is clamped down under the bar. The slits in the large clamping bar create relief points at various lengths in the case that you are bending a box, so that the side walls can rotate freely without hitting the clamp bar itself
  2. To engage the magnet before bending, either use the foot pedal connected to the brake, or push the green on button on the front of the machine. This will give a small amount of clamping force to keep the metal in place
  3. Now, rotate the bending arms to bend the metal to the desired angle. When you begin to rotate the arm, a small switch will trigger that will activate the full clamping force of the magnet. Continue pulling up on the handles until the desired bend angle is made (the angle should be indicated by a gage on the arm of the brake). It is recommended to bend a few degrees past the desired angle to accommodate for springback of the metal (this is expanded upon in the tool manual)
  4. Lower the arm, and hold the red off button (see above) for a few seconds to release the magnetic clamp.
  1. Turn off the power rocker on the front of the machine
  2. Remove your part from the clamping environment
  3. Slide the foot pedal underneath the machine to prevent tripping hazard
  4. Replace any clamping bar back to the padded platform behind the brake

Magnet doesn’t Engage

  • Check to make sure the machine is plugged in
  • Check to make sure the power rocker is turned on
  • Make sure the pedal is correctly plugged into the back of the brake

Magnet is Weak

  • Try to add as much area of clamping as possible by using a larger clamp bar or adding multiple clamp bars. Make sure you are holding down the foot pedal before lifting the bending lever

Magnets Seem to Release

  • The microswitch that controls this is likely messed up. Consult a PI or contact the Metal Master


Magnetic Box and Pan Brake: Operator's Manual. (2016, September). Retrieved from


NYC CNC. (2008, September). Sheet Metal Box & Pan Brake Tutorial. Retrieved from


GordsGarage. (2011). Putting a hex on it. Retrieved from

Author Information

Article was written by Walker Poole

Last Updated: September 10 2018.

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