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A commenter on our recent mini bending brake post points us to Experimental Aircraft Association member Dave Clay’s DIY brake design from the opposite end of the size continuum. Dave built it to make long bends in sheet aluminum for constructing kit aircraft parts. It’s made of stock steel shapes and cost less than $100. [Thanks, rocketguy1701!]

EAA Experimenter – Dave Clay’s Sheet Metal Bending Brake

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.



  1. Dirk Lucas says:


    Does anybody have a similar idea for bending tubes? Like stainless steel or aluminium tubes for holders on a motorcycle?

    1. Jai says:

      Tubes are more complicated, but yes, the web is full of resources. Google ‘gingery tube bender’, for example. The tricky bit is generally making the dies, if you don’t have a lathe.

  2. Troy says:

    There is a series of books on building metal working equipment for 3rd world countries, one of which is a pipe bender. These are available cheaply over the net. The dies for this bender are made from wood and steel, wood for the curved bender then steel on the sides to support it.
    You may even find the plans for free on the net.