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Unread 09-13-2009, 05:17 PM   #1
BESRK
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48" Press Brake Project

I've been wanting a press brake for a long time. Something big enough to bend winch plates, rock sliders..etc. I'd like to be able to bend maybe 60" of 3/16" and up to 36" of 1/4" or so. My original plan was to just save my pennies and drop $10K-$15K on a built machine. However, always a gluton for punishment, I've decided to take on building my own brake.

The other day, I saw this 36" brake tooling set on eBay for a decent price ($200) so I bought them. The lower die is a 1 1/4"x 90deg angle instead of 85deg so I assume they were made for "coining" for a true 90 bend. I'm thinking I can make my own frame out of plate and use a hydraulic setup along with cantilever leverage to generate the force necessary to bend what I want.
I want to make the frame wide enough to accept a 60" die later on down the road.

I know that it will require a "dangerous" amount of tonnage to bend the plate. I've made small press knife brakes before using bottle jacks and scrap steel.. basically large enough to bend small brackets. I've never undertaken a project this big before. I'm going to lay out my basic plan below and would like feedback. Especially where the hydraulic system is concerned. I've never built a hydraulic system from scratch before. I've been "Google Researching" for the past few weeks trying to get my mind wrapped around this.

Here is the tooling I got off eBay...


I'm envisioning something along the lines of this..


It looks like they used 1" plate for the framework. I'm thinking about two plates of 1/2" laminated together (welded) for the main body. Basically, the 4'x8' sheets would be layed on their sides and the opening would be cut with a plasma. I can reinforce critical areas with "fishplates" if needed.

The lever arms would be 3/4" thick each. Basically, cutting 2 pieces out of 3/8" plate and laminating them (again, welded). The pivot pins would be 1" or 1.5" tool steel set in thick DOM with bronze bushings.




The charts that I've seen say that, with a 1 1/4" die opening, I should be able to bend 3ft of 1/4" with about 85 tons of pressure and 5ft of 3/16" with 75 tons of pressure.

By using a 5" diameter hydraulic cylinder, I should be able to get about 58,875lbs of force at 3000psi correct?.. radius squared x pie x psi = force.. or 2.5 x 2.5 x 3.14 x 3000 = 58,875
Take that 58, 875 and multiply it by the lever arm ratio ( 3 to 1) and I should get 176,625lbs of downward force.. which will increase even more near the bottom of the stroke as the cantilever shackles near "overcenter". Am I way off here?

For the hydraulic setup, I'm looking at a 5" dia cylinder from Northern, along with maybe this power unit.. POWER UNIT


This is what I would use for stroke control..


I'd build a Back Gauge similar to this using ACME Thread for quick adjustability


Any feedback would be appreciated.. especially on the hydraulic side of the house.

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Unread 09-14-2009, 05:08 PM   #2
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Okay.. almost 24hrs without a response...

Am I out of my mind?
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Unread 09-14-2009, 05:12 PM   #3
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Definitely a monster project.
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Unread 09-14-2009, 05:56 PM   #4
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Area is pi R^2 not D^2. But you did the calculation right. Looks legit to me. The steel will cost a grip, but $10K is a lot of coin. Personally i'd look in the used equipment websites and try and find one used for cheap. With all the shops going out of business there is tons of expensive machinery going for dirt cheap.
http://www.rtrservices.com/equipment...d=20&page=1&q=
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Unread 09-14-2009, 06:40 PM   #5
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Oops.. I meant to write Radius Squared.. not Diameter.


Yeah.. I've been looking at used stuff but anything that will bend bigger than 10ga is still over $10K. Plus, alot of those older machines weigh more than my forklift

1/2" steel plates (4'x8') are about $300 each so that would be about $600. I've got 6 half sheets of 3/8" plate to use for the lever arms. I can use hot rolled flat for all the side plates. I can use the plasma table to pierce pilot holes for my annular cutter and make pretty quick work of all those big bolt holes.
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Unread 09-14-2009, 06:49 PM   #6
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I'd say go for it,has to be alot cheaper than 10k to build one.
But then again i'm an ironworker and i think BIG on everything and make everything overbourd..lol

I'm like you,i would build it but be lost on the hydraulics but couldn't be that hard to figure/learn it
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Unread 09-14-2009, 07:03 PM   #7
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I just want to make sure I provide enough "oomph" the first time around. I don't want to try a couple different hydro cylinders at $300-$400 a pop. That power unit alone is $1000. However, it's an "all in one" setup.. so I won't have to try and match a motor with pump..etc.


Maybe I'll do the basic setup.. cut the plates and make the arms, and hook up one of my cheap air/hydraulic cylinders just to see if it's gonna work prior to dumping $1500 into the hydraulic system.

Also, once I get the hydraulic system for this thing setup, I can use a diverter valve to run hydraulic power over to a "long throw ram" for my Model 3 Bender. I'm already planning on revamping the air over hydro setup with new brackets. Might be a good time to throw a 24" travel ram on there and get 90 deg before repinning.
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Unread 09-15-2009, 08:52 AM   #8
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I get a lot of stuff for hydraulic projects off Surplus center - can be a little cheaper than northern (surpluscenter.com)

If you use a double acting cylinder remember that you'll have to subtract the rod area from the bore area when estimating the force. If you push on the side of the piston that has the rod coming out, you don't get the hydraulic pressure acting on a full 5" dia of area. Say it's a 2" dia rod, your area is then pi * .25 * (5^2 - 2^2) = 16.5 sq in, for 49,000 lbs of force at 3000 psi.

But if you're driving on the side of the piston what doesn't have the rod coming through (like what's in the pictures above), you don't need to worry about that.

Also, you can save some money fabricating your own reservoir for the power pack. You size the reservoir by thinking about 2 things - what's the displacement of my piston, and how hard do I want to run this thing? A 10" stroke 5" bore cylinder is about .9 gallons of displacement, and you want to have some margin over that so the pickup in the reservoir doesn't ever suck air.

The other thing to think about is that the reservoir is the heat sink for the machine - if you're going to be slamming out bends for a couple hours straight, you might want the 5 gal reservoir so you don't heat the fluid up as fast.

Just some thoughts.. hope it helps. Looks like it's going to be a great project.
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Unread 09-15-2009, 08:56 AM   #9
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^^^ i now know who i'll be asking questions about hydraulics when i need it..lol
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Unread 09-15-2009, 08:58 AM   #10
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Hydraulics are very simple systems to design and implement. It should be pretty straight forward to setup. On something like this, I'd err on the side of over doing it. You can't go too big, but you can go too small and have to set it up again.

My hydraulics knowledge is a little rusty, as far as valve types and what you'd need to do it, but the supplier of your parts should be able to walk you through what you need and how to set it up.
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Unread 09-15-2009, 09:53 AM   #11
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It will be a double acting cylinder. However, the "retracting" action would just be to lift the knife and its mount. Shouldn't take much force at all. I just need it to have the oomph when pushing.

That self-contained power unit I listed has a 5gal reservoir, 2hp motor, and maxes out at 3000psi. I read one lone review and it said the system only put out 1.1-1.5 gpm at 2000psi. It's not like I need blinding speed as I would most likely do short runs of maybe 10-20 bends. However, seeing as the normal operating range seems closer to 2000psi, I may increase the arm leverage ratio to 4:1 instead of 3:1 to keep it close to 60tons of downforce.


I'd ask the salesperson but I'm looking at getting most of this stuff from the local Northern. I asked one of the sales persons about a carbide bit metal cutting saw blade the other day and he gave me the "I have no clue what you're talking about" look. He took me to the computer and logged onto Northerntool.com.. and asked me to just "order it from them." I tried not to be rude but I couldn't help laughing out loud when he said that.
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Unread 09-15-2009, 12:12 PM   #12
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Sounds like you've put some thought into this. Good buy on your tooling too! Do a search for the machinist handbook. They have formulas on there for figuring tonage required to bend and pierce metal.

You mention lamenating 1/2" plate for the frame. That's not going to save you much is any on your cost and it will weaken the frame. You'd be much better of going to a shop with a water jet and having them cut your frame pieces from 1" material. For that matter have all of your frame parts cut on a water jet. I do allot of fab work and have found, in my area anyway, that by the time you figure the material cost and the cost of having my parts cut on the water jet it's very resonable. You also will want the top arm and bottom part of the frame to be staright so that when you put it all together they line up and if you torch all of that out it will warp. Very hard to work with crooked material. Ideally when the top die comes down you want it to do so in a way to line up with the bottom die and if your material isn't staright this will be very hard to do. Misalignment is metal parts causes stress in the steel and stress will cause cracks, remember you are talking lots of pressure here.

This will be a neat project. Very usefull too. Keep us posted.
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Unread 06-08-2010, 09:42 AM   #13
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9 months later...any updates?
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Unread 06-08-2010, 02:46 PM   #14
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I decided to wait until I extend my plasma table out to 8'. I just ordered everything for the table and it should be coming in this month. Once that is done, I've decided to cut the main frame out of 3/4" plate. I can "shallow drill" the start points and cut everything with my HT1250 on the plasma table. If I cut slowly, I can get a pretty straight edge (minimal bevel), even on 3/4".

Once I get my plasma table extended, I'll start shopping for the materials.. I need to have the hydraulic cylinder, bushings and pivot pins in hand before I cut any plate. I'll either buy or rent a magnetic drill to do all the holes with annular cutters.

I've been wanting to go forward with this project but I've just been swamped in the shop.
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Unread 06-08-2010, 07:37 PM   #15
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Looking forward to your progress Eddie. Please keep us posted.
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