DIY Aluminum Sheet Bending

Written by brandon getty
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DIY Aluminum Sheet Bending
Aluminium is flexible and thus easily bent. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Aluminium is a soft, ductile metal with a range of commercial and industrial uses. Aluminium sheeting, for example, is commonly used as weather-protective siding on homes or storage sheds. Because of its softness in pure form, aluminium is often alloyed (combined with other more rigid metal) to increase its strength. However, even alloyed metal is easily bent. Though brakes --- machinery used to create bends in all types of sheet metal --- are commonly used to create precise angles in aluminium sheeting, it is also easily shaped using tools from your home workshop.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Straight edge ruler
  • Tape measure (optional)
  • Felt tip pen
  • Bench-mounted vice

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  1. 1

    Draw a guiding line onto the metal using a straight edge ruler and a felt tip pen. If the sheet you are bending is wider than the ruler, you may wish to use a tape measure to finish drawing the guiding line.

  2. 2

    Open the bench-mounted vice and place the aluminium sheet between its clamps.

  3. 3

    Align the guiding line with the edge of the top clamp before tightening down the vice. This ensures a smooth, uniform bend along the length of the guiding line.

  4. 4

    Lift and push the protruding metal toward the vice until a bend of the desired angle is formed. If the aluminium sheet is wider than the clamps, loosen the vice, move the sheet over (ensuring that the guiding line is straight against the clamp edge), and retighten. Repeat this step until the entire width of the aluminium sheet is bent along the guiding line.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have never used a vice before, familiarise yourself with its function before attempting to bend the aluminium sheet.
  • Use caution when tightening down the vice. It is a very powerful tool which can easily cause personal injury if used incorrectly.
  • Do not allow children or pets near your work area.

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