The other day we discussed and pointed to several DIY metal-bending brake designs. But if you’re looking for a quicker solution that’s still inexpensive and easy to use, an off-the-shelf brake may be a better option. We have had very good experiences with BAC Industries’ Mighty Mini Bender.
BAC’s Mighty Mini Bender is an 18″ brake that can form 90° angles in aluminum up to 16 gauge thick, and mild sheet metal up to 18 gauge thick. It mounts easily to a bench, but you can also clamp it down for temporary use. The brake requires 2 small C-clamps to use.
The Mighty Mini Bender looks better in online product photos than in person, but it hasn’t let us down yet. But we don’t care that it looks a little rough around the edges, as long as it performs well.
If you plan to work with larger workpieces, BAC also makes a 30″ brake, the Mighty Brute Bender, and a 40″ brake, the Mighty All Purpose Bender. Both of these models are more robust than the 18″ Mini Bender, but they are also substantially more expensive. The 30″ brake has the same thickness limits as the 18″ version, and the 40″ model can handle aluminum up to 18 gauge and mild steel up to 20 gauge thick.
18″ Brake via Enco (The regular price is quite high, but the brake goes on sale every now and then.)
These BAC sheet metal brakes are made in the USA. (March 2012.)