Buying Your First Press Brake – A Bit of Friendly Advice

If you are on the brink of steeping up your sheet metal fabrication abilities, you may have had your eyes on press brakes recently. You may already know what is a press brake a press brake is in principle a hydraulic sheet metal brake. You may have a vague idea of what is possible with a press brake – or you may be rather well informed about the increase in throughput and the extended flexibility you can expect from an upgrade to such a machine. You have indeed arrived at the starting point for your journey toward press brake- ownership. Ready to dive deeper?

When you bought your manual sheet metal brake, there probably wasn’t much to think about.
You just need to figure out what size you needed, what quality you wanted, and what you could afford. There really isn’t much more to a manual brake.
With press brakes it is different, because these are different beasts:

The addition of the hydraulic ram means heavier materials can be bent
Electronic automation and ram control means much more consistent results when you bend
Cnc control on some machines means the ability to perform complex operations on a workpiece – without having to handle it, or to manually change adjustments to the machine.
But perhaps the single most important, basic difference to a manual brake, is the punch and die. These are the basic tooling elements of the press brake, and replace the functionality of the bed, clamping leaf and bending leaf of a manual brake. The essential thing to understand here, is the incredible flexibility you get with a punch and die – simply because the tools themselves don’t have a fixed width or shape like clamping leafs or bending leafs do. Instead, they are fully replaceable pieces of tooling that come in many shapes and sizes. They deserve an article to themselves, but some of the things they can do include multiple bends in one stroke, box and pan-style bending, etc – all with the same machine.

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