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Old 02-22-2015, 10:57 AM
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HF 36" metal brake or HF English Wheel

what would you buy? I have a small grizzly e wheel already. It works REALLY well for small parts that I work on but I'd like to get a bigger e wheel. Not sure how handy it would be for the small parts I work on.


and in this corner... weighing 100lbs plus...

The HF 36" metal brake. I have their 18" metal brake and it's about as handy as a vise with no jaws. I've watched videos on this 36"and it seems night and day compared to my brake and plus you can make radius dies with it. This seems to make the most sense cause if I buy this I can make all kinds of useless boxes I don't need, but it could be fun. I'm kind of leaning on the metal brake and to hold off on the english wheel. I think I could find more use out of it than the big english wheel at the moment.


I'm not rich and I like metal fabricating so it's not so much about what I need at the moment, as just having competent tooling will take time for me and this will just be one more tool to scratch off my list. And no, I wouldn't plan on buying an expensive version of these tools cause I don't make money doing it, but I'm quite sure I like it enough to buy these even though I might not need them so much right now. Both tools can be handy for my bicycle projects even if not on my next project.

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Old 02-22-2015, 11:03 AM
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I have read that the HF English Wheel flexes a lot......Some guys beef up the frame on them
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:28 AM
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There are books and plans available to build your own brake and wheel.. you may wish to go that way and get what you want..

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Old 02-22-2015, 12:11 PM
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I have both the English wheel and 36" brake from HF. Like any of HF's products, you need to re-work them. The English wheel needs a lot more work then expected (at least the one I got, older one). Yes, it needs bracing, no problem if you can weld. The wheels need to be re-finished, they're a little rough. If I'd do it over again, I'd order the Eastwood one because you can rotate the wheels 90 degrees. You still need to re-work that one too and build a stand. The 36" brake I got broke the first time I tried to tighten it down on a piece of 18 gauge sheet metal. They knew they had a problem and I got the new parts the next day at the store (threads pulled out of the tightening device). It worked fine after the new parts were installed. It also could use a couple of cross braces on the legs to stiffen it up, but they expect you to mount it to the floor. Both of the items are for the hobbyist with part time use (same with the bead roller, which I also have).
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INXS2 View Post
The 36" brake I got broke the first time I tried to tighten it down on a piece of 18 gauge sheet metal.
hf brake is junk, pure junk
pretty eye candy if you only want to look at it, pure junk if you actually use it
my painter bought one, it broke on first use
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Old 02-22-2015, 06:40 PM
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diy magnetic brake

My son was talking to me the other day about building a magnetic brake. When I took the street rod panel fab class at UVU they had a regular 8 ft brake and a smaller 5 ft magbrake. the instructor let me use the mag brake, the kids were hands off. someone left it on sometime prior to my class burned out the coils. expensive to repair.
Here's a link the inventor posted on how to build your own. He is ticked off the the company that bought his patent has moved manufacturing to China
Building Your Own Magnabend
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:00 PM
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that's pretty awesome. I think I might go with the brake. I heard good things about it on a fab site. For bike parts the grizzly english wheel is fine and I thought so right out of the box. The lower anvil swings all over the place and I only used one washer I had in my box to center the top wheel better, but still not centered, but it still did it's job. I'm pretty accustomed to working with what I got. That said, I cut up some angle iron and am gonna fix the wheel and make it more sturdy but It has a tiny frame so if it's flexing I can't say it's affecting my work. I just want to keep the lower wheel still when I roll. So if I eventually get a HF one later I think I'll have fun with it right out of the box. Although I can deal with it I still strengthened up my bead roller and did a few mods, but I totally think they were necessary, and I'll take that same approach to whatever tool I buy. I hear the brake issue on the HF can be fixed with a simple U-bolt. I wouldn't expect it to work wonders but for some stuff here and there. When I win the lotto to start my own business I can then get some real use out of it.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:41 AM
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HF brake mod

I saw one modification to the HF brake a while back. I couldn't find it to link it. I think the top die was slipping. the Mod was to cut a piece of rect tubing into a U weld it to the back side and add a tension bolt horizontal to put pressure on it. I now live too far away from the college shop to be able to use their equipment, (and let Cris use some of mine) , I made a 24 in brake years ago, and have been looking at the obsolete farm equipment pile to see if there is enough large iron to build a 6 or 8 ft brake.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:08 AM
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Wife bought me a 4 foot Northern Tools box & pan brake for Christmas a few years ago. I regularly bend, full length, 20 ga. and even made a couple 1 foot be 1 foot, 18 ga. boxes with no problem at all. I wouldn't use it for mission critical work, but it's worked great for me.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:50 AM
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I have the older 30" bench top brake, which is built more like the small 18" brake. I don't bend a lot of metal, and this worked OK for me, but the plate that holds the metal down needed a clamp at each end to hold material. It also flexed when bending, and made less than sharp corners.
I ended up welding a piece of angle iron to it to make the plate ridged, and then welded C clamps to each end, so I can clamp and un-clamp quickly, and not have them loose from the brake. It was very cheaply priced, but put another $15-$20 in it to make it work for my occasional use.
I don't even see this size brake listed at their site anymore.
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Old 02-23-2015, 12:16 PM
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mag brakes are cool... in theory
in reality they only bend light material that i can do with a couple pieces of wood and a rubber hammer
if your production bending really light material; maybe yes
but for a home shop they're pretty worthless
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Old 02-23-2015, 12:34 PM
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I'll be doing 18 gage. I like welding with that and it's pretty sturdy, well, sturdy enough. I would think any cheap 36" brake would be troublesome for that but since it's in my garage smaller the better and I wouldn't mind welding two sheets together after bending them.
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:59 PM
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magna brake

I used the 5 ft college brake when making the decklid for the Nash roadster out of 18 ga sheet I first just put a slight crease for the sides to follow with a hammer and dolly and folded the top and bottom 90* first then after I pulled the skin over the frame finished them 180 * then hammered the sides over the framelip.
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Old 02-24-2015, 02:44 PM
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. People who use a brake quite a bit for automotive stuff say the HF 36" is still too small... but the price seems to really jump up several fold for anything bigger... I'll have to check out the 48" Northern one mentioned above...
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Old 02-25-2015, 08:39 AM
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HF brake mod

Here's the link to fixing the brake
Harbor Freight / Central Machinery 36" Brake -- 91012 - Metal Meet Forums
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