How to Use a Sheet Metal Brake

A sheet metal brake is used to bend metal for jobs such as gutter repairs, auto restoration, heating and cooling repairs, and other custom fabrication that require the bending of sheet metal.

The Sheet Metal Brake can be used to make auto body panels such as door skins, wheel tubs, fan guards, and heat deflectors.

They are also great for repairing dirt bikes and cars and are available in most hardware stores.

Things you will need

  • Sheet metal
  • Sheet metal brake
  • Tape measure
  • Work gloves
  • Pencil


  1. Ensure you have a clear work area
  2. Identify and mark the areas to bend using your pencil.
  3. Open the sheet metal brake using the side levers.  Move the sheet metal to the sheet metal brake.
  4. Place the sheet metal between the two clamps at the pencil markings and pull the levers to close the clamp.  Ensure the marks on the sheet metal are in line with the edges of the clamps and make sure the metal will bend away from you.
  5. Begin bending the sheet metal by slowly raising the bending bar lever.  Slowly raise the lever to carefully bend the sheet metal. Use the gauge on the side of the brake to determine the angle of the bend. Once you reach your desired angle release the lever.
  6. Once the bend is made, release the clamps and remove the metal sheet.  Check to see if the bend is correct, then move on to the next marking.


  • Double-check and mark your bend areas before you do any bending to avoid handling the sheet too many times.
  • Ensure your figures and other body parts are clear from the sheet metal brake.