Using Offroad SWAG Brake to Make Arbor Press Stand Shelf

Chips O'Toole

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Today I did the unthinkable. Many people buy SWAG Offroad finger brake kits and then work hard on putting them together, but it seems like hardly anyone actually uses them. There are tons of videos on Youtube about putting a brake together and modifying it, but try finding a video about making parts with one. Not easy. Today I went rogue and actually USED my brake. I made a shelf for an arbor press stand. I used 1/8" (actually 11-gauge) plate.

I learned a few things. I didn't know how much a finger brake would stretch metal. I tried to make 1" high lips on the shelf, starting with a piece of plate 14" wide, and when I was done, I had a shelf that was still over 12" wide. I guess you have to make practice bends and take notes if you want to bend anything with any degree of precision.

I also learned I could locate workpieces well by holding them with my right hand and looking behind the press while I lowered the fingers. When the fingers started to push on the metal, I was able to move it around with a nylon hammer and get the bends almost where I wanted them.

The bends aren't as sharp as they could be, although they look a lot better than they do in the photo. I'm not sure how to deal with this. Offroad Swag makes an optional bottom die. I am considering using my mill to sharpen the corners inside of some angle iron pieces. I could use them as dies. The kit comes with a bottom die that has a very big radius inside it.

This is a transcendent tool. Does stuff a hobby-size stand-alone brake can't begin to do. Really liberating.

I'm looking forward to learning more about using it. Tips are welcome.

02 27 20 arbor press stand shelf on SWAG finger brake small.jpg
 

Chips O'Toole

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Today I finished making the catch bin, and I installed the shelf. It's amazing what good grinding can do to make up for bad bending and welding.

All that's left now is paint. I may grind some of the welds down and fill areas in with J-B Weld to make it look like I did a better job. Don't tell nobody.

02 28 20 arbor press stand with shelf installed small.jpg
 
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Weldo

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Nice! I’ve been eyeing up that kit for awhile now. How’s the HF press? I’ve heard good and bad things.

The optional bottom die would likely give you sharper bends. The size of the bottom is what dictates how sharp the bend will be. The narrower the bottom die, the sharper the bend.

I like the design of Swag’s adjustable bottom die. You can change the opening to some degree for different radius bends.
 

Chips O'Toole

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The press is fine so far. It works. It does exactly what I want it to, without problems. I suppose you can do better if you spend more, but the bends will look the same.

If you don't have a big compressor and an air jack, the press will seem like a torture device.

Finished most of the welding on a new base for my dry saw. I made the top from 11-gauge. I'm going to make a second shelf for it. I can't run bolts through the top because the legs are in the way, so I plan to weld nuts to it.

I have some ideas for making accurately placed bends. The little jig they attach to the front of the press is very limited.

I saw a Jimmy Diresta video in which he welded casters to something instead of using bolts, which is time-consuming. It was a brilliant idea, so now I use it. It takes about 90 minutes to locate caster holes and drill them. Too long. Look how clean the base is without nuts.

03 08 20 dry saw stand before bottom shelf small.jpg
 

Jackle1312

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You can stack smaller pieces of angle in the bottom die to get a tighter radius.
 

GunsOfNavarone

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I have the 20T version of this kit with the separate removable fingers. I have added multi layers angle irons to the bottom die to get tighter radius'. It's not something I use everyday, though the press itself I do. Like any specialized tool, you may not use it a lot, but when you do, it's a lifesaver. Good to have in your bag of tricks!
 
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