Members of the Shed constructed a sheet-metal bending machine (pictured right), based on the ‘MagnaBend’ machine, invented by Allan Bottomly. Allan was involved in the commercial production of these machines up until his retirement. Now that the patents have expired, Allan has published his resources on the Internet ‘to help preserve the technology and help would-be constructors get the basics right’
It has been a complex construction and many of the men who attend the Shed on Wednesdays and Thursdays played some part in the process.
The three most critical components are the very complex hinge mechanism, the electro-magnet that drives the clamping mechanism and the electronics to control the magnet. Anyone interested in the background should have a look at Allan Bottomly’s website at aaybee.com.au. Follow the link to the MagnaBend machine.
This project was more about the construction challenge and less about the need for a sheet metal folding machine, but we are hoping that the machine will prove useful in the Shed.
The hinges on the bender (photo below) are one of the key components. The hinge was invented by Geoff Fenton in 1985. These hinges allow the jaws of the bender to pivot around the bend point without any part of the mechanism getting in the way.
The second key component is a powerful electro-magnet. The magnet acts on clamping blocks that are positioned on top of the job (blue blocks in the photo below). When the magnet is activated, the clamping blocks snap down hard on the work, allowing the free edge to be bent cleanly with the loose jaw of the bender. The magnet is embbedded in the stationary jaw and can be seen in the photo below - the two pale grey lines. The phto also shows that there are a number of interchangeable clamoing bars that can be combined to fit different sized bending jobs.
The third critical component is the electronics to safely operate the machine. The control box contains some sophisticated electronics, but is simple to use.
KMS workshop supervisor Kevin operating the newly-completed magnabend machine.
Kevin instructs fellow KMS Shedder Don on the finer points of using the machine.
The Shed's new milling machine was worked heavily during the construction. In the photo below, Russell is using the milling machine to manufacture a part for the bender.