Do you have an incoming DIY gutter project in your home? Aluminum fascia panels are handy but require precise angles. To help you, we researched how to achieve them without the substantial press machines. Here's what we discovered.
To bend an aluminum fascia without a brake, you can use your bare hands, hammer, screwdriver, or roller. The best medium depends on your preference, the required sharpness of radius, aluminum thickness, and the time available. You can follow these basic steps for any method you will choose:
- Prepare necessary tools and protective gear.
- Mark the bending points.
- Clamp the panel along with a block.
- Bend one side and hem the other.
You'll save yourself several bucks and frustration if you can bend aluminum fascia by using other tools available in your home. Keep reading this article as we'll see the different methods for bending aluminum fascia, the types and advantages of aluminum, alternative metal bending tools, saving tips, and other questions.
How Do You Bend Aluminum Without Breaking It?
Perform this step-by-step procedure to get a precisely bent aluminum fascia.
1. Prepare Necessary Tools And Protective Gear
The durable aluminum is perfect for lightweight applications. However, it is vulnerable to breaking or damaging corners. You should be careful while using one or two tools throughout the procedure. Prevent any accidents by wearing leather gloves while working.
Below are the methods you can try for bending aluminum:
While clamped, push the aluminum upwards repeatedly with your hands. This method will not give the perfect angle, but it is the most practical.
Press the sheet with your hands. Then gently hammer it to refine the edge. Although it will leave dents, it produces a tight corner.
A flat screwdriver efficiently scores the aluminum surface for easy bending of longer sheets.
Screw two trolley wheels to a small wood block to create a DIY roller. It acts like a hammer without marks.
2. Mark The Bending Points
Determine the bend allowance by measuring the sheet length necessary for the applicable angle and radius. Usually, the marking is between 1 to 1/2 inches for the hem.
3. Clamp The Panel
Place the aluminum between a rectangular tube and steel angle. Next, attach C-clamps to the flat bench, creating a sandwich layer. They will increase the pressure and prevent any unnecessary movement.
4. Bend One Side And Hem The Other
Bend one side at 90 degrees or until it forms an L-shape. Then flip the sheet to the other end and press it flat, making the hem of the fascia. Remember, the bend will always be circular.
What Grade Of Aluminum Is Bendable?
Not all aluminum alloys have the same flexibility. For instance, aluminum foils have high flexibility because they are pure forms of this metal. However, this capacity changes when manufacturers combine other materials with aluminum. Three factors affect how bendable they can be: formidability, thickness, and plastic strain.
Alloys with initial series numbers or grades 1, 3, and 5 are more bendable than those starting with the number 6. However, specific types are suitable for structural applications.
Aluminum series 3003, 5052, and 6061 are widely beneficial for roofing, gutters, and electronic and automotive parts. While they offer considerable flexibility, they can still provide strength.
How To Tell What Kind Of Aluminum You Have
According to the Aluminum Association Inc, you can identify the aluminum through the four or five-digit naming scheme.
The first digit denotes the grade, which is essential to consider as a consumer. In contrast, the succeeding numbers pertain to valuable information for manufacturers. It includes modifications, hardening processes, and product form.
In addition to the numerical descriptions, experts classify aluminum into two types: cast and wrought alloys. If you see the label with a decimal before the fourth digit, it shows that the material is cast alloy. Otherwise, the simple name describes wrought alloys.
How Long Will Aluminum Fascia Last?
Aluminum fascia can maintain its superior condition for 10 to 15 years. Eventually, it will oxidize because of constant exposure to extreme weather, giving it a nasty look. To prolong the lifespan, avoid pairing treated lumber with aluminum and ensure proper nailing to the base.
It is a low-maintenance material that provides practical protection for fascia boards and soffits compared to alternative materials like wood.
Advantages of Aluminum Fascia
In addition to roof support, aluminum fascia is a popular material for enhancing siding and stabilizing gutter systems because of its benefits.
- Resists corrosion and infestation of pests and animals such as birds and rodents
- Acts as a sturdy barrier during storms and periods of frost
- Complements home exterior when painted
- Endures high temperatures and rot
- Lasts for a long time, making it low cost
- Allows recycling or repurposing after shelf life
Can You Bend Aluminum With A Torch?
To prevent a break or crack while bending, expose the aluminum to heat instead of exerting force. Two heating methods are reliable for thick and heavy sheet metals: hot forming and annealing. The former turns the metal red before tilting. Annealing makes the sheet softer and malleable.
Sweep a neutral oxyacetylene torch a few times until the aluminum becomes golden. Avoid warming it too much because it might melt or reduce its strength.
Click here to see this welding torch on Amazon.
Can You Bend Aluminum With A Heat Gun?
Unlike the torch, the heat gun is not powerful enough to bend aluminum coils, because the power wattage is between 1,500 and 1,750 watts.
Similarly, its heating capacity, ranging from 212 to 1290 degrees F, is no match for the torch heating up to 5700 degrees F. Hair dryers are also not useful for this project.
What Are Other Metal-Bending Tools?
Aside from the practical tools we mentioned earlier, here is a brief selection of handy devices you can carry anywhere, unlike the big machines.
Straight Sheet Metal Seamer
Roofers commonly use straight sheet metal hand seamers. The device comes in different types, such as all-set and single locks. You can readily determine the depth of the edge because of the nudges or markings on both sides.
The depth starts at 1/4 inch. It offers easy and accurate flat corners of metal and serves as a clamping tool at the same time.
However, it has limited scope because its width is usually narrower than aluminum panels. If you encounter this situation, you can start flattening the sheet from the center. Afterward, work sideways.
Click here to see this metal seamer on Amazon.
Sheet Metal Pliers
These unique pliers feature wide, flat jaws, adjustable pressure, and a secured trigger release. For this reason, they are suitable for bending and crimping the corners of heat-treated metal sheets even though manufacturers did not formerly design them for this purpose.
Click here to see these Irwin locking pliers on Amazon.
Metal Plate Bending Roller
Despite it intricate parts, you can operate this tool efficiently. Place it on a sturdy table and adjust the rolling radius depending on the thickness of the aluminum coils.
It also has a handle crank and a knob for locking. This heavy-duty roller can bend a metal depth of 22 gauge and a width of 12 1/2 inches.
Click here to see this removable metal roller on Amazon.
The mini brake is an excellent alternative for small construction projects bending aluminum coils up to 90-degree angles. The maximum aluminum gauge it can accommodate is 20.
It has two mounting options: a bench top and a C-clamp. Similarly, this compact device has two long handles for smooth operation.
Click here to see this portable mini brake on Amazon.
How To Make A DIY Metal Bending Brake?
Most bending metal brakes on the market are costly and not portable. They are only a good investment if you use them frequently. You can consider using a DIY version if you can't rent or buy one.
You will need the following materials:
- Cap and drywall screws
- Lock nuts
- Carriage bolts
- Wing nuts and washers
- Steel bar, angle, and box tube
- Wood board
Watch this clip to visualize making a simple sheet metal brake without welding.
What Are Methods Of Bending Sheet Metal?
When bending metals, select from these typical techniques to attain precision and a good appearance. However, most of them are achievable with the help of complex systems. Their names describe the shape and degree they produce.
- Roll bending
- Rotary bending
- Edge bending
- Wipe bending
Watch this video for tips on how to bend metal without a sheet metal brake.
How Do You Fasten Aluminum Fascia?
To fasten aluminum fascia, you need corrosion-proof pan-head screws with coated heads. They should match the sheet color. The trim can be hazardous, so always wear leather gloves for safety.
Cover the wooden fascia boards before drilling. For installation of the metal in your house, the better substitute for face nailing is to screw at the bottom rim of the aluminum so that the topmost beam carries it in place. In return, it prevents an unsightly view, especially on hot days.
Your hands, hammer, screwdriver, and rollers help bend aluminum fascia if you do not have a metal brake. Regardless of the thickness, use the tools properly and wear safety gear. Measure the area you need to curve before attaching the clamps. Finally, bend one side and hem the other to bend.
If you enjoyed this post, explore these related articles on metals:
Does Metal Roofing Need Drip Edge?