Bend 4 Basic Shapes on a Tapco Brake

June 6, 2022

How to use a Tapco sheet metal brake to make four basic bends 

A lot of the complicated shapes that are needed in siding and roofing can be crafted with a combination of simple shapes and bends. This video shows the formulas for four simple bends

Hemming an edge on a Tapco sheet metal brake

Use the front edge of the brake as a measuring tool. It is set back from the clamping edge 3/4-inch. Fold the edge all the way around, so that the metal is nearly bent flat. Remove the workpiece and clamp the brake again. Place the bent edge against the clamp, lift up on the hinge, and finish the bend to tighten the fold. This yields a smooth factory-looking hem.


How to bend a sill seam

Slide the hemmed workpiece back into the open brake to the edge of the initial bend and fold over.

Hem again by lifting up on the hinge, and tightening the seam.

This seam can be used to hide the edge of another piece of sheet metal, for siding, window trim or otherwise. Sill trim can eliminate the need for face nails in many applications.


How to bend a simple step-bend or z-flashing

The default offset between the bending edge and the clamping hinge is 3/4-inch, so a 3/4-inch Z-flashing is very simple to make. This is handy because a lot of exterior trim is 3/4-inch thick. 

  • Step 1: Bend 90-degrees
  • Step 2: Flip the sheet metal over and bend another 90-degree bend


The formula for bending sheet metal with a 1/2-inch step

Because the default offset between the bending edge and the clamping hinge is 3/4-inch, many people do not know that you can smaller Z-flashing sizes. In fact, you can make 1/2-inch Z-flashing or even 3/8-inch Z-flashing by splitting the first 90-degree bend into two parts.

  • Make a 45-degree bend
  • Flip over sheet metal, make the second 90-degree bend
  • Flip over the sheet metal again and finish the 45-degree bend into a 90-degree bend

Step-bends are an integral part of many profiles needed for roofing and siding installation and replacement. Now you know that you have more formulas for bending sheet metal


—This video is from Tapco Tools, one of ProTradeCraft's advertisers. Serving professional siding applicators since 1961, Tapco brakes and accessories bring measuring, mobility, decorative designs, and strengthening ribs to fascia, window trims, frieze boards, porch posts, and beams. See all of Tapco's content here.


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