How to Clean, Adjust, and Tune Up a Sheet Metal Brake

April 10, 2018


How to Clean a Sheet Metal Brake

Now that roofing and siding season is here, it is time to dust the cobwebs off your brake and get it in top jobsite condition. Rich Wagner, from Tapco Tools shows how to adjust and clean your Tapco sheet brake.


How to do it:

  • Cut a small piece of metal into 2 in x 4 in. cards.
  • Place cards under each clamping station
  • Use 3/16 wrench to tighten clamps (clockwise) at each card.


To clean and lubricate the brake, spray these critical joints with WD-40:

  • Joint links
  • Pivot arm so the bolt doesn't freeze up
  • For PRO 14 or PRO 15 brakes, spray oil down the hinge, for thew PRO 50 featured here, you don't have to do that.



How to Tune-up a Sheet Metal Brake

1. Remove rubber pin keepers

  • Use a slotted screwdriver to push into the end of the pin and peel it out of the slot.
  • Open the brake.
  • Use 1/8 in Allen wrench to push the pin out of the hole. The 1/8 in size is easy to slip in through the casting, and if it is stubborn, you can tap it with a hammer to knock it out.
  • Slide the pins out with the screwdriver.
  • Slide in the new pins (five per side).
  • If you’re right-handed, line the pins up at the right ends of the openings (one per side).

A 3/16 inch Allen wrench comes with both the kit and the brake. Use the Allen wrench along with a 7/16 inch open end wrench to loosen the bolt holding the knuckle.


2. Install the power links

  • The bottom block has a reverse thread. Snug it up with the Allen wrench.
  • The upper link has a standard thread. Screw it on until it is about one thread apart.
  • Slide the block into the frame and slip the bolt through the holes.
  • Install the nut on the other side.
  • Tighten with Allen wrench and 7/16 inch box-end wrench until it just passes the Nylok: this will leave the link loose for movement.
  • Do this for all of the castings.


3. Remove and replace the vinyl strip

  • Use pliers to grab the strip at one end and pull it off from that end.
  • To slide the new vinyl strip on, lubricate the slot with WD-40.
  • Line up the ball end of the vinyl strip into the cylindrical slot.
  • Grasp the end with pliers, and pull and feed the vinyl strip simultaneously.


4. Replace the handle

  • Make sure all of the knuckles are facing up.
  • Starting in the center, slide the pins through the holes in handle. Use a screwdriver to slide the pin through the center hole on the top of the link.
  • Repeat this for all knuckles.
  • Replace the rubber pin keepers to either side of the pins. Slide them up to the pins and press them into the slot.


5. Adjust the brake

  • Cut five cards of aluminum coil stock and slide them in at each casting.
  • Lock the brake down. Tighten down each casting with the Allen wrench until it is just tight enough that you can’t pull it out.
  • Work your way down the brake until it is consistent.

When all five castings are adjusted to equal holding power, you're ready to get back to work.


—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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