Many names are used to describe tools which use wheels with ball bearings to bend metal such as edge benders, roller benders, and portable bending brakes. These items are not an everyday purchase so getting as much info is wise before purchasing. These tools have gained popularity because of their:
- Portability – Don’t need to bend at the shop, can bend metal on the job
- Bending Depths – make bends from 3/8″ to 14″ depending on the item
- No Limit to Length of Bend – A 10′ brake can bend 10 ft max, no max bend with edge rollers
- Bend Past 90° – New model benders allow you to bend past 90° without scratching the material
The “Uni” Bender
If you are a first time buyer and not familiar with these types of roller benders, you’ll look to a “uni” bender. The name uni comes from there being 1 main set of wheels, and 2 sets of guiding wheels, which will do the bending. This tool will do simple bends for flashing and can make multiple bends for various profiles. You’ll want this tool near you on the job site to make these type of bends without having to go back down the ladder. The Uni bender will also do slight radius bends which adds to its versatility.
The “Duo” Bender
The Duo bender has 2 sets of wheels for bending up to 90°. This limits the extent of any radius bends but makes straight, long bends much faster. This is because the leverage you can apply to the tool, along with 2 places that the metal is being bent, will speed up the process. The Duo has virtually no limit to the length of bend you can make. These benders can also make profile bends which can be seen in the video below.
The Hemming Tool
A typical use of a hemming tool is when you are connecting two panels together. After you make the 90°, you’ll want to bring the metal down to 180°. The material slides in between the discs and with a back and forth motion, you can slowly bring the metal down flat. These are extremely useful when the panel is longer than the size of your brake.
Radius Bending Tool
There are times when you’ll need a bend made on a radius for curved coping, barreled dormers, and bay windows. We like to refer to these types of rollers as “free hand” bending. With only one set of wheels, you are essentially forming the bend around the curve. Some tools with have a max depth of 3/4″ and others 2″. You’ll want your tool to be as close to the metal as possible when bending for best results.