bending stainless

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Dec 20, 2010
st.louis MO
hey guys, who has bent it without a break??  can you score the back with a grinder and then bend it pretty well??
Go to a local HVAC business.  They will have a break.  Beer can speak volumes. 
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I use stainless all the time at work. Should be no problem for a brake to bend 18ga. Like Wayside Ranch suggested go find a HVAC shop.
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Where do you live?

I own a number of brakes and help guys out all the time.

If you score the back, you'll weaken the metal.

im in st. louis

Jog on up to Minnesota, and Todd will bend it for ya, but don't forget your earmuffs !!!!

I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist that one.

It's a wonder all the steel doesn't snap this time of year in that Minnesota Deep Freeze!

wish i could buddy!!!  i have a metal cabinet, i am insulating the inside then making a stainless steel insert that all the smoking will be done in.  so i am basically bending a box to fit inside the metal cabinet. i want to bend as much as i can, then rivet the the back panel to the box. i don't know how to weld. i am a carpenter, very good with any suggestions for bending would be appreciated!!!  thanks guys!!!
You will need to find a local outfit that has a break that can do it for you. Call HVAC shops, and also look for sheet metal shops in the yellow pages, since you already have the material it probably shouldn't cost much to have them just bend it. I highly suggest you make a cardboard mock-up to double check your fits before having the metal bent.
I have no idea what kind of money you are willing to spend but I think if it was me. I would check bending prices first, which still sucks since you have to tell them what you want and take a chance that it isnt gonna fit when you get home. So, I would consider a cheep harbor freight sheet metal brake  . This is gonna bend well past the thickness of what you are talking about. Grab a 20% off coupon from one of the hot rod mags and it will be right close to 200 bucks.

I think you will be happier being able to measure and bend then measure again for the next bend. Getting the measurements right, even on the thin stuff is tuff at best. You could even use it to make a couple really slick side tables for the smoker. Like you said, your good with tools so with creative bending and rivets you could have a fantastic looking outfit in the end.

One last thought, you said you are a carpenter. If your union, drop by the hall and pin a note on the board asking about someone having a brake. You may be surprised how many guys would be willing to help a brother out for a little bbq snack.

And what type of cabinet are you using for the outer skin?
i have a 36" wide x 48" tall x 18" deep metal storage cabinet.  i am making an electric smoker, so i have a 1500 watt element, a digital thermostat control and high temp insulation.  i pretty much have my design down, the stainless is the only thing holding me up right now.
If you don't have a break or access to one you could fashion a make shift one.  Grab two 2x4's that are at least as long as your bend.  Place the steel and one 2x4 in a vice, lining up your bend line with the top of the 2x4.  Use the other 2x4 to bend the steel across the top of the other.  Do this slowly being careful not to fracture the steel.  Do you know the grade of steel you're using?  That will determine how ductile/brittle it is.  For example, high carbon SS is much more brittle than a chrome steel typically.  Then there's annealed and hardened steel.  All these variables will affect ductility.  Sorry for going nerd there.  Bottom line, go slow and steady as you bend to be on the safe side.

Hope this helps.



If you ever make it over here to kansas city, I would be more then willing to let ya use my break. Its plenty heavy to break 3/16 on 20 inchs, just sometimes I don't quite have the ka-hoonas to do it.

Like I said if you make it over here for work or something, the break is here and available for use.

Sorry if it sounds stingy but I just can't loan out my tools out of sight, I have had a couple bad experiences.

Good luck and pls share pics as you get moving along on things.
for sure man, thanks!!  (i dont lend my tools either) i will be posting pics when i have all my stuff together.  the steel i am using is coming from a  company that make ss cabinets and countertops so i am willing to bet it is made to bend since they do alot of bending to make their products.  thanks for the info guys!!
It is probably 304 SS then.  you should have no problems bending and forming it.  My background isn't in metalurgy but I have a bit of experience with SS.  For our applications we use 301/302 SS which is a bit more brittle and tends to craze more with bending.  Overall, 304 is a great choice for this.  Do you know if it's been treated with an anti-corrosive agent?  At the higher temps you may want it treated to prevent corrosion and pitting in the harsh smoking environment.


is stainless hard to weld??  i have been wanting to learn how to weld for a long time, now might be my chance.  I'm going to have to practice before i make the real thing.  i was looking at the break at habor frieght, and a little welder cost just as much.  it got good reviews, and i can do WAY more with a welder.  so what do you guys think?? is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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