What Size Press Brake Should I Buy?

A press brake can bend, punch, and shear sheets of metal on either a small or industrial scale. If you’re shopping for new or used press brakes, here are some things to keep in mind while making your purchase.


The tonnage is the amount of pressure that is applied during a bend. Higher tonnage is ideal for higher and thicker metals, and lower tonnage is ideal for thinner metals. So, for example, if you’ll be working on 16-gauge mild steel with a maximum length of 10 feet, the capacity does not have to be more than 50 tons for air bending. However, if you do a lot of bottoming work, you may have to consider a 150-ton machine. Make sure to consult with a professional press brake technician prior to your purchase.

Bending Length

The bending length is the maximum length that the metal sheet can be bent. If your press brake is too small, then it will not be able to bend long sheet metal. The press brake should have a bending length that is slightly longer than the sheets that you want to bend. If the press brake is not the right size, the press ram, dies, or other parts can be damaged or even destroyed.


You also should consider the amount of deflection likely to occur in a particular machine. Under the same load, a 10-foot machine has four times the deflection in the bed and ram than a 5-foot machine. The type of material you use is a critical factor too. For instance, stainless steel increases the load requirement about 50 percent over that of mild steel, while most grades of soft aluminum require about 50 percent less. Press brake companies can help you estimate tonnage per foot of length in different thicknesses.

Shopping for used press brakes for sale?

If you need a press brake, contact AMSI. Our professional technicians will help you select the best fabricating equipment for your needs.