by Jeff Eggert
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Homemade Break - Bending Brass & Styrene
This How-To shows how a break was made from styrene, a little tin, and 3 screws. I needed to bend brass and styrene sheet into various size L-angles, a few Z-channels and make that overhanging GATC roof.
Go to the primary How-To - Scratch-Building a GATC 4700 cuft Grain Car

The Break, Bending Rod, and Z-Channel Maker, left to right. A piece of .080" thick stryene is the Break base. Underneath is is .250" square styrene bar in various spots, but mainly in the location of the screws for the holder. 3 Phillips head screws were used to hold in position and tighten down on the piece to be bent. A tin strip with oversized screw holes is sandwiched between the base and the holder since it is stronger than styrene when bending the brass. This way I don't have to replace it often or ever since its edge won't wear.
Close up holder configuration. A more precise and elaborate break could be made, but for 30 minutes or so of my time, it saved me much more in the building process for just one model.
The work piece needs to be marked with a bend line. The work piece (brass sheet, etc) is placed under the tin, lining up the bend line with the edge of the tin. Then the holder is held down by hand while the screws are tightened. The Bending Rod is placed under the work piece and slowly and uniformly pulled towards the holder, bending the work piece as is goes. Once bent, a final crease is added to the work piece for a clean 90° bend by dragging the end of the Bending Rod along the back of the work piece.

Note the styrene holder with the screws in it is pushed back from the tin bend edge. This allows the work piece to be bent past 90°. I found this gives the work piece a better, more square edge.

The GATC roof with bending completed. Using a one piece roof eliminated a lot of work trying to get multiple pieces to smooth out when it is attached to the car body before adding the roof details. Careful planning was used to ensure when the second Z bend was completed, the roof would fit nicely on the car body. Being off by more than 3 scale inches would have required a lot of tweaking to hide the sloppy fit.
Profile of the roof on the car. Note the end angle which joins the roof and end of the car body has not been installed yet.