Press Brake

Press Brake Components 110

This class identifies the major components of the press brake and describes the most common press brake designs. Includes an Interactive Lab.

  • Difficulty Beginner

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 14

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Objectives
  • What Is a Press Brake?
  • Structure of the Press Brake
  • Components of the Press Brake
  • Press Brake Specifications
  • Basic Press Brake Operation
  • The Mechanical Press Brake
  • The Hydraulic Press Brake
  • The Hydro-Mechanical Press Brake
  • The Leaf Press Brake
  • Press Brake Dies
  • Setting Die Parameters
  • Common Press Brake Measuring Instruments
  • Summary
  • Describe the press brake.
  • Describe the structure of the press.
  • Describe common press components.
  • Describe common press characteristics.
  • List basic press brake modes and controls.
  • Describe the mechanical press brake.
  • Describe the hydraulic press brake.
  • Describe the hydro-mechanical press brake.
  • Describe the leaf press brake.
  • Describe press brake dies.
  • Describe die parameters.
  • Describe common press brake measuring instruments.
Vocabulary Term

back gauge

Another word used for backage.


Adjustable components of the press brake against which the workpiece is located when forming takes place. Backage is a parameter that must be adjusted with each new die set.

backage origin

An established point between the center of the bed and the face of the backage components. Backage origin must be determined before backage and other parameters can be established.

bed plate

The foundation for the entire press brake. The bed plate is located at the bottom of the machine.

bottom dead center

The position when the ram is fully extended to the bottom of its stroke.


A measuring instrument with two pairs of jaws on one end and a long beam containing a marked scale of unit divisions. One pair of jaws measures external features; the other pair measures internal features.


The maximum amount of force that a press can exert.


The coupling mechanism used on a press brake to engage and disengage the flywheel and the crankshaft, either directly or through a gear train.


Computer numerical control. CNC is a combination of software and hardware that directs the operation of a press brake. Parameters on CNC press brakes are adjusted by entering values on the control.


The device in a mechanical press brake that connects the flywheel to the ram and powers the ram's up and down motion.

die set

Matching press brake components that actually contact the metal workpiece on either side and cause the bend. A die set consists of a an upper die, or punch, and a corresponding lower die.

die space

The amount of space available on the press brake to accomodate the die set.


A type of ram that cycles from the top of the press to the bottom.

female die

The lower portion of a die set that corresponds with the male die and serves as a support for the workpiece. The female die must be cut to the same angle and fit the shape of the male die.

filler blocks

Devices that are used for filling up space in the die area when the die tooling itself does not use up the minimum space requirement.


The device on a mechanical press brake that spins continuously as the press is powered up. The flywheel stores the energy necessary to cycle the press when the clutch is engaged.

foot pedal

A foot-operated lever located on the floor near the front of the press that, when depressed, cycles the ram of the press brake.

housing brace

The device which secures the two uprights together at the very top of the press brake.


Able to apply power via the motion and pressure of liquids.

hydraulic cylinder

The component of the hydraulic press brake that uses liquid under pressure to apply force and initiate forming.

hydraulic press brake

A type of press brake that is powered by a hydraulic cylinder to cycle the ram. The hydraulics allow the press to be stopped at any time during its stroke.

hydro-mechanical press brake

A type of press brake that combines the characteristics of the mechanical press brake with the characteristics of the hydraulic press brake. Hydro-mechanical press brakes offer the repeatability of mechancial press brakes and are able to exert the same amount of force through their entire stroke.


The term used to describe a flaw in a press brake die. Kinks are corrected by welding or machining.

leaf bar

The device located on the leaf press brake that, when raised, bends metal.

leaf press brake

A type of press brake that forms metal by raising and lowering a leaf bar. The leaf brake is a lighter-duty press brake used for lighter gauge steel.

lower die

Another name for the female die.

male die

The upper portion of a die set that corresponds with the female die and moves down onto the workpiece. The male die must be cut to the same angle and fit into the shape of the female die.

mechanical press brake

A type of press brake that is powered by a spinning flywheel that stores energy. A mechanical press brake cycles when its clutch is engaged.


Limits or properties that determine the location of a die set in a press brake. Parameters are adjusted with each new die set to ensure that the die set sits appropriately in the press brake.

press brake

A type of press with an open frame, a wide bed, and a moveable ram that is typically used for straight bending operations. With the press brake, the operator manually holds the workpiece during the bending operation.


A type of manual ruler that measures angles.


The upper portion of a die set that shapes or penetrates the sheet metal.

radius gauge

A measuring implement used to measure the radius of parts.


The portion of the press brake that moves up and down to open and close the die set components.

stamping press

A machine tool with a ram that moves up and down continuously to cut and shape sheet metal using a die set. Unlike the press brake, the stamping press is most often used for continuous operation to separate scrap and parts from sheet metal.

straight-line forming

A process in which metal is formed by a series of simple bends along a straight line.

stroke length

The full range of movement of the ram.


The section on a press brake that is cut away from the uprights midway between the bed plate and the ram in which the die tooling is placed and forming takes place.


A notch located on one end of a die component so that the die may be clamped onto the ram.

top dead center

The position when the ram is fully extended to the top of its stroke.


A type of ram that cycles from the bottom of the press to the top.

upper die

Another name for the male die.


The supports that run vertically alongside the press and form the press brake structure.

V-shaped die

A die with an end in the shape of a "V" that forms straight bends. The V-shaped die is the most common type of die for the press brake.