Have you ever wondered why architects’ construction details often have notes that call out “brake metal” (or, possibly, and incorrectly, “break metal”)?
When I was an architectural intern, working on construction documents, I often used details from previous projects to get started on details for a current project. I often wondered, and sometimes asked, “What is brake metal?”
I never got a good answer.
But when I started writing specs, I learned that brake metal is sheet metal that is formed in a press brake. This metal is often specified for sheet metal flashing and trim.
Here’s a press brake in action:
In this photo, above, a length of prefinished sheet metal is being inserted between the male die and the female die of a press brake. Next, the workers will pull up the bottom die, pressing the dies together, which will bend the metal.
Violà! Brake metal.
Many thanks to Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation for today’s tour of their Colorado plant, where they roll form tons of sheet metal wall and roof panels every year (and brake form lots of sheet metal trim).
This tour was organized by the Denver Chapter of CSI (the Construction Specifications Institute). If you’ve been considering joining CSI, now is a great time to join, because, for one week starting today, CSI has a 20% discount on national membership (November 9th through 16th). This discount is only available to new members joining at the professional (non-student) level. The discount doesn’t apply to your chapter membership, but chapter membership is where you get great benefits such as this plant tour I wrote about today, so it’s worth joining a local chapter, too! Here are the details:
Join CSI at www.csinet.org/join by Friday, November 16th and pay only $192 for national dues, a 20% savings.
- Log onto www.csinet.org/join
- Select “Join Now”, and then click “Sign Up as a New Member”
- Enter Promotion Code CSI1220 when prompted
- Click the “Add Discount” button