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Make your own Guttering

By Edited Jul 21, 2016 0 0

One of the cool things you can do with a sheet metal brake,
is making your own guttering for roof repair.

Why make guttering yourself?
- Maybe you are a DIY enthusiast who likes to do everything yourself
- Perhaps the guttering on your house is custom made - or no longer made,
making an off-the-shelf gutter replacement hard to find
- Because you want to get into the roofing-business

Which types of guttering can you make?
Gutters are simply lengths of metal bent to a profile shape.
Common profiles are square, box shaped, half round and even quarter round shapes.
V-shaped gutters can be found on the roof itself - on slanted roofs -
where one roof-surface joins another. These can also be made quite easily.

The tools you need
If you are making square, box- or v-shaped guttering, a
sheet metal brake is
essential. With it, you can put sharp, parallel bends in sheet metal.
If you are doing half- or quarter-round guttering, you will need roll forming equipment
for making the soft curves. In both cases, you also need some way to shear the metal.
Hand shears could be used, but some sheet metal brakes and roll formers actually come with
shears built in. This will give you much nicer results than the hand shear.

Choosing guttering materials
Guttering you can make yourself is usually made of sheet metals like copper,
aluminum, zinc and steel. Of these, steel needs extra protection against oxidization (rust).
Store-bought steel guttering can be had with zinc-plating, vitreous enamel and sometimes powdercoat paint.
These finishes are added to the guttering after they are bent to shape, and are not so practical to DIY.
If you want to bend steel gutters, you could use a sheet of zinc plated steel,
but be aware that the finished guttering will have exposed steel edges where you cut it to size.
These edges will not be protected, and should be treated with some other form of protetive coating,
preferrably something you can apply with a spray or brush.If you are making new guttering and can choose freely, copper would be agood choice, as it doesn't decay nearly as fast as unprotected steel.

Making the guttering
The first thing you should do, is make yourself a cross-section drawing of the guttering you want to make.
If you are repairing or replacing existing gutters, go find a ladder and take down a piece of it.
It should be an intact piece, if possible.
Now stand it upright on a piece of paper or cardboard, and trace the outline of the cross-section with a pencil.
Then take measurements of the different parts of the guttering: front, back, bottom sides.
Radii or diameters of curves, and dimensions and shapes of hems, folds and other details.
Apply those measurements to your cross-section drawing and correct it as needed.
Now you are ready to make a template to help you make the guttering - see the illustration below:

bendingtemplate


As you can sse, you are going to fold out the gutter, but not literally.
What you do, is use the measurements you made on the actual gutter, and turn them into a template for cutting and bending a piece of sheet metal into the shape of your gutter. You know the length of the bottom and sides of the gutter, so, looking at your original outline drawing, you can extend the horizontal line of the bottom with the length of the front to one side, and the length of the back to the other side. Now you have a line which is exactly as long as the piece of sheet metal you need to make the guttering. On that line, mark the points where the front and back meet the bottom.
Those are your bending points, where you are going to bend the sheet metal. Make a paper or cardboard template with these measurements, then transfer the measurements from it to the sheet metal using a steel scribe. Mark those bending points on both ends of the workpiece, and then connect them by pulling the scribe along a steel rule aligned with the points.
Make sure the scribe leaves a visible line in the workpiece, because you will be bending the workpiece along that line.
Now you are ready to start bending.
Do a couple of test pieces first, just to get a feel for the bending process. The bend may not occur exactly where you want it to at first - the bend will probably have a slight radius. The trick is to place that radius around the bending line, so to speak.That way you will get as close as possible to the dimensions of the original guttering.

That's all folks - now practice, practice, practice - and enjoy your new skill!
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