With more metal being integrated into today’s exterior designs, and recession-resistant re-roofing demand and other necessary replacements, metal fabrication efficiency is a contractor’s secret weapon for profitability.  

Tapco Tools’ MAX-I-MUM XL system with included brake stand, wheel kit and MAX cut-off.

With more metal being integrated into today’s exterior designs, and recession-resistant re-roofing demand and other necessary replacements, metal fabrication efficiency is a contractor’s secret weapon for profitability. Power and portability are combining to give roofing, gutter and siding installers a cost- and time-saving edge.

With commercial-grade bending power, innovative brakes allow for metal fabrication wherever it’s needed. No more having to pay a metal shop for custom pieces or shelling out rental fees time and again at a tool shop.

With speed and precision, contractors can bend custom pieces while producing less scrap from increasingly costly material. Two 8-foot, 6-inch brake models from Tapco Integrated Tool Systems illustrate the power and versatility contractors have in easily-transported bending equipment.

For commercial-grade bending in a lightweight package, Tapco’s MAX-I-MUM XL System brake weighs in at just 133 pounds with a capacity to handle thick metals like 24-gauge galvanized and stainless sheet steel, 0.040 aluminum and 32-ounce soft and annealed copper.

The Pro 19 Brake form Tapco Tools is shown with optional Side-Winder angle gauge and PRO cut-off.

The MAX enhances productivity for architectural, commercial, residential and industrial sheet metal fabrication. From galvanized flashing to commercial low-slope roofing to steel wall panels, the MAX is designed to make fabrication easier. Tapco’s patented Moving Pivot Hinge allows increased bending power without marring materials. Dual locking handles provide fast, secure clamping. The brake’s unique hemming capability allows for 180-degree overbends.

“You cannot seriously be in the roofing, siding, window, gutter or door business without a quality brake,” said John Miller, independent manufacturer’s representative with Northstar Associates, Minneapolis, Minn., who often demonstrates Tapco brakes at trade shows and contractor continuing education seminars. “These are more than just siding brakes. A Tapco Tools brake is a roofing brake, a flashing brake, a window brake. In many cases you just can’t buy the correct piece of metal out of the box. You have to fabricate items for a quality fit and finish that works,” Miller said.

“We purchased our Tapco brake about eight years ago and quite honestly, I don’t know how we got along without it,” noted Lynn Ball, president of Ball Custom Builders LLC. The Lafayette, Ind.-based company has specialized in windows, siding and doors for a decade, also performing general contracting, additions and interior remodeling. They use their brake for wrapping windows and doors, bending flashing and other needs. “It’s the best investment I ever made. We rely on our Tapco brake and it never fails us to do a perfect job,” Ball said.

“If a roofing or siding company shows up at a job site without a brake, the results won’t be a very good job,” Miller added. “Assemblies will likely fail because the installer tried to get by with a factory formed piece of aluminum trim, sourced through a distributor or lumber dealer that does not fit correctly. The result is it’s going to allow water behind siding and trim, ultimately causing catastrophic water damage. The best solution is a custom formed piece of trim fabricated with a Tapco brake.”

With jobsite mobility in mind, the MAX-I-MUM XL System includes the MAX Snap Stand and Wheel Kit for easy one-man transport. In comparison, unwieldy sheet metal brakes with similar capacities can easily top 300 pounds - more than double the MAX’s weight. Truck- or trailer-loaded, the MAX brings brawny on-demand fabrication even for architectural trim, parapet wall caps or commercial cant flashing in Kynar-coated 24-gauge steel.

Tapco’s MAX Cut-Off heavy duty roller shear is also included with the MAX for superior productivity. The ergonomically-designed shear makes fast, single-pass cuts through 24-gauge stainless and galvanized steel, 32 ounce soft copper and 0.050 aluminum.

As portable as the MAX and with the same 19 3/8-inch throat depth, Tapco’s PRO19 brake - just 96 lbs. - allows speedy fabrication of various exterior pieces. The brake efficiently creates soffit, fascia, custom brick mold, gutter aprons, chimney flashing, drip edges, window casing and sill trim. It easily bends pieces for ridges, hips and valleys.

“A brake like the PRO 19 is a huge key when it comes to the 4 D’s of water management: drainage, deflection, drying and durability,” Miller said. “In a remodeling application you cannot anticipate every single piece of drip cap or trim you’re going to need from a distribution perspective. And if you did, you couldn’t control your inventory.”

The PRO19 can bend 16-ounce copper sheet and coil, 0.030 soft aluminum and 28 gauge galvanized steel. “The large throat and efficient base-hinge design of these Tapco brakes allow more finished work to be bent with the piece inside the tool; handling and flipping are reduced. Unlike other brakes, you can get closer to the finished work for a better fit and finish,” said Miller.

“The locking system on Tapco brakes is also more efficient than others. You pull on the handle rather than push it away, so you can be closer to the tool when working with large coil for example. The brakes’ individual bending handles also allow you to get closer versus loop-design handles found on other brakes.”

Tapco’s available PRO Cut-Off roller shear can be used with the PRO19 for easy factory-quality cuts through various metals and all vinyl. The Side-Winder Coil-feeding System holds coil securely, keeping it from blowing down the street or landing in a mud puddle. Other accessories include the Wheel Kit, Snap Stand, PRO Cut-Off Gauge, Angle Gauge, Material Support Table and Brake Buddy roll-forming tool.

With versatility and speed, Tapco Tool Systems eliminate the need to take extra steps in custom fabrication. With the optimized workflow, more profits flow into contractors’ pockets.

For a video of Tapco’s brakes in action, please visit www.youtube.com/user/TheTapcoGroup#p/u/9/ehqHHf7d8y4.