Making a simple seat pan

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supermanLook! Up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with his bare hands…

Well, it’s not really the man of steel.

I was giving a lot of thought to my last post for several reasons. First, the spring thing didn’t work out as planned. There’ll be a post on that. Second, bending steel without a bending brake can be a challenge, depending on the gauge and length of the sheet metal.

With the ZN, I’m only bending 16-gauge steel without a brake so it’s doable. If it were 10-gauge steel sheet, then I’d be up the creek without a paddle and need either a good brake of some kind or Superman.

To bend steel sheet without help of the aforementioned, here are the things needed:

  • Clean work table
  • Permanent marker
  • Tape measure
  • (2) Clamps
  • Work gloves
  • Wooden or rubber mallet
  • Sheet metal hand tongs

Position the tape measure along the edge of the sheet metal. Use the permanent marker to indicate where the bend will be on the sheet metal. Do the same thing on the other edge of the sheet metal.

Scribe a line connecting the two marks in Step 1.


Place the sheet metal on the work table. Align the bend mark over the edge of the work table. Now part of the sheet is laying flat on the table and the other part hangs over the edge of the table. Clamp the sheet metal to the table with clamping devices, e.g., C-clamps or Vise grip pliers.

Put on work gloves. Press down with the palms of the hand on the sheet metal that’s hanging over the table’s edge.

The bend for my seat pan didn’t require a tight or sharp bend. If it did, then I’d hammer the bend with a mallet to tighten it up.


In addition, the angle of my bend didn’t reach 90 degrees or more. If it did then, after removing the sheet from the clamps, I’d need a bending brake, sheet metal hand tongs

or Superman.

Next: How to mount a bobber saddle to the frame

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