Ok, several items to cover here. Hope this helps.
1) Breaks and shears only do straight line work. No curves. Perhaps there is a break available that has a rounded tip so that a definable radius can be created. If so, am sure it would be VERY expensive. If you wanted to form the radius at the back corner of the Jeep for example, that would be done on a roller of some kind, not a break. Now let's assume you wanted to make a formed cut out to match the bottom of you door opening - like \_____/. Can't do that on a shear either regardless of the thickness of the metal.
2) Boxes etc. There are two basically different kinds of breaks. The basic break and a box and pan break. Both will do long single bends (breaks) in metal, but a box and pan break can actually make a box. A regular break cannot. The way that is accomplished is by removing "fingers" in the top portion of the break so that the previously bent sides of the box will have a place to go. A regular break is solid across the top - no fingers. Have attached a couple of pictures of my box and pan break. It isn't making a box, but some of the fingers have been removed from the left side. This break will make a box about 6" deep - no more. The deeper your box is the longer the fingers have to be. My break was just under $4,000. To get one that would do a deeper box would be some REAL money. The largest fingers on my break weigh 25 lbs each. It is a heavy duty box and pan break. The fingers are made from 1.25" thick solid steel and at one point in the front are about 4" thick from top to bottom. A lighter b&p break will have fingers made from about half inch steel. These fingers will actually bend like spring steel and will not handle near the load of the heavy duty ones. My break will handle 1/8" mild steel. The CBrack, which is 1/8" 5052 hard aluminum is at the outside of the range that this break will handle. It is a fairly difficult single break on the long side of the CBrack.
3) Shears: A regular shear will only cut in a straight line. I have a Beverly throatless shear. On it you can cut curves, and it will handle up to 3/16" mild steel. Have forgotten what it cost, but was not inexpensive. You can do free hand cutting (well, actually it's all free hand on a Beverly), but it does take some skill. I am not skillful with it so only do roughing out work with it, and only one side of the finished cut is usable. The scrap side, whethere it is 1" wide or a foot or two, curls so that you can continue to cut long pieces. That does some damage to the scrap side. In other words you don't take a perfectly good piece of metal and cut it in half. One half won't be usable after the cut unless you are able to flatten it out again.
Pictures: I have 3 pictures for you. May not get them all in one post. If not will repost second or third pictures.
Doug '97 TJ
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