When you are faced with a challenging bending or forming application, custom press brake tooling, or specials, may be the solution. Working with a tooling manufacturer to determine the best way to form a part can often save time and result in an innovative tooling solution that not only simplifies complex bends, but also improves productivity and produces higher quality parts.

Press Brake Specials

Over the years we’ve helped countless customers solve their most challenging bending applications by providing custom solutions fast. Our sales desk responds to special tooling requests in as few as four hours. We also offer the fastest lead times on special tooling in the industry.

It’s possible we’ve already created custom press brake tooling for a customer who faced a similar bending challenge. Consider some of the solutions below or download the Press Brake Specials catalog for more ideas.

Metal Sample Showing a Hem

In hemming and flattening applications it’s recommended to start with a standard tool and make modifications because of the lower cost and faster lead time. However, there are limitations to this approach, such as the amount of brake real estate required, the strength of the die, kick out, and operator fatigue. For thick gauge applications, a heavy-duty hem offers a thicker die to withstand more tonnage and incorporates a heel on the punch to transfer the load during hemming. However, applications using heavy-duty hems are still limited due to kick-out during flattening. Standard two-stage hemming and flattening is limited to 16-gauge mild steel and design is limited by the 30-degree bend. Larger hem and flatten applications require special press brake tooling.

A custom hemming and flattening tool can deliver a horizontal hem and flatten in two hits, making it easier for the operator. Back gauging can be added as a feature when required. The addition of a pneumatic hemming die to the tool set reduces movement for easier use of the die and can be designed as a die holder. Using pneumatic cylinders to rapidly open and close the pre-form insert, pneumatic hemming dies remove the inconsistency associated with pre-forming or acute bending on a spring-actuated insert.

Metal Sample Showing a Channel Bend

Using a standard punch and die set, forming a channel requires two strokes of the machine. However, with a custom channel tool, it is possible to produce both bends in one stroke, reducing the amount of time it takes to produce a part. Springback allowance is built in to the tool set. With only one hit, part handling is reduced, thus improving the consistency of the finished part and minimizing the risk of producing a bad part.

In addition to the custom tooling described above, Wilson Tool manufactures special press brake tooling for applications including curls/hinges, gussets, heavy plate, louvers, large radius, multiple radius, emboss/letter stamps, card guide, and punch tooling holders. No matter how unique your application, we have the experience to take your part information, drawings, designs or CAD files and recommend the right custom tooling for the job.

Press Brake Tool Design

When you are ready to request special tooling for your application, we’ve created a Specials Checklist to help guide you through the process and ensure we get all the information needed to provide an accurate recommendation. The checklist includes providing machine specifications as well as tooling and application requirements. You’ll also receive final design drawings for review and approval prior to manufacturing. This helps ensure that the tooling will work as expected and prevent lost production time and rework.

Contact the bending sales desk today to get started.


Set-Up Cost Analysis Calculator

Thinking about investing in new tooling? Whether you’re making a new purchase or switching from one solution to another, a set-up cost analysis calculator can help you determine the return on your investment. Simply enter some basic data about your application and current tooling, including hourly rate, set-up time, and average number of set-ups per day, and contrast that with the new set-up time if you were to replace your tooling. The calculator will tell you how much money you could potentially save each year by making the switch. It also provides an estimate on how many weeks per year of labor costs the increase in efficiency could save.

If your organization is like most, making a significant investment in new tooling or technology needs to be justified with data. Wilson Tool’s cost/benefit calculator does just that, making it easy for you to provide hard-and-fast evidence that the solution you are recommending will save your organization time and money by increasing efficiency and reducing labor costs. You know that reducing set-up time is key to improving productivity and increasing profits. Now, you have a tool that quickly provides the data necessary to support this claim when requesting approval from decision makers to purchase new tooling for a specific application.

Download the Set-Up Cost Analysis calculator today to find out how much you can save.


This month, Wilson Tool International celebrates its 25th year of providing the most comprehensive press brake tooling and clamping solutions. The bending division is aimed at decreasing press brake setup times, speeding part flow and optimizing part quality. Thanks to our all of our wonderful bending team members for their hard work and dedication.

Bending Team Members Working


The Technically Speaking video series offers practical advice to help you solve common fabrication challenges. There are currently nine press brake topics and three punch press topics available at, with more being added all the time. Each video features tips for improving productivity or best practices for getting the most out of your tooling.

Technically Speaking Bending Videos

Existing press brake videos in the series cover the following topics:

 Blue Play Button Icon Air Bending with Offset Tools
Did you know you can use offset tools to air bend? Watch this video to find out how to use the same tool set to achieve a variety of bends.
 Blue Play Button Icon Aligning a 2V Die Rail System
Want to learn how to align a European 2V die rail system? Watch how the die holder allows the rail to find correct alignment with the punch, and then see how to fasten the die into place.
 Blue Play Button Icon Difference Between Z1 and Z2 European Punch Tangs
Watch this video to explore the difference between the Z1 and Z2 European punch holders, how to identify which one you need, and the problems that arise if you use the wrong one.
 Blue Play Button Icon Forming with Punch Press Tooling in the Press Brake
Discover how our new Brake Partner™ allows fabricators to use punch press tooling to produce forms in the press brake in this video.
 Blue Play Button Icon Galling on Press Brake Dies
Watch how to identify galling, remove it without damaging your tool, and prevent it in the future in this short video.
 Blue Play Button Icon Punch Selection Using a Bend Limit Graph
Learn how to use the bend limit graphs found in our tooling catalogs to quickly and easily ensure you’ve got the right profile in your tool set.
Blue Play Button Icon 

Stage Bending and Common Shut Height Tooling
Watch how quickly you can perform multiple bends with a single set-up with stage bending. Common shut height tooling eliminates the need for shimming, thus reducing part handling and runtime.

Blue Play Button Icon  Using an Air Bend Force Chart
Air bending is a common practice in the bending industry. Watch this video to learn how to use an air bend force chart to ensure you are using the correct V opening in your die to get the bend you want.
 Blue Play Button Icon Xtreme Storage Cabinet
Find out how the flexible tool storage offered by the Xtreme Cabinet can help you increase performance and ergonomic safety.


Do you have an idea for a future Technically Speaking video or article? Email us.


The Application Station is a new addition to Tooling Times where each month we’ll showcase solutions-based videos, including additively manufactured solutions. We hope this will be a great resource for customers in imagining the possibilities in tooling and additive manufacturing.


Large Hinge Dual Radius Bend Video

Large Hinge Using Dual Radius Tool on the Press Brake
See how a dual radius tool set can be used to create large hinges on the press brake with two tool sets and only three hits.


Bend3D Rod Bending Video

Rod Bending Tool with 3D Printed Parts for the Press Brake
Discover the possibilities of using additive manufacturing to reduce production time, marking and increase versatility for bending rod on a press brake. Using a rod bending tool with 3D printed parts, metal rod can be formed up to 1/4” [6.5mm] with a tensile of 75ksi.


Roy Payne


After more than 35 years with Wilson Tool International, Roy Payne will retire this spring. As a sales engineer, Roy has been a trusted coworker and valuable partner for our customers. His extensive insight and commitment to customer satisfaction has made him a well-respected member of our industry.

In an article originally published in the August 2017 issue of Shop Metalworking Technology, customer Michael Grieger of Define Metal Fabrication, Inc. stated, “As for service, Wilson Tool’s facility just around the corner from my shop and Roy’s extensive “due diligence” prior to selecting the tooling are good indicators that Wilson Tool will be able to respond to service needs quickly.”

When asked about the significant changes he’s seen in the industry during his career, Roy responded, “The changes in technology both for the sales engineer and the customer. When I started there were no cell phones, laptops, email, voicemail, or even fax machines. In order to get customer messages we would go to a pay phone and call the office. Someone had to read you hand-written messages. Customer call reports were also hand-written and we would mail copies to the office and regional manager every week. If a customer needed a quick quote on a special you would describe it over the phone and hope it was close to what they needed.”

Roy Payne in the Early 1990s

“The technology in the shops has changed significantly as well. In 1983 most turrets were straight out mechanical punching machines run by paper tapes. Shops now have full CNC hydraulic or electro servo driven machines with auto indexing, programmable rams, higher speeds and accuracy. Programming is done off-line and integrated with CAD, Solidworks, etc. Communication is electronic and immediate. Customers no longer just do work for local companies. It is truly a world market now.”

As for the company he’s devoted his career to, Roy reflected, “Thirty-five years ago Wilson Tool was a single building in White Bear Lake, Minn. making punches and dies for Amada®, Strippit, and Whitney machines. They served mainly the U.S. market. Over the years they have grown to be a force not only in the U.S. but Canada, Mexico and throughout the world. There are manufacturing facilities and offices around the globe. They have added to the product line to include TRUMPF* and Murata style punches, press brake tooling for virtually any style machine, crowning and clamping for press brakes, Impax® and Exacta stamping tools, tablet tooling and now additive manufacturing. I don’t envy a new sales person’s learning curve. The most encouraging thing is that throughout all the growth and expansion Wilson Tool has maintained its focus on the customer. It makes the job a little easier to know you have that kind of backing.”

When we asked Roy if he had a favorite customer story, he replied, “They’re all my favorite customers! Seriously though, I have customers where I have been calling on the same people for 35 years. I know all about them, their business, their families and their hobbies. With other customers, I am now dealing with the second and even third generation. It’s amazing to watch some of these young people grow up and become general managers, vice presidents, and presidents.”

Roy Speaking at the Sales Meeting

“I value the relationships with customers and coworkers the most. It’s sobering to look back and realize that there are more people in the world that know me as ‘Roy from Wilson Tool’ than any other way. It’s a major part of my identity and it’s been a good ride,” said Roy.

Roy will be retiring in April and says, “I leave with mixed emotions. I look forward to more time with the family, and for golf and travel. But I will miss the relationships.”


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Interested in how additive manufacturing can improve your operation? Check the box next to “Additive” and you will receive updates on Wilson Tool’s latest division of additively manufactured fabrication tools and support parts.




BLECH India 2019
• April 25–27

Austech 2019
• May 14–17

You can always find upcoming Wilson Tool events in the Events section of the website.