Wednesday, 16 March 2016

How to Make a Pipe Bending Machine

Are you a hobbyist in need of a pipe bending machine, but don’t have enough savings to buy a good quality product? No problem. There are always other solutions that can be considered. One solution is to design and build your own pipe bender. Read on to know more.

Planning a Pipe Bending Machine
The points below elaborate on the initial planning process to build a pipe bender at home.
  • Decide on the Aim and Design of the Bender: Before you start looking at equipment, the first thing you need to decide is the purpose of the bender. What kinds of bend will it make? What will the primary manufacturing material be? How big do you want it? Let’s assume that the bender will be designed to create curvatures in steel tubes. The manufacturing material can also be steel, as it provides benefits of strength, manufacturability, and corrosion resistance. The size of the bender can be medium, so that work will be convenient, and you can move the bender around, if required.
  • Gather the Manufacturing Equipment: You will need the following materials and equipment to construct your tube and pipe bender:
    • File - 1
    • Drill - 1
    • Vise - 1
    • Nuts - 3
    • Bolts - 2
    • Metal saw -1
    • Welding machine -1
    • DIA 8 rod – 1 (120 mm in length)
    • DIA ¾ʺ pipe -1 (1500 mm in length)
    • 50 x 50 flat bar – 6 (75 mm)
    • 50 x 5 flat bar – 1 (500 mm in length)
    • U-shaped DIA 8 rod -1 (180 mm in length)
    • 40 x 40 x 5 angle mild steel – 3 (300, 300, and 500 mm in length respectively)
As this is going to be a very simple design, there won’t be any need for a diagram. You can simply move onto the manufacturing steps.

Building the Primary Bending Component
The following steps showcase various points on making the primary pipe bender component.
  • Drill Holes in the 75 mm Flat Bars: Take the file and create a u-shaped space at one end of each bar. This is done to make the bending process easier. Ensure that the spaces of all the bars align together. Collect the bars and place them on top of one another. Choose a center point, and use the drill to create holes in all the bars.
  • Tack the Flat Bars: Take one of the 8 mm rods, and place it in the hole of the top most flat bar. Let the rod come out through the other side of the hole. Use the welding machine to tack weld the rod at the hole. For the rest of the bars, use a nut to create an appropriate space between the flat bars. Then repeat the first part of this step. Continue the tack welding process till all the flat bars have been welded to the rod.
  • Cut off the 8 mm Rod: When you have completed tacking the rod to the flat bars, you may have some excess left. Use the metal saw to cut the remainder of the rod off. Cut the rod about 1ʺ, or 1 1/5ʺ away from the tack weld. If the rod has been used in the flat bar tack welding process, then leave the components as they are.
Creating the Bending Mechanism The flat bar component is a part of the bending mechanism. The steps below show you how to build it with the pipe, 50x5 mm flat bar, and u-shaped rod.
  • Curve the Component: Take the entire flat bar component and place it in the vise. Only compress the bottom end of the component. The stress at the bottom will cause the component to curve. When the curve is sufficient, remove the component from the vise.
  • Attach the Pipe to the Component: Place the component on the table, and turn it upside down. Choose one side of the bottom flat bar as the area to attach the pipe. Take the pipe and place it firmly against the side. Ensure that the edges of the pipe are flat against the last bar. Using the welding machine to attach them together.
  • Attach the 500 mm Flat Bar: This component and the u-shaped rod are used to support the bending component. One end of the flat bar will have to be attached to the pipe and curved component. Measure the distance from the end of the curved component to the pipe. Measure the same distance on the flat bar, and create a short angled cut with a small, finger-like edge at the end. Place the bar on the pipe and the curved component. The fingered edge of the bar should be on top of the curved component. Use the welding machine to tack the flat bar to the pipe and component.
  • Welding the U-shaped Rod to the Mechanism: Place the ends of the u-shaped rod between the fingered edge of the flat bar. Tack the rod to the bar and the curved component. With this step, your bending mechanism has been created.
Building the Pipe Bender Clamp
The steps below show you how to create the clamp for the pipe bending machine.
  • Create the Basic Clamping Device: Take the two 30 mm angled pieces. One piece will be used as the top of the clamp, while the other piece will be the bottom. The top piece should be placed as a turned ‘L’, while the bottom piece should be placed on its edge, resembling a ‘V’ shape. Take the top piece, and cut out a small square or rectangular space at the center of its bottom angle. Drill two holes at the ends of it. Also, drill two holes at the ends in the bottom piece as well. The four holes should align together.
  • Connect the Angles: Place bolts into the bottom angle holes, ensuring that the threads are facing upwards. Tack the bolt heads to the piece, ensuring that the bolts will not loosen, or fall off. Take the third 500 mm angle, hold it with the tipped edge facing you. Place it in the square space created earlier. Ensure that a small part of it is sticking out at the other end. Then tack the two pieces together. Connect the 300 mm pieces together using the bolts, and secure them with bolt nuts. This will complete the clamping device.
Using the Pipe Bender Your pipe bending machine is ready for use. Remove the nuts from the clamp, place the pipe between the angles, and re-secure the clamp. For added support, you can place the clamp in a vise. Take the bending mechanism, and hold it against the pipe end that requires bending. Apply pressure and lift the mechanism in an upwards direction. This will cause the pipe to bend.
This pipe bender design is simple, and may only take a day to build. You can even create multiple bending mechanisms, if you wish to bend pipes of different diameters. With it, you can go right into creating metal artworks.
Read More

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

What are the Differences between Pipes and Tubes?

When thinking about pipe and tube fabrication, you may think that these two cylindrical structures are pretty much the same. However, this is not true. While these two components are similar in certain ways, they are completely different in other aspects. If you are looking at getting into pipe and tube fabrication, then this is one important difference you need to understand.

How to Differentiate between Pipes and Tubes

So what is the difference between pipes and tubes? Read the two points below to find out.
  • Pipes: A pipe is designed to provide transport gases or fluids. Common examples of fluids are water and oil. A pipe is determined by its inside diameter or ID. The ID helps determine the capacity of a pipe in an application. The ID is further determined by the pipe’s thickness or schedule. A pipe schedule and interior diameter differ greatly. For example, if you examined two schedule pipes of 2ʺ and 6ʺ, you would find the schedule of the 2ʺ pipe to be 154ʺ, while the schedule for the 6ʺ pipe would be 0.280ʺ.
  • Tubes: While pipes are used to transport fluids or gases, tubes are mainly used as structural pieces to construct different types of machines. Tubes are determined by their outside diameter or OD. According to ASTM, if the OD of a tube is 2ʺ, the accurate measurement would be 2.125ʺ, which is relatively close. Similar to pipes, the thickness of the tube determines its inner diameter. The thickness is referred to as gauge. For example, the wall thickness of 0.083ʺ of a 2ʺ pipe is gauge 14.

Secondary Differences between Pipes and Tubes Apart from these primary differences, there are some other aspects that are taken into consideration:
  • Generally, the tolerances of tubes are higher compared to pipes.
  • In terms of price, tubes are more expensive to produce than pipes.
These are the basic differences between pipes and tubes. Now you will be in a better position to choose the right structural product for your project. Happy fabricating!
Read More

Monday, 1 February 2016

Tips for Sheet Metal Fabrication Shops to Successfully Run their Business

Sheet metal fabrication shops are involved in the crucial task of forming varied metal components that support the assembly of several products. They employ several critical activities, like shaping, cutting, bending, shrinking, and stretching of sheet metal to produce car bodies, boiler parts, and storage systems, among many others. In short, sheet metal fabrication shops function in highly pressurized environments to meet critical project deadlines and to serve the demands of customers.

Tips for Excellence

Are you a metal fabricator in charge of a sheet metal fabrication shop? Are you finding it bit difficult to manage the activities of your fab shop? If yes, then the following points will be beneficial to you. 

To smoothen the operation of your metal fab shops, you can consider the below mentioned tips:
  • Downtime Utilization – Prepare for the future during production downtime! You can make use of this time to organize and modernize your shop. Dispose unnecessary items like metal chips, nuts and bolts. Don’t try to save everything as it will mess up the place and will lead to confusion. Maintain and repair sheet metal fabrication tools, so that they will be ready to perform in the future busy times. You can address all the known problems, and can regulate the work flow during the production downtime.
  • Communicate – Effective communication is critical to the success of every business. Let the workers get involved in both formal and informal communication during production downtime. This helps in building relationships and team spirits, which eventually contribute to successful project completion in the future. Efficacious and healthy communication is also important during production. Lack of communication between workers and among departments will upsurge the reworking counts, and in turn will lead to the delivery of substandard products.
  • Market Study - Study the market and understand the ongoing trends. Ensure that you are keeping in pace with the technology. Invest in new metal fabrication tools as and when they appear in the market. This is very important to stay competitive in the marketplace constantly.
Update your business strategy and implement innovative changes to play smart in the marketplace. Find out the best way to successfully conduct sheet metal fabrication job consuming lesser time. This will help to make profit-oriented business deals, and stay ahead of competitors even during production downtime.
Read More

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Tips to Make Perfect Beads Using Bead Roller

Bead rollers are the worthwhile investment to any small and medium to large sheet metal fabrication shops. They are of great help in creating several bead profiles in sheet metal panels. Additionally, these tools help strengthen flimsy steel and aluminum for varied applications.

Working with bead rollers is fun and exciting. You can easily make endless bead profiles and steps by using this wonderful tool. This blog will be extremely beneficial for those who use this tool on a daily basis.

Tips to Make Perfect Beads 
If certain steps and tips are followed, you can add to the efficiency of bead rollers and ease bead forming operations.
  • Bead Roller Fence – Bolt a bead roller fence to the edge of the bead roller. This accessory will help make perfect straight lines on the work piece.
  • Lubricate the Roller – Bead rollers encompass several moving parts, including mandrels and handles. To ensure a smooth and trouble-free operation, you must clean and lubricate all the moving parts with industry grade oil or grease. Clogging of debris will affect the smooth functioning of bead rollers.
  • Bear Roller Mandrel Adjustment – Maintain tension on the bead roller mandrels consistently throughout the beading operation. This is important to make bead profiles with the same depth and shape.
  • Working with Large Panels – It is always good to perform a sample bead formation on a scrap metal piece prior to working with large panels. Creating a sample bead layout on scrap metal will ease your final bead profile creation. Material wastage can also be minimized this way.
Like the aforementioned ones, there are several other tips and tricks for successful, fast, and safe bead rolling operation. Your manufacturer can better guide you in this aspect. Also, the user manual provided along with the tool encompasses several tips and tricks on installation, operation, and maintenance. You can enhance the operational value of your bead roller by following these useful tips and tricks.

Read More

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Working with Pipe and Tube Notcher – Some Useful Tips

Notchers are the most versatile and easy-to-use tools designed to create precision “fish-mouth” notches on metal tubes and pipes. This tool is amongst the must-have tools designed to ease your metal fabrication activities. However, to get the best out of the tool, you must operate it as per the guidelines of the manufacturer. This is important to create desired notch profiles on sheet metal precisely and safely, without damaging the work piece.

  Helpful Tips 

Know your tool; this helps to create prefect notches quickly and efficiently. The user manual provided along with the pipe and tube notcher will have a set of useful tips for successful notching. A few tips are listed below:
  • Creating notches on thick walled tubing made of carbon and stainless steel requires greater efforts than that of thin walled tubing of copper and aluminum. Plan your notching operation accordingly.
  • The fish-mouth cuts are formed with extremely sharp edges. Be careful when handling the tubing when making these cuts. Ground the edges before the welding operation.
  • Clamp the workpiece in a vise and secure it in position. This minimizes deflection and assures the best cut in the desired place.
  • Adjust speed as per the type of material being cut. For example, when cutting chrome-moly tubing, a higher cutting speed is required. On the other hand, set the cutting speed to a minimum when cutting soft materials.
  • Handle the offcuts with extreme care. Metal chips that are left behind will be extremely sharp. Brush away the metal scraps and debris from the notcher.
  • Keep the saw teeth lubricated to prevent rust and maximize its performance. Similarly, it is advisable to lubricate all the moving parts periodically.
  • Always keep safety in mind. Wear gloves and protective glasses to prevent severe cuts and eye injuries. Refrain from wearing loose clothes as they might accidently get caught in the moving parts, resulting in unexpected accidents.
Adhering to these tips helps you achieve the expected result safely. There are several more useful tips when it comes to pipe and tube notching. You will find them in the user manual provided along with the notcher. You can also contact your manufacturer for more information.
Read More

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Understanding the Basics of Tube Bending Processes - Part II

In the previous post, we had provided descriptions of compression and rotary draw bending. In this post, we shall look at the remaining types of bending methods.

An Overview of the Remaining Tube Bending Methods

Along with the method and application, we shall also discuss the equipment that can be used to perform the method.
  • Roll Bending: Roll bending involves using a manual or power slip roll. The slip roll consists of three rollers in a pyramid configuration. The procedure involves passing sheet metal through the rollers, which apply pressure to form the material in the desired bent radius. The roll bending method is generally used for large radius bending. It is specifically used for materials that cannot be bent using compression or rotary bending methods. This method is ideal for producing large coils or parts with large radii. It is not appropriate to use roll bending if the bend radius is smaller than the tube’s outside diameter.
  • Freeform Bending: Freeform bending involves passing a single die through the pipe or tube and creating the bend. As only a single die is required, multi-radii bends can also be created with this method. The use of a single die eliminates the need for clamping. This minimal tooling allows for production of bends over 180 degrees. Freeform bending is ideal for complex parts requiring multiple radii. It is also useful if you want the part to be aesthetically pleasing, or not have straight lengths between bends. It is not the best method if your part requires tight bends.
Having the right equipment can help make your tube bending job a lot easier. Woodward Fab offers a variety of manual and power pipe and tube benders. Contact us to find the right product for your workshop.
Read More

Understanding the Basics of Tube Bending Processes – Part I

If you want to become a sheet metal fabricator, you need to ensure that your basics are strong. While technologies may evolve, most fabrication principles do not change. Pipe and tube bending is a tough challenge for novices. It is all about using the right method for the right application. In this blog, we shall discuss the various tube bending methods in detail.

Overview of Tube Bending Methods

The below information will allow you to understand how each method is used, as well as the right application to use them.
  • Rotary Draw: Also known as mandrel bending, rotary draw bending is the most common bending method used by fabricators. It is versatile, as it can achieve high quality bends and tight radii. Rotary bending involves using a mandrel with multiple dies, including a bend, clamp, and pressure die. The rotary action of the mandrel draws the pipe around the bend die, making the desired bend in the material. This method allows for the production of accurate components. Multiple radii parts can also be made as the dies control the bending process. This method is not appropriate if the part design is not finalized, or the part has only large radii bends.
  • Compression Bending: This method involves using a tube bender, a bend, and a compression die. During the bending procedure, the bend die remains stationary while the counter die compresses the material around the bend die. This bending method is used to manufacture products like handles, furniture, and frames. It is the ideal procedure when you wish to manufacture multiple items at low costs and high speeds. Compression bending is not appropriate when the part needs to be symmetrical, has exact bend roundness, and with complete multiple radii.
These are the first two primary tube bending methods. In the next post, we shall discuss the remaining two bending methods.
Read More