Bending 1/2 x 3 flat steel

Pooh BearApril 15, 2006

I have a couple of pieces of flat stock. 1/2 x 3 and 4 feet long.

At 6 inches from one end I have to make a 15 degree bend.

At 4 inches from the other end I have to make a 15 degree bend.

Normally I would heat the steel with an o/a torch and bend it.

But I don't have access to an o/a torch anymore.

I was thinking of taking a big clay/ceramic flower pot.

You know, the orange colored ones with the hole in the bottom.

Fill it up with charcoal and run ductwork to the hole in the bottom.

Blow air into the charcoal as it burns to increase the heat.

Take two floor tiles and place over the top leaving a gap between them in the center.

Then place the flat steel over that gap at the place I want to bend it.

Would this heat it enough to bend it.

What about if I took a small propane torch and used it to heat the top side at the same time.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

Pooh Bear

I'm building a 3 point hitch for a tractor implement.

You can see the part I'm trying to bend in this picture.

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If finances permit, wouldn't it be easier to just go ahead and buy an O/A torch and bottles? Or perhaps an O/propane torch.That way you only have to buy/lease one expensive tank.
Just a suggestion,
PS: If you know someone that has a hyd press,you can make these bends cold.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 8:34AM
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Pooh Bear

Finances don't permit.
I'm hoping the local vo-tech welding shop will weld this thing together for me.
I was hoping to have it all ready for them.
But I may have to let them do the bending part.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 1:33PM
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The bending should be easy in a properly set up tech ed shop.

There are small oxy-mapp torches avail for under $50, if you want to do it yourself.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 4:27AM
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Pooh Bear

I bought one of those oxy/mapp torches a few months back.
I was not impressed with it at all.
I am practicing my welding. So far all I can do is make big blobs of metal slag.
I did manage to get my test pieces to stay together twice.
The little oxy/mapp torch would not cut them apart.
Luckily, lowes has a good return policy.
Gonna save my money for a small oxy/propane or o/a set up.
Until then, I'm gonna try the little forge setup to bend this.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 2:53PM
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Hi Poohbear.

Your clay pot forge will work surprisingly well, but you'll burn up a few bucks of charcoal briquets making it all happen. If you can get some cokeable coal you'd prefer it.

If you have a shop vac or blower you can get plenty of air. Only problem I see is that you need a bigger hole in the bottom of the clay pot. Three inches would be great. Two would work, smaller becomes more marginal. (You want to move a largish quantity of air not too fast, or the air flow will actually disrupt and cool the fire and blow the coals out of the fire.)

If you can get a copy of "PRACTICAL PROJECTS FOR THE BLACKSMITH" by Ted Tucker, Rodale, 1980, you will see how to make a small cheap forge for almost nothing. A small one can be made with a gallon can, if you're just using it once.

Heat the steel to a nice orange color. You can hold on to the long end with your hand, but you'll need something to grip the hot end. You could probably do this with a pair of vice grips, but I'd lay it over the edge of the anvil (in your case any fairly heavy, straight piece of steel) or clamp it in the vice right where I wanted the bend to form, and then apply pressure -either with the hammer (gentle, persistent rapping blows) or by grabbing that cool, long end and pulling. This would let you locate that bend just where you liked. If need be you can punch the steel a little when cold to give you marks you can find when it's all hot.

Try to be decisive. Although you can fix any errors it's a whole lot easier to just get it right at once, and you have enough time. The 1/2" will hold heat for a reasonable period, and you can always go back to the fire for more.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 4:35PM
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Pooh Bear

I was thinking of building Dave Gingery's foundry setup for this.
I have a HUGE vise to bend the steel in.
Takes two strong people to pick up this vice.

I have bent metal before using an o/a torch.
But I don't have an o/a torch anymore.

Gosh this project is going slow.
I keep getting sidetracked with other stuff.
I expected to be done by now. not a chance.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 9:19PM
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