Another question - welding steel rods

toomuchglassMay 21, 2009

I'm sorry to be such a pest ... but after learning to do "basic" welding ... (with my precious "toy" mig welder -LOL ) I'm hooked and want to learn more ! I've been shown how to bend steel rods with heat - for some reason - all I can do is bend a 90 ° angle. Can they be bent in curves ? If you have a moment to send me a website or reply .... I really appreciate it . Thank you all so much for your help . I feel I should explain that I'm not a TOTAL beginner :

**** I've been constructing 3-D stained glass pieces for years ..... I'm a master at soldering & decorative soldering . Before that ... I did woodworking. Now that I'm trying to learn everything I can about welding ... I seem to get the "leave it to the men" attitude . hhhhmmmmmm....

Maybe it's the gray hair ~~ LOL Well - I just wanted to let you know I'm serious about learning. Your help is priceless to me. A HUGE THANK YOU !!!

PS .... My husband loves a wife that would rather get tools than diamonds ! LOLOLLL

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Steel rod can be bent any way you imagine, with no heat being required depending on cross sectional area, yield point and use of fixturing.
Basic bends are accomplished using two pins for starting/fulcrum points.
On the web no one knows your sex or hair color- mine's gray too! But your question is a bit vague.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 6:09AM
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Well Alphonse - I'm a 55 year old mom/wife that wants to try every craft there is ! I don't think I have the strength to bend a rod without heat . ( and of course - since I'm a beginner and probably know about 1% of the craft ) - I'm sticking to simple things like garden trellisses , plant stands .. curly thingees for the yard ... etc. That's why I wanted to know how to bend a rod other than just a 90° angle. Thanks for your help !

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 2:20PM
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Strength won't be TOO necessary, though you understand if yer gonna work arn gonna need some macho.
Heed Archimedes here... longer leverage will compensate for strength and/or heat.
You need a steel plate for a working surface that you can draw on with soapstone, tack up temporary jigs, and knock them all off with a flat face grinding wheel. 3/16" would be a minimum.
The advantage of dedicated bending fixtures, you can drill holes that hold pins inserted to hold a shape while you continue with whatever bends you need to make.
You can use cheater bars to extend your leverage on the work when you get toward the short end. (Piece of pipe or tongs/ vise grips)
Some "merchant" rods don't like heat, they short crack and are better bent cold with generous radii. And they're popular because they're cheap.
I've been doing it a long time, it's still 1%.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 7:23PM
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I think I can do that. My hubby always says "with alittle leverage - you can move the world!"

I guess all I can do is take your advice and experiment. Any mistakes I make can be called "art" LOL

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 11:09PM
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Bending steel is one way to generate curves. Another approach is to use chain and weld each link. Roller chain (motor cycle chain) can be used to make one-dimensional curves. Just lay out the chain weld one side then flip and do the other side. Roller chain comes in all sizes. Places that work on farm machinery or heavy equipment might have some scrap. You can also use regular chain, which will bend in 2-dimensions. Anchor your first link then you can build complex curves by holding the next link where you want it, tack it and then complete the weld. Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 9:39PM
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Wow --- that's a GREAT idea !!!!! I think you might have created a monster ! LOL

PS - Thank you !

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:37AM
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Glad to help. Looking over Alphonse's posts I'm not sure that it is clear that he his describing a bending process that is accomplished by making a series of small bends. You put the bar you want to bend between the two pins and give it a tug than move it a little bit then tug again. How far you move it and how hard you tug will determine the radius of the eventual bend. You can get a smooth curve by moving the bar in very small increments. You don't need a fancy jig. A couple of pieces of bar stock held in a vice will work. Even simpler you can just keep the vice jaws open wider (~ 1.5 times the bar thickness) than bar you are trying to bend (the vice jaws become the "pins") and pull the bar you want to bend toward you, slip it down a bit then pull again. This way the curve will be generated in a vertical plane. The trick is bend, move the bar, bend, move the bar, etc.

To get a feel for this try bending something soft, maybe some 1/8" aluminum bar or even lead came. If you purchase steel bar stock to play with get hot rolled. Hot rolled 1/2" x 1/2" is pretty easy to work and cheap.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 4:19PM
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I can easily get 1/8" alum rods. You're right - buying some to test out would be great.

Is "Hot rolled" what they label as "soft steel" ? Farm and Fleet by me has a huge selection of steel stock .... I feel myself making a shopping list .... LOL

Thanks again for the advice - bend little by little .I'm learning so much just from a few posts !

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 7:11PM
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Blindstar, that's a good clarification, but I was just trying to get ideas across.

Hot rolled is "soft", pretty close to annealed, and generally lacking enough carbon to cause problems.
Aluminum will be difficult to "weld" to steel, not impossible, but probably so for a beginner. Steel will be cheaper too. And way more fun to work.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 7:25PM
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Blindstar & Alphonse -- your help is priceless . I can't thank you both enough !!!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 11:21PM
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