Would this work for a quick twister?

horseman1October 5, 2004

I need to twist some square steel rod here pretty quick. I need to make a branding iron as a gift for someone and I want the handle to be twisted, because I think it would look cool.

Please feel free to tell me I am nuts and this wont work, but here is my idea for a quick twister solution:

Take some thick angle iron and weld a 1/2" drive impact socket from Harbor Freight to one side with the 1/2" square drive end up. This provides a square hole and a lip to go into the vise. This is the bottom of the twister.

Weld another socket on to the middle of a 3 foot piece of 1" rod with the drive end down. This is the top of the twister.

I put the bottom in the vise, put the rod into the bottom piece socket and put the top on the sq rod. I stand on the workbench and do the business. What do you think? Will I survive ?:) Can I twist this with this kind of leverage? I guess we'll see how well I weld Harbor freight steel :).

Thanks,

Kurt

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City_Dude

You didn't say how large of square rod and how long. Or do you mean 1/2" to fit the socket? I've never tried it, but I think you'd better eat your Wheaties first.

John

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 12:47AM
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gonefishin

You did not mention heating the square stock Kurt. I don't know if an impact would twist it without heating it up some. Not to interfere, and this may be a throw back to pre mechanization days, but if you have extra stock or scrap, how about welding a piece across the top end, or even an old 4 way lug wrench, heat the rod, crank the stereo up and "do the twist" !!!!!!
A branding iron sounds like a great and novel gift idea, although it could result in a PITA for a cow or two. Do they register brands in your state? Show us the results. Just my thoughts.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 9:08AM
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blacksmithman

You need to keep the 1/2" bar straight while twisting. Check out the fixture on the link below and make something like this. Remember the bar gets shorter when you twist so have the end socket attached so the bar will pass through.

Here is a link that might be useful: Twisting Fixture

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 9:45AM
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USN_ED

Hey Kurt!!!

How about just giving the guy a cigarette lighter and a paper clip. That way he can make any brand he wants and will have a heat source handy.

Some good ideas above - heat to make the twisting easier but the most important was "blacksmithman's" reminder that the bar gets shorter as you twist it thereby making it essential that your jig be self-adjusting. That is a neat link that "blacksmithman" posted.

ED

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 11:38AM
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horseman1

Hi ED,

Glad you are on here adding value on the forum once again! :). I had overlooked the fact that the rod gets shorter, although it wont matter in my original crude application (if I dont make a jig that is). Otherwise I will take that into account if I build the jig.

blacksmithman,

Cool pictures and good site for ideas. I realized that the problem with my idea is that there is nothing keeping the bar straight except my "freehand". I think a jig might be in order if I can fit this into the short time allocated for this project. Your mention that the bar will get shorter was something that I had overlooked :)

Bill,

No heat would be involved here Bill. I dont have a way to easily heat the bar in any uniform fashion anyway. Sorry, I'm not so good at describing my idea. The sockets are only to be used for their square hole feature. The square bar slides into the square holes in the sockets and I weld one socket to some angle iron and put it in the vise. I weld the other socket to a lever of some sort for the twister handle. The problem others have with this idea is that when I twist nothing will keep me from going crooked, except for my years of experience and skill :). So, considering all my skill, maybe I had better come up with some type of jig that keeps me from going off to the side while twisting :).

I decided that 1/2 inch sq was too thick for this application, so I went with 3/8 drive sockets and 3/8 square bar. I will take a look at available items in the barn to see if a Jig is doable with on hand materials.

Thanks for all the help. I hope to take a look at this tonight for a little bit.

Kurt

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 5:45PM
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horseman1

Worked fine, no fixture used and no Wheaties required. I probably got lucky too, but I'd say it is good enough. I think 1/2 bar would have been a bit tougher. I was careful not to get off-center when twisting though. The bottom piece was not much to see and I didnt want to carry it to the house, so no picture. It is nothing more than a socket with the square drive side up welded into a 2x2 square. I drilled a hole, slid it in and welded it both top and bottom. I had that piece in the vise.

Here is the preliminary results, I'm pretty happy for a couple hours work. It cost just over 5 bucks for the twister (impact sockets on sale at Hapless Fright for $4.99), and about the same for 8 feet of 3/8" bar from my steel guy. The rest was stuff I had in my stash. Sorry for the crappy picture, but it is 1:26 am and this is the best I can do at the moment :).

More later when the grinding and stuff is done. If I ever need to twist more stuff, I'll make one of those nice twister fixtures... say that fast 3 times :).

Thanks for all your help folks,

Kurt

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 3:25AM
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davidwczerr

Kurt,

Sorry I couldn't weigh in on this earlier.....glad to see you had good results with you method. I agree that 1/2" would have been very tough cold........3/4" square is pretty tough to do when hot!

As far as heating needs in the future, do you have an oxy-acetylene outfit? That's what we typically use with our twister machine. One benefit is that you can heat a short section and work in some pretty tight twists, then let it cool. Come back to that section and heat adjacent to your twist and twist in the other direction......it adds a nice "twist" to your work. I'll try to post some pics.

Glad it worked out!

David

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 7:28AM
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horseman1

David,

No I only have an Oxy-Mapp gas with disposable cylinders. Use the oxy cylinders very much and the price of your project goes through the roof! Those things are a rip off.

The "A" in the picture is too large for a brand and isnt the right thing anyway, but I was playing a little bit Heating and bending the 3/8 square and seeing what my issues are going to be.

I saw those cool bends you had in that piece of strap in one of the posts. I can see how that would make some cool looking pieces. You have to be pretty accurate with the torch and have a fixture like yours to be able to do that I'll bet. I figured I'd be lucky to get a somewhat symetrical twist with a couple of Harbor Freight sockets :).
A real torch is something on my list to get when some cash frees up.

I noticed when I bent the 3/8 bar that I got quite a "lip" on the top of the 'A'. Some unexpected things I hadnt thought of. Also, I skewed the bar a very little bit when I bent the 'A' and will have to watch that when I do the real thing.

Thanks all for your assistance, I had quite a bit of fun last night fooling around with this :)

Kurt

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 10:29AM
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kbeitz

Forget a torch... You need a forge...

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 7:32PM
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City_Dude

My hat is off to you, I didn't think you could do it.
3/8" was a good idea.
John

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 8:15PM
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gonefishin

Nice job Kurt, welds on that A look good too.
I would imagine that it would take quite a bit of leverage or some big muskles to twist that up. Does it twist evenly and get tighter the more revolutions you put on it ?
Bill P.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 10:39PM
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davidwczerr

I've done some 1/4" and 5/16" square with my twister (cold) and it will create some pretty tight spirals.....the bad part is that one extra twist you try to get in and then it decides to break.

As far as torch vs. forge I think it depends on what you are trying to do......the forge will heat up metal in quantity really quick and is a must for serious blacksmithing work. An advantage of the torch is that you can concentrate the heat in one area, twist, let cool, the heat adjacent to it and twist the opposite direction for some pretty neat effects; see pic below. I'm currently working on a propane fired forge, along with a couple of other projects and no time for any of them ;-)

David

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 11:02PM
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horseman1

David,

Those are really sweet. I think a torch would work well for most of my stuff. When twisting, I was wondering if it was going to break at some point, so I got enough turns to get the desired look and then quit! Where did you get the plans for the forge? It sounds interesting.

Bill,

John put the fear of failure in me, so I made the twister handle 3 feet long so I wouldnt wimp out :). Turns out it was really easy and I didnt break a sweat at all. Kinda disappointing really :). I was looking forward to a little bit of a workout. At first, it didnt space the twists evently, but as I kept going the seemed to even out. I went pretty slow and kept checking the progress and make sure I was not going crooked. Kinda hard to tell if its crooked with all those twists in it. I saw that monster piece you bent for your plow. A forge would have been a good choice for something like that.

Kurt

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 2:13PM
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gonefishin

Thanks Kurt, I agree, those twists David made are works of art, and I agree that a forge would have been good for what I did. I have been mulling over in the back of my mind about trying to come up with something for a coal forge with a blower, but that is another of those "roundtoits". Some things to consider is placement, also an anvil and vice close by, we don't use coal for heating around here so I might be limited to them little bags of charcoal briquettes from the local supermarket which could get expensive, can you put it out when you are done with it and relight it, or do you just have to let it all burn up etc. etc. Propane firing might be more practical and more economical, but in a way I would like to have one that uses coal and try my hand at that. It would have come in handy in this instance. I will be burning wood in a cast iron chiminea some through out the winter, might try that and try to think of a way to induce some extra air circulation after it has heated up well, to bring the temp on up to make it glow, provided I don't see or think of a better option.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 3:00AM
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blacksmithman

If you use coal it must be blacksmith coal,not blue coal or hard coal, because it has very little sulfur. Sulfer is bad for heating metal. You can buy it by the bag and have it sent to your house. I do not know the company but they are on the internet. I'm lucky I can buy it locally.

Another way to keep the square rod straight when twisting is to place it in a pipe.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 3:21PM
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gonefishin

Thanks Blacksmithman, I appreciate the info, will save this info and do a google search if and when I find that "roundtoit". The pipe to keep the bar straight sounds like an excellent idea too. This time the "accident" turned out to be an unexpected plus. Check out my new toungue in cheek posting, Yard Art, you say ?
Bill P.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 3:52PM
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davidwczerr

Kurt,

I don't have any actual "plans" for the forge, basically it's stored in my head and is a huge collaboration of all the websites I've surfed. The basic plan is to use a 24" long section of 12" steel pipe (1/4" wall) as the main body of the forge. It will be lined with 2.5" of refractory cement (2600F). The refractory cement will be coated with some sort of reflective ceramic stuff (can't remember name) that basically allows everything to heat quicker because it's bouncing back all of the heat/energy instead of allowing the cement lining to absorb it.

It will have a fully opening front door (12" diameter) to allow full access. The rear will be permanently welded. Both front and rear will have small doors (3"x3") that will slide open to facilitate working with longer stock.

The burners will be homemade (scary) and use common black iron pipe. A small blower will provide a forced air set up, and will have a baffle for adjusting air flow.

That's kind of a rough overview for you. Right now I'm gathering parts to make it all come together. As soon as the tractor actuator project is finished I'll get going on this. I'm thinking 3 weeks, so most likely 6 or more :-)

Check out anvilfire.com for some good forge info, and more. Also do google searches for "propane forge design" propane forge plans" and similar to get a lot of info.

David

    Bookmark   October 10, 2004 at 10:33AM
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horseman1

Here is a picture of the end result. It all worked great.

Thanks for all the help folks, I had a some fun making it too.

Kurt

    Bookmark   October 10, 2004 at 9:37PM
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gonefishin

Looks great Kurt, well done. Gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment doesn't it.
Man, I expected to see a rockin A branded into the middle of that wooden table! Maybe the hosses, cats, dogs, possums, coyotes, your tractor, wifes car, anything you could catch and drag up close enough to the fire and hogtie. ":^)
Bill P.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 8:11AM
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horseman1

Bill,

This one is really only for looks, although it would work fine except for the wooden handle. The Rockin A is a registered brand in Colorado already. (I noticed I forgot to answer your question above) so I couldnt use it. Its just a gift to put on their wall. My brand would have to be (lazy)K bar(Rockin A) if I was to register it.

Kurt

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 5:48PM
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