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Best way to "Unbend" 6" wide 1/4" steel

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  • Best way to "Unbend" 6" wide 1/4" steel

    I had some 6" wide 1/4" steel strips bent into what were supposed to be 45 and 90 degree angles for a sculpture. Each strip has bends in different places, and get combined so that some of the angles match each other, but ultimately end at the same point because the overall angles head them there. A few of the multiple bends are 95 instead of 90, and so while the strips match up with each other, the ends are out of whack with the main line of the piece, yes about 5 degress off center. I am just starting in this passion and have been told that heating the bends up with a torch and forcing them back into 90's will only force a cupping elsewhere or some distortion. I've also been told to lay out heavy angle iron on the table where the bends should end and force them into place. Lastly, I've been told to just bring them back to the bender, but that's a real hassle at this point. Any wisdom? Thanks a lot. Not Smiling So Much at this point

  • #2
    Good luck. No matter what you do they won't be perfect esp with 6" wide strips. Maybe lay them over a block 3" wide so you just bend the corner. It would be easier in a press brake you could just put them upside down on the bottom die and force the center down a few degrees...Bob
    Bob Wright

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    • #3
      For 6" wide strips, I'd put them over a piece of say 3" pipe and smack them on the edge.

      Steel will always be easier to move "back" to a lesser angle than it was to bend in the first place.
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      • #4
        Looking at the bright side, you now know to figure out ways to either do it yourself or not do it (since it's art you have plenty of latitude) and choose another method of metal transition such as cut and weld.

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        • #5
          I think the scheme Sundown has is about as good and as easy as it is likely to get, probably fast too.

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          • #6
            Thanks Guys

            I just joined and I can tell you it feels good to get the wisdom. I'm trying to balance my control freak self with the notion that this steel stuff is alive and doesn't always listen. Thanks again for responding. It's off to 3" pipe land this weekend.

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            • #7
              Smiling Man,

              My hydraulic press brake will bend over 90 deg. if I apply just a little too much pressure. When this happens, a short stub of pipe in the vice and a 2# hammer brings it right back.

              Same thing with my JD2 bender. You generally "overbend" about 2-3 deg to allow for springback. Correcting for a couple of deg of "overbend" is easy, whereas a couple of deg "underbend" means the tube/pipe goes back into the bender.
              Syncrowave 250 DX Tigrunner
              Dynasty 200 DX
              Miller XMT 304 w/714D Feeder & Optima Control
              Miller MM 251 w/Q300 & 30A SG
              Hobart HH187
              Dialarc 250 AC/DC
              Hypertherm PM 600 & 1250
              Wilton 7"x12" bandsaw
              PC Dry Cut Saw, Dewalt Chop Saw
              Milwaukee 8" Metal Cut Saw, Milwaukee Portaband.
              Thermco and Smith (2) Gas Mixers
              More grinders than hands

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              • #8
                Yes to the hammer on pipe method. If you don't want to leave any marks lay a board on top of it before hitting with a hammer.
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                RCCS-14

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                • #9
                  back breaking plate

                  if you had a shop bend the plate then it's possible, very possible, that they have a set of these dies.

                  http://www.kazmiertooling.com/flattening.html

                  i know this because years ago i bent tons of plate into all kinds of shapes and no way does anyone get by without the occasional 'oops' moment.

                  you will be saving yourself a lot of grief by going this route.

                  if you can't then i would have a torch and rosebud handy to throw some heat on the bendline, get it red and hammer over pipe, you are going to have some serious hammer blemishes doing it this way but they could be taken out somewhat with a grinder and some coarse grit discs. in the end the material is going to look beat to shxt, especially if you are going to paint it.

                  you could (i don't know your skill level or equipment available to you) unless it makes it impossible for you to complete your piece in a way that is acceptable to you. take a square and make a straight line on each side of the bend at the first point the blade lies flat, then cut the bend out and weld back together at req'd angle. grind and sand.

                  i would do the above if i was on an island in the middle of an ocean with no means of getting a steel delivery and my life depended on it.

                  straightening plate that has been bent to a ninety is not easy. i have had flanges fracture on the inside center of bendline and ended up with two pieces. grain direction can make it more or less difficult. the quality of the steel itself, and it does vary depending on where it came from and the QC standards that the mfg has in place, will provide different levels of ease or difficulty.


                  i would do it over, if that's not an option....

                  swinging that five pounder is good excercise.
                  Last edited by fdcmiami; 06-02-2012, 03:20 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Guys don't overthink this. He is only talking about a pc. of 1/4" x 6" plate & going from 95* to 90*. He is not trying to flatten it completely. This is a simple thing to do with a hammer. If you don't want any hammer marks put a pc. of wood or aluminum on top before hitting.
                    MM250
                    Trailblazer 250g
                    22a feeder
                    Lincoln ac/dc 225
                    Victor O/A
                    MM200 black face
                    Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                    Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
                    Arco roto-phase model M
                    Vectrax 7x12 band saw
                    Miller spectrum 875
                    30a spoolgun w/wc-24
                    Syncrowave 250
                    RCCS-14

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                    • #11
                      ha, i completely missed that. thanks for pointing out the error. you're right, couple of whacks with a hammer and he's in business.

                      too early in the am, my only defense.
                      Last edited by fdcmiami; 06-02-2012, 06:54 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Ditto the hammer on pipe method. It won't take as much effort as you may think

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                        • #13
                          to expand on sundowns tried and true method, instead of beating the edge flat, lay a short piece of 1x1x3/16" or so angle iron on top of the bend and hammer or press away on the angle iron, saving the edge on the bend, also some thin wood shingles or some thing to not dig into the steel to be used under the angle iron if needed. using heat will only make it worst, it will look ok while doing it but when it cools, funny things happen with strips

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