Picture of Metal Bender
No matter what your hobby, sometimes you need to bend some light weight metal into nice, circular shapes.  This instructable will show you how to make a metal roller out of old printer rollers and some angle iron. 

So far, I have used this bender to make circles out of 1x1/16 aluminum for some of my hobby robots, to bend some 1x1/8 inch aluminum into a perfect circle for a US First Robotics high school team I mentor (Go Team 1631), and to bend two 5 inch wide 1/8 inch steel sheets 9 feet long for a fire pit I am making (but that’s another instructable).

This instructable will have you cutting metal and braising.  Don’t forget all the safety rules involved with each of these activities.  If you are new to any of the tasks below, I recommend looking up safety tips on the internet before trying something new.  As you will see in step 10 “Next Time” I made a few errors on this one, but I finished with all my fingers and toes intact.  That’s a good thing.

This is my first of hopefully many instructables, so if something doesn’t make sense, just ask, and I’ll try to explain it better.
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Step 1: Parts and Tools

Parts list
Qty     Item
 3       Printer rollers removed from old printers
 2       4 ft pieces of 1x1 Angle Iron
 1       3 ft piece of ¼ in C-Channel
 1       3 ft piece of 2 x ¼ inch flat metal
 1       Conduit pipe holder
 1       ¾ x 9 inch bolt and nut
          Scrap rebar or other metal
          Finishing nails
Tape Measure
Metal saw
Magnetic 90 deg holder
3lb Sledge Hammer
mrlunna131 year ago
@ MoustacheCat : I take offense on that!! No one is as good as Mr. Bender Bending Rodriguez (as long as it is not a 19 degree bent)!!
Almost as good as
BruRomeo (author)  MoustacheCat1 year ago
Hey, I just got that one... Pretty funny.
BruRomeo (author) 1 year ago
Agreed. When I first started the instructable, I didn't know what to call it. So, I just called it a metal bender. After looking at several real "Metal Benders," a roller is a much better description.
valveman1 year ago
This is more of a slip roller than a metal bender since the object of this unit is to roll the metal into a curve. A good idea for the hobbiest.
park472 years ago
How do you use it?
BruRomeo (author)  park472 years ago
When its all done, what you have is two rollers on the bottom, and one roller on top. The top roller squeezes the metal down between the bottom rollers to bend it a little at a time. The steps are below
1. Twist the top screw so the flat metal you want to bend fits between the rollers.
2. Give the top screw another 1/4 to 1/2 turn
3. Use the handle to roll the piece of flat metal passed the middle roller. Make sure you do not roll the metal off the machine.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 twisting the top screw and rolling the metal back and forth.
As you do those steps, the metal slowley bends into a circle. It takes alot of passes back and forth to make a full circle, but it works great.
park47 BruRomeo2 years ago
Thanks... for the clear instructions & good job , I 'd like to have one... :)
fozzy132 years ago
Hey there! Great job on your first Instructable. I'm not gonna lie, I had almost the exact same idea as an entry for the metal contest., only the design in my head is a little different. I was thinking I'd make the bender, then use it to make large diameter tubes from sheet metal from old microwaves, and use those tubes for a downdraft gasifier.
Anyway, good job, and good luck in the challenge!
BruRomeo (author)  fozzy132 years ago
Thanks, and good luck on your bender.
profpat3 years ago
like it,

printer roller came from a dot matrix printer?
BruRomeo (author)  profpat3 years ago
The one's I used came from ink jet printers, but you can certainly use the rollers from old dot matrix printers too.
bildan3 years ago
That is a nice handy tool and a very good inscrutable. I have a few bearing blocks to use, that I found on ebay. They may fit the roller shaft.
BruRomeo (author)  bildan3 years ago
Thanks, I'm sure the bearings will help. As is, it works well for the small flat aluminum pieces, but I had to force the metal through when bending a 5" wide piece for the fire pit.
rimar20003 years ago
What a great work! Congratulations.
BruRomeo (author)  rimar20003 years ago
Thank you. I hope the first one is the hard one, and the rest just write themselves...
heathbar643 years ago
Nicely done! Both the project and the instructable. Nice clear pictures.
I've always thought I would make a roller, but havent yet.
BruRomeo (author)  heathbar643 years ago
Thanks, I've been taking pictures of a bunch of projects I have been working on, and finally put together an instructable.