Introduction: Bend Metal Without Expensive Tools

About: I just want to rock and roll all night and part of every day Facebook can't keep track of how many friends I have.

Check out this super two-person trike my partner and I are offering on Kickstarter! I'll be bending the metal using a jig just like the one in this 'ible.

I'm a big fan of Atomic Zombie's builds. Except I like curved lines once in a while. I don't have access to a pipe bender, but I really wanted to introduce some curves to our latest project. Here's how you too can bend metal without any fancy equipment.

Step 1: Determine the Yield Strength of the Metal

I buy steel tube in 20 feet sections. I surreptitiously push on the section to determine if I can bend it. I can feel the tubing start to give, and by sighting along the tube I can see how much the tube has bent. I predicted that I needed about 3 feet of leverage to bend the thin wall square tube I found. In other words, I needed to ensure that I always had at least an extra 3 feet of tubing to use as a lever to push on when trying to bend it.

I'd guess that the thicker walled, 1-1/2 inch tubing that Atomic Zombie likes to use would need about 5 or 6 feet of leverage.

Step 2: Cut a Jig

I wanted to make a few curves of various diameters, so I created a jig with a variable curve. I cut a 2x6 and saved the cut-off to use as a brace for the clamps.

Step 3: Cold Bend It!

I know you young kids have never used a French Curve, but if you had, you'd know that you can approximate most curves using some other curve. To use this jig, start at one end of your tube and choose which part of the jig might give you the nearest approximation and clamp everything down. Bend the first bit, move the clamps, and bend the next bit.

Step 4: Matching the Work to a Template

As you can see,even in primitive conditions expert results are possible!

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