How to Make a Metal Bender

About: https://www.instagram.com/stahlheart_metalwork/

I like to work with metals. In particular, i enjoy making metal sculptures. Currently i want to build a metric sculpture for which i have to bend metal rods. Since machines are not that cheap for this task, i decided to build my own device for bending metal.

The following instructable will show you the main necessary steps to make a metal bender for flat steel pieces and round metal rods. As you will see, the metal bender is attached to a vise where the standard jaws of the vise are replaced by the bending device.

The advantage of this approach is, that the clamping forces which are necessary in metal bending, can be applied by the clamping mechanism of the vise. So all you have to concentrate on, is the handling system for the steel to be bended. This approch allows you to create a very flexible, solid and easy to handle bending system.

For this reason, i do not give exact dimensions here, as the dimensions of the individual parts depend on the dimensions of the used vise. With my setup it is possible to bend 6 mm round steel without problems. For flat steel the limit is at about 5 x 30 mm.

In the following list you can find the main tools and materials i used to build that metal bender.


Tools:

- saw for metals

- drilling machine

- welding machine

- angle grinder

- calliper

- stop angle

- scriber

Materials:

- u-steel (35 x 40 x 4)

- square steel (15 x 15)

- round steel (28 mm)

Standard parts:

- machine bolt (M10 x 120)

- screw nut (M10)

- washer

- ball bearing (inner diameter 10 mm; outer diameter 26 mm)

- idler pulley (inner diameter 10 mm; outer diameter 60 mm)

In the following instructable, the individual steps for building the metal bender are shown.
If you have specific questions about the building process or you need information where to get the tools, materials or standard parts, feel free to contact me.

Step 1: Cutting the Clamping Jaws to Length

Cut the u-steel with a metal saw to the length of the original clamping jaws. For the shown device i choosed a u-steel (35 x 40 x 4 mm). Two new clamping jaws are necessary to replace the original ones.

Tools:

- scriber

- stop angle

- metal saw

Materials:

- u-steel

Step 2: Drilling Boreholes Into the Clamping Jaws

Each clamping jaw needs 2 horizontal boreholes to fix it to the vise. The drilling distances and diameters are based on the dimensions of the vise used by me. What is more for fixing the guide shafts (M10x120 machine bolts) 3 further vertical boreholes (1 for the drive wheel; 2 for the guide wheels) are necessary, therefore i recommend to use a metal driller with a diameter of about 10.2 mm to have a little clearance for the M10 bolts. For drilling holes in metal, the following steps should be followed:

- marking the positions

- center punching

- setting center holes

- drilling

- countersinking

Tools:

- scriber

- center driller

- metal driller

- counter sinker

Materials:

- u-steel

Step 3: Notching the Clamping Jaws

This step is necessary for beeing able to position drive wheel and guide wheels closer to each other. As a result, smaller bending radii can be generated later.

Tools:

- spacer

- angle grinder

Materials:

- prepared u-steel

Step 4: Welding the Drive Wheel

The drive wheel will be the active element with which the metal to be bent is driven through the device.

For this, the drive wheel must be firmly connected to a lever with which the driving force can later be applied. At the same time, it must be attachable to the vertical drive shaft so that it can rotate around its own axis.

To achieve this, two M10 nuts are welded into a hollow shaft (for subsequent attachment of the drive wheel to the thread of the drive shaft) on the other hand, a lever is firmly welded to the top of the drive wheel.

Tools:

- welding machine

Materials:

- hollow shaft (28 mm)

- 2 x M10 nuts

- square steel (15 x 15 mm)

Step 5: List of Parts

In this picture, you will find some notes explaining the items which are necessary for assembling the metal bender.

Step 6: Fixing the Items to the Vise

Now the items can be attached to the vise. First, the jaws of u-steel are screwed in place of the vise jaws in the horizontal direction. The drive shaft with drive wheel and the shafts for the guide wheels are then fixed vertically. Both, the drive shaft and the guide shafts must be movable in the holes, so that a rotation around its own axis is possible.

Step 7: Start Bending Metal

Now the real fun starts, the wheels are turning the metal is bending.

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