Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rackufacture: Homemade Tube Bending Dies

I've been spending money like a drunken sailor. Trouble is, I don't have any kind of respectable buzz to show for it and now I'm broke. I watched Debra Winger and Richard Gere in that one movie so I know how it works, and I'll bet you a million bucks there's a boatload of real sailors who have uttered that exact line.

So I thought I was ready to launch into rack building but then I started actually planning my first rack which is rather, uh, non-conventional and realized there were gaping holes in my plan and that I needed to figure out. More specifically, I need to bend some tubing at a way different radius than my benders bend at. Like I said, the Rackufacture budget is tapped. I've seen lots of bending ideas on the interwebs, but they would all cost me something and I needed to make do with what I have. My dad grew up on a farm in the Depression. I know it must be in my DNA somewhere.

Luckily, I have some rad tools and some metal scraps laying around and didn't have to dig quite that deep. This is a cold saw that makes the fastest and cleanest cuts you've ever seen, but throws mean, nasty, sharp metal chips from hell. They can get lodged in the soles of your shoes and tear the piss out of your hardwood floors or linoleum and then your wife beats you with a broom until you go back outside. I hate these eposides, so I only get the saw out if I really, really need it (which I did tonight) and then I always take extra time to sweep up and watch where I step.

After some cutting and welding that is too boring to convey, I ended up with these.

Then I found a piece of pipe with an inside diameter just a little bigger than the OD of 3/8" tubing, which would be 3/8". I found a countersink bit that was just barely big enough to smooth out the inside edge of the pipe.

This particular piece of pipe happened to be welded, which means that it has a longitudinal weld seam that could possibly mess up my big plan. But I am just barely smarter than the pipe and made a mark that coincides with the weld so that it stays on top and doesn't mess with the bend.

Here we are (by that I mean you and I, in this interactive environment), clamping the tube to the die and getting ready to bend.

Here we are, with our hand on the tube, ready to bend.

Here is our end result. I think it came out pretty good.

Except for this one flat spot, which I am blaming on you. I've enjoyed this collaborative experience, but I think I would prefer to go it alone from here on out. Probably best not to use me as a reference.


Jason Gilman said...

I like the new title graphic Pat! And the big pipe section as tube bending die is pretty nifty.

Jim G said...

To avoid the flat spots, you need to bend around something that has a groove, check out the way Alistair uses a v-belt pulley...

Pat S said...

Thanks for the link, Jim. Good stuff from Alistair, as usual. In the case of the pipe I used, the bend radius was sufficiently large that the tube didn't flatten out in the bend, only where I clamped it with the vise grips. So I will file a groove in the pipe in the area where I am clamping and ease up on the vise grip pressure a bit and that should solve the problem.

FBC Spokane said...

I can't wait to see this rack you are working on that needs that big arc.

Jim G said...

I am also curious about this bender...

Laraib said...

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