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February 2013

How To Properly Bend An Aluminium Rod

As aluminium is a lightweight metal that possesses an exceptional weight-to-strength ratio, it is commonly formed into rods that are used in a variety of applications, from cars to backpacks. In order for these aluminium rods to be used correctly, however, the manufacturer or producer needs to be able to bend them into shape. Follow these instructions to get the right sort of bends:

Step 1: Place the rod into a tabletop vise, making sure that the section you need to bend is positioned slightly higher than the vise (this allows you to make the bend without indenting the top of the arc with the vise).

Step 2: Set up your oxy-acetylene torch, making sure that the valves on each of the tanks are switched off. Connect the head of the torch to the tanks using the hoses provided. Make sure that you have access to safety gear, such as welding gloves, a helmet and a leather apron.

Step 3: Turn the acetylene tank on and light the gas at the end of the torch using a striker; wait for the orange-red flame to flare. Wave the flame over the section of the aluminium rod that you need to bend until you notice that the area has developed a layer of black soot. 

Step 4: Remove the flame and turn the oxygen tank on slowly until the flame turns blue. Wave the flame over the soot covered area until the blackness has completely disappeared. Remove the flame and turn the torch off.

Step 5: Place a metal barstock that has about the same curvature of bend that you wish to create against the section of straight rod that you need to bend and clamp into place. Take the end of the bar and bend it over the barstock to create the bend that you require.

Before you can use the aluminium rod for the application at hand, make sure that you allow it plenty of time to cool. If you use the bar whilst it is still hot, you might find that it melts components of the application or that any weight can cause the aluminium to bend further. Once it has cooled completely, remove the rod from the vise and use it as desired.