Before you bend an aluminum bar, you must first decide on the quality of the final job you want to achieve. Additionally, you’ll need first to know the type of aluminum you have at hand. Aluminum comes in different shapes, and it can be a sheet, round tube, square tubing, or flat bar. Also, the thickness of the aluminum can determine the method used to bend. Another thing to keep in mind is the bend radius and the load placed on the finished piece. Even though heat may be necessary depending on the temper and alloy, most aluminum metals are tempered for strength which makes it hard to bend. It’s important to note that heat can make aluminum metal lose its strength, and trying to bend it even under heat can cause it to crack. In our discussion, we explore how to bend the aluminum bar. Keep reading.
Bending With a Hammer
If the aluminum bar is from a depot or a hardware store, it’s easy to bend, and you can use a mallet or a hammer without the need for complicated tools. You can use a hammer and vise then pad its jaw to straighten out. However, the quality of the outcome may be less satisfactory and may leave some marks. You can also use a wooden piece and a mallet to bend the aluminum bar.
Bending a Tough Aluminum Bar with an Angle Finder
A large radius aluminum bar is likely to crack or fracture than a thinner option. Notably, for top-notch results and fewer or no cracks, ensure the bend line cuts across the material grain. Some aluminum grades, such as hcaluminum 3003 or 5052, can bend easily, however, 6061 is tough. Typically, the ability of the metal to bend decreases depending on the tempered value.
For a wide radius, a sharp bend may be problematic to achieve. But when bending a smaller radius, you can get a quality outcome without damaging the metal.
For this project, you can use an angle finder, a piece of equipment that can help bend different sizes of aluminum bars. You can choose the radius of the bend depending on the size of the aluminum bar.
Start by experimenting with a small piece of the material. Clamp it on a padded vice grip against the aluminum bar. Then, bend a little against the pipe, and if there’s no fracture, you can proceed by clamping the entire bar in the middle. You can put some marks on the aluminum to enable you to estimate the center. Pulling both ends can be difficult, and you can use square tubing. Alternatively, you can get someone to help you.
Although some metal alloys require heat to bend, aluminum can fracture under heat unless it’s tempered. Bending an aluminum bar requires the use of special equipment and understanding the grade at hand. Aluminum is not like steel which is easy to hammer, bend, or heat to make it stronger. For a heavy gauge aluminum bar, you can contact a professional to help with the bending as they use specialized equipment such as an acetylene torch.