Tools for bending aluminum; need advice.
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Thread: Tools for bending aluminum; need advice.

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    Gunco Regular OrdnanceGuy's Avatar
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    Question Tools for bending aluminum; need advice.

    I would like to find out how to bend aluminum. I tried bending an aluminum tube taken from aluminum crutches. This aluminum is hard. I had made a bending jig out of wood. It broke my jig. I tried stepping on it, put my full weight on it and it would not bend.

    I looked at the internet and found out about heat treatable aluminum.

    Do I need to anneal the aluminum to bend it? How do I judge the heat? Do I need MAPP gas, or just propane?

    Thanks.

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    Gunco Veteran CELTIC-PAGAN's Avatar
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    pipe bender would work. Used one might be found at a pawn shop.

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    Friend of MCMXI Preacher's Avatar
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    Depending on size, you could find a conduit bender at Lowes or Home Depot. Probably the biggest size they are going to have is for 1" pipe. They are designed to bend rigid steel conduit, so aluminum should be no problem.

    I also have one of Harbor Freight's pipe benders and it works quite well. I believe I caught it on sale for $69.
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    Gunco Regular OrdnanceGuy's Avatar
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    Question

    I only want to bend one item (for now). Did not want to spend on a conduit bender. Can I just heat the tube, and bend on my wooden jig?

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    Gunco Member armorer59's Avatar
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    Default Anneal it

    The biggest problem is you are dealing with heat treated aluminum. Most likely 7075-T6 (T651). It's pretty tuff stuff in it's hardened state. Even if you start to bend it, it will crack or break. It must be annealed before you can bend it. If it's small enough, put it in the oven at 500 deg for an hour at temp. Pull it out and let it air cool, do not quench or try to cool it down fast! After it's completely cooled down, you should be able to bend it. Keep in mind though, it's now softer and weaker. Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrdnanceGuy
    I only want to bend one item (for now). Did not want to spend on a conduit bender. Can I just heat the tube, and bend on my wooden jig?
    The only problem with bending without a regular bender is you are probably going to collapse the tubing, even with heating. You can remedy this some by filling the tube with sand and capping both ends with something to keep the sand in. I mean you will have to have it completely full. The sand keeps the tubing from collapsing.

    Sorry for not responding sooner. This one got away from me.
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    Damn contrarian mauser1959's Avatar
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    Al tubing is a real problem , with that being said , if you must bend AL tubing it should not be a problem to go to a local plumber or a muffler shop and get them to bend the pipe for you . However there is a good chance that the pipe will stress and break/crack. It all depends on the type of bends that you want to put into the tubing , but no matter what it will not be a bad idea to anneal the tubing first . Also it is best if you have plenty of the tubing on hand as the first few pieces might turn out to be just learning experiences.

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