Every serious metal worker will end up getting themself a roller bender at some point, but if you’re as dedicated as [Meanwhile in the Garage], you might just start building the things yourself. His heavy-duty electric roller bender, demonstrated in the video after the break, is perfect for the thicker steel and bigger radii his smaller manual machine can’t handle.
The basic concept is the same in both machines, with two fixed rollers and a third adjustable opposing one between them. Most of the components are pieces of scrap metal, and each shaft runs on bearings mounted in homemade pillow blocks. The two fixed shafts are connected together by a chain drive, and a scrap industrial motor provides the rotating power through a worm gearbox. There are two adjustable bushings on each shaft to keep the work piece aligned. The lead screw from an old car jack is used to adjust the position of the moving roller.
We picked up a few interesting tips from the video, like how to properly align a cylindrical workpiece in a drill press for drilling radial holes. He also used toggle switches as limit switches in a pretty ingenious way, and F-clamps on the work piece to activate them when it reaches the end.
Building your own tools at home is a time-honoured hacking tradition, which we have never seen a shortage of here on Hackaday. Check out this DIY drill press and vertical CNC mill.
7 thoughts on “DIY Electric Roller Bender Can Handle The Thick(er) Stuff”
Nicely put together video, really liked the simple design. Looks like the bend radius is limited to the spacing of the two outer rollers, i wonder if making them adjustable is simple enough.
Should be possible to add an auto reverse switch on each end ??
You don’t want it to be automatic, you need to adjust the radius with each pass
Good idea. Would love to know the size of motor and worm drive
I’m drooling at the thought of using that to make my own railroad tracks for a 1/4 scale locomotive and train.
Where is this magical place that you can walk around and pick up scrap with a wheel barrow? Scrap yards here won’t let you
The scrapyards around here vary from the businesslike to very strange. Possibly we have too many of the strange, every little piece of rusty steel is by their visual estimate, denser than depleted uranium, and seeing something particularly useful to you, you may find yourself paying literally 20 times the scrap value, and they’re still muttering under their breath about that 25 cents they lost from the cube weight. One dude muttering about weight one time, told him I’d pay him 3 times the weight, so get some scales and weigh it already. i) couldn’t believe how light it was ii) did the math 6 times, fetched a different calculator, iii) made vague references to me casting a hex on his equipment… iv) finally let me walk out with the part for $2.40 but was screaming profanity as soon as the door closed. So yah, try a different scrapyard, there’s real variety.
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