A DIY Slip Roll On The Cheap

When you need to roll sheet or thin flat bar stock into an arc, you need a rolling machine, also known as a slip roll. If you’ve priced these lately, you’ll know that they can be rather expensive, especially if you are only going to use them for one or two projects. While building a fenced enclosure for his dog, [Tim] realized he could use steel fence posts and connectors to build his own slip roll for much less, and posted a video about it on his YouTube channel.

The key realization was that not only are the galvanized posts cheap and strong, but the galvanized coating would act as a lubricant to reduce wear, especially when augmented with a bit of grease. The build looks pretty straightforward, and a dedicated viewer could probably re-create a similar version with little difficulty. The stock fence connectors serve double-duty as both fasteners and bushings for the rollers, and a pair of turnbuckles supplies tension to the assembly.

The one tricky part is the chain-and-sprocket linkage which keeps the two bottom rollers moving in tandem. [Tim] cut sprockets from some plate steel with his plasma cutter, but mentions that similar sprockets can be found cheaply online and only need to be modified with a larger hole. Although most of the build is held together with set screws in the fence post fittings, the sprockets appear to be welded to the galvanized pipe. We’re sure [Tim] knows that welding galvanized steel can lead to metal fume fever, so we were hoping the video would caution viewers to remove the zinc coating on those parts before welding.

[Tim] demonstrates forming some 4 mm flat steel into circles, and the operation seems easy enough, especially given the inexpensive nature of this build. Overall, this seems like the sort of thing we could see ourselves trying on a lazy Saturday afternoon – it certainly seems like more fun than building a fence with the parts, so be sure to check out the video, after the break.

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The Incredible Shrinking Rework Station

Anyone who’s ever tried setting up a workbench in a tight space knows the struggle: you want to have all your test equipment and tools out and within arm’s reach, but you just don’t have enough surface area. If you fill the whole bench with your tools, there’s not going to be anywhere left to work. So you either have a bench full of tools that’s uncomfortable to use, or you’re forced to choose what stays out and what gets packed away. Neither is conducive to actually getting work done, which is why you are trying to set up a proper bench in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.

When faced with that very problem recently, [EEpromChip] decided to take the nuclear option. His Kendal 853D was already a great choice for a small-scale work area since it’s not just a hot air rework station but also offers a soldering iron and bench power supply in one unit. But it was still just a little too long for his bench. The solution? Just run the thing through the bandsaw and cut it in half. Seriously.

Upon opening the 853D up, [EEpromChip] realized the internal layout wasn’t terribly efficient. There was plenty of extra room inside the case to begin with, but if the transformer was removed from the bottom of the case and mounted to the rear it would really cut down the device’s footprint.

After making sure he documented where everything connected, he took all the electronics out of the sheet metal case and cut it down to size on a bandsaw. He then reinstalled circuit boards, and this time mounted the beefy transformer so it hangs over the board rather than sits next to it. The end result is a version of the Kendal 853D which is several inches shorter than before with no impact on functionality.

Turning closets small spaces into dens of Hackerdom has been a topic we’ve discussed previously. Saving every inch is important if you ever hope to move into a grain silo or CNC’d plywood house.

Aluminum No Match For 3D Printed Press Brake Dies

If you’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, you can scratch “Doing small-scale manufacturing of ultralight aircraft” off your list right now. Turns out there’s no money in it. At least, not enough money that you can outsource production of all the parts. Not even enough to setup a huge shop full of customized machining tools when you realize you have to make the stuff yourself. No, this sounds like one of those “labors of love” we always hear so much about.

So how does one do in-house manufacturing of aircraft with a bare minimum of tools? Well, since you’re reading this on Hackaday you can probably guess that you’ve got to come up with something a bit unorthodox. When [Brian Carpenter] of Rainbow Aviation needed a very specific die to bend a component for their aircraft, he decided to try designing and 3D printing one himself.

Printing a die on the Zortrax M200

He reasoned that since he had made quick and dirty dies out of wood in the past, that a 3D printed one should work for at least a few bends before falling apart. He even planned to use JB Weld to fill in the parts of the printed die which he assumed would start cracking and breaking off after he put it through a few cycles. But even after bending hundreds of parts, wear on the dies appears to be nearly non-existent. As an added bonus, the printed plastic dies don’t mar the aluminum pieces they are bending like the steel dies do.

So what’s the secret to printing a die that can bend hundreds of pieces of aluminum on a 20 ton brake without wearing down? As it turns out…not a whole lot. [Brian] attributes the success of this experiment to designing the die with sufficiently accurate tolerances and having so high of an infill that it may as well be solid plastic.

In fact, the 3D printed die worked out so well that they’ve now expanded the idea to a cheap Harbor Freight brake. Before this tool was going more or less unused as it didn’t have features they needed for the production of their parts, namely a radius die or backstop. But by 3D printing these components [Brian] was able to put the tool back to work.

We’ve previously covered the art and science of bending sheet metal, as well as a homebuilt brake that let’s you do it on a budget even Rainbow Aviation would scoff at. So what are you waiting for? Go build an airplane.

Thanks to [Oahupilot] for the tip.

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Beautiful Rocketeer Jetpack Replica Boasts Impressive Metalwork

Fans of the Rocketeer comic book and movie franchise will be familiar with its hero’s 1930s-styled rocket backpack.  It’s an intricate construction of complex streamlined curves, that has inspired many recreations over the years.

Most Rocketeer jetpacks are made from plastic, foam, and other lightweight materials that will be familiar to cosplayers and costumers. But [David Guyton]’s one is different, he’s made it from sheet steel.

The attraction in his video is not so much the finished pack, though that is an impressive build. Instead it’s the workmanship, nay, the craftsmanship, as he documents every stage of the metalwork involved. The panel beating tools of a sheet metalworker’s trade are surprisingly simple, and it’s tempting to think as you watch: “I could do that!”. But behind the short video clips and apparent speed of the build lies many hours of painstaking work and a huge amount of skill. Some of us will have tried this kind of sheet work, few of us will have taken it to this level.

The video is below the break, it takes us through the constituent parts of the build, including at the end some of the engine details which are cast in resin. Watch it with a sense of awe!

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