Bending Machines and Tools

Written by brooke ashley
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Bending Machines and Tools
Ornamental scroll work is created using tools that bend metal. (ornamental ironwork image by laviniaparscuta from Fotolia.com)

Bending machines and tools are used to create curves in a variety of materials, including metal, wood, and plastic. Bent materials are used in the fabrication of products such as cars, architecture, and furniture. They are also used to create ornamental scroll work and intricate design work. Machines and tools used to bend material employ heating systems and clamps to make a material more pliable.

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Metal Bending Tools

Metalworking bending tools include compact and scroll benders. Compact benders able to bend flat or hot rolled metal are often used in car fabrication. These benders can bend round or square tubing as well, according to Shop Outfitters, which sells the Compact Bender 2040. This model comes with seven heat-treated steel ties, which allow metalworkers to create intricate U-bends. Scroll benders provide function and beauty to metalworking projects. The Metalcraft Scroll Bender can make scrolls in metal up to three inches in length and can handle flat strips or tubes of metal.

Bending Machines and Tools
Metal sheets or tubes are bent using compact and scroll benders. (sheet metal image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com)

Wood Bending Tools

Wood bending is an ancient technique that requires steaming a material before bending it. A simple steam box can be constructed from PVC, metal, or wood. After the wood is softened, forms or moulds built to the specifications of the product to be curved are used for bending. These forms and moulds are often created from wood, and clamps are used to hold the material in place during bending. Thin, laminated pieces of wood and glue are also used to help bend wood as this layer strengthens the curved area. Kerf-cut bending utilises a table or sabre saw, which cuts small slots into the inside area that will be bent, allowing for intricate curves. Bending wood is used in boat building and furniture manufacturing.

Bending Machines and Tools
Wood is heated and bent using forms, clamps, and saws. (contemporary seating image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com)

Plastic Bending Tools

Because plastic does not have a grain, special tools are used to soften the material without causing damage. Buffing wheels safely polish and soften the plastic material prior to bending. Once softened, a line bender is used to create curves. This machine beams heat onto the plastic to create bends. The line bender features a table with a clamping system to allow for perfect alignment and successful, safe bending.

Bending Machines and Tools
Plastic or PVC piping is bent through a specialised heating tool, such as a line bender. (pvc image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com)

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