Rolling Half Pipe for Pillars

Quite frequently, companies that bend and curve structural steel products find themselves working closely with either local or nationally known artists as well as architects for typical construction projects.  There is a certain level of artistry involved in the bending and rolling process that makes the use of curved steel very desirable in public works of art. 

As an example of how curved steel can be incorporated into artistic design, CMRP recently worked with an artist to create a unique project. This Dancing Man sculpture is made from some rolled 10” sch 40 pipe cut into short segments to form the body and extremities. The figure is placed on top of a Doric style pillar standing over 10 feet tall.  In addition to the pipe rolling used to create the dancing man we also rolled some half round shapes that are a part of the Doric style pillar.

Rolled 10” sch 40 pipe placed on top of a Doric style pillar with rolled half round 2” sch 40 pipe
Rolled 10” sch 40 pipe placed on top of a Doric style pillar with rolled half round 2” sch 40 pipe

One of the unique design elements about Doric style pillars is the connection and transition from the vertical length of the column to the top plate and bottom base. In the image of the sculpture, you can see that directly below the upper plate and above the lower base there is a half round piece wrapped around the pillar. These half rounds were rolled to match the column diameter and then fit up around the vertical pipe.

To get these rolled half round shapes, first the project started with a 2” sch 40 pipe that was split in half to get the desired crescent, or “C” shape that the artist requested. Once split, that half round shape was given to an operator who used a special set up to roll these pieces to the exact radius needed. For this project, the half pipes were rolled with the “flanges” or cup of the shape facing in.  However, with the correct tooling and machine setup, there are capabilities to roll them with the flanges or “cup” facing out or even the hard way, with the cup facing up. Half rounds can be made out of practically any size pipe and then rolled in these multiple directions.

The alternative method for creating a shape like this would be much more labor intensive. It would require the full pipe to be first rolled, then split in a circular pattern, which would release some of the mill-stress on the pipe.  This could cause the piece to twist or pull apart, requiring flattening or re-rolling of the shape a second time.


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