A common question we are asked that at times can be difficult to answer immediately is, “Can you bend this?” Many rolling houses are diversified to the point of bending everything– from something small, such as quarter-inch round bar or thin gauge sheet metal, up to 20 inch rectangular tubes or 44 inch beams. So, the quick answer is often, “Yes! We can bend it”
The capability to bend a specific shape is usually not the hard part in properly evaluating a bending or rolling project. The true test comes in the specifics. More or less, the question one should ask is, “Can you bend this, in this way?” In previous blogs, I have discussed common terms for tight elbow radial measurements in pipe or tube bending. Frequently 1D, 2D, 3D are used as to explain a bending radius of 1, 2, or 3 times the pipe/tube diameter. So a 3D bend on a 2” pipe would have a 6” centerline radius. A 3D bend of a 2 inch pipe might be pretty standard. But if the wall thickness changes, to perhaps a sch10, or the material is something besides carbon steel, such as aluminum, then there could be more problems in the bending. So it is important to get specific to help speed up the estimating process and improve customer expectations.
Also, if the material could be rolled in multiple ways, such as an angle rolled with either the leg or heel facing in or out. Or if a wide-flange beam or rectangular tube is to be rolled either the easy way or hard way. Bending and rolling companies use terms like easy way and hard way to help explain the relative difficulty of rolling a specific shape, based on which axis it is bent against. However, in some instances, such as rectangular tubing, the ‘easy way’ may bend more easily, but protecting the tube from unwanted cosmetic deformation of the cross-section becomes more difficult. It is usually the case that a structural member can be rolled to a tighter radius in one direction than the other. So it is important to specify roll orientation when asking for a quote.
One simple and easy way to quickly help on a quote is to use a take-off sheet. A take-off sheet gets all the essential information a bender/roller would need to quickly determine feasibility of a project. As well, it can improve the return time on your quote versus sending pages of drawings for review which may be blurred when printed out or require lengthy review time.