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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
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    OC CA
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    Default Bending rectangular tubing

    I'm new to the forum, so thanks in advance for you help and patience with my noob questions...

    I'm a weekend DIY type of guy and I like to do things myself rather than hire things out. I'm currently building a metal gate to replace a wooden one. The material I've chosen, based on aesthetics rather than strength, is 1.5"x3" mild steel A513 hot rolled rectangular tubing, .12 wall thickness. The original design was a simple rectangular gate with 45* cut joints. Apparently this wasn't enough of a challenge for my limited metalworking/welding skills, so the wife decided she wanted a gentle arch to the top of the gate.

    The questions:
    - Can this material be bent as described?
    - If so, what type of establishment could I go to get the top section bent?

    Many Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    North Yorkshire UK
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    3,359

    Default

    Hi Rbtp, Guys,

    Welcome to the forum.
    The questions:
    - Can this material be bent as described?
    - If so, what type of establishment could I go to get the top section bent?
    Yes and DIY.

    Depending upon how severe a bend you want, square or rectangular tube normally has the inside of the bend pressed in creating a hollowed section where the bend is. For a hemispherical top for your gate it will have a hollow along the whole length of the bend. This is done to stop the flat side walls of the tube from bulging outwards.

    HTH.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    South Australia
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    Default

    Pretty difficult to complete as a DIY job, as for a establishment to do in Australia we have specialist companies that do nothing but tube bending probably the same in your neck of the woods

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Adelaide
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    Default

    It is certainly possible to put a radius in tube as you describe, not overly difficult either.

    If you want a DIY approach look at Harbor Freight for a tube roller, although you may need to scale back your wall thickness a bit, 1/8Ē wall may be beyond the capacity of the machine they sell.

    If you are seeking recommendations for a company, go to the Garage Journal website and ask there, itís North American based, heaps of members in CA, youíll get a more local recommendation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Mackay North Qld
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    Default

    Hi rbpt,
    Welcome to our MetalWork forums.

    I have moved your post to our general metal work area area so it may be best answered by more people.
    Just be aware that we are Australian based and lots of the material,shops and measurement different to your US systems .

    Its my personal opinion and other folks may differ.

    DIY
    Given you have stated your MW experience is limited and the material 3" x 1.5" I think you are in for a real battle. With that size RHS I am assuming a vehicular gate width, making it a bend radius of somewhere about 48 inches to be about right. With that radius and that material it won't be straight forward and won't be easy. If it is 2 half gates with a 48" width the task is even harder as you need to form a tighter,bent or rolled tube at 24" radius to get 2 x 48" wide half gates. It might help greatly, if you expand on the radius/or overall coverage to be spanned-the gate opening dimension and just what equipment you do have as we might be making the wrong assumptions about what you do and don't have.

    Essentially it gets back to your own experience and the equipment you have to do the job . I am a retired metal fabricator and its something I would not tackle with the gear I have at home. I would be looking at a hydraulic bender with the correct dies for that size tube. Maybe one of the tool shops may have something suitable. I might be making the wrong assumptions here but based upon what I have read so far, my opinion is what it is.
    It is something I never have attempted but may others with minimal experience and tooling may have and may have had sucess. We shall see.

    If you have limited metal work experience and equipment, it may not becyour ideal first project. Money wise, the rectangular hollow section is not cheap so multiple practice pieces until you eventually get it right, are not a financially viable proposition.

    The 3" x 1.5" sizing of the material is the killer. being bent or rolled into tight radii. Possibly consider a revision in the material sizing as the smaller the tube the less force/ effort required to bend.

    Metal Fabrication shops
    Google or phone around your area - look for the smaller shops and be sitting down when the price quote comes back it may not be what you imagined or hoped for.Choose the smaller shops as the bigger shop might give you a crazy expensive quote just to deterr you,rather than say not interested.

    Third Option

    Tell wifey you love her dearly, but her option is just too darn difficult and expensive to achieve and she needs to be satisfied with an easier to make gate. Best of luck on that one.

    New member information

    As a new member you need to be able to navigate around our site .

    Goto FORUM in the top LH side of the the page. Click on the little white down arrow and it will bring up a pulldown list with Forum Home on the top. Click Forum Home and a scroll down page of Sub forums and other help pages appear.
    Please have a look and them and please read Terms of Use "Our Rules" right at the top of the page.Wether you read them or not, joining as member still makes that member subject to the provisions of those rules.

    Again ,welcome to the gang as member to the MetalWork Forums.

    Grahame

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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    I am by no means a metal fabricator but if it must have an arched top you might want to consider building it from flat stock. A pair of arcs cut from some 1/8" sheet/plate welded to a strip of 1/8" x 1 1/2 " x 3" on the inside and outside arc would give your spouse the look she wants. It will cost more and be more work. The arcs could be plasma cut if you or a friend has one or have it done by a local company that has a CNC plasma/laser/water jet machine. By the time you tack weld and then weld it all up a little area at a time to prevent warping your welding skills will be pretty good.

    An other option is to make the flat top gate you want and add a decorative arc or spindles with pointy bits on the tips to get the look.

    Pete

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Hmm 1/8 roughly 3mm wall thickness. As others have said, would take some fairly serious gear to work with that in the manner you descibed.

    3" x 1.5" x 1/8
    Unless you are trying to keep the likes of elephants in/out, then yeah, recon a rethink here would be a good idea.

    Good luck with it.
    I will never be the person who has everything, not when someone keeps inventing so much cool new stuff to buy.
    From an early age my father taught me to wear welding gloves . "Its not to protect your hands son, its to put out the fire when u set yourself alight".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Murray Bridge S Aust.
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    Welcome to a TOP FORUM. You haven't said what radius you wife would like, too large a radius can look terrible as will a small one. Suggest that you get a sheet of ply, draw what you think is about right, make it higher, cut out the top piece and sit the sheet on where the gate is/was, to see if it has the effect that she's after. You can always trim bits off till you get the desired shape, but it's very hard to put bits back on.
    It can be bent/rolled all depending on the radius of what you're trying to achieve. As someone else mentioned, fabricating it would be an easier choice as a DIY project, and could be done at home, noisily but done.
    Mark out your curve on a sheet of metal and cut it out with a grinder, would be much easier if you've a friend with a plasma cutter though. Lay your curve on a flat surface and with a magnetic right angle tack weld your upright piece on the inside, doing the same on the other side, you'll only need tacks about 1/4"-3/8" long about every 4"-6".
    Once you've tacked it all, top, bottom and sides as a box shape, then the fun begins, welding, you don't want too much heat otherwise it'll distort, (bending twisting etc). I'd weld about 2" every 12" initially, then once you're at the end, do similar welds in the centre, and repeat, till it's welded. I'd probably start in the centre of the arch, alternating each side working my way to the ends, outside inside, this will cut down on any distortion.
    Then it's a matter of sanding the welds to give a neat appearance.
    Hope this helps, when it's done, PLEASE show some pics of it, as WE love pics of projects.
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    I sincerely hope our new member is OK.

    He appears to be in a part of the US where it could get real bad,real quick.

    Grahame

  10. #10
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    I do hope our new member is OK given whats happening around us.

  11. #11
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    I HOPE and PRAY that EVERYONE on this Forum will be OK.
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Adelaide
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    Also entirely possible that someone looking for recommendations on a company in Orange County California didnít find an Australian forum overly helpful..

  13. #13
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    I do sometimes wonder if some of those new OS posters are completely unaware that they are posting to an Ozzie based forum.

    The other thing is that possibly,due to conditions over where he lives ,the situation is not conducive to completing or even starting his project. We don't know whats open or closed and at what level the health alerts are.

    On the other hand he may have already started his project with assistance from US local forums similar to ours.

    Grahame

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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    He might not have set up his notifications and hasn't come back because he hasn't heard from us. Or as has been pointed out the Covid19 stuff may have affected his life to where the gate isn't important. Somewhere down the line someone else will be searching for information and come across the thread. they may benefit from it.

    Pete

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by QC Inspector View Post
    Somewhere down the line someone else will be searching for information and come across the thread. they may benefit from it. Pete
    You are correct Pete.
    That why I can be a PITA sometimes about posting in the area. When I notice it, I move it.

    Sometimes I do miss things, don't be shy, point it out ,report it. lt only takes me a minute or two to move a post to its proper home.
    In 5 years down the track when someone is looking for gate fab info they are not going to know it was posted in Off Topic for example.

    Grahame

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