View Full Version : Twisting Square bar stock
I am in need of ideas on how to twist 1/2", 3/4", and 1" square bar stock. A home brew method would be ideal, but if needed I could also purchase the required tools that are recommended.
The twists will be needed for the pickets on guard rail and fences. I have checked out prices for the pre-twisted solid bar stock that several decorative iron businesses offer, but the shipping charges for this heavy material puts mail ordering it out of the question.
I have 3 weeks to design, make, and install a guard rail around a first floor residential basement stairwell opening, and also make a somewhat matching handrail for it. This is for a large building contractor who wants it installed in one of his model homes, and promises return business depending on how well received these items are by home buyers.
So, if you have plans on making a twister, or know of tooling capable of twisting the above mentioned materials, I am all ears and would appreciate any advice or suggestions...........thanks.
05-05-2004, 07:17 AM
Take a look in the Projects section of this fine BB. There is a design with detailed pictures that does just what you are looking for
05-05-2004, 08:36 AM
Here's a link to the above mentioned thread:
Hope it helps...
05-05-2004, 10:47 AM
If you have a good vise here is an easy way to do it. Take a piece of 2-3" channel about 4-5' long. In the center cut a square hole it it the size of your square bar. Weld four pieces of 1/4" flat bar around the hole to reinforce it. Put your square bar in the vise, heat the bar up a little bit (doesn't need to be red hot), put the channel on the end of the bar and twist it around.
05-05-2004, 09:21 PM
It seems to me that twisting 3/4" and 1" solid bar stock is a whole different animal than just 1/2". In the thread listed above you could make it to accomodate the larger sizes but twisting the metal would be another thing altogether. I'm sure you'd have to heat it pretty good. :blob2:
I've looked at storebought twisters and even the expensive models only handle up to 5/8"
Okay, so I was no help at all but I thought I'd throw in my thoughts.
05-05-2004, 10:28 PM
Another way is to find an old worn out lathe, that still has a good back gear and use it to twist any kind of stock you want.
Shade Tree Welder
05-05-2004, 11:09 PM
I would have to agree with TonyC that the larger stock is going to require some extreme horsepower to twist. The Lathe although it may seem like and answer will not work as lathes are designed to provide peak Hp at the set speed and not at 0 RPM.
05-05-2004, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by Shade Tree Welder
The Lathe although it may seem like and answer will not work as lathes are designed to provide peak Hp at the set speed and not at 0 RPM.
I would have to disagree, reason being a neighbor of mine owned an ornamental iron shop and that is what they used to twist their steel. The lathe twisted numerous sizes of flat bar and square stock up to 1" IIRC
I hate to admit I own a real one of these machines- a Hebo- (www.heboe.com) imported from germany, CNC controls, it weighs over a ton, and it will twist 1" square cold easily- but to give you an idea of what is involved- we are talking a 7.5 hp 3phase motor geared down to 14rpm. That puts the torque at around 2800 foot pounds. Thats a lotta muscle. It would take a pretty big lathe to do that. My machine is what the guys who make that pretwisted stuff use. It will run pickets all day long, every one the same.
One of the key design features is an electric brake on the motor, so it will stop on a dime- it is programmable to 1 degree of twist.
Now I am not suggesting you buy one of these- especially if shipping premade twists is too expensive, than the price they want for one of these is gonna knock your socks off. Probably more than your car cost.
But it gives you an idea of the force involved, and the size and weight of machine you would need to twist 1". Not to say you couldnt build one- I know of a couple of blacksmiths who have built them. But they usually used surplus DC elevator motors- One I know of is 25hp, another about 10hp, with DC you can control the voltage to control the speed, and yet maintain torque.
This is one of those problems where there is no cheap solution to do it right. You could hot twist em- but to build a machine that will really cold twist 1" is a pretty involved machine.
The europeans- Hebo and Glaser are the two big German companies that build this kind of stuff- have already figured out what works best, so if you were gonna copy, you ought to copy something that works. Glaser makes some pretty cool hand operated twisters- i am not sure if they are shown on their website- www.glaser.de- but you could call their US rep and get a catalog- Harry Haack at 888-668-8427
Like all german tools, these two companies make stuff that is built like a brick sh*thouse, and priced accordingly. But they are the only companies I know of that make professional quality tools to do ornamental ironwork. And I can testify- the stuff works.
Thanks for the info and links. I will check them out.
09-14-2004, 03:42 PM
Thanks for the links Ries,
I did get some joy from HEBOE but found no engish version on the GLASER website.
Have you used or are familar with both ranges?
Would you recommend one range of machines over the other?
If you have an e-mail address for the us rep that would be great.
were in the uk.
Shane- I own a hebo- and while it cost a fortune, I love it. As the hot rod guys say, speed costs money- how fast do you want to go?
If I was you, I would get catalogs from both companies- the hebo is, in my opinion, a nicer machine- they only make cnc machines, and they make a base machine with a whole range of options that drop onto it.
Whereas Glaser makes some smaller, motorized, but not cnc machines, which are considerably cheaper. It really depends on your application- if you only want twisting, and you want to do quantity, but keep your price down, some of the glaser machines would be great.
The advantage of the hebo is the upgrade possibilities- for example, as soon as I get some time this winter, I will be building a set of mandrels for it to roll small diameter circles- using heavy wall pipe for dies, I should be able to roll, cold, 3/8", 1/2" and 5/8" round and square bars into circles ranging from 2" dia up to about 10". This means taking a 20 foot bar of steel, feeding it into the machine, and having it coil it into a continuous spring, which I can then take to the bandsaw and cut into rings. And it will do this faster than I can write about it.
Hebo scrolling capabilities are also the best I have seen anywhere- and I look at machines a lot.
Hebo has a UK rep- John Loxham- 55 Moorfield, Turton, Boton, Lancashire, 44-1204-852-242, firstname.lastname@example.org
Glaser has a 130 page catalog in english, so I think they must have some salespeople at least who speak english. Their US rep is Harry Haack, at 888-668-8427 in the US. email@example.com, although I am not sure if that email is current.
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