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    How to shape metal at home

    Published on 16 December 2014, Tuesday, 10:48 PM

    Many DIY projects require shaping metal, whether sheets of mild steel or rods of aluminium. If you're doing some panel beating this summer for your project car or creating a stainless steel garden fixture, take a look at the following tips for easily shaping metal at home.

    Shaping sheet metal

    Shaping thin sheets of aluminium, galvanised steel or stainless steel is an important part of fabricating car body parts or odd DIY jobs, like building a post box or sculpture.

    For odd-shaped panels use a metal shear to trace your desired shape. It's much quicker than using tin snips and will save you injuring your wrists. Metal shears from Kennards Hire can cut mild steel up to 3.2 mm thick, and stainless up to 2.5 mm.

    Once you have your panel, it's time to grab a hammer and dolly and beat it into shape. 

    Bending rods and pipe

    If you're doing some plumbing around the house or building a roll cage for a vehicle, bending pipe will be an important part of the job.

    To save some time and effort, look at hiring a pipe bending kit from Kennards Hire. Simple to use and hydraulically operated, this will take the hard work out of bending pipe. The maximum bend is a full 90 degrees and it will take pipes with an outside diameter of between 12 and 50 mm.

    For those that are bending aluminium rod into odd shapes, it may be worthwhile getting an oxy-acetylene torch and annealing your metal so that it will bend more easily. Although it may lose some strength in the process, it will still be strong enough for most DIY applications.

    Cutting thick plate

    Cutting thick plate for use as a base for handrail posts or to create giant washers for retaining walls can require some serious cutting power. Rather than use a million cut off wheels to get your metal down to size, the humble oxy-acetylene outfit could come in handy again.

    Cutting with a super-hot jet of blue flame will greatly reduce the time spent cutting, as well as the amount of metal dust in your garage. Of course, working with equipment like this isn't for the faint-hearted and should only be done by those with sufficient experience.

    Don't forget that after achieving the correct panel shapes or lengths of RHS, you may need to join them with the appropriate welder. Kennards Hire has a range of welders which cover everything from small intricate welds on stainless steel to heavy fillet welds for strong mild-steel bonding.

    Nathan Mills portrait image
    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.