What Is Cold Bending?

Metalworking often requires the application of extreme heat to make the metal malleable. Heating metal causes its molecules move faster, which makes the metal easier to shape the way you want.

Unfortunately, working with extreme heat creates additional workplace dangers that could become deadly. Heat is often created by gas, and gas containers could explode. Heat also can be created by an electrical current, which might result in electrocution.

Fortunately, many metal-shaping tasks can be accomplished in a safer and more affordable way. For those who wonder what are the different ways metals are fabricated more safely, cold bending is often the answer.

What Is Cold Bending?

Cold bending is another way to shape metal. It does away with the dangers of gas-produced heat, and it greatly reduces the potential for electrocution. It works with the metal at room temperature and often harnesses the power of hydraulics and leverage to shape metal.

Cold bending is also called roll bending, due to the equipment and process used to shape the metal. Most cold bending machines use three rollers and a mechanical jig to produce long and smooth curves and bends in metal products. Two rollers stay in place while the third roller manipulates the metal with a jig determining the final shape.

You also could use a vise to hold sheet metal and industrial metal tongs to bend it by hand. That is a great way to make custom parts or even artistic objects.

Advantages of Cold Bending

Cold bending is most effective with sheet metal, which is more pliable than thicker metal stocks. It is especially useful for bending tubes and pipes. It also helps to produce smoother and more gradual curves and bends in the metal.

Cold rolling also can strengthen metal, whereas heat tends to weaken it. The cold rolling makes the internal arrangement of molecules within the metal become more compact and denser. That helps to make it stronger. Heat has the opposite effect.

Limits of Cold Bending

Cold bending is ideal when working with thinner metals and when there is no available heat source. But some metals do not take well to the process because they are too brittle. Brass is an example of a metal that might shatter during cold rolling.

The process is also less effective when trying to make smaller bends in the metal. And thick pipe usually requires heat. But cold bending is an affordable and effective option for the right types of metal and tasks.