How to Bend Aluminium
My quest to make monkey bars for Mundo led me to research how to bend aluminium.
I thought this would be a challenge as was concerned with it breaking. However, a quick search on Google found me a couple of very handy articles.
This one was the winner on the day.
So after a trip to Ullrich Aluminium to get my length of 15.9mm diameter aluminium tube ($20 for 5m) I got to work, with one little helper in tow.
I found myself a template, in fact I got lucky and didn't even have to make one. Instead I used a piece of ply left over from a piano job the day before which had a nice curve in it.
I clamped this to a pallet outside. Lay my tube next to it and clamped a block next to that to hold it in place.
The block was important for holding the tube in place and supporting it. I also put a clamp on top of the pipe to hold it down as my template wasn't very thick and I hadn't angled the edge of it to hold the tube down.
Then I took hold of the tube and gently and smoothly pulled it across the over the surface of the pallet and around my template allowing for a little spring back. It was a rather easy task actually. And the result was a nice smooth curve.
Here you can see prototype 1 in place on Mundo.
With this prototype I experimented with flattening the ends and bending them over to give a surface for bolting on. It worked for one. But the other cracked. This was my attempt to get around needing to weld aluminium - something we can't do.
However I quickly realised that in fact just around the corner was a friendly guy called Grant who runs a lawnmower repair shop and a welding service. So, after the kids were in bed I quickly moved into mkll monkey bars.
But more on that next time.