If you have a sheet metal fabrication company that has recently branched out to create small circular bent pieces, like brackets and other attachments, then you can use a rotary bending process to create your parts. This helps to keep pieces from becoming scratched or marred during the fabrication process. A rotary hand bender is the type of tool you will need. These benders are compact stand-mounted tools that are a bit more complicated than the brake and bench benders that you are likely used to. Some maintenance is required to keep the benders in good working order. Some tips to help you with maintenance are outlined below.
Grease The Needle Bearing
Rotary benders are constructed with a steel circular base and a smaller circular die that sits on top. A paddle will sit between the two pieces, and this paddle is connected to a handle and a device called a forming nose. Your metal piece is placed in front of the nose and the handle is turned when you are ready to bend the piece. The paddle, handle, and nose all rotate to create the bend as the nose places pressure on the metal.
The moving parts of the bender can rotate completely around the die, and a part called a needle roller bearing allows for the movement. This bearing is a circular piece that sits on the inside of the paddle. The bearing has several exposed rollers that spin as the paddle and handle move. These rollers reduce the friction created by the paddle as it turns.
Most types of bearings require lubrication because they are placed under a great deal of stress. Since the rollers on the needle bearing are exposed and come into direct contact with the moving paddle, lubrication will need to be added on a regular basis. To lubricate the bearing, loosen the small nut on the outside of the paddle that tightens it over the bearing. Also, loosen and remove the locking pin that sits vertically through the middle of the die. Afterwards, pull the handle assembly up and off the die base. Purchase all-purpose or a white lithium grease and place a generous amount of the lubricant on each roller of the bearing.
Replace the handle assembly and the nut and twist the handle around 360 degrees two or three times. Look for signs of grease oozing out around the paddle and use a clean rag to wipe the lubricant away.
Clean The Base And Die
The steel base and die of the bender can build with debris like shop dust and metal shavings. You should clean and grease these large metal pieces on a daily basis. Remove the locking pin and the holding pins from the die. Before you clean away dirt and dust, you should remove metal shavings first. To reduce base and die scratches, place a magnet in a small plastic bag. Run the bag across the surface of the steel to collect shavings. Remove the magnet and throw away the bag afterwards.
Once the metal has been removed, use soap, water, and a clean cloth to wash the steel parts. Clean the locking and holding pins as well. If the nose of the bender appears dirty, then release the nose holding pin, pull off the nose, and clean it with soap. Replace the pins and the nose. Place a small amount of motor oil on a cotton cloth and wipe down the base, die, pins, and nose. Buff with a clean cloth afterard to remove excess oil.
When you do your cleaning, make sure to inspect the bending nose closely. This part can be dinged and scratched on the end. If you see damage, then a replacement should be purchased immediately. If you do not, then the nose can damage metal parts during the bending process. Click here for info on fabrication processes.
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