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How to Bend Metal Bars and Rods

Time to Read: 2 m 10s

aluminum round bar

If you’re ready to start bending metal but aren’t sure where to begin, we can help with our easy-to-follow instructions.

Before you get started, decide what you want to make with your bent metal rods. Create fun art, improve your latest DIY project, or simply learn a new skill to enjoy as a hobbyist. Once you have your idea in mind, gather your supplies.

First, pick out your rods. Estimate the length you’ll need to achieve your vision. Buy rods slightly longer than necessary so you’ll have enough length to bend them. In addition to the length, look at the size and the wall before you make your purchase. The size is the width across the rod, while the wall is the thickness of the metal itself.

Next, purchase your bending device. If you’re new to bending metal, start with a hand bender. It will handle smaller rods and projects. Ensure that the bender you're looking into will work with the tube size you're using. A handheld mini wire bender is simple to use and affordable. For thin tubes, you can also use a set of tubing benders that fit like a sleeve over the metal. 

Last but not least, have a ruler and a protractor on hand. Use the ruler to measure your bends before making them and the protractor to check the angles on the finished product.

Start with a rough sketch or diagram of the bends you need. Consider the length, angle, and direction for each spot you're going to put into the bender. When you know what you want, mark the locations directly on the rod with a marker. Marking them first will ensure you don't need to awkwardly maneuver your piece to measure it as it starts to take shape.

After bending, the metal will often spring back a little bit. If you run into this, counteract it by squeezing the rod a few degrees beyond your desired angle.

Be sure to turn the rod in the correct direction for each subsequent squeeze. That way, you avoid accidentally working in the wrong direction and ruining your project.

Even if the finished product looks perfect, take time with your protractor to measure each angle. By double-checking the final measurements, you’ll have a better sense of how accurate your initial estimates were. This experience will only help improve your future projects. Plus, you’ll learn which metals are easier or harder to bend to your desired measurements.

Once you’ve tackled a few easy hand projects, try thicker tubes for bigger DIY and construction projects using high-quality Industrial Metal Supply steel tubing and rods.


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