Bending 6063 for cat frame? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-10-2012   #1
 
sasquatch's Avatar
 
Columbus, Ohio
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Bending 6063 for cat frame?

Want to build a new frame for my Aire wildcat. Can purchase 6063 locally. What would be the best way to bend it? or is it too much trouble? Basically want to make a smaller version of the NRS sport cat frame.

Thanks,

Luke

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Old 05-10-2012   #2
 
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Fresno, California
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Question for you. How are you goiong to finish it? The NRS frame is annodized, and uncoated it will leave smudges on your tubes.

Answers; I used a pipe bender on mine, and I've bent a variety of materiels with heat and leverage. The heat/leverage way is a PITA, and ain't purdy. You need to pack the material full of sand to prevent collapsing, and even then the material flattens out against whatever your bending against in the inside of the bend. You need to bend it around something only slightly smaller than your desired radius, and getting 2 matching pieces can be quite challenging.

You might be able to take your parts to a muffler shop and have them make some bends for you, or maybe rent a Greenlee Mechanical Bender for EMT.

If you were local I'd bend some pieces for you in 5 minutes.
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Old 05-10-2012   #3
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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What's the exact OD of the material you plan to bend? It will end up much nicer if you can match it exactly to the bending die used.

Harbor Freight pipe benders (kinkers) are the worst option.
Conduit and muffler benders are good.
The best option is a tube bender. Does anyone do rollcages near you?
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Old 05-10-2012   #4
 
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Columbus, Ohio
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I did not consider a finish. Any suggestions? get rub marks from existing frame so I am kind of used to it but would be nice not to deal with it.

Diameter is 1 5/8 will use the exact specs as NRS. Will check muffler shops. I am sure somebody does roll cages here there are a few race tracks close by.

Thanks,
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Old 05-11-2012   #5
 
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I bend 1.5 nominal with a JD squared pipe bender with ease. I have never had a crimp or failure, and just finished my fourth frame. You must consider the outer diameter of the bend, etc... when you get a die. The bender works with ease, and a bend takes about one minute once your marked and level.

Finishing aluminum is still a work in process. You must prepare aluminum with phosphoric acid or some abrasive prior to painting it. My last attempt, was with polyurethane truck bed coating... we will see how it works. Regular store polyurethane seems to wear off quickly.

One thing to consider is powder coating. The annealing process used by DRE for instance is only slighly better than painting in my opinion, because it is so thin, that it also wears down quickly and starts staining your tubes.

On the other hand, stained tubes are not the worst thing in the world, and it does come off for the most part with the right detergent.

Gary at rowframe is pretty savey when it comes to aluminum, and I would talk to him for some ideas as well. Last I talked to him he was building an oven big enough to coat treat a frame.
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Old 05-11-2012   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by festivus View Post
I bend 1.5 nominal with a JD squared pipe bender with ease. I have never had a crimp or failure, and just finished my fourth frame. You must consider the outer diameter of the bend, etc... when you get a die. The bender works with ease, and a bend takes about one minute once your marked and level.
JD^2 is a tube bender, not a pipe bender. Semantic difference, but a pretty big one for "those in the know". You have (or have access to) a very, very nice bender!! The sliding shoe on those benders instead of the "rollers" on the Harbor Freight pipe kinker leads to a lot less kinking and deformation.

One tube bending trick I've heard of is taking a piece of tubing of known length, mark the tubing where it starts in the bending die, and bend a 90 bend. You can use it for a reference on future bends instead of "guess and check".

Here's maybe not the Bible on tube bending, but maybe the gospel, according to Rob:
Pirate4x4.Com

Quote:
Finishing aluminum is still a work in process. You must prepare aluminum with phosphoric acid or some abrasive prior to painting it. My last attempt, was with polyurethane truck bed coating... we will see how it works. Regular store polyurethane seems to wear off quickly.
There is self-etching primer, sometimes called "aircraft primer", available. It's about $12 a can and works pretty well.

Quote:
One thing to consider is powder coating.
But don't use it on 6061, because the 400F oven used to bake the powder will ruin the heat treating (tempering/annealing) of the 6061. Probably less of a concern with the already softer 6063.

Quote:
Gary at rowframe is pretty savey when it comes to aluminum, and I would talk to him for some ideas as well. Last I talked to him he was building an oven big enough to coat treat a frame.
He's got one webpage talking about a urethane? coating he's using on his aluminum. I think he's doing the phosphoric acid etch, like you mentioned, before coating.
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Old 05-11-2012   #7
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I use a tube bender and just fill the alum tube with sand and cap both ends of the tube. Then make my bends. I use a hole saw on a drillpress to notch the tubes and weld it up with a TIG welder. Its farely simple if you can TIG. I like to use wide electrical tape to wrap the frame along the tube sections. This alows me to remove the tape and make mods easily. Then after the frame is river tested and rower aproved, I anodize the frame. I can save about 50% the cost of a new simular frame.
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Old 05-13-2012   #8
 
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I use HF pipe bender. If you place a pair of tube socks over the rollers i was able to bend w/o kinking. Would be hard to do a complex bend. What you want is a mandrel bender
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Old 05-14-2012   #9
 
Golden, Colorado
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I rented a conduit bender from a local rental shop for some work on my DRE style frame. It was a Greenlee 555 bender with the proper die set. Cost 85 bucks a day and I keep it for the weekend without extra charges. It did not make very tight bends, maybe 8-9 inch radius, but worked great. Also, I am thinking of trying this product to coat everything when I am done welding.

GLISTEN PC-POR-15 Inc.

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Old 05-14-2012   #10
 
Calgary, Alberta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustKip View Post
Question for you. How are you goiong to finish it? The NRS frame is annodized, and uncoated it will leave smudges on your tubes.

Answers; I used a pipe bender on mine, and I've bent a variety of materiels with heat and leverage. The heat/leverage way is a PITA, and ain't purdy. You need to pack the material full of sand to prevent collapsing, and even then the material flattens out against whatever your bending against in the inside of the bend. You need to bend it around something only slightly smaller than your desired radius, and getting 2 matching pieces can be quite challenging.

You might be able to take your parts to a muffler shop and have them make some bends for you, or maybe rent a Greenlee Mechanical Bender for EMT.

If you were local I'd bend some pieces for you in 5 minutes.
What? I thought anodizing meant the aluminum would NOT leave marks on your tubes? I'm confused.
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