Have you ever tried to bend a small piece of brass wire but ended up with a jagged piece of metal in your hands? It can be frustrating, especially if you have a project lined up for that piece of wire. Bending brass is a specialized skill that requires the right tools, materials and know-how.
Brass is a soft metal that can bend easily if you know what you’re doing. The trick to bending brass without breaking is to apply heat to the material before you bend it or use other methods such as using a bender, a vise, or a rolling pin if you’re at home.
The first step I took to learn how to bend brass without breaking was knowing the different types of benders available.
You should consider the size and shape of the bends you’re going to make, the size of the pieces you’ll be bending, and the number of bends you’ll be making, which will help you choose the correct bender.
Learn about the different types of benders available and then you can start deciding which is best for you.
Ways to bend brass without breaking
Plastic bending tools are great for making an endless variety of shapes, but sometimes you need something sturdy, especially if you are going to be making a lot of heavy-duty repairs or building high-end architectural details.
While you may be tempted to reach for a roll of duct tape or a set of pliers, you can actually bend the metal you need with common tools found around the house or hardware store around you.
1. Use a bender
For many home improvement projects I’m involved in, traditional bending methods do the trick.
However, if you need to bend a large amount of brass, a bender is the way to go.
This tool will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to bend the material, and it will ensure that your piece comes out without any kinks of breaks.
The benefit of having a bender is that it will let you save your hands and wrists when you use it. It will also make the bending process a lot easier.
You can find benders at Dubrow designed to work with 5/32” and ⅛” and they cost somewhere around 13 bucks.
2. Use sliding bubble
When working with brass, the biggest challenge is to get a consistent bend.
Fortunately, a sliding bubble has a way to accommodate this.
Once, you get one bending angle that you like, you can replicate it on the other side with a lot of ease.
3. Use a heat gun or propane torch
The propane torch is an excellent way to make custom metal and wood projects at home without the mess and cost of welding.
Because the flame is adjustable, you can heat up small or large areas of metal.
You can easily heat your project’s metal to a high temperature, and then bend it, solder it, or place it in a vice. The torch can even solder and shape brass!
What you want to do is heat up the area that you want to bend until it gets a little bit red-hot.
This actually softens the brass and lets you bend it with a lot of ease.
Only apply the heat to the area you want to make an angle.
This ensures your torch is giving you optimal results while protecting its lifespan, otherwise propane might run out and your project grind to a halt.
4. Use a rolling pin
Another rather unpopular way is to use a rolling pin to bend the brass.
Rolling pins are very handy when it comes to making short work of dough for pastries and other treats, but did you know that they can be used for other handy things around the house?
For example, a rolling pin can help you work with any material that’s difficult to shape, in this case brass tubing.
The rolling pin will be placed on either end of the brass and rolled to help form the shape you want.
5. Use a vise
When you live in a small apartment, your home improvement projects will be limited to the space available.
No matter what size your apartment is, you can use a vise to bend brass without breaking it, allowing you to customize your space to fit your needs.
Whether you are making the most out of a small kitchen or want to build a custom bookshelf for your collection, you can use a vise to bend brass to your liking.
A vise is a tool that holds material steady or allows it to be worked by other tools.
Since it works like a pair of pliers, it should come as no surprise that it is often used by machinists and metalworkers.
However, a vise is also an integral part of several woodworking and metalworking projects.
Although many people tend to overlook them, vises can be incredibly useful for holding brass work in place while performing precision-based bending.
At what temperature does brass soften?
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc that is commonly used in a variety of home improvement projects.
Use brass when you want to create a strong, decorative object and don’t need the piece to be highly resistant to corrosion.
Brass is also used to make musical instruments, plumbing fixtures, and artwork.
Brass begins to soften within the temperature range of 500 degrees Fahrenheit to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since brass melts at a lower temperature than other common metals, it’s important to heat it slowly and evenly.
You can determine the temperature of brass by using a thermometer or by feeling its consistency with your hands .
There are plenty of reasons to work with brass, but one of the most common is the fact that brass is an alloy of zinc and copper, which makes it very malleable.
That means it’s easily shaped with tools.
However, brass is also quite malleable in a figurative sense.
As a result, it’s not uncommon for someone to grab a brass widget and bend it too far, making it useless.
To prevent that from happening, it’s important to apply some of the ideas I’ve mentioned here to come up with your desired piece of work.