Metal is a fascinating element, each with its own unique properties and attributes. And with a total of 116 metal elements and their countless variations, there’s a range of different cutting methods and techniques to choose from for all sorts of applications.
And sure, an old fashioned hacksaw or angle grinder can cut through small bits of metal, no problem. However, when it comes to structural steel – flat bars, lintels and t-bars – you’re going to need a bit more than some elbow grease to get the job done.
Then there’s bending metal. Twisting a coathanger back into shape doesn’t take much effort, but unless you’re The Hulk, bending metal flat bars into shape is impossible. That’s where we turn to machines.
Cutting and Bending Metal Flat Bars With Steel Builders
As one of the premier steel fabricators in Sydney, Australia, it’s only natural to utilise state of the art steel processing and fabrication methods. We use high-quality Peddinghaus machinery designed in Germany and made in the USA.
Coupled with a 3D-based Raptor Programming technology and specialised Auto-CAD software, we can drill, mill, countersink, tap, engrave and cut and bend all kinds of steel. For more information on steel cutting methods inside our St. Mary’s factory, you can read our article here: https://www.steelbuilders.com.au/news/post/how-to-cut-steel-building-guide.
But what if you don’t have the budget for expensive tools? Well, that’s where the rest of this article comes in handy. If you want to cut and bend steel flat bars on your own, you’re going to need our expert help.
How to cut a flat steel bar?
It’s the quintessential steel cutting tool that’s affordable and easy to use. The blades are also readily available, with various tooth pitches. Unfortunately, depending on the thickness of your steel bars, you could be hacking away at it for years. While cutting metal flat bars with a hacksaw is possible, it’s not practical.
Pretty much the same as above, except with a bit more power, obviously. Just don’t expect a square cut with this power tool.
Chop Saws and Circular Saws
Chop saws are fantastic for getting straight and square cuts on metal, while circular saws are more suitable for anything that doesn’t fit. For something more portable, a die-grinder can be implemented for cutting small areas and getting into tight places.
While it may look like a wood cutting blade, the carbide-tipped teeth on these circular steel blades are designed to cut metals at slower speeds than your typical saw. Though they are pricier, this design allows them to last for much longer than abrasive blades, and they don’t wear down over time either.
One of the most popular methods for cutting steel, which we use at Steel Builders, the band saw, is essentially a big horizontal blade that cuts all different kinds of materials. While a full-size industrial bandsaw is a bit beyond a DIY budget, smaller, even handheld options are available.
One of the oldest methods on this list, oxy-fuel torch cutting, or flame cutting, is one of the simplest ways to cut steel. Using heat, you can cut right through steel flat bars with little to no further treatment once complete.
Quicker than oxy-fuel cutting, plasma cutters are highly manoeuvrable tools for cutting steel shapes. Though it might not produce the best edge results, it’s a quick and easy way to cut metal.
How to bend a flat steel bar?
Because flat bars are used to support walls, it would be almost impossible for anyone except Superman to bend them at home without machinery. In most cases, a steel flat bar would need to be completely straight to perform its job, except in rare instances where bending is required, like supporting an arched doorway.
For applications like this, it’s usually best left to the professionals!. Sometimes, flat bars are used in applications other than construction, such as heavy-duty garden edging, in which case you can use a skinny flat bar.
Heavy-Duty Garden Edging
If your garden beds have a slight curve, the bending can be done by hand with the support of heavy-duty steel pegs to hold the flat bar in place. A mallet is then used to secure the pins and the edging.
For sharper curves/bends, you’ll need to consult with a professional/supplier who may be able to supply these to you pre-shaped.
Depending on the thickness of the metal you are wanting to bend, you can also use an oxy torch to soften the part of the metal where you want to apply a bend.
If your job requires a professional touch, give Steel Builders a call. We believe that building
should be easy, so we’re always looking for newer and smarter ways to achieve this. Our highly experienced steel fabricators use quality materials that meet Australian Standards.
Steel Builders offers a complete package starting from CAD drafted shop drawings through to painting, galvanising and site installation if required. Please call one of our friendly staff who will assist you in making your project a success. Steel Builders has a skilled crew of Site Welders for onsite welding and rectification where required.