The projects page

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Like many others with an interest to most things metalwork and mechanical, I like to make things.  I am not into model making so you will not see small locomotives, steam traction engines etc.. as I do not have the patience to complete them, so my admiration goes to the model makers that can.

Here you will probably see projects I have done that help me make other things, for instance :-

Ring Roller  or  Vibratory or Finishing Tub  or  Small bending Jig

I made a garden fence at home just using bought in basic twists, cages etc, it would have been nice to add a few more items such as rings with inlays, make my own shapes et al.  So I looked at a ring roller, now there are several out there one can buy, typically with everything in a frame where you pull the middle roller out to remove the completed ring, or another style with the rollers on the outside of the frame.  This is the style I went for as I thought it could be more versatile.

So I looked around on the Internet and looked at various designs, all generally based on Pyramid rolls, I checked what unused materials I had around in the garage and settles on a design using 100 x 100 x 4 mm wall box section.

Without any drawings I just cut up the metal as shown below.


Cut at an angle of 28 degrees, basically because that angle still allowed me to get the box in the vice and cut on the band-saw.  Then welded to make the two sections and then the bases milled flat so it should sit flat and level.

I had some CDS tube left over from the kit car build this has an internal diameter hole very slightly over 25mm, so as accurately as I could used the milling machine and 24 operations later had holes through the sides  to fit the CDS tubes snugly into.


I had to spend money now and buy some EN8 25mm bar from a online metal shop, 14 for 1 metre.  I was also looking at bearings for the rollers.  I originally looked at some needle roller bearings, 25mm internal with internal sleeves and 32mm external diameter, but with prices it would cost quite a bit to get four of them I thought I would need, so I settled on budget rollers and picked up 10 bearings 25mm internal, 47mm external diameters for 10.


I visited an Engineering shop in Leyland and managed to get a length of 90 mm diameter EN3 bar for 10, and after some time on the lathe had my two idle rollers, they are 56mm wide.


Next was to make the middle section and roller.  This is again a piece of box section but with 4 lengths of 80 by 6mm thick bar front and back.

Used some cardboard off a cornflake box to give me a little bit of play so the unit will slide up and down, 3 bits in there so probably around 15 thou padding put in when compressed!


There are 16 x M8 countersunk screws with Ny-locks keeping it in place front and back.
I also had to figure a way of locking the middle roller to the bar, this could well end up with holes drilled and grub screws and I have no easy way to make a key-way. 
In the end I went back to the engineering shop I picked up the steel from and had a key-way cut in the roller using their broaching set. small cost but worth it.  I milled a key-way slot in the shaft.

The downside to this whole thing is there are no bearings in the middle section, I am going to rely on grease, or slide way oil, in the tube and see how it performs.

I have milled a few flats in the end of the shaft/rod tonight to accept a 21mm socket. The idea eventually to weld a ring to the socket or large spider to the socket to act as a handle.



M20 threaded bar is pressing down on to a thrust bearing on to a piece of angle, the angle because of the vertical section  should not bend. I small bolt goes through to the underside and has a large washer, this should mean I can pull up the middle section with the M20.  A cut down M20 nut sits on to of the thrust washer and the nut is tack welded into place.

On top of the frame is a 8 mm thick bar with a hole in it to pass the threaded bar and a nut fully welded on to this.  This should allow me to wind down and up to change the pinch on any bar I am rolling.
Sorry no pictures showing how it went together.

I had a small length of 30 x 8 mm bar to try it on so here goes.

And the final picture, with the ends cut off, and welded up.


The inside diameter is approx 10 & 1/2 inches or 266 mm'ish and definitely is the smallest I could do as the unit stands now.  It was quite difficult to move the ends out of the way when rolling, or they get caught on the roller when they come around.  there is approx 3 inches, 75mm of waste at each end of the ring that needs to be trimmed.

Sorry that the pictures are a bit fuzzy, that is what I get using the smart phone!

Up to this point I am using a 1/2 inch drive ratchet to turn the middle roller, and it is time to have a more aesthetic solution, and a nice round ring handle is what I am going for.  To do this I need to be able to roll round tube, so more lathe work and make another middle roller.  The tube I have is 19 mm diameter, 2 mm wall.  So I need to machine a groove in this.  So here is my version of the popular internal radius cutter.

The body was made using a piece of 3/4 inch plate I had, milled down to a rough size for the lathe tool holder. An old 1/2 inch bolt, hole drilled through it for a 6mm piece of HSS and clamped in place with a M6 cap head drilled and tapped from the top.

Then to make it easy to turn a drilled out M10 tacked on the top. It will probably get a tidy up as some point but it works for now.

Then with my new roller in the lathe I turned the groove.

Above is the new middle roller on the ring roller, I have space there to add a 1 inch groove.  I had to cut my own key-way in this so a small tool was made to fit my boring bar head and used in the lathe capstan like a shaper.


So back to making the  ring handle, approx 1.8 metres of tube and I end up with a 56 cm diameter ring after wastage of the end pieces.


Took a bit to keep it straight and a bit of manual effort and then welding it up and then standing on various sections and it is not that bad.

This is the handle welded up and bolted to the bar to stop it falling off in use. The spokes are 12 mm solid bar, left over from a fence.

Over time I will make different rollers to try and match what ever I need to roll, but for now a completed project.


If it gives you any ideas to make your own, then go for it.

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Vibratory or Finishing Tub

De-burring can be a pain at times, especially if you have to get into nooks and cranny's!  large areas can generally be cleaned up with a flap disk or wire wheel, file, emery cloth etc.. But sometimes to give a smooth finish, remove sharp edges a vibratory tub can be a great help.  So here is a small unit I made up.

The tub was made of 3mm thick end panels and 2mm thick body in mild steel, I plasma cut the end shapes to match a general idea of the size I wanted, together with some angle iron bend tacked welded the tub together.  I used ratchet straps to pull the shape in the 2mm steel, even this took some effort.  Luckily it all held long enough to get some decent welds in there.



More angle added to form the basic box shape and stiffeners added to the sides of the tub.


Where the side hole is the angle was ground away and a chute added, this is for emptying of media at some point, it means I do not have to pick it all out.


The start of the motor frame and the shaft for eccentric weights to make it vibrate.

vib9.jpgAs you can see in this picture, the weights are basic lumps of steel welded to rings that will fit on the shaft, some M6 button heads to tighten against the shaft to stop them moving.

The picture above is the drain, a few bits turned on the lathe and TIG welded together, filed to approximate the contour of the base of the tub.  this was welded in place and then holes drilled to match.

To try and protect the tub it has been lined with conveyor belting and silicon sealant used to try and keep the lining in place. Hopefully this will wear before the metal.


The tub sits on 6 coil springs and these sit on some large washers and tuned nylon sections bolted to the frames to keep them in place.  The picture on the right shows the drain from the tub, this will go into a container for fluid, some sort of filter and pump to put the fluid back in to the tub and wash the parts as they vibrate.  The motor drives the shaft with two belts and the motor section is spring loaded to allow for movement and tensioning.

I used a triangular section ceramic media for the de-burring process, not sure if the best thing to use, not cheap, did at one time try pea gravel, but it is a lot denser then the ceramic so would need a lot more weight for the same volume.


There is a video of the unit in operation on, here is a link:- Vibratory tub in use.

A later upgrade to the tub included a 3 phase electric motor and variable frequency drive so I could vary the speed of rotation and it also provided timers so I could run for a fixed time and then switch off.
There are also metal panels now in the base back and sides of the motor frame, this helps to stiffen the section up, need to make a hinged and latched front panel for safety.

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Small bending Jig

This is just a very simple jig I made to bend 2mm metal into a U shape in the vice, It is made from 40 mm diam steel bar welded with some angle on to 6mm plate, it stands vertically in the vice and then closing the jaws forms the shape, a few thumps with a rubber mallet helps close the shape up.
I think the pictures will  tell the story.


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A Hodgson