How to bend 1/8" plate for waterwheel buckets?

I am gearing up for building a 14' metal overshot waterwheel {Fitz replica}, but am quite befuddled about how to bend the buckets. I would like to use 1/8" plate but don't know how bend anything that
thick with home shop tools. Each bucket starts as 1/8" plate 30" wide by 19-3/16" tall; about a 3-7/16" up from the bottom end is a 90 degree bend forming the "heel" of the bucket. From the 90 degree bend up to the top is a curve of about 20" radius. Since I am beginning this project without much experience or knowledge of metalworking, I will appreciate any help provided.
zukecanoe
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The easiest way, is if you know someone with an iron worker (machine). You can roll the plate. You will need a BIG bender for the 90 angle.
--
Anthony

You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
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Anthony,
I was thinking of cut/weld for the 90 degree bend... the large arc curve... well, "iron worker" you say, is that a BIG slip roll machine?
zukecanoe
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I am guessing that you will need around twenty of these buckets? Many steel suppliers will custom cut and form sheet to customer's requirements. With the correct equipment there would be less than a quarter hour per piece cut and folded. I would seriously look into getting a quote on supplying the items complete. The 3 inch straight section would make things easy with rolling since it would be a single travel through the rolls before doing the ninety. Randy

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I thought about this, and decided that this was actually pretty difficult to do. 1/8 inch is pretty thick, and not easy to work with. I usually work with material about 0.043 inches thick, much thinner, and I could make these in my shop out of that material, but not easily. I have a few thousand dollars of metalworking tools in my shop, and I don't see a practical way for me to make these out of 1/8" plate, even though I work with metal a lot. You said that you had little experience with metalworking; take the advice of people that have that experience.
I suggest that you take Randy's advice to go to a fab shop and have them make this for you. Any shop with heavy duty slip forming equipment could do this quickly and efficiently, and inexpensively. Focus on the wooden parts of the waterwheel, which I suspect you know how to make.
Richard
zukecanoe wrote:

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Richard Ferguson wrote:

Maybe get a blacksmith to forge them? Ken
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Ken,
I might have to... Thanks.
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A few questions. How many do you need to make? Are the bends across the 19 inch direction or the 30 inch direction? Do you want to do it yourself or do it the quickest most economical way?
Dan
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Dan,
I need 40, the bend is across the 30" direction, and of course, I want to do it myself and the quickest most economical way ;+). It sure sounds like I will need to farm this out, at this point.
snipped-for-privacy@krl.org wrote:

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It would be a lot easier if the bend was across the 19 inch direction, but I think you could still do it. Having a couple of helpers would be good.
If you get a couple of pieces of 4 by 4 angle and either a oxy/acet torch or a weed burner ( or both kinds of torches ). Clamp the steel in a vise with the angle as wide vise jaws and add C-clamps along the angle. Heat along the bend line. Wear hearing protection and beat it with a two to four lb hammer. With that long a bend, you will have to bend it part way and work your way down the angle. Reheat and do it again.
You can probably build yourself a roller to put in the gentle bend. Probably better to do that first. If you build yourself a roller, don't put the two rolls on the one side very close together.
Dan
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Dan,
Thanks,
I assume I will need to roll it hot, no? weed burner?, do you think that has enough heat for my task
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I wouldn't think you needed to roll it hot. A 20 inch radius or 40 inch diameter is not that big of a bend. Also you can run the sheet through the roller more than once.
For heat you need both fairly high temperature and a lot of BTU's. A weed burner will give a lot of btu's and will be hot enough. But if you can get some help and have one person with a weed burner and another with a oxy/acet torch....... You can get the sheet hot with the weed burner and then use the oxy/acet to get the place where it needs to bend red hot in pretty much in a line.right by the angle. Without using the weedburner first, it would take a lot of time with the oxy/acet torch and cost a lot of gas.
Harbor Freight has a decent weedburner for about $15 when on sale.
Where are you located?
Dan
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wrote:

to curve the steel. Heat an area evenly, across the sheet and when hot spray water on it. It will curl toward the water. This is how the legs on the Space Needle in Seattle were bent. It's also how the plates at the bow of large ships are bent. At least sometimes. I saw it being done Lockheed shipyard years ago. ERS
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Cool,
Sounds difficult to control though... seems like it would curl like a leaf
zukecanoe
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wrote:

And not that difficult. Sometimes autobody guys use the method to shrink bodywork that has dents so deep the metal is really streched. The metal doesn't even need to be red hot. ERS
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Dan,
I'm in Southern Vermont
zukecanoe
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Can you cut the curved section out of an existing tank, pipe, drum, etc. of the proper dimension then weld on the flat section?
Tom
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Oh yes, you can use an arc welder with a carbon torch instead of the oxy/acet for that concentrated high heat.
Dan
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