Homemade draw bench

by shelbyvision on November 9, 2010

When I posted about the advent wreath, it was suggested that I could find a faster way to form the tubes than hammering by hand. I agreed, especially since I had an idea of making large numbers of brass lilies to try to sell on Etsy.

Part of the problem is a regular drawing die can’t be used for this, since the piece cannot be pulled all the way through. I had to make a two-piece die. I first tried wood, but even the hard maple I used was not hard enough, so I had to go with steel. I used a piece of 3/4″ thick mild steel, which is probably much thicker than needed, but that’s better than too thin, and I think it allows for a longer transition from flat to round, so it only takes one step to perform the whole operation. I put the hole over on one end to allow room for other holes for other tasks I might come up with in the future.

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Another part of the problem was how to get the pulling force required. I had tried pulling by hand with my wood die, and it was way too much work. I decided what I needed was a winch. I didn’t have a winch, or the money to buy one, so I scrounged around and found a 20:1 right angle gear box that I’ve had lying around for years, waiting for a good use. I had to put a hand crank (salvaged from an old trailer jack) on one shaft, and a pulley for the cable on the other shaft. The grabber is an old tool I found many years ago on the ground on an electric company easement. It’s a wire or cable puller, and I suspect it had been a lineman’s tool. It turned out that the serrations on the jaw were warn off, so I added part of an old file to give it enough gripping power. The cable was a piece I had lying around, probably bigger than needed, but the price was right. My total expenditure for this project: $0.00. It’s not real pretty, but it works, and saves a huge amount of time.
The five pictures below show the device being used to form the stem of a brass lily.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

shelbyvision November 10, 2010 at 7:54 am

Thanks much for the links, great stuff! Sometimes I go for weeks without looking to see who’s blogging about what, so I missed all of those. I think I will subscribe to his blog. The one about making coiled tubing is a mind blower! It’s backwards and inside-out from everything I’ve ever known about bending tubing, but it makes perfect sense! I cut my engineering teeth figuring out better ways to make brass u-tubes, as an employee at my old job. Now I wonder if that would work on a larger scale.
PS, I’m glad to hear someone saw my pieces at that gallery in Ferndale. Sadly, it didn’t even survive a year. Fortunately, I got my stuff back. Now I have my bronze urn on display at Funeria Gallery in Graton, right by Santa Rosa.

mike edwards November 10, 2010 at 2:36 am
shelbyvision November 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Thanks Sam, Bent, Mike, Jason.
Mike, I’m not familiar with David Cruikshank. Sounds interesting. Do you have a link?

jason November 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Wow, that’s great! The hinged drawplate alone is brilliant, and that’s a whole lot of forming in one pull, too!


mike edwards November 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Pretty slick Steve,
Check out the on your metal blog by David Cruikshank. (I suspect you already have). He has a post about swage style adjustable drawing dies as well as a method for drawing seamless tubing to tight radii with a draw bench.
THanks for sharing and the inspiration!

Bentiron November 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm

You took that idea and ran with it for sure! I like that 20:1 gear box on the end. I just love ghetto rigged outfit you built there.

Sam November 9, 2010 at 10:50 am

Steve, that is brilliant, I love it, an opening draw plate, wonderful, ,thanks for sharing.

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