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Picket Twister

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  • Picket Twister

    Over the last few days I have built a picket twister to add to my capability in ornamental iron work. This was built when time permitted between other chores and projects that are on the go, such as the ring roller.

    A picket is a vertical bar element in something such as a gate and for decorative effect they are often twisted. It also has the nice side effect of removing the mill scale.

    The machine isn't complicated. It has a headstock with a revolving chuck assembly that allows for the operator to twist the work. He uses the handles on the end of the torque tube to transmit the twist to the chuck. The chuck holds the work by clamping it between dies made to accommodate the particular stock being twisted.

    The following pair of photos show the twister with a closeup of the headstock. The main body of the twister is 3" channel iron( edit: I beam, not channel iron). The headstock bearing is just a plain piece of schedule 40 pipe with a smaller piece running through it. It is greased and if you give the handles a spin it will revolve freely and silently for about ten revs on it's own. The bore is 1 1/8" so the twister will accommodate 1" work such as flat bar.



    The next photo shows the tailstock and the dies that are used to clamp the steel in the headstock chuck and the tailstock.



    Some finished twisted work. It isn't difficult at all to twist the material. This is 3/8" square stock. One piece is a plain twist, 5 turns and the other piece has three separate twists with the center twist being a reverse twist. It really works slick.





    I built it from scrap. The only purchased part was the I beam which cost me $15. Including the paint and welding rod it cost me around 20 dollars.
    Last edited by Evan; 05-18-2007, 09:18 AM.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

  • #2
    Evan,

    I have got to admit, that is slick. Sure beats my method -- a vice and a 24" cresent wrench.

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    • #3
      Superman , ah, i mean Evan WOW! that medication is really working for you. Glad to see it. Great job on the picket twister. Chris

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      • #4
        Evan, you are kidding, right?
        I've been in orthopaedic operating theatres with more crap on the bench let alone the floor!
        And I was on the table.

        Nice work, as always.
        Just got my head together
        now my body's falling apart

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        • #5
          I'm trying to keep the shop clean. It's a new experience for me. I'm also trying to keep stuff organized. I set up a shelf unit in one corner mainly for all the hand power tools I have with cords. Once I finished loading the shelves I realized it looked like a pawn shop.

          All the little stuff on the bench corner is the electrical parts I need to start rewiring the place. I'm going to do some today.

          I have more projects to do including the ring roller. That and other shop projects are going to slow down as I have to dedicate more time to home improvement work and yard maintenance.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            "home improvement work"
            gawd mate, a workshop IS a home improvement!
            Just got my head together
            now my body's falling apart

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            • #7
              Twisted pickets are not my taste in ornamental iron, but I like your machine!
              Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
              ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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              • #8
                Kick-a** ! That is one very cool little machine. Perfectly simple but perfectly functional! The coat of blue paint and the rails you have running down the length of the channel make it look store-bought.

                Nice work! I'll have to file this machine away for later.

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                • #9
                  at this time o' night, I can barely say pisted twickets!
                  Just got my head together
                  now my body's falling apart

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                  • #10
                    Hey,
                    Do you have to heat the metal first or is it just brute strength?? Thanks Fred

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                    • #11
                      It's twisted cold. It isn't very hard to twist the 3/8" square either. I also twisted a 1" x 1/8 flat bar 8 times and it came out like a double start thread.
                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                      • #12
                        Great work as usual Evan. If you ever write a shop book, I will buy the first copy.

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                        • #13
                          Not worth doing it round here.
                          We have a big supplier of wrought iron fancy goods with massive stocks and to be honest I can't buy the material for what they charge for finished goods.

                          http://www.fhbrundle.com/iron.htm


                          .



                          .
                          .

                          Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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                          • #14
                            Very nice twister. It is very similar to one of the best available commercial models, the German made Glaser picket twister.

                            I do a bit of twisting myself- but once again, I took the easy way out and bought a machine. I am hoping someday I might "retire" and be able to take the time to build elegant tools like you do- but for now, I am stuck making money, which means production.

                            I have a german made cnc twister, which is quite amazing in its engineering, but I do not have the pride of saying I built it.
                            It is about a 4hp motor, geared down to 15 rpm or so, with an electric brake that will stop it instantly, and programmable to 1 degree increments.

                            One thing I like about all that power is the ability to twist quite hefty stuff. It will do 1 1/2" square cold.

                            But I have found that two things are quite fun to play with- first, machining the material before twisting, and second, twisting the material hot. Doing it hot allows you to isolate the exact area that will twist, by quenching in water any parts you dont want to twist.

                            here are a couple of experiments- 1" square hot rolled steel.

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                            • #15
                              Very nice work! Can I put my sister in there?
                              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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