How To Bend And Cut Rebar
Rebar is a form of steel concrete reinforcing bars which are widely used in constructing and forming building structure. It can also be used for reinforcing concrete work. While the rebar is tough, it can be easily bent for it to be used in landscaping as well as other art projects.
There are several types of rebar with different sizes. One of the most common types of rebar which is used by DIY hobbyists is the #4 rebar. It is ½ inch in diameter. With this rebar, you can use a hacksaw to cut. On the other hand, with a bigger rebar, possibly the one that is used in industrial concrete work, you would have to use hydraulic shears or benders for the job. A cutting and bending machine is also a great choice for you if you want to cut a lot of rebar in a short amount of time.
In case you are currently working on a project and want to use rebar, check the ultimate guide below for how to cut rebar as well as bending it for your projects.
:Before you cut rebar, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration to make sure you can safely cut or bend rebar. Follow these tips listed below for working as safe as possible
- Rebar is certainly sharp and heavy. Handle the material carefully. Wear steel toed boots to prevent the damage when the rebar accidentally falls onto your feet.
- Wear your personal protective equipment. While being cut, rebar can create sparks. Wear a pair of goggles, sleeved shirts, gloves as well as a pair of long pants to prevent these sparks from injuring your skin. You should also wear thick and sturdy clothes.
- Prepare a suitable workspace. While rebar can be thin in term of diameter, a rod of rebar can be long. Normally, it can be about 8 to 10 feet in length. Some extremely long rebar can have the length of 20 feet. Hence, make sure that the place is spacious enough for you to easily handle the item.
- While you cut rebar, it will create sparks. Hence, you should clean up the workspace so that there are no obstructions. Make sure there are no flammable objects within the close proximity as well.
- Make sure that all of the tools that you use have sharp blades. If the blades are dull, you will not be able to cut rebar effectively. You might risk hurting yourself if you use dull blades as well.
- In case you use a powered machine, you need to read the instructions of the machine carefully. Make sure you follow all of the procedures in order to operate the machine correctly and safely.
The tools you need for bending and cutting rebar:
- Measuring tape
- Wax crayon or chalk
- A hacksaw with a metal cutting blade
- Other tools that you can use to cut rebar include a bolt cutter, a reciprocating saw, a circular saw, a portable bandsaw, a torch or a grinder with steel cutting blade.
- You can also use a cutting and bending machine for both of the tasks.
- A long metal pipe with a large internal diameter
First, here are the steps on cutting rebar:
Step 1: First, you need to set up a clean working station. It should be spacious enough for long rods of rebar.
Step 2: Measure the length of the rebar which you want to cut into. Take into account the extra length in case you have to tie one rebar to another. Also pay attention to the curve as well if you have to bend the rebar afterward. If this is the first time you cut rebar, measure the length which is more than the length that you desire.
Step 3: Mark the point at which you want to cut the rebar with a wax crayon or a piece of chalk.
Step 4: You can use your foot to step firmly on the rebar. It would prevent the rebar from rolling around. Alternatively, you can use something with certain weight to help the rebar to stay stable. Clamping the rebar is also a great option.
Step 5: Cut the rebar.
- With the hacksaw. The hacksaw should have the metal cutting blade in order to cut the rebar more effectively.
- In case you use the circular saw, you should switch the blade of the saw to a diamond blade. This blade is the best in term of cutting smooth cuts quickly. When you cut rebar with a circular saw, you don’t have to exert much effort.
- With a pair of bolt cutters. Bolt cutters are used to remove chains and padlocks. They are also used for cutting and trimming rebar. They work like a pair of scissors or a pair of tin snips. Place the blade of the bolt cutters onto the point on the rebar at which you want to cut. Then snap on the marked points. This tool is a great option when you need to quickly cut or trim a small part of the rod of rebar.
- For cutting many rods of rebar, you can use a cutting and bending machine. You can easily rent this machine at a local hardware store. In order to use the cutting machine, first, you need to check the safety bar to make sure it is in the right position. Then you need to adjust the setting as well as extending the safety curtain to fit the length of the rebar. Place the rebar under the teeth of the bending machine. The points at which you want to cut rebar need to be under the blade of the machine. After that, set the dial of the machine before cutting rebar. Turn on the machine as well as the yellow safety switch. Pull the handle to cut.
- You can cut rebar with a reciprocating saw. However, when you take this type of saw, it would take a lot of time. Not to mention that it is quite labor-intensive. This tool should only be the last resort among all type of saws.
- You can also use a torch to cut rebar. The torch could be the plasma or the oxyacetylene. You can turn on the torch and point the flame toward the points at which you want to cut the rebar. This tool should only be used if you don’t have access to other pieces of equipment. The melting process will take a lot of time. In addition, the points are not so smooth. The surfaces of the cut rebar will not be even. If dedicate cuts are not your concern, you can use torches for cutting rebar.
- Final tip: If you have to make a lot of cuts, it is more efficient that you use a metal chop saw.
Step 6: For all of the cutting tools, you don’t have to cut through the diameter of a rod of a rebar. You just have to cut to the middle of the rebar.
Step 7: Then turn the rebar over. Put your foot firmly on one side of the rebar. And then pull one side up. The rebar will snap and then cut into half easily.
Make sure that the rebar is stable while you cut it. This will allow you to have smooth and precise cuts.
Here is a clip to demonstrate how to cut rebar, take a look at it!
Moving on, we will discuss the steps on bending rebar:
Rebar is a soft iron. In addition, it is resistant to break or cracks. Hence, you can bend the rebar easily to make it into the shape that you want to have for your project. A piece of rebar can be bent manually if it is less than 0.5 inch in diameter. The key thing to make sure you can easily bend rebar is sufficient leverage.
In case the rebar is bigger than 0.5 inch in diameter, you can use a manual rebar render. You can rent one of the rebar renders at your local hardware stores.
Here are the steps on bending rebar:
Step 1: Place a rod of rebar laying flat on the ground. Measure the point at which you want to bend the rebar and mark it with a wax crayon or a piece of chalk.
Step 2: Prepare a piece of metal pipe with an internal diameter large enough so that you can put the rebar into it.
Step 3: Put the rebar into the pipe. The metal pipe should cover only a part of the rebar. Spare around the point at which you want to bend as well as around 6 inches before that point.
Step 4: Let the metal pipe lay flat on the ground.
Step 5: Press your foot onto the metal pipe firmly. It should be around 6 to 10 inches from the point which you want to bend the rebar. It would help to provide enough leverage.
Step 6: Raise the rebar off the ground until it is bent at the point that you want.
Besides bending the rebar manually, you can use the cutting and bending machine to bend rebar. It would save you a lot of time and effort.
Step 1: You need to check the safety bar to make sure it is in the right position. Then you need to adjust the setting as well as extending the safety curtain to fit the length of the rebar.
Step 2: Place the rebar into the machine.
Step 3: Make sure you place the rebar so that it extends at about 8 inches from the point at which you want to bend the rebar.
Step 4: Pull the trigger sharply in order to bend the rebar.
- You can heat rebar with a torch before bending it. It would make it easier to bend rebar when it is heated. However, heating rebar with a torch might be unnecessary if the diameter of the rebar is less than 0.5 inch.
- After you bend rebar, you can straighten the piece and then bend it again, even at the same point.
- Note that if you repeatedly bend a rebar at the same point, it will weaken the metal.
- You can change the direction of the bend without worrying that it might affect the integrity of the bar.
Overall, it is not a challenging task for you to cut or bend rebar. There are a lot of tools that you can use in order to cut and bend rebar. You can use both manual saw and powered saw. Some tools are more suitable for cutting large rods of rebar while some are used for cutting ones with a smaller diameter.
The steps are easy to follow. The thing to remember here is that you have to be extremely careful. When you cut rebar, sparks can occur, causing damage to your eyes and your skin. Always remember to wear your personal protective equipment including your goggles and gloves. As long as you can follow the tips above and pay attention to your safety, you would be able to cut and bend rebar without any difficulty.