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Easy-Way vs. Hard-Way of Profile Bending

When bending H/I beam, Channels, and HSS (Hollow Structural Sections, Rectangular Steel Tubing), we often come across two bending terms: “Hard-Way” and “Easy-Way”, so what do they stand for? Let’s learn about them together in today’s article. I believe this is an easy way.

What is Easy-Way and Hard-Way?

Bend orientation is another species that is necessary for determining bend capabilities. Material can be rolled in multiple ways. For example, an H-beam or rectangular tube can be rolled either the easy way or the hard way.

“Easy way” is bending a member around its weak axis, and “hard way” is bending around the strong axis; Read More: Three Common Terminology of Profile Bending

Bending and rolling companies use terms like ‘easy way’ and ‘hard way’ to help explain the relative difficulty of rolling a specific shape based on which axis it is bent against. With some materials, like rectangular tubing, the easy way may bend more easily, but protecting the tube from unwanted cosmetic deformation of the cross-section becomes more difficult. Usually, a structural member can be rolled to a tighter radius in one direction than the other, so it is important to specify roll orientation when asking for a quote.

Easy-way and hard-way bending methods in H/I beam and U-channel curving

Rolled steel beams (Profile Bending Universal Column) are used everywhere – in structures for functionality or aesthetic appeal, in circular shell stiffening rings on vessels, and for monorails or roof trusses. Steel beams can be rolled vertically (the weak axis) or horizontally (the strong axis). When rolling steel beams, it is important to consider distortion.

Rolled steel beams (Section There are two primary methods used in beam bending applications, informally known as the “easy way” and the “hard way”. Rolled steel beams (Bending beams and channels on the hard-way require a strong bending force because the section modulus along the x-x axis is always very large. Moreover, the combination of the large bending forces required by the process with the relatively thin thickness of the beam causes the deformation of the web itself.

Video of Two Bending Methods of Aluminum Profiles

Bending metal hollow structural sections the easy-way and the hard-way

Easy-Way Vs. Hard-Way Of Profile Bending
Easy-Way Vs. Hard-Way Of Profile Bending

Contrary to what most people think, bending HSS (hollow structural sections) the “hard-way” will frequently result in less concavity (distortion) then bending the same size of material the “easy-way”. Read More: How To Bending Aluminum Without Cracking It

  • Bending the hard-way simply means that the metal member is being bent around/against the “strong-axis”.
  • Bending the easy-way simply means that the matel member is being bent around/against the “weak-axis”.

When bending the easy-way, the greater difference between the sides of the tubing will result in greater distortion (less concavity on the inside of the bend). For instance, TS 8″ x 2″ (a difference of 6”) will have less concavity on the inside of the bend than TS 16″ x 4″ (a difference of 12″).

When bending either the easy-way or hard-way concavity may become less of a problem if the wall thicknesses of the material are increased. For example, TS 12″ x 6″ x .250″ wall material bent the easy-way will result in more concavity (distortion) then TS 12″ x 6″ x .375″ wall bent to the same radius.

How to bending HSS (square and rectangular tubing)

Square and rectangular tubing is also known as HSS (hollow structural steel), the name is always called out the same way( The first two numbers designate the size of the material in inches). it includes aluminum, stainless, carbon steel, copper, zirconium, and titanium tubing.

Cold roll bending square and rectangular tubing can be used with and without a mandrel. If fill the material with mandrels, the hollow material into a solid. This helps minimize distortion without increasing the thickness of the material.

Easy-way and hard-way bending methods in angle iron bending

angle rolling leg out (easy way)
angle rolling leg out

Angle rolling leg-out: rolling can be done with the leg out which is commonly referred to as rolling the “easy way” of angle bending.

angle rolling leg out (hard-way)
angle rolling leg out (hard-way)

Angle rolling leg-in: rolling process of angle iron can be done with the leg in, which is often times referred to as rolling the “hard-way” of angle bending.

Read More: What Is The Best Way To Bending Angle Iron?

Easy-way and hard way to cold bend the angle iron: The most natural way to bend an angle iron is the apex in or out but most angle rings are rolled in or out. What happens is that the bending causes the angle to twist. The reason is that the vertical leg of the angle is being bent the “easy-way” or like a belt, while the horizontal leg is being bent the “hard-way” like a washer. The twist is caused because the neutral axis is somewhere between the two legs. All the material inside the neutral axis compresses while all material outside the axis stretches.

Works CIted: Bending HSS the easy-way vs. the hard-way Metal Bending Services Questions Answered