A quick experiment in hydroforming.

I had some spare time over the holidays so I decided to play around with something I saw on youtube some time ago. The idea is that you can weld together two pieces of metal, pump them up with a high pressure hose and basically inflate the shape like a balloon.

I took off the high pressure hose nozzle and turned up a piece of steel to match it.

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Then welded together these bits of steel and welded on the bung I just made. I just plasma cut the steel pieces and didn’t bother to clean them up so the welds are pretty crappy.

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You can see I forgot to do something in this photo which I addressed with the one below it.

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The explosion guard! Safety third, guys.

Just kidding- The idea with this is that since the water is relatively non-compressible, when the welds yield, the part will just crack and leak. It won’t explode.

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Here’s two photos of a misshapen… thing. All up, it’s made from 6 pieces of 1.6mm mild steel. There’s a long list of things that I could have done to make it inflate more… better fitup (less weld), thinner steel, less pieces, better welds (that won’t crack so readily) but I was just playing.

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Anyway, to answer my question, “can you really use an ordinary high pressure hose to form steel?” is a surprising “yes!”

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