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How to Cut & Bend Steel Reinforcing Mesh and Bar

Steel reinforcement is a common requirement for many construction projects, and it may be necessary to cut and bend steel mesh and bar into shape so that it can support the intended loads and improve the structural integrity of the project.

However, the key is to understand the shape options available and which shape is suitable for your project.

It is always important to follow the engineer’s guidelines when it comes to cutting and bending steel, if you are unsure of how to follow these guidelines it may be wise to have your processor cut and bend all of your steel reinforcing mesh prior to delivery.

What factors influence the decision-making process?

While there are several options for cutting and bending steel mesh at your disposal, it’s important to accept that some are better suited to different circumstances than others.

While there are several options for cutting and bending steel mesh it is important to choose a solution that is best suited to the job at hand. There are pros and cons for each.

When selecting a method it is necessary to consider a host of other factors, including but not limited to;

  1. The type of steel reinforcing bar or mesh that is to be used
  2. The thickness of the steel reinforcing bar or mesh that is to be used
  3. Where you are completing the bending process
  4. What tools are available at the time of completing the task
  5. What shape you are bending the structure into

Showing an appreciation of the above elements will help guide your decision, as will an understanding of the different methods available. You should always consult your engineer to ensure the method you select does not have an adverse impact on the integrity of the steel.

The different methods of bending and cutting steel mesh

There are several cutting and bending methods, the most common include:

Using bolt cutters to cut steel mesh and bar

In some circumstances, bolt cutters are a particularly effective tool for completing quick and easy cutting of steel rods.

The force generated by the cutters will provide a smooth and instant break while also producing a good level of accuracy.

steel mesh slab

Using a circular saw to cut steel mesh and bar

Using a circular saw with a metal cutting blade is an ideal method for cutting through steel bar, particularly for off-site prefabricated cuts.

Using a manual saw to cut steel mesh and bar

If a circular saw is not available a manual saw will still produce accurate results.

Bending steel mesh by hand

When working with very thin pieces of steel, it may be possible to bend the rod by hand. However, it may be difficult to achieve an accurate bend.

When bending steel it is recommended that the correct bending tools are used to ensure that the properties of the rebar are not compromised.

“The benefits of on-site fabrication are that you can make decisions as the project develops and adapt to the situation. However, it can be time-consuming while the chances of inaccurate results are far greater.”

Bending steel mesh with a pipe and bar

Simply fix the steel into place, and then use a bar to knock the end downward.

This creates a bend in the steel and allows you to dictate the angle so that the appropriate shape can be produced.

This is a common on-site method, however, when the steel is not bent around the correct pin size the integrity of the steel can be negatively impacted. If you don’t have the correct tools available on-site to undertake the job you should have your processor supply the rebar with the required bend.

On-site or prefabricated?

Some bending and cutting jobs can be completed on-site by a skilled worker. This provides the ability to adapt and make decisions as the project evolves.

However, it can be time-consuming and the chances of inaccurate results are far greater.

Prefabricated steel reinforcing solutions mean that you have the option to use any of the above methods.

Moreover, if you’re concerned about the time, costs, or accuracy, the task can be outsourced to a specialist, allowing you to focus on other aspects of the construction project.

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