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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking about DIY front bumper from flat plate steel.

A number of the designs have every part that bends cut out to be welded. I was thinking it would be a lot easier to cut or grind a shallow groove and bend the metal inwards at the groove. Just welding from the back side? It gives a nice round over finish to the front, less grinding of welds, less welding, less parts to cut out the sheet stock.

It works on 1/35 scale models :) I just don't know if that translates to thicker bumper steel...what would that be 1/4-3/8?

This fender would be 8-10 parts if every fold were cut out and made a unique part. Creative folding
135724



But folded up, the solder (or weld in the case of the bumper) goes on the inside:
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I used 3/16 steel for the skin of my bumper and 1/4 for the main supports. That seems plenty heavy for these vehicles. When I made my radiator skid I used 1/8 and did the score/bend method. It was a bear to bend even scored 1/2 way through
 

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Keep in mind that you'd probably want to run a weld bead down the inside of the score.

You are right though, if you have thin enough metal to bend, even 'scored' with a cut, it'll end up prettier. But a lot of bumpers are thicker material, and its faster to cut and weld flat pieces than mess with a score, folding, and then probably still needing to weld the inner score.

Also, a lot of the DIY kits are being shipped... and flat pieces are easier to ship.

If folding... Complex curves are out... so you'll usually see them choose one large portion to fold. For example rear bumpers are often one long piece that folds around the bracket... top, folded around to the back, folded under to the lower (see my rear bumper in my sig link).
Front bumpers may be a horizontally folder center piece like a rear bumper, but 'wings' are welded on because of complex angles/curves. OR, they'll go with one long piece that wraps from headlight to headlight, with the subtle bends at the edges of the grill... then welded on top plates and lower plates.
You'll pretty much never see folds that aren't parallel to each other, as that gets very tough to fit in a metal brake.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes! That bumper is exactly what I'm getting at. Is that foldable with a 40" brake and two stout lads reefing on it?

I'm liking the built in receiver too. That could free up some space under the truck.

Basically looking for a few novice welding projects to tackle before the more complex stuff.

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The built in receiver is NICE. It can't be TOO long, or it gets into the spare tire area (currently, tire is resting against the back edge of it)... but it tucks it up MUCH higher than a standard hitch. Over all, it weighs less too. Lots of rear bumpers have brackets that mount further back (deeper down frame) utilizing the holes that an OEM receiver hitch uses. I don't tow much, so I wasn't concerned with that.

I'm no fabricator... but yeah, its bent, and without any channel being ground, and no inner weld bead to reinforce it (since no ground/cut channel). Not sure what kind of brake they used.
They say its 3/16 thick, which is also what my shrockworks skid plates are (which now that I think about it, do have edges folded up and welded to form corners)


I will say that part of your challenge may be figuring out how 'long' to leave the pieces, based on the radius of the bend and where its made on the metal. Some trial and error.... or leaving it long and cutting off the excess might be needed if you're going for tight clearances. The top plate of my rear bumper was too close to the body..JUST BARELY. Basically, I had to grind off the bottom corner of the plates edge, but none of the top of the plate that you see from above. Look for similar issues if you're mating up to other pieces on a complex front bumper.
 

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I've made a front plate bumper before (not xterra) and tried to bend. It's incredibly difficult to score the back of 3/16ths and make a consistent bend without a brake. You need a very uniform cut that you probably aren't going to get with an angle grinder, any flaw and it's not going to bend to that and not be squared up. You might be able to do pieces less than 6" wide but even that will take a lot of force. It will be significantly easier to cut individual pieces, tack them together, weld, and grind the front smooth.
 
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