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Is there a better way to bend plastic tubes?


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#1 Tony1200

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 02:58 AM

Hi there modelers, a little help on how to bend styrene tubes, I was told to use a candle but I lose control of the tube after I give it some heat the tube distorts any help will be appreciated..

#2 jeffs396

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:03 AM

Tony, try using solid copper wire (not stranded) inside the tubing.

It won't kink, and it keeps its shape nicely B)

#3 Guest_GreggH_*

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:14 AM

K & N makes tubing benders, they will work on plastic also.

#4 Tony1200

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:15 AM

OK but the tube I'm using is solid 1/16 evergreen....

#5 Tony1200

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:17 AM

K&N tubing bender where can I get that,,,hobby shop?

#6 comp1839

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:19 AM

tubing is hollow, rod is solid.

#7 gasser59

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 04:40 AM

Try holding the rod along side the candle flame as opposed to over it. Go in slow and keep trying to bend it so you'll get a feel for how far away from the flame works best.

#8 Dr. Cranky

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 05:10 AM

It's easier to bend rod, tubing will kink. I use candle flame to bend it.

#9 Foxer

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 07:37 AM

It should be K&S and I have bought their tube bender. They do help bend the tube (rod), but I could never get the spring bender back off. I couldn't recommend it. Here's a link so you can see it.

I does say brass, aluminum and copper, so maybe they come off easier with metal than with plastic.

Edited by Foxer, 19 May 2012 - 07:39 AM.


#10 Psychographic

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 11:26 AM

You don't need heat to bend 1/16" ROD. Slowly bend it a little at a time until you get the shape you want, then while holding it so you have the amount of bend you need, hit it quickly with a lighter/candle to hold it's shape.This is way easier than using heat to make the bend. If the part you are bending will hold it's shape from being glued to other parts, you can skip the heat entirely.

If you look at this frame, you will see very little scorch marks from using heat to make the bends, all the rest were bent cold. It;s also made from 1/8" rod, 1/15" bends even easier.

Posted Image

Edited by Psychographic, 19 May 2012 - 11:27 AM.


#11 Dave Pye

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 01:50 PM

I bend Evergreen .080" rod all the time! When I make a frame, I do use a rat-tail file to help make the rod-to-rod joint. After I have the fit, CA seems to work fine, so far. And, "so far" is going on 10 years in the case of some models. A mechanical joint would bee a good idea for "U" loops, as in for single-seat roll bars (I do vintage 1320).
The catch is that you have to bend it over hard-plastic or metal to make the bend. And, you have to go slow, bend it gently. U use corkboard and straight pins (or map pins) to hold the bends overnight. In most cases, there is a crosspiece that holds the bent rod. Not problems. Also, Plastruct has 1/16-inch (total OD) plastic-covered metal rod what holds it's shape very well.

#12 1930fordpickup

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 03:27 PM

Would warm or hot water be better than a flame ? I have not used this just wondering if it could be an option. I have used it to warm rubber tubing to fit over fittings.

#13 Tony1200

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 05:52 PM

Thanks guys very helpful, I completed the cockpit of my project today, I took pix of the who thing I will post them in the under bench section.

I am trying to build a 3/4 chassis Mazda Rx3 rotary turbo so far so good again thanks for the help guys...