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For those that make roll-cages, custom exhausts, etc.

I've tried a variety of methods (filling the tubing with various materials) but this one works the best for me. Mount a bolt, threads up in a vise. Put two washers and the nut on the bolt. Place the tubing and a drill bit the same size as the tubing between the washers and make the nut very finger-tight (don't use a wrench). It'll look like this.

ddb0f7bf.jpg

Hold one end of the tubing and pull the other end, wrapping it around the bolt.

Vise2.jpg

Re-position the tubing and the drill bit and repeat as necessary. Once you're past 90 degrees, you don't need the drill bit.

Vise3.jpg


The drill bit keeps the washers level/even and the washers keep the tubing from blowing out and kinking. If necessary, you can also use the washers and nut (this time with a wrench) to further flatten the curve.

When all is said and done, the end product looks like this

Tubing1.jpg

This was about a 100 degree bend.

Tubing2.jpg

After I put my camera away (dumb thing to do) I was able to bend this tubing 180 degrees with no splitting. I first annealed the area to be bent using a lighter; this softens the tubing and reduces splitting.


Obviously, the size of the bolt determines the curve radius e.g. larger bolt, bigger curve.


There are products on the market designed specifically for bending tubing, but my approach uses common houshold stuff, works pretty well, and can bend a large variety of tubing sizes; the tubing can be aluminum or brass.

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Nice technique. Works as well as some of the complicated ones you have to have a mill and lathe to make. And works WAY better than those silly wire-wrapped "tube benders" that won't even come off of a sharp radius bend sometimes.

Good stuff.

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Honestly, being a box sock builder I wondered how it was done.

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Ray, really good idea.

Do you have any ideas on how to make a 90 degree bend on 1/2 styrene tube?

Ken.

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It still seems to flatten a bit against the bolt, but I like this method for something that has plagued me for a long time. Using different sized bolts opens up many possibilities and the drill bit ... have most tube sizes I use permanently loaded in pin vises .. :)

Thanks for this one!

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I do something similiar to this..... (I got those "spring" type benders from K&S USELESS!!!)

I do plan to machine out a bender such as thise with my lathe, as I'm finding, I need to bend more and more.....

Source of bending materials.....Go to the Dollar Tree store, (If one is near you) and look in their "craft" section, for "Floral Wire"...... SOLID aluminum, and easy to bend, and not "kink"....$1.00 for 6 feet!

I use it alot for exhaust pipe designing...... My first truck in my "Father & Son" build uses this stuff for exhaust pipes.....

I also invested in a pair of Necklace "craft" pliers, also good for bending.....

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Here is a recent purchase. I picked up this hand held tubing bender at Harbor freight tools for $10. It works great for every size it will bend, except 1/4" tubing, which is what I need, for a 1/18 project.

It bends 1/8"- 3/16"- and 1/4".

Cheers,

Lance

post-14622-0-72189900-1434600973_thumb.j

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Great little tutorial Ray. Thanks for sharing.

Looks like I'm off to Harbor Freight tonight.

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Thanks for posting this, will definitely try it 

Sometimes the simplest things work the best and I already have everything I need to do it!

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Great idea!  I will be stealing that one!  Having said that I rarely bend aluminum tubing, because I almost never use it.  I use solid rod.  Most of the time it doesn't matter if the piece is hollow or not and rod is much easier to bend.  If the end is open and the hollow shows like exhausts, then I suppose you have no choice, but most of the time it just isn't nessesary. 

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Ray,

What an awesome tutorial!  I have long wanted to bend small diameter brass and aluminum tubing at 90 degree angles to make ambulance stretchers and brush guards.  I didn't want to spend the big bucks on a tool that I wouldn't use often.  I will be getting the components together and giving this a try!

 

 

David

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Some suggested frozen water. Another substitute is sand packed into the tubing before bending.

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Great tip!  I use a lot of solid rod too, but sometimes, you need to have a hollow end.  Then, I try to find a soft, solid wire that will fit inside the tube as tightly as possible.  You just put enough wire in to fill the part of the tube you are bending, leaving the end of the tube open.  If you have to have a bend right near the end, then you will probably see the filler wire when you look at the end of the tube, so it won't work.  

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I HATE how Photoshop clutters up my images with their advertising...

Edited by BigTallDad

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On 7/29/2019 at 9:10 PM, BigTallDad said:

I HATE how Photoshop clutters up my images with their advertising...

They completely ruined them now, for me anyway - but I can just see enough to figure out how this works...great technique!  Thank you for sharing!

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On 6/3/2015 at 6:52 PM, BigTallDad said:

ANOTHER VERSION, WITH CLEANED-UP IMAGES...

I've tried a variety of methods (filling the tubing with various materials) but this one works the best for me. Mount a bolt, threads up in a vise. Put two washers and the nut on the bolt. Place the tubing and a drill bit the same size as the tubing between the washers and make the nut very finger-tight (don't use a wrench). It'll look like this.

image.png.0ef1f206875551891af73e8f69712f37.png

Hold one end of the tubing and pull the other end, wrapping it around the bolt.

image.png.a38cfff26e1d2a802e2485196dd36083.png

Re-position the tubing and the drill bit and repeat as necessary. Once you're past 90 degrees, you don't need the drill bit.
 

image.png

The drill bit keeps the washers level/even and the washers keep the tubing from blowing out and kinking. If necessary, you can also use the washers and nut (this time with a wrench) to further flatten the curve.

When all is said and done, the end product looks like this

image.png.ac0ecf64ea4ce2638f88fe597e9e25f2.png
After I put my camera away (dumb thing to do) I was able to bend this tubing 180 degrees with no splitting. I first annealed the area to be bent using a lighter; this softens the tubing and reduces splitting.

Obviously, the size of the bolt determines the curve radius e.g. larger bolt, bigger curve.


There are products on the market designed specifically for bending tubing, but my approach uses common household stuff, works pretty well, and can bend a large variety of tubing sizes; the tubing can be aluminum or brass.

 

 

Edited by BigTallDad

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19 hours ago, CabDriver said:

They completely ruined them now, for me anyway - but I can just see enough to figure out how this works...great technique!  Thank you for sharing!

Look at them now.

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52 minutes ago, BigTallDad said:

Look at them now.

Brilliant!!  Thank you so much for updating this! It’s a great technique, I’ll definitely be using this a LOT!

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