5 Tips to Achieve the Perfect Bend in Pipes and Tubes: A Guide for Metal Fabricators

Bending pipes and tubes is not only a science but also an art because of the technique required to produce perfect bends. When your pipes and tubes are bent according to client specifications, you are likely to improve your bottom line and turnaround time. Here are some top tips to help new pipe-benders achieve perfectly bent pipes and tubes.

Rippling -- Rippling is a common phenomenon that occurs on the outer surface of a tube or pipe during bending. Pipes that have thin walls are susceptible to curling when the compression force required for bending is applied excessively. When pressure is applied to a thin-walled pipe, the exterior part of the bend stretches, thereby causing distortion of the tube. To avoid rippling, you need to increase the size of the pipe wall.

Motion -- If you are new to pipe bending, you might need to practice with a few spare tubes and pipes to master manual bending or mandrel techniques. Notably, the bending motion should be steady yet smooth to avoid any distortions in the final product. However, when bending, make sure that you do not move too fast to the point of injuring yourself it the tube accidentally slips from the clamp die. 

Tooling Technique -- Apart from the bending motion, the tooling setup will determine the success or failure of the metal bending exercise. The hardness of the mandrel is integral to perfectly bent pipes. A rule of thumb is to use a flexible mandrel on hard tubes or pipes and vice-versa. Utilizing a workpiece of the same hardness as the mandrel will lead to the mandrel sticking to the inside of the tube, thereby causing more distortion. Furthermore, you need to observe the correct radius when bending tubes to prevent wrinkling.

Overbend -- After you have completed the bending process, pipes might spring back towards the original direction because of the elasticity of most materials that make pipes and tubes. It is recommended that before bending, you test the pipe material to determine the spring back capability. With the test in mind, you can turn the pipes or tubes correctly by keeping the overbend aspect in mind.

Keep the Bender in Good Shape -- Finally, the pipe bender should remain in tip-top shape, even when not in use. Therefore, perform routine inspections and maintenance of the equipment. If there are any significant issues, call a technician to repair the bender before use.

Contact companies that offer metal services for additional advice.