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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Default Efficient tube bender?

    What is the least hardware that is needed to do a fair quality bend in steel tube?

    I've tried to work it out, but there is such a bewildering choice and price range, I'm a bit lost.

    I have a task that involves about 300 bends in 16mm tube.

    If a good simple design exists for a bender that can do various radii as well as tube diameter, I'd consider making it, but would prefer to buy one.

    Thanks,
    Jordan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Oz
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    67
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    I have a number of round jigs I bend tube on after first stuffing with sand, but with 300 to do I think that would drive you nuts.

    For the price these look pretty good. There are many different designs and prices vary widely.
    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/10-25mm-...YAAOSwSRlZ3cak

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Mackay North Qld
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    Default

    Hi Jordan,
    Just in case you do not know.

    The errors come when people do not know the difference between pipe and tube.

    The tube is measured by its outside diameter. The pipe is inside diameter. The pipe and tube benders work on pretty much the same construction.The dies and formers for the same nominated sizes are of different dimensions to one another.

    Example: 16mm pipe formers and dies will be different dimensions to 16mm tube formers and dies due to ID and OD dimensions.

    The various radius requirement might be the deal breaker as you are limited to what ever dies/former the manufcture makes.

    After that, it gets down to what you can afford. I have not done enough pipe/tube bending to be advising anybody on techniques and I'll leave the advice on the selection of benders to others, but I thought I would put this in in case other folk besides your self may not be aware of the pipe and tube difference.


    Grahame

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    near Warragul, Victoria
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    3,224

    Default

    This U tube shows a simple but effective bender

    Pipe bender

  5. #5
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    Feb 2015
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    Oz
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    Default

    Tube benders are relatively simple to make, the only part that may present a problem is the round die. But if you have a lathe, easy as, particularly for 16mm tube. Small tube like 16mm can be bent, without packing, around pretty well anything round but the tube will flatten a little. Wall thickness and diameter also play a role in how successful the bend will be. If bending using this method you'll also need an overtube to keep the straight bits straight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Southern Highlands NSW
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    Default

    Thank you for the suggestions.
    I'm under the impression that only one size of radius can be done with a die, so a set of dies would need to cover various radii as well as tubing size.
    Let me know if that's not correct please.
    I have a simple radius turner for a lathe, but don't think it could make the groove in a die of a complete semi-circular shape.
    But it should do a quarter circle on the edge of a disc, and I guess I could bolt two of them together to form the groove.
    It'd be good to find a supplier of just some mass-produced dies, to build a bender around.

    Jordan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
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    548

    Default

    Unfortunately the dies are often the most expensive part of the bender.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2004
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    Southern Highlands NSW
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    Default

    I found a convincingly simple groove turning device: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnYy0prIo_8
    It allows complete grooves to be made from one disc.

    With morrisman's link to a simple bender, this could be a goer.

    Is it OK to make the die and the straight backing piece of exactly the same diameters as the tubing?
    Or would it be prudent to make them a little bigger, to make it easier to remove the bent tube?

    Jordan

  9. #9
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    The dies would have to be available through Hafco surely, they sell the benders.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne
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    548

  11. #11
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    Oct 2004
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    Southern Highlands NSW
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    Default

    Thanks, but Hafco's range of benders is limited, and their prices of available dies is high.

  12. #12
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    Oz
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    Default Tube bending.

    The dies don't necessarily have to be shaped, flat will do. If you have an upper and lower plate it will stop the tube from flattening. You still need an over tube to keep the flat bit flat though. These tubes were bent using a flat faced jig. The jig was 4" in diameter and made from a slice of tube. Still have the jig actually. The bends spread a little but as you can see the bends are quite neat. The tubing was gal, 16 x1.16mm.

    These were done about 25 years ago so I can't remember too much about them, pretty sure I didn't use sand though! Using sand isn't that time consuming anyway, just use a couple of wooden plugs and a funnel.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
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    Hi Jordan, I'd make the die a few thou larger than the tube, whatever the die size, the tube will flatten to fit and be shaped accordingly. If the die was to large, the tube would distort and become a D shape on the bends. You'll need to make a couple of followers to allow the tube to retain it's shape, possibly a piece of 30 mm square bar with a hole drilled through the centre and then cut in the centre of the hole.
    After seeing some of your work, I'm sure a man of your talent could do that.
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Southern Highlands NSW
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sacc51 View Post
    These were done about 25 years ago so I can't remember too much about them, pretty sure I didn't use sand though! Using sand isn't that time consuming anyway, just use a couple of wooden plugs and a funnel.
    That shows what can be done with a minimal approach - not bad at all. But I think I'll go a bit further and try making a round-grooved die, as per the YouTube video mentioned. Happily, I have the needed materials on hand. I have to say, my existing simple radius turning tool (which cannot make a semi-circular groove) is very satisfying to use. Results are beautiful despite the tool's crude looks. Knowing that, I think a new "radius-groover" will also be fun to use.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBs PensNmore View Post
    Hi Jordan, I'd make the die a few thou larger than the tube, whatever the die size, the tube will flatten to fit and be shaped accordingly. If the die was to large, the tube would distort and become a D shape on the bends. You'll need to make a couple of followers to allow the tube to retain it's shape, possibly a piece of 30 mm square bar with a hole drilled through the centre and then cut in the centre of the hole.
    After seeing some of your work, I'm sure a man of your talent could do that.
    Kryn
    Thanks Kryn,
    I gather that either a straight or circular "follower" die on the outside of the bend could be used. Any advantage either way? Why a couple of followers - will one not be enough?
    What's the ideal length of a straight one? Looks like there are longer and shorter ones around. Short ones could be relocated along the bend as the bend progresses - but is that tedious?
    A round one might be easier to make, if I already have the tool.

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