Tube bending involves several processes used to permanently form metal pipes and tubing. Most custom tubes are bent into angles or u-shapes, though coils are also common, especially for heating and cooling applications. Custom tube or pipe bending is accomplished by clamping the metal, then applying force to portions of the tube until a desired angle or shape is met. Custom tube and pipe bending processes are widely used by various industries and for fabrication of everything from plumbing components to musical instruments.
Some of the most common methods of pipe bending and tube bending include:
- Rotary Draw Bending: utilizes tooling to provide varying degrees of bending while maintaining a constant center line radius (CLR) and is ideal for high-precision bending or working with difficult metals.
- Roll Bending: a series of rollers, typically three, are used to gradually bend a metal pipe or tube by applying pressure at specific points as the tube is fed through the machine. Styles of roll bending machines for tubing include pyramid style, double pinch style and three-roll push style.
- Mandrel Bending: similar to rotary draw bending and utilizes a clamp to hold a tube is place while it is bent around a die. This process is more limited than rotary draw bending and should only be used for applications that do not require a tight radius.
- Ram Bending: involves bracing metal against a pivot block or roller and using a hydraulic ram to slowly bend short segments of a metal pipe or tube until the desired radius is reached. It is the easiest of custom pipe bending processes but also provides less control than other tube bending methods.
Custom Tube Bending Techniques and Important Pipe Bending Considerations
While the custom pipe bending process may seem relatively straightforward, there are a few complexities involved. Metal tubes and pipes are susceptible to interior wrinkling during the bending process and the center of a tube can also become ovalized or even collapse if precautions are not taken.
As metal pipes and tubes are bent, the material thins and stretches. If there is too much stress on the tube metal, the interior can wrinkle or collapse under the pressure. Issues can also occur when a pipe is incorrectly fitted into a die, insufficient pressure is applied during bending, or the wrong tools and equipment are being used to bend the metal tube.
To prevent issues, mandrels are commonly used to support the interior of a tube as it is bent, significantly reducing the chance of collapse or wrinkling. These tools are helpful in preventing issues if used correctly, but material, wall thickness and radius all play a significant role in whether your metal pipe or tube bending is successful.
Learn more about tube and pipe bending including types of tube construction, bending methods and important considerations for metal tube fabrication.
Metal Pipe Fabrication and Bending Performed by a Trusted Manufacturer
It takes a certain level of expertise to ensure the right material and custom metal tube bending process are chosen for your application. Since 1978 Triad Products has specialized in a diverse range of a tube bending capabilities and alloys. With the ability to work with everything from simple components to complex parts, our tube bending and fabrication methods include rotary draw, horizontal and vertical draw, mandrel plus roll bending of special tube forms.
We are a trusted tubing manufacturer specializing in medium-volume metal fabrication runs ranging from 100 pieces to a few thousand parts. Contact us to learn more about our custom pipe bending capabilities and to discuss your unique application requirements.
Custom Bending Services for Metal Tubing and Metal Pipes
Triad bends and fabricates several grades of aluminum, copper, brass, steel and stainless steel tubes and pipes, with tooling up to 2.5". For more information and photos on the different types of metal tubing, click on the links below.
Steel Tube Bending
We provide custom steel tube bending up to 1” in diameter with the capability to bend metal pipes and tubes up to 2 1/2” in diameter. We work with all grades of steel to create a variety of custom tubing including oil lines, product displays, and customized products for OEM applications.
Aluminum Tube Bending
Our aluminum tube and pipe bending capabilities include various grades of aluminum including 6061, 6063, 3003 and others. We can bend and fabricate aluminum pipes up to 2 1/2” in diameter for applications such as fuel supply lines, laboratory carts and various OEM applications.
Stainless Steel Tube Bending
Custom stainless steel tube bending is available for diameters up to 2 1/2” and common grades of metal including 301, 304, 316 and others. Common application for our stainless steel pipe bending include cooling coils, hydraulic fluid supply lines, manifold assemblies and more.
Copper Tube Bending
We provide copper tube bending for standard diameters up to 1/2” and custom diameters up to 2-1/2” using several grades including 122 refrigerator and air conditioning grade tubing. A few common uses for copper tubing include water service and distribution, HVAC, and fuel gas distribution.
Brass Tube Bending
Custom brass tube bending is offered for tube sizes up to 1/2” diameter with capabilities up to 2-1/2”. We work with any standard grade of brass for a range of pipe bending applications including plumbing, light fixtures, heat exchangers and more.
Selecting a Material for Tube Bending and Fabrication
Selecting the right material for your pipe or tubing application depends on several factors including weight, flexibility, corrosion resistance, conductivity, weldability and longevity. Each material we offer provides different benefits, so the choice comes down to how you need the metal pipes perform in their intended application.
Steel Pipes and Tubes
Steel is an alloy containing carbon, iron and other elements. It is an extremely durable metal that can withstand high levels of shock and pressure and provides more stability than other metals. Steel pipes and tubes have high rust and chemical resistance and do not oxidize, reducing the chance of corrosion. It is easily formed and provides a higher mass flow rate than other metals.
- High tensile strength
- Low-cost metal
- Easily welded and fabricated
- Resists rust and oxidation
Aluminum Tubing and Pipes
Aluminum is an extremely lightweight alloy that weighs about one-third less than steel. It is a strong and flexible metal and when the surface of aluminum naturally oxidizes, it also becomes rust and corrosion resistant. Aluminum tubing does not perform well in highly corrosive environments but its malleability, elasticity and ability to conduct electricity gives it an advantage over using steel or stainless steel pipes in certain applications.
- Conducts heat and electricity
- Corrosion resistant after oxidation
- Higher cost than steel
- More difficult to weld
Stainless Steel Pipes and Tubes
Stainless steel is a steel alloy that contains at least 10 percent chromium content by mass. It provides the same strength of steel, but the addition of chromium gives stainless steel its corrosion resistant properties. There are several grades of stainless steel available that provide varying degrees of corrosion resistance. Tubing fabricated from stainless steel is also highly resistant to heat and chemicals and is easily sterilized.
- Excellent strength-to-weight ratio
- Corrosion resistant
- Heat resistant
- Chemical resistant
- Less maintenance
Copper Pipes and Tubing
Copper is a soft, lightweight metal that is ductile, malleable and capable of conducting heat and electricity. Tubing made from copper tolerates extreme temperatures, which makes it a popular choice for plumbing applications. Copper pipes are also corrosion resistant and highly durable and are easily welded.
- Superior thermal conductivity
- High flexibility
- Corrosion resistant
Brass Tubing and Pipes
Brass is a copper and zinc alloy that provides high malleability and has good corrosion resistance. It is a strong material that provides long-lasting durability and can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for plumbing or hot water applications. It is slightly more expensive than other metal pipes and is prone to tarnish but is also easy to fabricate.
- High durability
- Excellent heat tolerance
- Conducts heat
- Great corrosion resistance
Secondary Operations for Customized Metal Pipes and Tubes
Diverse manufacturing capabilities is what sets us apart from other metal tubing manufacturers. Triad Products provides all the secondary operations producing finished and completed components ready to install including welding, drilling, finishing, machining, and more.
Secondary and Finishing Operations
Our secondary and finishing operations include a wide range of services that are available as a stand-alone our in conjunction with our custom tube bending and fabrication services. Our capabilities include wire bending and forming, custom metal fabrication, welding, machining, finishing and more.
Custom Tube Threading and Bending
Customized tube threading and bending is offered for all metal pipe and tubing sizes and materials. Threading can be added to ends, center sections, or any other area required by your application.
Tubing End Configurations
Adding end configurations to custom metal pipes and tubes includes several processes such as flattening, threading, drilling, flaring, swaging, and more to prepare your tubes for assembly. All custom end configurations are performed in house to give you fast and reliable service.
Materials Used for Custom Pipe and Tube Bending
We work with a range of metals for tube bending and fabrication and are willing to work with plastic and wood for specialized finishing applications. The metals and other tubing materials we provide are available in a range of sizes and obtained in accordance with your application and design specifications.
Contact Us for Custom Tube Bending and Pipe Fabrication
With the ability to fabricate components in production runs in the 100s and 1,000s of units, making our products ideal as OEM components used in the electrical, gas, water and OEM industries. To learn more about our custom bent and fabricated metal tubing, contact us or request a quote today.