A tubing bender is a relatively simple tool to provide accurate and consistent bends on a variety of tubes including copper tubes, steel tubes and aluminum based tubes. While there are numerous automated tube benders available that are electrically and hydraulically powered, these machines can be bulky and not suitable for on site applications that may not have access to appropriate power connections. In such cases, manual tube and pipe benders can be used with relative ease and with minimal training required. Most manual tubing benders are versatile enough to bend tubes and pipes up to 180 degrees in a finished form. You can learn how to use a tubing bender in a few simple steps:
Step 1: Choose an Appropriate Tubing Bender
All manual tubing benders will have a recommended limitation on the tube or pipe size that it can effectively bend. The limitation may vary based on the material of the tube, as well as the cross-section and thickness of the tube. Before you use a particular bender, make sure that the tool you use is appropriate for the particular application that you are using it for.
Step 2: Set up Your Tubing Bender
Your bending tool will have an adjustment dial which will need to be set based on the radius that you desire in the tube as well as the overall number of degrees required in the bend. You may be required to do adjustment calculations to achieve the desired results based in the radius you are trying to achieve. For example the distance around a sharp bend will always be more than the distance along a radius bend. You can use common bend adjustment charts to do your calculations.
Another aspect you need to consider is whether to use a vise or not. Most manual tube benders can be set up using a vise since this setup will be required in cases where you intend to bend a tube with heavy wall thickness. If you are new to using tube benders, it is recommended that you use a vise for safe operation.
Step 3: Mark Bend Directions & Reference Points
Since you may be making multiple bends on a single tube, you should mark you’re your tube with a longitudinal line that can be used as a reference. This line should always stay on the direction that is opposite to the bend direction you want to achieve. Reference and measurement marks on the tube will ensure that you achieve desired results, and are able to monitor your progress.
Step 4: Align & Insert the Tube Into The Bender
You will have to swing up one of the two bending arms to insert the tube into the bending die, while ensuring that you keep your reference marks visible at all times. Once the tube is inserted, you can typically lower a second arm with a latch mechanism to hold the tubing in place while allowing for minor adjustments to be made.
Step 5: Start the Bending Process
You can start the bending process by firmly gripping the roll support arm and bringing it down until the desired degree mark is reached on the bending die. You should be aware that most tubes and pipes tend to have some degree of spring back after bending. Copper pipes typically have a lesser spring back as compared to steel pipes. Ensure that you compensate for spring back during the process.
Step 6: Disengage the Tube From the Bender
You can lift up the roll support arm to unlatch and disengage the tube from the die and remove your finished tube from the tube bender.