A Guide to Tube Bender Tooling

Posted on Oct 20, 2020

Tube bender

Tube benders are machine tools that bend tubes made from all kinds of materials, most common of which are metals such as steel, aluminum, and copper. In general, there are four types of tube benders: double tube, mini tube, ergonomic, free-standing, ratchet tube, and catheter.

What Do We Know about Tube Bender?

Each type of tube bender, or tube bending machine, has different purposes and will produce different tube bending results. But all of these rely on the right tools to get the bending results you expect. With numerous improvements in programmability, speed, and accuracy of today's bending machines, it seems that sometimes many people are still struggling to find the perfect, repeatable setting. However, a common problem is that some manufacturers ignore physical principles.

Many people do not rely on tools to complete their work, but excessive use of mechanical force or incorrect use of the machines to compensate for tool wear or improper settings. Attempting to forcefully replace the appropriate tool settings usually has consequences that do more harm than good. In this article, we will break down the different aspects of tooling regarding bending operations.


How to Use Tube Binders Correctly?

From tube bending to tool marks, even with the best tube bender, tube bender problems may occur. Like many problems, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, which is why the most important step in any bending operation is preparation. Therefore, here are two tips to prevent problems with tube benders. 

Before attempting to bend, the tool needs to be set up correctly. The first step in solving any tube bender problem is to double-check that the tools used are in the correct position. When using mandrel bending, incorrect mandrel placement can cause humps in the bending, tube collapse, and many other common problems. On the other hand, the mandrel can also help solve some of the most common bending problems. However, the key is always to ensure that the tools are set up correctly. It is worthwhile to take the time to carefully check the placement of the tools if it avoids problems that may cause the tube or the tube to become unusable.

As the bending strength increases (thinner walls, less ductile materials, or smaller bends D), the requirements for tools also increase. In most cases, if the tube has sufficient curvature and curvature, the mandrel and wiper die is not needed. Bender and mold manufacturers can provide charts that specify the conditions that require wiper molds and mandrels. Maximizing the bend D, increasing WT, or changing to more ductile materials will reduce tool investment, for example, by eliminating the need for mandrels and wiper molds.

These are worn items that need to be replaced regularly, and they can be damaged if installed improperly. In some cases, careful elbow planning can reduce or eliminate the need for lubricant. Eliminating lubricant eliminates three costs: lubricant, labor required to use lubricant, and labor required to remove the lubricant.

:: Read more : What are Tube Benders?
:: Read more : These Benefits Make a CNC Tube Bender a Great Machine

Tube Bending Variety

It is also important to ensure that the correct tools are fully used. For example, if your bending application requires that the finished product be free of tool marks or other obvious defects, then the best tool may be no tool. For applications where aesthetics are critical, although the absence of dressing tools is not ideal for many bending operations, the absence of dressing tools can play a big role. Therefore, although you can use traditional metal tools to complete the same bend, the application may guarantee additional dedicated tool costs.

The number of bends and the bending radius of each component often play an important role in deciding the equipment needed to complete the work. The key issue is whether the tube bender should be fitted with numerical control ( NC) or computer numeric control (CNC) controls. The former is controlled by the manual handling of the tube, while the latter is controlled by the movement of the machine and the carriage. One-sided sections can be assumed to be the simplest to shape and typically need the least in terms of machine choices, tools, and equipment. When bending is applied to the component, complexity increases, and more bending machine options and features are often required. CNC bending machines are typically more efficient than NC bending machines for multi-bending sections.


CNC and NC Tube Bending

The CNC tube bender uses a bracket to advance and rotate the tube for each elbow. An NC tube bender does not have this function, so the operator must place steel tubes for each bend. The mechanical fixture helps to ensure that the operator correctly places the tube, but as the volume or complexity of the part increases, the feasibility of the NC option decreases. This is because the cost of the fixture increases, and the set-up time and cycle time also increase Up. If the project requires multiple bending parts, the CNC option becomes more cost-effective, because CNC programming is fast and bends accurately, without the need for fixtures.

In the case of processing parts with a bending radius greater than one, a multi-stack machine is needed to complete the parts without changing machine and tool settings. Many manufacturers use multi-stack tube benders, but compared to single-pole tube benders, they represent a larger investment in equipment and tools, because each radius change requires an additional toolset.


Getting the Bending Formula Right

Another important step when preparing for bending is formula calculation. When you spend time calculating things like the cross-sectional area moment of inertia of the shape and size tube, you will bend, which can save a lot of time and effort. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to complete all the bending formulas that will help you set up the machine correctly and prevent many common tube bending problems before they occur.


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