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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the difference between tube and pipe?

A. Tube is measured on the outside and pipe in measured on the inside. For example 1" Tube will have an outside diameter of 1". 1" Pipe is measured 1" on the inside and the outside diameter is 1.315". It is important to measure the outside diameter of the pipe to make sure you are getting the appropriate die. 1" Pipe will not fit into a 1" tube die.

Q. What is the “CLR”?

A. The “CLR” is center line radius. This is measured from the center pivot point of the former die out to the center of the tubing.

Q. Why does the wall thickness matter?

A. The thinner the wall the more likely it is to wrinkle or crush during a bend. Each die indicates a minimum wall thickness recommended achieving a wrinkle-free high quality bend. This minimum wall recommend is based on mild steel material. Heavy-wall tube or pipe can be stressful on the bender, so it is important to understand the benders maximum capacities.

Q. Why is material important?

A. Poor quality material can lead to poor quality bends. The cheapest material isn’t always the best. Occasionally we find companies may suddenly have problems with a quality of bend after receiving a new batch of material. This is often attributed to the quality of material. Even the best benders cannot overcome poor quality material.

Q. If I get a 1-1/2” Tube die can I also bend 1-1/4” tube?

A. No. The dies are designed to have a tight fit to hold the die and maintain the shape as it bends. If tubing is smaller than the fit of the die, then the tubing will slip and you will lose the quality of the bend.

Q. Can I bend Aluminum?

A. Yes, as long as you have a bendable aluminum. T6 is a hard aluminum that does not stretch very well, so it can often crack or break. Keep in mind the “CLR” is rated for mild steel applications, not aluminum, so you wall thickness for aluminum material may need to be heavier than recommended.
Also depending on the bender, some manufacturers offer a polymer or a del rin followbar that can be purchased separately to prevent scratching or marring that can occur with standard die set. It is often recommended that you send a sample to test, to verify that your material can be bent before purchasing the bender.

Q. What is Spring-Back?

A. Spring-Back is defined as the elastic recovery of metal after stressing. Similar to a rubber band, metal has elasticity. As the material stretches during the bend we bend beyond the elastic limit, the material will not return to its original shape but will still have some spring back. The amount of spring back varies depending on the strength and tensile of the material being bent. To compensate for the spring back, the material needs to be bent slightly beyond the desired bend. Once the degree of spring back is determined on the first bend of your material, this can be applied to future bends of the same material for repeatability. Some programmable benders have the ability to program in the spring-back.

Q. What is a Mandrel Bender?

A. A true mandrel bender will have tooling that supports the inside of the tubing as well as the outside. This is important when you make tight bends with thinner wall material. Mandrel benders are often used for motorcycle exhausts, where demand for thin wall and tight bends are required. A true mandrel bender usually starts out at 40K and goes up to well over 100K depending on the requirements. If your requirements require a mandrel bender, please give a call we can certainly help you out. Our non-mandrel benders can give high quality mandrel-type bends, but there are minimum wall limits and minimum CLR limits. Most bending applications for frames, roll cages, sand rails, etc., can be done on one of our non-mandrel benders. Feel free to contact one of our bending specialists for your specific requirements.

Q. I work with gauge sizes, what are the equivalents to tube?

A. References for Pipe wall thickness:

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