If you’re a fabricator, you’ve likely come across square metal tubing at some point in your career. The challenge comes when you need to manipulate and bend this durable material. Consider these factors to determine the degree of ease with which the material bends.
The thicker the material is, of course, the harder it is to bend. Thinner pieces don’t require as many specialized tools to manipulate, but they sacrifice durability. Thicker pieces, conversely, prove a lot harder to bend and often require specialized equipment such as a pipe bender. These pieces are more durable, though, and can support more weight.
The tools you use to bend metal tubing also determine how much time and effort is required. Common bending equipment may include a bend die, follower block, square tube roller, wiper die, mandrel, and a clamp block. Assess your designs and their conditions to properly select tools required to bend metal tubes of different sizes and shapes.
If you’re looking to facilitate the bending process, use external and internal lubricants. They decrease the friction between tooling and material being bent. The less friction there is, the smoother the material goes through the equipment you use. Consequently, you’ll gain more accurate dimensions and a better finished product, no matter what type of tubing you work on.
Manipulation of square metal tubing doesn’t need to be as complicated as it seems. As long as you choose the right materials and equipment, bending should become second nature without taking too long to complete.