Tube bender: recommendations please

R

RMurphy195

Registered
2 Feb 2020
16
Birmingham, UK
Any recommendations for a tube bender please?

I'm interested in the capacity (1/8" - 3/16" OD), what radius of bend the item can make - and of course cheapness!

Many thanks - Richard
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
5,270
57
Royston
Copper, steel, plastic or brass tube?
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,826
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I have 2 differing kinds both bought with a view to making pipeworks bends for live steam. Neither came with instructions and I am at a loss of how to make them work. All to do with softening the metal by heating a process that I have never understood how to do properly. Any suggestions welcome. The brass ones are regularly seen at large scale shows, not sure who sells them.
9D3E5138-E929-47B5-A62B-1BD2CC90E23F.jpeg
 
R

RMurphy195

Registered
2 Feb 2020
16
Birmingham, UK
I have 2 differing kinds both bought with a view to making pipeworks bends for live steam. Neither came with instructions and I am at a loss of how to make them work. All to do with softening the metal by heating a process that I have never understood how to do properly. Any suggestions welcome. The brass ones are regularly seen at large scale shows, not sure who sells them.
View attachment 269207
At a guess - they look like pipe bending springs with formers. Push the spring into the pipe, bend it round the former, pull the spring back out - if you can. A miniature version of something I used many years ago when repairing some water pipes on the house, the springs were a devil of a job to get out once the pipe was bent, even when coated with WD40 first. If the bend was further down the tube than the length of the spring allowed, tying wire to the end of the spring before shoving it down the pipe was needed. Also of course the end of the pipe needs to be thoroughly deburred before using the bending spring otherwise even if you could get the spring in, you might not be able to get it back out! The technique I used was to bend the pipe a bit too far then bend it back a little, this helped to loosen the spring.
 
tac foley

tac foley

Registered
11 Apr 2017
2,916
74
Near Huntingdon, UK
RMurphy195 has it mostly right. However, there is one thing that you MUST do before trying to insert the spring into the tube - you MUST lubricate it with plumber's tallow, and I mean slather it on. That will make certain that you can remove it afterwards. Failing to do so will leave you with a piece of tubing with a spring stuck inside it.

WD40 does NOT work, trust me. It has to be a bulky lube, not something applied from an aerosol.
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,826
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
At a guess - they look like pipe bending springs with formers. Push the spring into the pipe, bend it round the former, pull the spring back out - if you can. A miniature version of something I used many years ago when repairing some water pipes on the house, the springs were a devil of a job to get out once the pipe was bent, even when coated with WD40 first. If the bend was further down the tube than the length of the spring allowed, tying wire to the end of the spring before shoving it down the pipe was needed. Also of course the end of the pipe needs to be thoroughly deburred before using the bending spring otherwise even if you could get the spring in, you might not be able to get it back out! The technique I used was to bend the pipe a bit too far then bend it back a little, this helped to loosen the spring.
Oh I though the springy things were used the other way round! That is why they did not work. For most of my jibs they would likely be too big.
RMurphy195 has it mostly right. However, there is one thing that you MUST do before trying to insert the spring into the tube - you MUST lubricate it with plumber's tallow, and I mean slather it on. That will make certain that you can remove it afterwards. Failing to do so will leave you with a piece of tubing with a spring stuck inside it.

WD40 does NOT work, trust me. It has to be a bulky lube, not something applied from an aerosol.
Oh Plumbers Tallow, just another glug that I must source and save!
 
Northsider

Northsider

Registered
3 May 2012
816
All tube most be annealed first: for copper, that means heating to a mid red and then letting it cool in air. Brass is not so straightforward: some is 'cold short' (i.e. snaps rather than bends when cold) while other brasses get 'hot short' (snaps when bent hot). I've never had much success when annealing brass.

I've seen it suggested that tube can be filled with sand, the ends sealed, and then the tube bent; the ends are then unsealed and the sand removed. I've not used that method, but have seen it described.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,512
Tamworth, Staffs.
I have seen someone bend a tube, packed with sand.. It does work, but needs packing really tightly.. - So takes time to do..

The person having bent the tube successfully was not impressed, when afterwards he was informed I had the right-size bending spring, in the boot of the car! :eek::lipssealed:
 
LGB-Sid

LGB-Sid

Registered
19 Sep 2016
1,219
62
UK
Don't know which springs you have but there is a set that do go on the outside of the tube rather than on the inside , as I was going to buy some for bending very small bore copper pipe for model boats I used to make but never did, still not finished that boat , it's taking a lot longer than the full size one did :)
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,826
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
All tube most be annealed first: for copper, that means heating to a mid red and then letting it cool in air. Brass is not so straightforward: some is 'cold short' (i.e. snaps rather than bends when cold) while other brasses get 'hot short' (snaps when bent hot). I've never had much success when annealing brass.

I've seen it suggested that tube can be filled with sand, the ends sealed, and then the tube bent; the ends are then unsealed and the sand removed. I've not used that method, but have seen it described.
Well I have just needed to bend some brass tube so searched the net and yes annealing appeared to be what was needed, knew this but not how to do it! So net said heat to red then allow to cool as you say, tube never went really red but popped it into the bender when cool. Lo wow at last after many attempts a couple of neat bends. Wish the same could be said about the long one but that will be unseen. Most important thing is that where I needed the tight bends they are need and not just bent. Sorry I cannot help where these benders came from other than I previously mentioned, but they are certainly brilliant.
1B36BB04-EC94-46B7-BDFB-7C3F84713F92.jpeg
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
17,826
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
The pipe benders pictured were produced by John Angell, 16mm NGM member residing in Preston.
Aha I knew someone would advise eventually.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
4,140
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
2 kinds, the springs have the tube to be bent go inside, thus the "flared guide" at one end....

The other type has the former at the end.

Both work to avoid collapsing the tube flat when bending... the coils keep it circular and work well, the other bender will do a sharper bend, and the groove helps keep the tube from widening, going flat.

These 2 sets are not intended to be used in conjunction on the same bend, slightly different usage and results.

Greg
 
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