Various methods are available for bending tubes, and whether you outsource your custom parts or bend them in house, it's helpful to know the terminology. Mandrel bending produces smooth, wrinkle-free bends because the mandrel supports the interior of the tube to prevent collapse. Compression bending doesn't use interior support, so wrinkles and flat spots are common. Hydroform bending uses fluid to support the tube's interior.
When deciding whether to outsource to tube bending fabricators or purchase your own tube bending machine, you need to determine your tube bending needs. Your budget and the amount of custom tube bending your business produces will decide if it's worthwhile to do the bending in house. When searching for tube and pipe bending services and equipment, consider the following:
1. Shop around for quotes from custom tube fabricators as well as the one-time cost of purchasing a tube bending machine and the ongoing expense of buying materials.
2. Get more for your money by purchasing machines that can multi-task.
3. Consider purchasing rebuilt and refurbished pipe and tube bending equipment.
Place your order with custom tube bending fabricatorsBending tubes and pipes in house doesn't make sense for many companies. If custom tubes and pipes don't net your business enough profit to justify owning tube bending equipment, use a company that specializes in tube bending fabrication. Custom ordering your tubes and pipes also saves you from purchasing materials that could potentially go to waste.
Eliminate guesswork with a CNC tube bending machineA computer numeric control (CNC) tube bending machine can fabricate multiple-bend parts at a high speed. CNC tube bending is recommended when the part calls for complex bends, especially if the bend radii vary. CNC equipment precisely positions the various bends, eliminating the chance of human error.
Buy a multi-functional tube bending machineStretch your dollar by purchasing machines that are capable of more than one task. Not only do you save money by purchasing a piece of equipment that can do the job of several machines, you save room in your shop.
Upgrade pipe benders with a trade inAs your business grows, you may opt to upgrade your tube and pipe bending equipment or add another machine. Some tooling companies rebuild and refurbish equipment and offer trade-in incentives. You can save money by trading your bending equipment in for the upgrade rather than purchasing it outright.
- Some companies offer tube bending services for specific applications, such as aircraft parts, but don't let this discourage you from contacting the company for a quote if you need custom tubes for a different application.