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What is Pipe Bending?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pipe bending is a method used by plumbers to enhance the fabrication capabilities of pipe work and plumbing fixtures. There are a few different techniques a plumber can chose to use to bend pipe.

One method is compression pipe bending. With this process, the pipe is bent into a tight radius. This can be done without the use of mandrel tools or other precision tools that are used in other techniques. A piece of pipe is clamped behind the rear tangent point, then it is then placed onto a die after rotary arm rolling or compression has been established.

Draw pipe bending is specifically used to create tight radii within thin wall materials. This form involves using a mandrel, which helps prevent the pipe from narrowing where it is bent. It also helps control of wall thinning.

Aluminum pipe bending is considered to be the most difficult form because aluminum pipe is such a hard material. It's best to bend the pipe very slowly to help prevent it from deforming. In addition, older pipe is harder to bend, and the pipes are prone to breaking.

Copper is undoubtedly the best pipe material for bending. Not only is it soft, but it can also easily be bent to 0.25 inch (10.16 cm) radius for a 0.59 inch (15 mm) pipe. A key advantage of copper pipes is that the material reduces costs because the ease with which it can be bent eliminates the need to purchase an additional connector. Copper pipes can also be bent to give both right-hand bends and bends less than 90°.

A pipe bending machine is vital component for any pipe-related project, particularly those of a large scale. This machine makes the job easier and is capable of completing multiple jobs in less time than when working by hand. It can be either handheld or floor mounted, and both types allow the user to hold the pipe at one end of the channel while the shape roller forces the pipe through and carries it around in a curve. Machines can be purchased with a variety of bending capabilities.

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