If you work in a factory or other large machine shop, there is a good chance that you have needed to fabricate, bend, or otherwise design metal tubes or pipes using tube forming equipment. This equipment, typically computer-aided CNC machines used for the design and manufacture of parts, is necessary in bending and forming tubes for a variety of uses. Such uses can include anything from HVAC and automotive tubing to more specialized designs for aerospace, furniture, or other applications. When trying to make sense of pipe and tube bending instructions, it’s important to have the right machinery for the right kind of job.
For a basic idea of what sorts of functions tube bending machinery can perform, here are some examples of techniques used in tube bending equipment and common tube bending instructions:
1. Tube forming: Whether it’s steel or plastic tube forming, you’ll want to ensure that you have the correct settings for your machinery. One of the biggest things to look for is speed. Because you will likely be working with high production numbers, the faster your machine can work, the better. When using computer-aided equipment, make sure that you can save the same shape, size, and length settings for your tubing to use over and over, so you don’t have to keep resetting your requirements. Doing this is guaranteed to speed up production, and it is also useful if it turns out you need more parts at a later date.
2. Tube bending: Just as saving your settings on a CNC machine is essential in forming tubes, it also matters when it comes to bending them, as well. By following the tube bending instructions on your machine, you can ensure that your product turns out with the correct angle and shape every time. This is especially advantageous for high volume manufacturing or complex jobs, such as those that require spiral shapes.
3. End forming: When it comes to working with sharper materials, such as metals, you’ll want to ensure that all pipes and tubes have their ends properly formed. This may include closing off or folding the ends to avoid potential injuries. Threading may also be a function needed for end forming, depending on what the object will be used for.
If the job can’t be done with a manual tube bender, it probably requires computer-aided design and manufacture. When in doubt about how to operate CNC tube bending machines, consult the instructions. Following the manufacturer’s advice should give you the best results.