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Bending Tubes and Conduit without Kinking

bend a tube

Using a Bending Spring

If you are working with thin-walled tubing, that is, walls thinner than 1/16 inch, calculate where the bend will occur. Mark the end points on the tube with a pencil. Choose a bending spring that fits snugly over the area to be bent, then slide the tubing into the flared end of the bending spring and pull it through.

Bend the tube by hand, holding it at the pencil marks. Or clamp one end in a vise and pull downward to make the bend. The close-fitting bending spring prevents the tube from kinking. As a rule, the bend should not exceed 90°, although very thin tubing may be bent at a sharper angle without kinking. Pull the spring off by grasping the flared end.

Using a Conduit Bender

Electricians use a conduit bender to shape the metal tubing that shields the wires. Mark the beginning and end of the bend, lay the tubing on the ground and insert one end of the tubing into the conduit bender. Align the beginning mark with the arrow on the bender. Step on the tread and pull on the handle.

You can bend the metal at 45° or 90° over a distance of 6 inches. The spirit levels indicate at what angle the tubing is bent. If the bender you are using is not equipped with spirit levels, pull the handle to a vertical position for a 45° bend, or to an angle of 45° to the ground for a 90°turn.

For a compound bend, make the first bend and remove the tubing from the bender. Turn the bender upside down so that its handle rests on the ground. Insert the tubing so that the arrow aligns with the end of the first bend, and pull down on the tubing to make the second bend. You may need a helper to steady the bender.