Introduction: Creating Small Radii in Thin Metal Tubes + Werkplaatsidc

In this instructable I'll explain you how to bend tubes at the IDC in Kortrijk. If you're looking for instructions on how to bend solid steel wires, head over here.

First off here's what you need:

- The tube bending set (plooiset in dutch)

- A vise

- A plumb rule

- A T-square

- Tubes

Step 1: Setting Up the Bending Set

Follow the instructions on the box, there are 2 ways of putting the set in a vise. The way you set it up changes which areas that were previously bent get blocked.

Choose the desired die, following the radius of the tubes. Make sure the right profile is used both on the straight and circular die.

Step 2: Preparing the Tube

Draw lines every 1 cm on the tube. This makes sure you know how much length the bend takes.

Step 3: Fixing the Tube

Put the tube between the 2 dies. Tighten it so it is fixed between the 2 dies. Make sure to tighten the knob on the rotating part too.

Align the carve in the yellow part with the carve on the fixed red part. The line on the tube that aligns with those carves marks the reference point.

This reference point is not the start of the bend, for your tube of 20 mm it was only 15 mm further. The total length needed for the radius was 65 mm. Always use a piece to test one radius, so you can see how much difference it takes.

Step 4: Bending the Tube

Before you start, always compensate the play in the lever by turning it first so it's not loose anymore.

While bending, turn a little further. The tube is a little resilient so it will slightly bend back afterwards.

Check if the desired angle is reached afterwards. If not, try again and bend a little further with the same piece.

Sometimes the tube will get too narrow and wil bend in an awkward way. To prevent this from happening it's possible to put a spoon or sand in to strenghten the inside.

Step 5: Bending a 2nd Angle in the Same Plane

When making a second bend in the same plane, make sure the bend will be level by using a plumbers rule.

Step 6: Finished

When the tube is bent exactly the way you wanted it to in the first place, check if it's right. One way is by using a previously made mould.