Metal bending basics

17 Nov

Metal bending basics

From time to time, our lives change and as a result, we are forced to change our habits. Isn’t it why you are here? It really matters not if you are taking up mandrel bending as a new passion, a business opportunity or something you must do. In the world there is nothing else like working with metal, so your background won’t be much of help.

But you should have a project in mind.

Whatever you learn from this point forward, look to apply your newly gained knowledge to what you plan to do. If you have any questions, ask them in a way that it would answer a problem with your project. This way you will learn everything much faster because you immediately can apply your skills.

So, let’s move on to bending.

Pipes, materials and tools

Working with any metal tube comes down to the essentials – the material, wall thickness and the outside diameter are the most important factors. We have covered this a little in the everything you should know.

Depending on the materials and the thickness of the metal, you can use different ways to make a perfect bend for your project. You might have already seen some YouTube clips of DIY metal bending at home. But these videos mostly utilize different angles of the several basic principle methods:

Ram bending

This is a classic way to get the right curve. Is simplest terms, you use a radius block (a ram) in the middle and two blocks of pressure. This is such a popular method because you don’t need electricity as in ram bending you use hydraulic power to get the job done.

Roll bending

A common way to work with even the widest tubes is roll bending using three counter rollers, where two of the rolls are stationary and roll counter clockwise while the top roll can be moved to adjust the bend curve. It goes clockwise to allow the tube move forward.


While this method is used with the biggest industrial projects, due to its simple application, you can also find it among your gardening pins on Pinterest and your free bonuses for new players videos on YouTube.

Here it is how it works in ‘real life’:

This is how people on the internet apply it to their own projects:

As you see above, a simple $2 clamp will heavy duty job of holding your tube, while the curve can be adjusted as you see fit with additional wood cuttings.

Rotary draw bending

Lastly, there is rotary draw bending. It has its advantages – it fits when you require precision. However, when it comes to DIY projects it’s the hardest to apply due to complex structure (it can have 10+ axes).

Here are there four main principles of tube bending that have been developed over the last 100+ years. We hope that was useful but if there is still something that is stopping you from applying this, give us a shout.

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