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Motorsport Fabrication Fundamentals: Tube Bender

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Tube Bender


00:00 - Tube is a critical material in motorsport fabrication and you'll see it used extensively in all aspects of two and four wheel motorsports.
00:08 Tube in its raw form is sold in straight lengths and the ability to bend it greatly expands the fabrication tasks that we can complete with it.
00:16 Before we go into the details of a tube bending machine's operation, let's first look at why motorsport specific tube benders differ from the cheaper alternatives you might have seen around such as pipe benders.
00:28 A traditional pipe bender bends in a unsupported fashion and this can cause creasing of the tube in the centre of the bend radius which is only going to reduce the strength of the bend in the pipe.
00:40 Unfortunately bending pipe isn't an exact science and unlike the tube we use in motorsport fabrication, pipe is actually measured by its inside diameter as it's designed primarily for fluid transfer.
00:52 Therefore it's uncommon for pipe to have a specific outside diameter because it has many different wall thicknesses available for different applications.
01:01 In motorsport we work with tube not pipe.
01:04 Now this might sound like a subtle difference but it's quite critical.
01:08 Unlike pipe, tube is measured in its outside diameter, meaning it's not designed to be bent with anything other than a tube bender with the appropriate die set to suit that specific diameter.
01:19 Tube benders are available in two different configurations, the vertical type which will support a 120° die and the horizontal type that'll support a 240° die.
01:31 Both designs work extremely well and the correct choice will depend on what you're wanting to do and how much space you have in your workshop.
01:38 What you'll usually find is that a vertical tube bender is much better suited to smaller garages or workshops.
01:44 This is because a horizontal bender takes up a lot more space as it needs to be mounted securely to the floor and you need to have sufficient room around the bender to work with what may be quite a long length of tube.
01:56 The horizontal bender does have a few redeeming features though, like we just discussed, the horizontal bender uses 240° dies whereas the vertical bender is limited to 120°.
02:08 And that means that one piece, 180° bends can't be made with a vertical bender but can be with a horizontal bender.
02:16 Now let's take a closer look at the dies themselves, these are arguably the most important part of the bender and are used to contact the tube and draw it through the radius to create the bend.
02:27 For each different diameter of tube we want to bend, we need that specific die set.
02:32 Each set will come with a main die, a follower bar, a pin and a clamp.
02:37 These dies are precision machined to maintain the tube's diameter throughout the bend.
02:42 Once you've selected the tube that you need to bend, you'll have figured out the diameter of the die set that you need to purchase but there is another dimension that we need to consider before pulling out our credit card, known as the CLR or centre line radius and this affects how tight the resulting bend will be.
02:59 Most die manufacturers will offer a range of different centreline radius dies for the given diameter of tube.
03:05 A lot of people who purchase tube benders will be planning on building a roll cage and this will define the centreline radius you need to satisfy your sanctioning body's rules regarding roll cage structure regulations.

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