Complex Curves in Rectangular Steel Tubes

Increasingly rolled metal projects are being designed with what looks like a simple task, but actually, it poses a complex problem for bender/rollers.  This recent example for a quote was to bend hard way, rectangular tubes 7” x 3” x 3/8” and flat bars 5/8” x 7” also hard way, into an “S” shape.

Bending metal tubes, pipes, beams, or flat bars into an “S” shape in one piece is not an easy task. There are several parameters that need to be considered.  Size of the item that needs to be bent, size of the curves to be bent, and the allowed straight distance between curves.  For example, bending a wide flange beam easy way or a pipe in to “S” shape where there is enough distance between the bends for bending machine pick up is much easier.

One method for the bends to be made involves having the material fed into the machine separately from each end of the piece.  The minimum length of the distance between the bends will depend on both the size of the piece being bent, and the overall size of the tooling for the bending machine to be used.  The biggest beam bending machines, with the largest tooling can easily require several feet of material straight to fit between bends.

Unfortunately this request was not that easy. The customer was asking for the bends to be rolled with very little or no straight distance at all between them.  That could be possible with rolling flat plates the easy way.  However, bending an “S” shape the hard way into the rectangular tube 7” x 3” x 3/8” and flat plate 5/8” x 7” into an “S” shape would not be possible in this situation.  After conferring with the customer, the quote was prepared instead for each bend of the tube and the plates to be rolled as an individual part.  In this way, the undesired straight lengths on each rolled piece could be trimmed off by the customer, and welded together to achieve the desired “S” shape on location.


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