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  1. #1
    CliveG's Avatar
    CliveG is offline Registered User
    Location : Cambridge UK
    Join Date
    Oct 2001

    Default Bending Stainless Tube

    How easy is it to bend Stainless Steel tube?

    I have to make a new pulpit and want to make an arch radar type to mount wind gen and various aerials.

    Can it be bent with an electricians conduit bender?
    I intend to use PICEA 316 fitting for joints but need to form the curve at the bow etc.
    Dyslexia ruels k.o.

  2. #2
    boatbuilder is offline Registered User
    Location : Millbrook, Cornwall
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    You can buy preebent sections , this will prevent" waisting", which will occur if you use a conventional pipe bender.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    Hi, I did a grab handle type bar for the sprayhood by using a piece of 4" x "2 X 36" piece of timber with a hole drilled through near one end and by insereting the tube graduallly bent the tubing to shape, suprisingly effective with no kinks and all performed on the pontoon [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
    Time is of the moment.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2001

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    Depends how tight a radius you want. Stainless is a pretty horrible material to work. You might be able to do it by welding a plate over one end of the tube to block it off, then fill it with dry sand and make sure it's shaken down firmly. When it's full, weld a cap on the other end of the tube. The sand stops it kinking at the bend. Cut the caps off afterwards. From my own experience, it's pretty hard to make an arch or pulpit-type structure dymmetrical by this method!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    I have just completed bending 1 inch stainless steel pipe ( schedule 40) for the safety rails that were then weleded to 36 inch stantions. I cut matching u's in the top of the vertical pipes and the curved guardrails were dropped into the matching cutouts.

    A professional at grat expense welded the assembly together plus the wind generator 2 inch pipe too.

    Bending was accomplished using a borrowed pipe bender.

    The machine was essentially a hydraulic jack attached to heavy plate with two pipe matching pieces inserted so that the hydraulic ram could push into the middle of a 2 foot section with the pipe held in the matching left and right pieces. I believe tha the special pipe shaped pieces could be replaced with a simple vertical bar.

    All that would be necessary would be a aluminium plate 2 feet by 2 feet, two heavy bars to hold the pipe and a hydraulic jack pushing in the center. End cap of jack ram must match shape of pipe....

    Overbending is always a problem as there is spring back in any bent piece.

    Correcting overbends in easy.

    Just find a telephone pole or any strong pole and fix one end behind an object, bend the other back.....

    I used a plywood template to help match the desired curve.
    37 foot steel sailboat in Comox, B.C. Canada.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    Yes you can use a conventional pipe bender if you have the exact size formers.

  7. #7
    oldsaltoz is offline Registered User
    Location : Australia, East coast.
    Join Date
    Jul 2001

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    How easy is it to bend Stainless Steel tube?

    I must admit I found it very easy sitting on balcony of the yacht club overlooking the boat and watching the professionals install our new cockpit canopy.

    I will have a go at most things, but like to think I know my limits and am happy to pay for a well designed and very well finished job.

    This was all polished finish ranging from 3 inch to one inch tubing and included brackets for bracing the targa and bait station, as well as solar panels on top with a fitted white canopy under them.

    The only bending I did using stainless steel included the use of heavy springs inserted into the tube before bending, then spending time getting them out after the the bend was put in, also note I avoid welding whenever possible, and particularly on stainless tubing.

    Very few DIY stainless steel tube projects will stand up to a close in spection, and it's difficult not to get close to them on boats.

    I wish anyone attempting a good finish the very best of luck.

    Growing old is unavoidable. However, growing up is still optional.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    Guapa recomends Mr Stainless @ Levington [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]. Now THAT is recomendation if ever there woz one [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]
    I may be wrong but not always

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    Clive, as an apprenticed tinbasher, I recommend employing someone to do the job. Hydraulic bending gear is required really.
    Are you going to do your arch in 25mm? Bit weedy looking perhaps?

    As Guapa says, Mr Stainless has a good reputation.
    I have a contact who is also an excellent craftsman, but seems to work on a pre-Gregorian calendar, that is to say he is always 13.66 days behind, and has a lottery system using folded bits of paper and a biscuit tin to decide what job to do next.
    'East Coast Pilot' at 4th Edition now available......

  10. #10
    vyv_cox's Avatar
    vyv_cox is offline Registered User
    Location : North Wales, sailing Aegean Sea or Menai Strait
    Join Date
    May 2001

    Default Re: Bending Stainless Tube

    Shallow curves are quite easy to do manually, I just pushed the end of the tubing into a cradle and heaved up on it. Anything more than a few degrees is much more difficult. The old-fashioned method is to pack the tubing with sand to prevent it from collapsing, similar in principle to the plumber's spring. Personally I would have someone who has the necessary skills and equipment do the bends for me, particularly if they are more than about 15 degrees.

    Incidentally, I find Picea 316 to be just about the most expensive supplier of fittings and definitely very pricy for tubing. were about the cheapest I found for fittings and they have a better range. I bought my tubing from an Ebay dealer, slightly more than half the price of Picea 316.
    Answers to some technical queries at

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