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Bending 1 1/2" aluminium Tube

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  • #16
    I have had some experience bending heavy wall 6061 years ago. The particulars have been lost to me but I think we were accomplishing radii of 2 to 3 inches measured on the centerline. But essential to the success was a thorough annealing shortly before attempting the process. The mandrel bender was a very sophisticated machine originally owned by McDonnell Douglas. 6061 rehardens naturally within about 4 days. I think it attains approximately a t4 hardness. We used a visual reference of color to know when we had annealed enough. We looked to see a very pale yellow cast come into the area we wanted to anneal.

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    • #17
      A common rule of thumb is if the wall thickness divided by the OD is less than .07 a mandrel is needed, otherwise maybe not.

      The tube could be easily annealed if the T6 condition proves troublesome.

      Whether it'll be easy to hand bend 1-1/2 even with a long lever is something else.


      I would agree on the sand-filled-tube idea, never seen it done or know anyone who has. Common instructions are to cap one end and fill with sand, compact and cap other end. That's a lot of trouble just to bend a tube.

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      • #18
        Thanks for all the ideas. Here is a link that is very cool.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_6J...BDC0CAA50DE788



        Menessis
        Last edited by Menessis; 02-05-2014, 07:30 PM.

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        • #19
          Minimum radius for a given tube diameter is a function of the material and the wall thickness of the tubing. A mandrel bender will yield a smaller radius, but there are limits even there. A web search will turn up plenty of information.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Ironwoodsmith View Post
            . We used a visual reference of color to know when we had annealed enough. We looked to see a very pale yellow cast come into the area we wanted to anneal.
            3 decades ago a japanese smith taught me a trick to anneal AL, black magic marker. Mark up the work, when the heat evaporates the pigment, it's the right temp. Interesting thread, bending AL tube comes up in my work frequently. Thankfully I can often use EMT benders. My gut says the OP's parameters are overambitious for that size tube.
            Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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