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Precision tube bending for reliable results

by Last updated Sep 29, 2022 | Published on May 12, 2022Pipe & Tube Bending

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

High-quality, cost-effective tube bending services are a cinch with our Horn Metric TBRE Hybrid CNC tube bending machine. Precision tube bending eliminates the need for purchasing a variety of expensive joints and fixtures, which are required with joint welding.

Tube bending performed with a CNC tube bender is used in medical device manufacturing, semiconductor fabrication, chemical manufacturing and alternative energy processes. The process is used on various types of metal, including copper, brass, aluminum, stainless steel, titanium and Inconel.

Save money with tube bending

Tube bending is automated with a CNC bender, which cuts the need for several welders on a large project. The machine performs the majority of bends, which are then double-checked by a technician, further reducing labor costs. 

What can a CNC tube bender do?

We have a thorough CNC tube bender guide for download, which is specific on the capabilities of our CNC tube bender, but highlights of our machine include:

  • Producing quality bends, with an accuracy of 0.005” to 0.010”
  • Bends one part per minute (much faster than manual bending)
  • Automatic mandrel lubrication for better lubricant control, resulting in optimal mandrel bends
  • Environmentally-friendly solution for a variety of bending projects
  • 3-D designs can be imported, eliminating the need for a perfectly-engineered, time-consuming drawing

Frequently asked questions about precision tube bending

Question: If the outer diameter of the tube we plan to use is not a standard size, what are your flexibilities with the design?

Answer: Our experts will look at your design requirements to see if there’s a solution to bend a standard size tube into a shape or angles that will fit into your space requirements, with minimal fittings to ensure consistent performance without degradation.

Question: If the radii requested is not standard, what are your flexibilities with the design?

Answer: Our team will look at your design plan to see if the radius of the tube bends can be adjusted and still achieve your goals. It’s possible that we can achieve the design utilizing both tube bends and high-purity orbital welding to achieve your goal.

Back-to-back bends are sometimes requested when designers try to fit tubing into a small space. Our CNC tube bender is capable of some tight bends. However, back-to-back bends typically require custom tooling, which adds cost to the project. If the size of the project justifies the cost of the tooling, that may be your best solution.

Question: Can we use tempered or heat-treated tubing in this project?

Answer: Does your research show the bending properties of these materials? Are you open to changes on material selection? Some tempered or heat-treated tubes are more likely to rupture, crack or damage internally when bent by a machine. Our team can demonstrate the attributes of different metals to qualify them for your project.

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Extend the life of your subsystems with tube bending

The four attributes of precision tube bending​ that will make your systems last longer include the machine, material, tooling and lubrication used for the job.


Our dual stack hydraulic tube bender with roll forming capabilities produces bends ranging in a variety of diameters from ¼” to 2”. A CNC tube bending machine produces bent tubing without kinks. The CNC tube bender also significantly reduces time, materials and costs for customers who need to safely and consistently transport chemicals and gases.


We prefer using 300-series stainless steel for its long-lasting and strength attributes. A bending machine can also perform custom bends on copper, aluminum, Inconel, Titanium, bronze and other alloy metals. We recommend stainless steel tubing for its high corrosion-resistance properties and the ability to withstand long-term exposure to varying environments.


Precision tube bending companies find that the basic components of the CNC tube bender machines are the mandrel, the bend die, clamping die and wiper die.

  • Mandrel: The mandrel inserts into the tube for support during bending to avoid wrinkling, distortion, collapse, flattening, rippling or breakage during the process. Using a mandrel provides better control over the tube’s ovality or roundness. Mandrel tube bending elicits highly accurate, repeatable results for jobs with tight or large radius bends. The firmness of a mandrel is very important, in relation to the firmness of the tube. For extremely durable tubing, a soft mandrel is used, and a hard mandrel is used on softer tubing. This prevents the mandrel from sticking to the inside of the tube, which can damage the tube.
  • Bend Die: The radius of the bend die accounts for the durability of the tube to adjust for radial growth. Bending a harder material requires a bend die with a smaller radius.
  • Clamping Die: The ideal length of a clamping die is three times the diameter of the tube. Clamping short puts too much pressure on a short section of the tube, often resulting in a damaged component.
  • Wiper Die: The wiper die supports the tube on the inside of the bend to prevent wrinkles. Position the wiper die at a slight angle with its contact point extremely sharp at all times. Lubrication at the point of contact is important to prevent wear.


Proper lubrication is critical for top-quality bends. Lubrication lowers friction during bending for clean, smooth results. We prefer non-petroleum-based synthetic lubricants in a paste or gel. Durable metals often require more lubrication to prevent friction.

Types of production systems where tube bending is recommended include:

  • Control systems: In chemical engineering production, it’s essential to have a seamless flow of gasses or liquids. There are zero kinks in bent tubing systems to trap or slow materials flowing through the system.
  • Delivery systems: CNC machine bent tubing creates liquid-tight and airtight seals for consistent movement of matter through the entirety of your system.
  • Purification systems: Purifying processes often include the use of caustic chemicals, which can cause filler material on welded tubes to break down over time. Bent tubing has no filler material, but consists only of the base metal, leaving precise pathways for materials to flow.
  • Storage systems: Manufacturers in the chemical production industry may use tube systems to deliver potentially hazardous materials into temporary or long-term storage. The interior of tubes used to transport that material must remain clean. Bent tubing has no sharp curves inside to trap materials, so the interior remains uncontaminated after materials flow through.
  • Testing systems: Materials flowing through testing systems must retain their original properties. With bent tubing, there is a much lower risk of contamination as opposed to using a welded tube system or a system with multiple joints. The more components added to a system increases the opportunity for contamination.

CNC Tube Bending Radius Chart

The tube bending radius chart below illustrates our standard or most-requested bends for drop-in replacement tubing for production delivery systems, custom tooling can be made available, upon request. 

Tubing Outside Diameter (OD)MaterialRadiusRadius
0.25”, 6.35mm, ¼-inchStainless steel.5”, 12.7mm, ½-inch.5625”, 14.28mm, 9/16-inch 
.375”, 9.52mm, ⅜-inchStainless steel and Copper.9375”, 23.8mm, 15/16-inch  
.5”, 12.7mm, ½-inchStainless steel.5”, 12.7mm, ½-inch1.5”, 38mm, 1 ½-inches
.75”, 19mm, ¾-inchStainless steel and Aluminum*1.125”, 28.5mm, 1 -⅛” inches 
1”, 25.4mm, 1-inchStainless steel and Aluminum*1.5”, 38mm, 1 ½-inches 
1.25”, 31.75mm, 1 ¼-inchesStainless steel and Inconel2”, 50.8mm, 2-inches 
1.5”, 38mm, 1 ½-inchesStainless steel2.25”, 57.15mm, 2 ¼-inches 

*Tempered aluminum has bending limits.

One more thing to keep in mind, while precision tool bending doesn’t require any specific certifications at this time, Axenics achieved the AC7004 Quality System, which demonstrates our qualifications with regards to quality and service across the board.

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