Don’t Get Bent Out of Shape with Square Tubing

Bending Square Tubing can be a real pain, especially if it’s your first time. You find yourself climbing all over your bender trying to free the tube from the die, hitting it with your arsenal of mallets, and once you finally get the tube free, the inside and outside walls are deformed and the bend quality doesn’t meet your original expectation. But hold on.. How abnormal is deformation when bending square material?

Before you get bent out of shape with square tubing, watch our “Intro to Square Tube Bending” video below. In this video, we walk you through and demonstrate what you can expect when working with square tubing. Wall deformation, bend angle, radius, and bending equipment are a few of the topics covered.

 

Belt Sander…..or Belt Grinder?

What’s the difference between a Belt Sander and a Belt Grinder?

Are they synonyms or just similar? How about this one:  truck…or pickup? Many would use these terms interchangeably, but growing up in the transportation world I recognize “truck” as an 18 wheeler capable of some serious work – 400 HP, 13 speeds towing 50,000 lbs! A pickup was great for grabbing lunch or loading up coolers and pulling a boat to the lake. Same goes for Belt Sander vs Belt Grinder →

belt_sander

Typical Sander

BurrKing960 - Quality Grinder

Quality Grinder

A belt sander is useful when working with wood. The slower belt speed keeps heat from burning or glazing over the grain. Sanding is done by pressing the material against the belt which rides along a rigid backing platen. You feel the seam of the belt thump its way around and the drag of the belt robbing power.  Typically much less pressure is presented to the belt with wood and therefore the belt tracking system is not as robust….a “pickup” if you will. You will find these from household name brands at at big box stores. But, if you want to get some serious “truck-like” work done on metal [mantra-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”][/mantra-pullquote] a high speed belt grinder is the tool for you. Belt speeds are typically 4,000-8,000 feet per minute resulting in rapid material removal. Plus, they are designed to use either the rigid backing platen or a rubberized contact wheel grinding surface. The rubberized backing behind the belt gives you butter-smooth feel and even quicker material removal. Hardcore fabricators will recognize names like Burr King, Multitool, or Grit. This high speed belt action allows much of the heat to leave with the grinding chips and dust, plus keeps the belt cool as it spins through the air. As you can imagine a Belt Grinder needs some serious HP and robust tracking system to handle the high pressure often placed against it. And typically the belt construction will consist partially of a Zirconia or Ceramic material on a heavy backing that can handle the rigors of steel removal.

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Even some manufacturers will blur their product descriptions by using the terms sander or grinder too loosely. Just make sure you select the right machine with adequate power, speed, and of course long-lasting quality to get your job done right. There are a lot of options, feel free to contact us to discuss any of them!

What is Mandrel Tube Bending?

Mandrel tube bending is a widely misunderstood bending term. Many customers and even some bending companies refer to the bending dies as mandrels or shoes. Technically the mandrel is a part of the tooling set but does not exist in most bending applications.
The mandrel actually goes inside the tube and is held by a mandrel rod to support the tube at the tangent point of the bend. The mandrel is then extracted after the bend is complete or within the last few degrees of bending. This requires a machine with a bed longer than the tube being bent and strong enough to support the forces against the mandrel.

Common mandrels configurations include the plug, ball, disc or multi-ball or disc design. The type of mandrel required varies depending on the wall thickness of the tube, radius required, and type of material being bent. Mandrel bending can create a bend much tighter than empty bending as well as improve the appearance of bend.

Mandrel tube bending diagram

Mandrel tube bending diagram

Radii as tight as one times the diameter of the tube (1D) are possible, whereas with empty bending (bends without an internal mandrel) acceptable radii are usually two to three times the diameter (2-3D). This is especially useful for Continue reading