Five Tips to Develop Custom Bends

Both art and science contribute to successful results

For custom bending of metal tube and pipe, there are several standards that can help make your project a success. Whether you’re an industry veteran or just getting started in your career, we hope that you will find these tips to be a helpful resource:

  1. Center Line Radius: As a general rule the tightest achievable center line radius is one times the pipe or tube diameter. Whenever possible, try to choose a center line radius of one-and-a-half times or greater than the tube diameter to save labor costs. A tooling list is available to help you make this selection.
  2. Wall Thickness: When bending pipe or tube, the wall on the outside radius can thin up to 33 percent, depending on the radius and other factors; this can be minimized using some of the bending options we have available. This is important to keep in mind if your application involves high pressure or flow, as a thicker wall may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
  3. Straight Length Between Bends: Typically, a straight dimension between bends should be two to three times the tube diameter, depending on the radius. Tubes with little or no straights between bends can be accommodated with our technology but may require some additional tooling.
  4. Tolerances: Industry standard is still considered to be +/- 1 degree on bend angles. Our standard is +/- 0.5 degrees. Tighter tolerances to 0.2 degrees can be accomplished with laser spring back technology, if the application requires it. Lineal tolerances are normally +/- 0.062 inches or tighter. The industry standard for ovality is 8%. Our standard is 4% and this can be improved upon if called for by the application.
  5. Drawings: When submitting part drawings, it is important to include the pipe or tube specs, material type, center line radius and any other details about the scope of the project. If available, STEP files or 3D models can be uploaded along with your drawing.

For additional information on custom pipe and tube bending, click here.

This blog post was authored by Paul Krickeberg, President & CEO, Sharpe Products. Paul can be reached at