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Technical 5/8ths" aluminum tube bender question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by J&JHotrods, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. J&JHotrods
    Joined: Oct 22, 2008
    Posts: 549

    J&JHotrods
    Member

    Wondering if I might be able to get some opinions on a decent aluminum tubing bender that 's affordable. Been enjoying the car all summer, time to put in the rest of the heater & a/c system in over the winter, looking to bend some hard heater hose lines and a/c lines and install the evap assembly once and for all(yea right), hoping to get some advice on what tool works best for you? Thank you in advance for your time.
     
  2. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,058

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    Are you using soft tubing made for that installation or are you buying straight 6061 tubing???
    will the be major bends or just little offsets and jogs? Look into Imperial Eastman brand of benders to use. Might not fit your timetable, but somtimes they show up at the swaps cheaper than new.
    Tips---when bending aluminum tubing, use lots of grease to keep the material from grabbing and causing it to kink. Second is if the 6061 tubing is popping, you aneal the tubing by sooting the area with a torch and then with the the oxy on , heat the area till the soot burns off, after it cools the area becomes soft enough to bend without breaking
     
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  3. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 778

    Terrible80
    Member

  4. When bending soft aluminum, pack the tubing with sand. I learned this back in 1954 in shop class as the teacher used this method when showing us how to bend the tubing to make a cane.
     

  5. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,058

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    reg conduit is too large in dia and would flatten the bend
     
  6. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,058

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    cant always garentee getting the sand out, fine for lawn funiture but not sonthing that has to run thru a compresser, a mixture of liquid dish soap and water and freeze it before making radical bends on thinwall alu tubing is easier to remove and leave no contaminates
     
    J&JHotrods likes this.
  7. J&JHotrods
    Joined: Oct 22, 2008
    Posts: 549

    J&JHotrods
    Member

    These are for a/c and heater lines. I'm still mapping out my plan, but making sure I can find and afford the tools to do the job is the currently the deciding factor. Yes dreracecar, nothing more than 90 deg bends. I had never heard of freezing dish soap & water, that sounds worth a try, thank you. Knew about sand filling but contamination is an issue. Thank you for the suggestions, keep them coming. Bead rolling the hose ends is another concern, thinking I can buy longer than needed hard line with one end bead rolled, weld on fitting other end to bulkhead plate.
     
  8. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,058

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    Brass musical instruments are bent with the soap and water method
    Search AIRCRAFT SPRUCE
    They have alu tubing in 5052-0 (soft) .049 wall (thin) $3.50 ft
    If you want thicker, then 6061 T6 and you will have to anneal the material
    Benders are not cheap $250+ and they are large radius.
    small radius/dia alu tubing is "Pushed" into a split die and then the halves are split and the tube removed, the bend gets compressd to shape without stretching and thin spots
    they do have a simple beading tool for $40, and also the expensive Parker Kit $375
     
  9. I'd look at what's generally known as 'instrument tubing benders' (no, not musical instruments!). The Imperial Eastman mentioned above is that type, although Ridgid also makes them (and are generally more than a bit cheaper). Stay away from the aluminum-framed cheaper versions, you want one with steel construction for accuracy.

    Also verify the actual diameter of the tubing and make sure the bender accepts that size, as you'll run into 'trade sizes' that have a nominal diameter but actual diameter may be larger.

    Conduit benders won't work for anything more that slight bends...
     

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