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Old 01-14-2010, 11:45 PM
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LW Hiway LW Hiway is offline
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What is the tightest radius U bend I can make with the 3/8 aluminum tube without it cracking etc?
The industry can do it with the radius of a gnats elbow rotation.

You can, with the correct alloy and material state and set up, make some mighty close bends, smaller than the hand held line tubing benders.

If you do a google search for a type of gel substance, that is reusable once thawed and restored/put back into it's container, that freezes to a harder more solid plyable state but will not crack or break apart while frozen inside the tube. Just do not lose sight of the fact that your going to lose some wall thickness on the outside of that bend and will need to make that allowance in wall thickness of the material.

Something that would be about the consitancy of a tootsy roll candy bar.

The gel is placed/put/ladeled into the tubing, the tube is placed into a freezer of apt cooling, taken out and bent and then allowed to warm up to drain out the gel.

They use this media to make the bends(tight or longish) on musical horn instruments like bugles, trombones etc etc. But it will assuredly work with the correct Al material. If the tubing is in an "O" hard state, things get much easier. After the fabbing is done, you could have it professionally hardened to a more durable state. I would imagine that you could harden it yourself if you could maintain the specific temps etc.

I've seen those that work with exotic alloyed tubings do it the same way using the same substance.

The tooling for bending was not hi-tech nor was it expensive if you needed to make it.
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