Bending machine operators say bending square tubing is a different animal to bend. This is especially true when you want a “pretty” bend. Just like other materials, square or rectangular tubing can be bent with or without a mandrel. With the right equipment, your square tubing bender becomes the perfect match for a quality bend. Let’s go over having a mandrel or no mandrel that become important when you look for a bender to buy.
Different Square Tubing Benders
For the sake of this article, we will focus on a rotary draw hydraulic bender for your square tube. A rotary draw hydraulic bender does allow for either scenario, mandrel or no mandrel. There are other benders for square tubing, such as an induction bender, roll bender, heavy duty square tube bender or compression bender, for example. The final recommendation is ultimately based on actual bend specifications, application/use, and desired end result.
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Without a Mandrel
Without a mandrel square tube without a large radius will sink to the inside and outside of the bend area. Think of a bend on a cafeteria chair in elementary school. With no mandrel the square tubing does not have support on the inside of the tube when it bends. The metal collapses and deforms. This type of bend is often called a non-mandrel crush bend. Or simply a crush bend. There are many square tube applications that this is perfectly acceptable. This is true not only in the way it looks but also with structural integrity.
With a Mandrel
Using a mandrel makes a big difference in the final appearance of your square tube. A rotary draw hydraulic bender becomes a good option when it is mandrel capable. A mandrel bend will keep the original shape of the square tube with minimal wall thinning. The mandrel’s job is to keep the material from collapsing. This is key when the tubing is bent on a smaller radius or has thinner wall.
A key factor with a mandrel for square tubing is if the material has a weld seam. Check and tell the person helping you with your bender and tooling if you have a weld seam. As you can imagine, this needs to be considered when making the mandrel. If not, the mandrel will not fit properly.
Mandrels and Weld Seams
When using a mandrel with square tubing, it is best to send a sample of your square tube to the tool maker. It is highly likely they will request a sample from you before making the tooling. If not, don’t take any chances. Send your sample. A square tube sample allows for the engineer to assess the clearance needed to fit the mandrel properly. If a weld seam is involved, the size of the weld seam and its location is determined. If the weld seam proves to be “too far from center” you will be contacted. A mandrel that cannot fit the material properly is useless on a square pipe bending machine.
Call or email Hines Bending Systems today and ask about a hydraulic square tube bender for sale now. We can help you with a hydraulic rotary draw bender with mandrel, induction bender or roll bender for your square tubing. From installation of your bender to training to service our team of experts has been serving the industry since 1975.