Tube Bending problem

I've been handed a project that I'd like to run away from, but its from my largest client.
My problem is, I need to get some 304 stainless steel, 1.125" od, .020"
wall thickness bent. I need a 4-6" centerline radius and the bend is about 60 degrees. I need to find a customer tube bender (job shop) that can handle this work.
In the past, I've bent thinwall tubing(for my own projects) by filling it with conpacted sand and I've made dies out of wood. I also know that you can fill a tube with a low melting point metal alloy , make the bend and then melt the filling metal out of the tube. For this project these methods are not an option. I need to find a job shop that can hold tight tolerances and mandrel bend the tube. Does anyone know of a shop that can do this type of work?
Thanks Greg Postma
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Do you have any shops in the area that make either motorcycle or custom auto frames? I know that they do this kind of work. And they probably know of folks who do things that they can't or won't do too.
Another suggestion would be to ask the folks you buy the specialty round tubing from. Some of it probably goes to a shop that does exactly what you need.
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.020" wall and Stainless will chase away all the bender "wannabees" but there are literally hundreds of shops with the capability. Most of them are fairly local or at most regional. Bent tubing does NOT ship well!!
You can get a listing of the ones local to you in www.thomasregister.com
If you have a tube manufacturer locally (one that takes slit coil stock and runs it through the forming and welding machine), ask them for who does high end bending.
What area are you looking in?
Greg Postma wrote:

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RoyJ wrote:

I should have mentioned this, I'm just outside of Chicago, but we are willing to travel with this project. I've been looking in the Chicago-Milwaukee area. But I am willing to work with a tube bender any where.
The wall thickness is the biggest problem. I can get 20 gauge bent at dozens of shops, but the .020" wall is something like 28 gauge and everyone is leary at best. We have offered to purchase the tooling ($2500+) and still no takers. It seems that the mandrel is the problem. To keep the inner radius from deforming, the mandrel must be almost the same diameter as the ID of the tube (-.002"). These parts require precision bending and I am running into a problem finding a shop that can hold tight tolerances on the tube.
I am hoping some one knows of or has worked with a particular shop that can do tight tolerance bending.
Greg
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.nospam.net says...

If you have trouble finding a shop you might want try looking from another angle. These folks
http://www.toolsforbending.com/literature.asp
had a good reputation as a manufacturer of high end tooling when I was more current on this sort of thing. They may be able to direct you to a customer of theirs that could help.
Ned Simmons
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Without getting into the inside of the tube, you're going to be having troubles. Mandrel bending is just like the sand or Cerrobend method only they use a flexible arrangement inside the tube to bend it.
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
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Ah, no. This thin wall will require the thin link balls, precision cut wiper, and pressure die assist. Not to mention a HIGHLY skilled operator. It is NOT just putting something inside the tube.
Bob May wrote:

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Wagner up in Milwaukee does custom bending. I used 'em on a job a few years back.
http://www.wagnercompanies.com/Custom_Bending.aspx
As I remember , their price was pretty reasonable if they already have the right size dies.
If not I'll check with my brother, he had some outfit at Western and Lake st. bend the tubes for his rocket belt project.
Paul K. Dickman
On Thu, 18 Aug 2005 12:32:14 -0500, Greg Postma

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snipped-for-privacy@ameritech.net wrote:

Thanks Paul, I haven't tried Wagner yet, I'll give them a call in the morning. The pipe bender on Lake street might be Chicago Pipe Bending, they are west of Pulaski. I used them for some heavier walled stuff a couple of months ago, but they didn't even want to talk about 28 gauge stuff (but that didn't surprise me, a lot of people don't want to talk about bending 28 gauge tube <G>)
Rocket Belt Project???? sounds interesting
Greg
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On Thu, 18 Aug 2005 17:48:32 -0500, Greg Postma
I read your message and where it said .020" I read .050" wall. (darn, it's time to get new glasses again). Good luck
For those of you who want to see the rocket belt, his site is
www.geocities.com/eagleaeroflight
He pestered the bejezus out of me for about 2 years with this project. It is part of his extended mid life crisis. He got a real job and it has moved to the back burner.
He had a gift for stripping the teeth off a bandsaw blade by sawing out shapes in stainless sheet.
Paul K. Dickman

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I want to see pics of the rocket belt. Thanks Karl
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On Thu, 18 Aug 2005 12:32:14 -0500, the opaque Greg Postma

Check with the bending machine manufacturers. If anyone knows, they will. It's those superb customers who really help them sell machines and they like to brag about 'em.
What kind of overall length are these tubes and how many do you need? (Not offering, just curious.)
G'luck on finding someone soon.
----------------------------------------- Jack Kevorkian for Congressional physician! http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design ================================================
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Thanks for the Machine manufacturers idea, Larry. I never thought of that one.
The overall length of the bent tubes will be about 26" and 30". I really only need 3 of each to do my proof of concept. The tubes need the same 5" center line radius,60 degree bend on each end. If these tubes were of a heavier wall thickness, I could get them made at any tube bender (and some muffler shops). But as RoyJ pointed out in an earlier post "This thin wall will require the thin link balls, precision cut wiper, and pressure die assist. Not to mention a HIGHLY skilled operator. It is NOT just putting something inside the tube."
If it were easy, I wouldn't have gotten the assignment. This client calls me his "wizard" because I can always pull something outta my hat. (But lately, I've been feeling more like a proctologist because I usually have to pull something outta my ... well you get the picture.
TO All WHO HAVE RESPONDED Thanks to all for you many useful suggestions, I greatly appreciate you help.
Greg
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On Thu, 18 Aug 2005 21:36:30 -0500, the opaque Greg Postma

Ayup. They can be downright handy at times. Just don't pay their retail prices. I always buy from one of the mfgr's wholesalers because I like to save 30-50%.

Ooh, only 3 of each? That might be pricy. Prototype prices are always double or better.

Yeah, I picked up that visualization before the "because I" part, thanks. <vbg>

Let us know what you come up with.
----------------------------------------- Jack Kevorkian for Congressional physician! http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design ================================================
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