How To Use Pipe Bender For Effective Pipe Bends and Curves?

Pipe bending requires skill and precision to shape rigid steel pipes into the curved forms needed for various applications. Using a pipe bender involves carefully working the jaws over the pipe to gradually form the desired curves. But how do you use it?

How to use pipe bender? Here is how to use pipe bender:

  • Mark the pipe where the bend starts, its direction, and its degree.
  • Set up the bender for the pipe size and bend requirements, secure the pipe, and bend it using the appropriate technique.
  • Monitor the degree indicator and stop bending when you reach the desired angle.

Understanding these steps will ensure you effectively bend your pipes and maintain the quality of the work. Thus, everything you need for a successful bending project is in this guide. Keep reading.

How To Use Pipe Bender?

Bending processes for pipe fitting are necessary to create curved pipes and simple bends in pipes. A manual pipe bender allows you to customize pipe runs to your specific project needs. They come in many sizes to accommodate different pipe diameters.How To Use Pipe Bender

But how do you use a pipe bender? Here are the few steps you need to take to bend your pipes using a manual pipe bender.

Step 1: Mark Your Pipe

  1. You need to mark on the pipe where the bend needs to start. This corresponds to the reference points from your blueprint or design.
  2. Also, mark the direction the bend needs to go. Usually, it will bend at 90 degrees from the pipe’s current direction, but it depends on your plans.
  1. Refer to the bender take-up table below to determine how much you need to subtract from the pipe length to account for take-up. The amount of take-up depends on the pipe material, size, and bend degree.
Pipe Size Take-Up Required
1/2 inch EMT Subtract 5 inches
3/4 inch EMT Subtract 6 inches
1/2 inch rigid pipe Subtract 6 inches
1 inch EMT Subtract 8 inches
3/4 inch rigid pipe Subtract 8 inches
1-1/4 inch EMT Subtract 11 inches
1-inch rigid pipe Subtract 11 inches
  1. Don’t forget to mark the degree of the bend to determine the proper take-up value. All these marks and calculations will guide you when you secure the pipe in the bender. And it will ensure the bend starts in the right place and goes in the right direction after taking it into account.

Step 2: Prepare The Pipe Bender

  1. You need to properly set up the pipe bender for your specific pipe size and bend requirements.
  2. Start by ensuring the bender is the correct size for your pipe. The arms and dies need to match the pipe diameter.
  3. Adjust the dials to set the desired bend radius. A tighter radius creates a sharper bend, while a looser radius is gentler.
  4. Set the angle indicator to the needed angle of bend, if applicable.
  5. Open up the bending arms fully to accept the pipe.

For larger benders, choose the correct die and follower block for the exact pipe size. There should be enough room for the pipe to fit securely between the two.

Step 3: Secure the Pipe

  1. Secure the pipe in the pipe bender by aligning the intended bend start point with the start of the die or angle indicator.
  2. Close the bending arms to hold the pipe firmly and prevent it from shifting during bending. Use any clamps, latches, or u-straps to tightly secure the pipe in the correct position for the intended bend.
  3. For smaller pipe benders, insert the pipe into the bending arms and close them to hold the pipe. Latches help secure the pipe.
  4. Make sure the center of the intended bend is centered in the die.
  5. For larger benders, tighten the follower block to secure the pipe.
  6. Wrap the U-strap around the front of the pipe.
  7. Insert the drive pin to lock the bending arms to the die.
  8. Install the degree pointer and align it to 0 degrees.
  9. Double-check that the bend start point is lined up properly, the degree pointer is set to 0, and the pipe is firmly secured.

An accurately secured pipe is essential for correct bend location and angle.

Step 4: Bend The Pipe

  1. For smaller manual pipe benders, bring the bending arms together by turning the handles.
  2. Rotate the handles until you reach the desired angle marked on your degree pointer.
  3. Lift up the roll support arm and remove the bent pipe from the die.
  4. With larger power pipe benders, engage the drive track before pulling the handle to begin bending the pipe.
  5. Watch the degree pointer closely to ensure you stop at the correct bend angle. Work through the drive track teeth as needed until you reach the marked angle.
  6. Once finished bending, release the tension on the handle and reset the bender.
  7. Remove the spring back kit, move the drive track and handle out of the way, then remove the bent pipe from the bender.
  8. Reverse the securing steps to take the pipe out of the bending dies and follower block.

The key is to maintain control of the bending motion and monitor the degree indicator closely. Stop bending precisely when you reach the angle marked on your pipe. Check the finished bend against your blueprint to ensure it matches the design specifications.

What To Keep In Mind Before Using A Pipe Bender?

It’s crucial to follow some key points before and during bending pipes.

● Choose The Right CLR Die

Before bending any pipe, you need to choose the correct bending die or shoe former based on the pipe’s diameter. A bending die has grooves to match a specific diameter of the pipe.

To find the right bending die for your pipe, multiply the pipe’s diameter in inches by 3. This will give you the center line radius (CLR) of the die you need.

Pipe Bender

● Consider The Required Bend Angle

Take time to think about the exact bend angle you need for your project before starting to bend the pipe. For example, straight 90-degree bends often don’t work well for drainage pipes.

Two 45-degree bends work better. Plan the layout of your pipe bends on paper to make sure they will fit and work properly.

● Account For Springback Of The Pipe

After you bend the pipe, it may attempt to spring back partially straight again. This is called Springback. To fix the proper bend angle, you’ll likely have to bend the pipe at a slightly larger angle to account for Springback. Then test the resulting bend with a scrap pipe until you get the angle you need.

● Keep Track Of Differences Between Pipes

Different types of pipes will have different amounts of Springback. The material, thickness, and diameter of the pipe all affect Springback. So keep notes each time you bend a new type of pipe to remember how much you needed to overbend it to get the proper angle.

What Are The Methods Used In Pipe Bending?

Different pipe benders utilize different techniques. The common methods used in pipe bending include:

  1. Ram bending: It is a common cost-effective method used by manual and hydraulic pipe benders. The bending die presses against the pipe fixed at two points. This technique lacks fine control over the bent shape.
  2. Rotary draw bending: It is a high-precision technique used by electric pipe benders. The die rotates while pulling the pipe fixed against it, inducing a smooth bend. It produces quality bends.
  3. Compression bending: It is similar to rotary draw bending but omits the mandrel inside the tube. It favors speed and output at the cost of slight deformations.
  4. Mandrel bending: It resembles rotary draw bending with the addition of a mandrel inside the pipe during bending. This helps maintain a smooth finish for small radius bends or bending thin-walled pipes.
  5. Roll bending: It uses rolls to form the pipe bend, as in the electric roll bender. It works well for large-diameter pipes and yields even cross-sections with minimal distortion.

How To Increase Bending Success When Using A Pipe Bender?

Taking some simple but effective steps before and while bending a pipe can help avoid issues and meet the 49 CFR 195 Regulatory. Here are a few tips to increase your success rate when bending pipe:

  • Grease the pipe, both inside and out. This will help the pipe slide more easily in the bender and reduce friction that can lead to kinks.
  • Start with a gentle bend. Don’t try to make a tight bend in one go. Make incremental bends to gradually shape the pipe.
  • Go slow. The slower you crank the handle, the more control you’ll have and the less likely you are to create kinks.
  • Support the pipe as you bend. Use pipe rollers, wood blocks, or other supports under the pipe to distribute stress more evenly as you bend.
  • Check the bend frequently as you work. Remove the pipe from the bender periodically to inspect for distortions or kinks that need to be corrected.
  • Practice on scraps first. Get familiar with how the pipe bends on shorter practice pieces before bending your actual pipe run.
  • Use the right size bender for the pipe. An undersized or overloaded bender can lead to poor bends and damaged pipes.

Here is a video showing how to use a pipe bender to bend a copper pipe:


Using a pipe bender is an essential skill for anyone working with rigid steel pipes. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create accurate and consistent bends that meet your project’s specific needs.

Remember to choose the right CLR die, consider the required bend angle, and account for the Springback of the pipe. Additionally, understanding the different methods used in pipe bending and following the tips to increase bending success can help you achieve high-quality results.

Michael is the owner of Michael's Plumbing. He has experience over 15 years solved thousands of plumbing issues. 100% customer satisfaction made him best in this sector. Finally he decided to share his skills, experience and techniques through this PipesYard blog. Hopefully each and every post of this blog will be helpful for people seeking piping help.

2 thoughts on “How To Use Pipe Bender For Effective Pipe Bends and Curves?”

  1. It’s good that you brought up how necessary bending processes are for pipe fitting since this is what we need to create the curves and bends we need for pipe customization. It seems like my brother’s factory needs new pipes installed soon, so he needs to get them custom-made to fit the system perfectly. I’ll take note of this while I help him find a tube-bending company to hire for this soon.

    • Definitely, blending process plays a crucial part in pipe fitting. We tried our best to describe the process sequentially. Your appreciation will energize us to keep our good work running.


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