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How to bend 3" steel tubing?


NAXJA Forum User
Richmond, VA
OK fabricators, etc. I need to get some 3" ID steel tubing (don't know how thick the wall should be) but its for a home-made cone filter intake setup. Anyway I can get the tubing, I know how I need it to bend but a) don't know how or if I can do it and b) if I can't do it with a garage-trick, how do I communicate to someone who has the equipment how I need it bent? I no speak that language. Would it be? overall length, 45 degree bend on x axis, with a 40 degree y axis....ugh...any suggestions?

I would check to see if you could find an exhaust turn down. Its pre-bent and they have them at multiple degree turns. Plus if its for the intake it doesn't need to be thick at all.
Take your truck to an exhaust shop and show them what you want. Exhaust tubing will work just fine. The guy I went to charged me $30 and made a beautiful piece. I know have my own tubing bender so I do it myself.
IMO i would'nt opt for metal as the intake. it could draw heat from anywhere in the compartment. get some plastic pvc and boil it in water it should bend like noodles shape it and let it cool. i would then rap it in heat sheilding.
You should be able to get pre-bent elbows at exhaust shops and circle track racing shops. It's pretty common with all the diesels running around these days. I used it to build my air intake. Midwest Motorsports here in Kansas City had 30°, 45° and 90° elbows in stock. The elbows have one end expanded to allow for a slip fit to another piece of tubing.
How To Bend Tube NAXJA


Helpful tools:
Marker, Tube degree wheel, Pipe cutter, Level, Gloves
And a nice $7,000 240v Bend Pac hydrolic tube bender

Usually exhaust bent by card is bent from left to right in such a way that the tube is measured and the bends marked and a degree wheel is placed in the far end. (ie. 3 bends, 1st bend at 14" (30 deg. bend) with 0 deg. rotation, 2nd bend at 20 " (15 Deg. bend) at 90 deg. roatation, 3rd bend at 26" (60 deg. bend) at 30 deg. roatation)

1. Measure your Tube and mark your center line of your bends.

2. Place a degree wheel at 0 deg. in the right end of the tube on a given mark or center line (usually the pipe seam).

Now we have the legnth at which point the bends are made and a Degree wheel to reference the rotation of the pipe in relation to the first bend.

3. Now you can bend.

With your degree wheel at 0, Make you first bend of 30 deg. at your given measurement of 14"

Second bend, move pipe to second mark at 20" rotate pipe to 90 deg. and make a 15 deg bend.

Third bend, move pipe to third mark of 26" rotate pipe to 30 deg and make a 60 deg bend.

This is basically how anything is built and duplicated in tube. Any questions just pay a visit to your local exh shop and Explain to them what you are trying to do.

Seven years of Custom exhaust work 1991 - 1998.
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:eek: Haa ha I just looked and you are in Richmond, I'm stuck here in Richmond too (DuPont Spruance). Just let me know what you need bent, maybe I can hook you up, I've got a machinist friend in Richmond at Alcoa but I did my exhaust work in Prince George... I also went to school with a guy who is running a shop on Jeff davis & Bells Rd.

I do know a guy who does custom exhaust work close by, good reputation and helped me out for free after I lifted (the first time) and had the exhaust tip rattling on a lift shackle. There is something about that slinky idea though....would certainly fit right in with the quality of my craftsmanship and mods......