Bending roll cage tubing can be a difficult task. Roll cage tubes are usually made of thick steel, and bending them is never easy. No need to say that doing it without a quality roll cage tubing bender is almost impossible.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about how to properly bend roll cage tubing. We’ll go over the tools needed and the process involved in getting your tube bent correctly!
Bending Roll Cage Tubing – Step-By-Step Guide
Of course, it’s important to mention that, while these steps may seem pretty straightforward, bending tubes does require thorough practice. Still, these steps are good starting points.
First, you will need a tubing bender, which is used to bend steel tubing into various shapes and configurations. Second, you are going to want some lubricant for the tubes so they slide easily in the metal jaws. Thirdly, safety equipment such as gloves and protective eyewear is not only a must but a strong suggestion.
Fourth, you’ll also need a marker to mark the tubes, preventing the waste of expensive tubing! Finally, it’s very likely that you’ll need several pieces of tubing welded together in order for your roll cage kit to fit correctly. Make sure to plan accordingly, and account for your upcoming mistakes. There will be tubes you’ll need to redo so make sure to have some extra tubing.
Cut and Organize the Tubes
If you’ve got long and straight pipes, you’ll need to cut them first. Take the measurements first and cut the pieces to the required length. Be careful not to mark the tube unnecessarily as it can cause issues in the next step.
You can cut them with an angle grinder or a metal cutting saw. Once you’re done, sort the tubes into two separate piles—those that are to be bent and those that won’t!
Mark Necessary Points
Always mark the bending points of the tube before doing anything else—we will never say it again: measure, mark and measure again! Taking an extra minute here will save you significant money in the long run, trust me lol.
Use a marker or permanent ink pen. I would suggest not using a marking punch as it might show up in the finished product. However, keep in mind that Sharpie ink and chalk will fade when heated up during the welding process.
Lubricate the Bending Points
This step is very important as the lubricant will make it much easier to bend the steel tubing without leaving unwanted marks and kinks.
There are different types of lubricants that can be used for this process—for lighter tubes, water or petroleum-based lubricants that come in paste form can do the trick. For hard and thick steel pipes, you may need something a little more purpose-built.
Bend Tubing with Bending Tool
Now you’re ready to actually start bending your roll cage tubing with the tubing bender.
For the best results, you can push down on the handles of your roll cage tube bending tool and slowly curve the tubes in a back-and-forth motion so they create a smooth angle or bend. Be careful not to exert too much pressure! You may also need to use both hands for larger pieces of steel tubing.
Of course, there are different types of bending techniques, and specific projects will require you to use specific techniques. Going in-depth here would take a whole other article but look it up—you’ll need some practice anyway.
Connect the Tubes
Now that you’ve got bent tubing, it’s time to connect them! Connecting roll cage tubes is not that complicated—place the pieces together and attach them with a coupler or clamp using pliers. Then take out your welder and get to work!
Roll Cage Tube Bending Pro Tips
Although the steps above seem simple at first glance, they may end up being messy if you don’t follow these best practices. Here are some key points to keep in mind when bending tubes:
Pick the Right Tools
“Always use the right tool for the right job,” as the saying goes, right? Thus, make sure your tubing bender is compatible with the type of steel tubes you are using for your roll cage. Thicker steel may also require a bigger tube bender or extensions.
Don’t Use Too Much Lube
Water or petroleum-based lubricant can get messy if not used sparingly! If too much lube is used, the roll cage tubing will be slippery and difficult to work with. You need to find the balance to get the optimal result without making a mess—it will also take some practice.
No Welding without Proper Training
It’s important to note that steel roll cage tubes must be welded together in order for the cages to be safe and support your weight if your car was to flip over in a ditch. If you aren’t trained as a welder, we would highly suggest you hire one. Half-assing an exhaust weld is one thing, but cheating out on a device that is supposed to save your life is never a good idea.
Know Your Limitations!
Finally, it is important to remember that if you have never bent tubing before or worked with roll cages in the past, there’s a high chance you’ll be making a couple of mistakes here and there. That is absolutely normal. Still, rushing and failing to plan properly could kill your project even before it’s started. Go slow and work your way up – especially when working with steel tubing!
Now that you know how to bend roll cage tubing, put your new skills into practice! There are many simple projects you can try before going all out on a roll cage. Why not try making a small shelf or side table with bent tubes?
You can start with cardboard and then use metal tubes of various sizes to create an attractive design worthy of showcasing in any room. If this sounds like too much work, practice on scrap metal pieces first? The only limit is your imagination!