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Affordable tube bending

I am looking for an easy affordable way to bend sterling and gold
tubing without hours of labor. I do not need to bend the tubing in a
complete circle, just a slight bend, but would like to use larger
diameter up to 1/2 inch.

First get some clean fine sand or table salt. Anneal the tubing and
make sure it is dry, put masking tape on one end so the salt or sand
can’t escape. Fill up the tubing and then tape up the other end. The
bending will be easy that way.


nine bucks affordable enough?

Performance Tool Large Tubing Benders


In my experience the best way to bend a tube is this:

Cut the piece you are bending a little bit longer than you need, you
will cut away a little bit of excess after bending as it will kink a
bit. For example, if you want the tube to be 30mm, cut a 40mm piece
to work with.

You will need a bracelet mandrel. I use an oval one, at the largest

You will need needle files (the handle ends) or something else that
fits snuggly inside the ends of the tubes.

Anneal your metal.

Mark the center of the tube so you know where it is with a scribe -
this might come in handy later.

Rest the bracelet mandrel on a stable surface. I put mine in my lap
with the end resting on my bench pan. Put the needle files in just a
bit (a couple mm’s not too far)

Use your thumbs on the needle files to evenly bend the tube around
the mandrel. You may need to practice a few times.

Cut the ends off.

Hope that helps!

Why not do it the way plumbers bend copper tubing? Insert the tube
into a steel spring that is just bigger (inner diameter) than the
tube being bent. You can then bend and shape your tube evenly without

Standard plumbing benders are too big, of course, but hardware
stores usually have a large and varied selection of smaller steel

Check at the hardware store for the long screen door springs with an
inside diameter close to the size tubing your are using. Slide the
tubing inside the spring and bend. Pull the tubing out of the spring.
For larger tubing look in the plumbing section of the hardware store
for tube bending springs. See here:

Have Fun

Also try putting a strong cord or wire cable (multi stranded) through
the tubing and bend around the form (mandrel or ?) by crossing the
ends of the cord/cable and pull to form the tubing around the form.
Also you could cap one end, fill with fine sand and pinch the other
end with a small Visegrip or such. Now you can bend the tubing
without crimping it.

John Dach

I have a set of the 4pc extern tubing benders and they are great!
You can get to a pretty good U shape, but bending beyond that, I
always had trouble releasing the bender from the tubing.

Karen Christians
Waltham, MA

Standard plumbing benders are too big, of course, but hardware
stores usually have a large and varied selection of smaller steel

Another option is to make your own spring.

I’ve not tried this, but it may work.

Use the tube to be formed as the mandrel & wind a coil of copper or
iron wire (available at the hardware store) around the tube. Then
without removing the coil form the tube into the shape you want. The
gauge of the wire used to wrap the tube should be heavier than the
thickness of the tube wall & the temper of the wire should be harder
than the tube.

Removing the coil may be easier if you put a thin film of lubricant
on the tube before winding the coil.