How To Calculate a Pipe Bend

Bending a pipe is usually done when you need to run a conduit or pipe of some sort that will go through certain crevices until it reaches its connecting destination.  Obviously, to fit the mold you want your conduit to run through, you will need to bend it in certain places.  Contrary to what other people think, you need to do some calculations when it comes to pipe bending since you want to get the starting and ending points of the bend just right.  Here is the basic procedure on how to accurately calculate a pipe bend regardless of the diameter and length of the pipe or conduit you are bending and the tool you will use to bend it.

  • Determine the “Take Up”.  The first step will consist of you determining the “Take Up” which is a term used for the measurement that you will need to add or deduct a specific margin or allowance of the bend in terms of length.  Normally, the “Take Up” is a measurement found in the actual pipe bending tool you are using.  To get it, you will need to measure the shoe of your bending tool all the way to the front mark on the pipe.  Basically, based on the figures on the bending shoe, you will be able to derive the different angles that you can follow to bend your pipe.
  • Diameter does not matter.  Know that when bending pipes with different diameters at the same particular angle is pretty much the same.  Yes, the whole process is identical however; the “Take Up” measurement usually varies.  For instance, if you bend a half inch diameter pipe at a 90 degree angle, then you will probably get a take up of about 5 inches.  The 5 inch take up will then be deducted to the total length of the pipe bend.  Now, if you are measuring for the same angled bend with a ¼ diameter pipe, then you will be getting a very different “Take Up” measurement.
  • Mark it.  Since you have a “Take Up” measurement of 5 inches in the bag, continue with the process and mark the 5 inches on the pipe itself.  In this case, you will want to mark the total length of the bend first.  For instance, if the length is 13 inches, then mark it.  Once that is done, minus 5 inches of the original mark and dot that with a pen of another color so that you will be fully aware which is what. 
  • Bend it.  As soon as you have marked the bend correctly, it is not time for you to bend it.  To do this, place the pipe on a table and bring in the pipe bending tool you will be using.  Set the bending shoe right as this will be your guide for the angle of the bend.  Bend the pipe until you reach the desired angle (90 degrees for this example).  Do it slowly as you really do not want to go overboard.  After bending, check the length of the bend and see if it matches your total length which is 13 inches.  If it does, then you did it correctly.

Calculating the pipe bend and actually bending the pipe may take some getting used to especially if this is your first time.  As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect” hence, make sure to keep practicing until you get the hang of it.


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