I'm often impressed by the knowledge and skill of people who design and build hydraulic systems. The power and control capabilities of these machines is truly impressive, but some of the skill that goes into them looks like a work of art.
There's just something about an array of tube assemblies parallel and with elbows perfectly aligned. I've made a few tubing assemblies for my home's plumbing system, so I can appreciate the skill and expertise that go into cutting a tube to just the right length, bending it to a precise 90°, and assembling it into a perfectly (or in my case, less than perfectly) aligned assembly.
I just learned of a new tool that should make work easier for designers of tubing assemblies — a new iPhone app. Looks like it's quite useful, and it's free. Developed by tube bending machinery specialist Unison Ltd., Eastfield, England, the calculator lets users quickly and easily determine the tooling needed for performing a particular bending task on any type or make of tube bender. By simply entering the bend radius, tube diameter, and wall thickness (in metric or imperial units), users can instantly gain a clear visual representation of the type of mandrel and wiper die they will need to achieve a perfect bend.
Compatible with any iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad running IOS 4.0 or later, the tube bending tooling calculator will be regularly updated with new features and functions. Already under development are user-selectable tube profiles and material types — such as steel, stainless steel, copper, etc — that will allow machine-specific calculations, such as bending force requirements.
Version 1.0 of the calculator can be downloaded free of charge from Apple's iTunes App Store. Click here, then enter tube bending tooling calculator into the search window Users are also encouraged to sign up for free updates and to suggest future enhancements to Unison by emailing [email protected].
Unison products are available in North Ameriuca from Horn Machine Tools, Madera, Calif. Call (559) 431-4131 or visit www.hornmachinetools.com.