How to bend a stainless steel pipe

Updated April 17, 2017

If you have a length of straight stainless steel pipe that needs to be bent to a certain shape, you can do it easily as long as you have a pipe bender. These are simple to operate and require very little effort to convert your pipe to the correct angles. Before you can bend your pipe you will have to know what types of bends you can make and which is best suited for your needs.

Choose the type of bend you want to make in your pipe. Depending on what you will use your stainless steel pipe for, you will need to apply a different bending method.

Select a rotary draw bend for standard 90-degree pipe bend. The bender will force the pipe through a fixed formation, thereby creating the simple bend.

Use a mandrel bender if you cannot afford any deformities for items like exhaust pipes and heat exchangers that need perfect tubes. A mandrel is a tapered bar that is inserted into the centre of a lathe to secure a material that is being worked on. The mandrel bender has a flexible mandrel, which is inserted into the tube as it bends and supports it from within to prevent imperfections.

Run the pipe through a ring roll bender, which has a pyramid-shaped fixed-form that shapes the pipe as it passes through it, to create a round-shaped pipe. This is useful for decorative tubes and other items that require rounded lengths of pipe.

Insert the stainless steel pipe into the bender of your choice. The rotary and ring roll benders are loaded by simply inserting the end of the pipe into the opening in the bender.

Slide the steel pipe onto the length of the mandrel if you are using the mandrel bender.

Turn the lever slowly on the bender to advance the pipe through the bender.

Keep turning the lever until the pipe is bent and exits the bender.


If you have a digital or adjustable bender you will need to set the bending directions according to the machine's manual.


Keep your hands away from the pipe as it enters and exits the bending mechanism while it is in operation.

Things You'll Need

  • Pipe bender
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About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Robert Raphael has been writing health and technology articles since 1993. His work has appeared in “Natural Living” magazine and “Extreme PC” magazine. Raphael received the Jonathan Melman Literary Award in 1994. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brandeis University.