Hand beading tools for tubing

Written by ian kelly
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Hand beading tools for tubing
Metal tubing must have an end bead to prevent a clamped hose from dislodging under pressure. (details image by Vaida from Fotolia.com)

To secure flexible hose to metal tubing, the tubing must have a raised bead near the end of the tube to provide a gripping ridge for a hose clamp. A clamp tightened around the hose on the far side of the bead will prevent the hose from dislodging under pressure. The metal tubing industry produce beaded tubing in standard lengths; however, to apply a bead to a cut length of pipe in the field, a hand beading tool is necessary.

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The Parker Beading Tool

During WW II, the Parker Tool Company manufactured a high quality hand beading tool for the U. S. Air force and military. Soon military surplus Parker beading tools became the tool of choice throughout the civil aviation and automotive industry. The Parker tool has since gone out of production; however, the Sky Geek organisation has secured the rights to this tool and has resumed production of an improved version. The tool is similar in many respects to a hand operated pipe-cutting tool. The cut end of the pipe is placed over a free-turning shaft machined with a raised bead profile situated halfway along its length; the operator then clamps a wheel machined with a matching indentation onto the outside of the pipe by turning a knurled handle on the end of the tool in a clockwise direction. The tool is then rotated around the pipe to start the bead. The operator progressively tightens the knurled knob after each rotation to form the finished bead. These Parker-style tools are available in various configurations to suit copper, aluminium and mild steel tube, ranging from 1/4 to 1-inch in diameter.

The EZ Tubing Beader

This tool resembles an unthreaded bolt with a smaller bolt threaded through its hexagonal head. It includes three adjustable evenly-spaced spring-loaded domed bead-forming dies protruding through the surface of the tool halfway along its length. The tool is inserted into the end of tubing held in a vice. The operator uses a large wrench to rotate the tool within the tube, while the smaller bolt containing a tapered end is progressively tightened with a smaller wrench. The tapered surface on the end of the inner shaft then forces the spring-loaded bead-forming dies outward against the inside wall of the tubing. This action produces a perfectly radiused bead near the lip of the tubing. Various sizes of the EZ tubing beader are available, but the tool can only handle aluminium tubing with a wall thickness of between .035 and .065 inch.

Cranked Beading Tool

The crank type tubing beader consists of a square box mounted in a vice. The box has a crank handle on one side and two opposing wheel-shaped beading dyes on the opposite side. The operator first places the end of the tube over the lower free-turning male dye. He then lowers the larger, gear driven female upper dye onto the outside of the tubing by turning a top-mounted adjustment knob in a clockwise direction. He cranks the handle twice to turn the gear-driven upper dye. This action revolves the tubing with its outer wall clamped between the dyes, forming the beginning of the bead. The operator tightens the adjustment knob on the top of the box 1/4 turn to lower the female dye and cranks the handle twice. This action is repeated until the operator cannot tighten the adjustment knob further, and a perfect radiused bead is formed near the lip of the tubing. Various size dyes are available for different diameter steel, copper or aluminium pipe.

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