Steel Tube Bending Services: Applications & Uses for Tubular Steel

A conveyor belt in the steel tube bending process

Tubular steel is a multi-functional necessity for many industries. It can be beautiful and decorative, simple and strictly functional, and anywhere in between.

It can be large or small, short or long, thick or thin, and can be bent into most shapes. Contrary to popular belief, however, tubing doesn't have to be circular. There are also square and rectangular tube options, as well as oval, D-shaped, and more.

Overall, steel tube bending services form the backbone of many different applications. 

Why Opt for Steel Tubing 

Steel tubing is stronger than plastic tubes of similar size. It's also quite resistant to high temperatures and caustic materials.

Bending tubular steel is possible with:

Pro Tip: Though sometimes used interchangeable, tube bending and pipe bending are not the same thing.

Free Tube Bending Guide

6 Uses for Steel Tube Bending Services 

As a versatile material, steel tubes meet a variety of applications. Here are some of the most common uses for custom tube fabrication services:

  1. Industrial and machinery 
  2. Automobile and transportation 
  3. Architecture and construction 
  4. Home appliances
  5. Aerospace and Military 
  6. Medical

1. Industrial Applications & Machinery


Steel tubing is used widely in industrial applications. Most commonly, you'll see it transporting water, gases, and liquid wastes throughout industrial complexes. Fluid transport is also an important factor for many industrial production lines.

Steel tubes are a very common component of industrial machines. They're used in:

  • Conveyors 
  • Hydraulic equipment 
  • Mills
  • Production equipment
  • Many other types of machinery

Chances are, you've got steel tubes in most, if not all, of your own in-house machines in some form or another.

2. Automobile & Transport

Steel Tube Bending Services automobile

Cars, trucks, planes, trains, and other modes of transportation use steel tubing to transport liquids and gases through the engines and fuel lines. Most commonly, gas, oil, steam, and smoke travel via steel tubes.

In the auto industry, steel tubing and tube bending services are required for exhaust pipes and muffler components. Certain chemicals, such as exhaust, require metal tubing for safe transportation.

High-strength steel tubing is used in roll cages for off-road and extreme sport vehicles.

3. Architecture/Construction

Steel Tube Bending Services architecture

Steel tubing is popular in the construction of high-quality home and commercial buildings. From a design point of view, tubular steel is a very striking aesthetic choice. Many designers use tubular steel on construction sites to make them more appealing.

The most common architectural application is in stairways and railings, though you can also find structural steel tubing in supports and decorative ceilings and roofs.

Tubular steel is also proven to reduce gas leaks in buildings.

4. Home Appliances


Steel tubing can be found in a variety of everyday home appliances. Refrigerators commonly use steel or other metal tubes for their water lines. Sinks, toilets, and other water dispensers use either metal or plastic tubing, though metal is less likely to leak.

Everyday home and garden tools also make use of steel tubing. Your snow shovel, weed whacker, and grill are just a few examples.

Water filtration systems, home heating systems, and other necessary systems may also require steel tubing for liquid and gas distribution.

5. Aircraft, Aerospace, & Military

Steel Tube Bending Services space station

These industries require tubular steel made with tough alloys and high resistance to extreme conditions.

Satellites and space stations use steel tubing for a large variety of applications, again, mostly for fluid transport. In space, the components of these structures require much higher strength and durability than they would on Earth.

Aircraft and the military also require strong tubular components due to the extremely stressful conditions in which they'll be used. Aircraft require steel tubing in their landing gear, motor shafts, exhaust stacks, and other necessary pieces.

The military often uses tubular steel in weapons components (such as assault rifles) and military vehicles.

6. Medical

Steel Tube Bending Services stethoscope

The medical industry uses tubular steel in equipment and patient-assistance applications. Medical steel must be durable and high-quality to make sure doctors can provide the best care for their patients.

Some surgical tools require stainless steel tubing, and many orthopedic implants must be tube-shaped to match the shape of a bone. Stethoscopes must be made from a particular type of steel tubing to create the most effective balance between sound transmission and ease of use.

However, you're most likely to find tubular steel in:

  • Hospital beds
  • Wheelchairs
  • IV stands
  • Other patient-assistance devicesz

Other Industries That Work With Steel Tube Bending Companies

These aren't the only industries that take advantage of tubular steel. We've had clients request large orders in:

  • Energy
  • Retail
  • Luxury items


Steel Tube Bending Services: Design Must Haves

Regardless of your project, there are a few “musts” your design should have for your metal manufacturer. 

  1. Material identifier 
  2. Bend radii 
  3. Bend location 
  4. Bend angle - number of degrees; greatly affects raw material calculations 
  5. Length of bend 
  6. Raw material length
  7. Final part dimensions with appropriate tolerances 
  8. Mandrel or non-mandrel bent


We take a deeper dive into each of these components in our Steel Tube Sizing Chart, which you can download for free here:

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Steel Tube Bending Services For Your Project 

Custom tube bending is a wonderfully diverse service for a huge number of applications. It might even be a perfect fit for your applications, if you nail down your specs right.

(Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2016 and was recently updated.)

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