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Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: June 15, 2008 10:48PM
I lent out a bike trailer like this one:

And received it back with one of the top aluminum cross members seriously bent (if you look closely at the pic you'll see the axle is steel)
Manufacturer says
Quote

the grade of aluminum we used on those trailers was quite ductile, and bending the crossmember back will cause no serious harm

I actually own a fairly heavy duty pipe-bender, but I don't know what one would use to straighten such a tube. Ideally something like a section of hardened steel tubing of slightly larger diameter that could be clamped around and slowly tightened down.

Anyone know of a standard tool or process to do the job? Is this something they'd be able to do with a special tool or machine at an average auto repair or body shop?

Thanks!
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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: Dick Moore
Date: June 15, 2008 10:58PM
Fill the tubing with sand and plug ends. Then use your pipe bender to gently straighten it out. "Quite ductile tubing" -- that's a feature, not a bug.....



What it is, man, a low-down and funky feelin'
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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: Black Landlord
Date: June 15, 2008 11:00PM
Would prefer to not have to remove it-- bolts will need to be cut off at this point- it's one of the ones that the fenders attach to as well.
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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: June 15, 2008 11:03PM
Quote
Dick Moore
Fill the tubing with sand and plug ends.

Just curious, what does filling the tubing with sand achieve? I've never heard of doing that before.
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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: June 15, 2008 11:11PM
Quote
C(-)ris
Quote
Dick Moore
Fill the tubing with sand and plug ends.

Just curious, what does filling the tubing with sand achieve? I've never heard of doing that before.

If it's packed in tightly, the tube is no longer hollow and won't collapse. Or at least that's what the girl thinks. We'll see if I'm right or wrong.
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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: olnacl
Date: June 16, 2008 05:29AM
Quote
AlphaDog
If it's packed in tightly, the tube is no longer hollow and won't collapse. Or at least that's what the girl thinks. We'll see if I'm right or wrong.

True, my father showed me that trick and we used it frequently. However, results are usually more predictable when bending rather than "unbending" - just speaking from experience. YMMV



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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: iaJim
Date: June 16, 2008 07:00AM
I think there is a tool that is a long, tight spring that fits inside tubing for bending it. Don't know if it wouid work for straightening. If you could get it inside, it would probably work. In the end, it might just be cheaper/easier to replace the tube.
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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: June 16, 2008 08:48AM
I generally use a special tool called an Aluminum Tube Section Straightener. I have also found that you can pound salt as easily as sand, but the salt stings.
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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: June 16, 2008 08:56AM
Aerospahre shows use pressurized water (hydrobending) for the same purpose. Good luck with that. Cool trailer. I was buzzing around the neighborhood garage sales the other day with the kid carrier trailer on the back of the bike to carry 'finds'. Sure beats carrying all that stuff on your back.
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Re: Need to straighten a section of aluminum tubing-- special tools?
Posted by: Dik2
Date: June 16, 2008 09:30AM
Replace it.
There are no tools to "unbend" damaged aluminum tubing.
The metal has been stretched. You can't shrink it back to it's original shape.
Bike shop?
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