One of the questions that we get from time to time goes something like this, “What is the difference between a tube and pipe bender?” Similarly, we sometimes get asked to clarify the difference between tube and pipe in general.
The difference between a pipe and tube bender is pretty simple, there is none. If a machine can bend a tube, it can bend a pipe.
The only exceptions to this would be for either very large or very small tubes and piping.
Still, when this is the case, it wouldn’t matter if the material to be bent was a tube or a pipe; if it were very large or very small, you would need to use a machine that was capable of handling either specification.
So, while there is no difference between a pipe and a tube bending machine, there is a difference between a tube and a pipe. And, it turns out, nailing down that difference can be a bit tricky.
If you do a quick search for tube vs. pipe, you will find a number of answers. The prevailing wisdom would suggest that the difference lies in how they are measured. A pipe is measured with inside diameter while a tube is measured by its outside diameter. Many sources will also bring up the use of a schedule when measuring pipe, referring to its wall thickness.
Also, tubes need not be round and, in fact, can be a variety of shapes like square or oval. Pipes, on the other hand, are always round.
The best differentiation between tube and pipe, however, seems to be the use of an inside diameter and schedule for pipe and outside diameter for tubes.
If you have questions about tube, or pipe, bending, and fabrication, please send them to us or comment on this post, and we would be happy to have one of our experts provide the answers.
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