Impossible Tube Shapes

Challenge 

We worked with a large client to develop a complex 3 dimensional lighted tube structure requiring a series of precision compound curves. The curved tubes were spiral shaped, and 24 feet long. Each tube had 4000 unique radii, which would have to be blended together leaving smooth, flowing transitions. We needed a forming process which constrained the tube cross-section, maintaining the perfect roundness of the tubes. We needed a forming process which did not exist in North America.

 

Solution

For years we had admired a Japanese maker of highly specialized free form tube bending equipment. The company arranged for us to use their equipment for proof of concept. It took several days to master the complexities, but we were able to create a first article for our client. From that, they were able to examine an actual product. They were also able to see the article as it would be made in production. We were able to quote the project based on actual production. When we were awarded the contract to produce, we ordered the machine to produce it. Now we have an amazing resource... the largest free form 3-D tube bender in the Western Hesisphere. And our Japanese partner has invited our company to distribute this unique machine in the eastern half of North America.

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