As the Pipe Turns: Deciding Between Elbows and Bends

If you are designing a machine with metal pipes and you need one of the pipes to change direction, you have two options. You can work with an induction pipe bender and bend your pipe, or you can use an elbow. Wondering which is best for your situation? Consider the following tips.

1. Format

A bend refers to a bend made in a piece of metal. The bend can be made through hot or cold induction bending, and once it is done, you have a contiguous piece of metal piping that has a turn or angle in the middle of it.

In contrast, an elbow is a turn or angle all on its own. You connect two pipes to the elbow, and the pipes are straight, while the elbow takes care of the curve. If you prefer one of these forms over the other for aesthetic reasons, you should opt for that. Otherwise, you need to keep comparing bends and elbows.

2. Customization

Many elbows come pre-manufactured. This can work well if you know the angle you need. Then you simply need to find an elbow that is the right size to work with your pipe as well as one that has the threads, screws or phalanges you need to connect it to your pipe. However, if you prefer, you can also order elbows in custom materials with custom angles and radii.

Similarly, induction bending is also custom work, making it easy to select exactly the properties you need. If you want a pre-fabricated option, you may want to start looking for elbows that work with your project, but the matter of customization is a toss-up, as you can customise both elbows and bends.

3. Installation

If you opt for elbows, you have to put the pipes into the elbows or you have to pay someone else to do it. That can involve welding. In contrast, if you choose to use a bend, the manufacturer or induction bender puts the bend in for you. Then, the pipe is ready for you to use it. As a result, installation can be easier if you choose a bend instead of an elbow.

4. Maintenance

When you have a bend, it is virtually maintenance free. You don't have to worry about the connection breaking as you may have to with an elbow. That means a bend is likely to involve less maintenance, especially if all other conditions such as type of metal, angle of turn, environment, etc. are the same. As a result, if you don't want to do a lot of maintenance, a bend may be the best option for your project.