Bending Hypodermic Tubing

headshot1bwLet’s face it, bending a thin, little, hollow tube that’s smaller than a 1/16” diameter takes virtually no effort at all. The rub comes when you still want to be able to pass a gas or a liquid through that tube after it is bent.

Here’s the problem: Even though stainless steel hypodermic tubing is a full hard tube when you get down into the very small ODs like 0.013”- .032,” the tubes do not have enough tensile strength to remain at the radius they are formed. They spring back and you wind up having to bend them at a much smaller radius than your finished radius, thereby compounding your problems.

So, to start mitigating this problem, you need to address these three questions. How big? How steep? How long?


How big (or small) is the OD and ID of the tube I need to bend? Generally speaking, the larger the diameter, the easier the tube is to bend. However, the thinner the wall, the more likely the tube wall is to collapse while being bent.

How steep of an angle do I need to bend? Obviously the greater the angle of bend, the more difficulty you will have in maintaining the wall integrity. We recently did a job for a customer who needed a 135° bend (in essence a V shape.) In this job, the issue was not how to maintain the tube’s ID, but how to minimize and control the collapse of the tube walls during the bending process.

How long can the radius be? The compression/tension forces on the tube walls are exponentially reduced as the radius increases. So your success rate will significantly increase as the radius increases.

So, before you design your next project incorporating some little innocuous bent hypodermic tubing consider these three very inter-related issues, and if there’s anything we can do to assist your process, please contact us:

Supplying Hypodermic Tubing – Component Supply Style

By Mark Maffett
Looking at our product offering it is easy to see we are “heavy” in the area of tubing and fluid handling components. Within the world of tubing products we supply a lot of hypodermic tubing. I wanted to put together the reasons why this is the case because some of them may help buyers and users make good purchasing decisions, and at the same time I get to brag a little about what we have done here at Component Supply Company.

We have work very hard to offer the largest selection available of hypodermic tubing in stock with no minimum order quantity. On top of that, we can issue a material certificate for our tubing, even one 30 inch length, and ship it out the same day. This makes us unique from all other suppliers of hypodermic tubing. There are places you can purchase very small quantities; but not many and they are typically expensive, and I am not familiar with any that will, or can, provide a material certificate with chemical composition. Material certificates are not uncommon for certain suppliers, however. There are usually just large quantity requirements for purchase and shipping an order out the same day is not common for these companies. This is what makes us different from other suppliers on both the small quantity and production quantity side. If I had to sum it up, it would be that we provide material certs. for customers needing small quantities and we can ship production quantity orders the same day.

Our tag line is “The R&D Hardware Store”. We believe this is true, but it is a little deceiving. It is true in the sense that we do supply small quantities to researchers and product developers. However, it implies that is all we supply. In actuality, we supply large quantity hypodermic tubing orders at very competitive prices to hundreds of companies. We also custom fabricate parts by precision cutting, beveling and bending hypodermic tubing as well as produce custom needles. We handle this material so much on a daily basis that we have been able to listen to our customers to find out what is important and develop efficiencies so we can meet the expectations of both the R&D and production user of hypodermic tubes.

Whether you decide to use Component Supply as your hypodermic tubing supplier or not, keep these things in mind. If you need a small quantity and a material certificate, make sure the supplier is able to provide one and understands the difference between a material certificate and a certificate of conformance. If you are purchasing larger volumes find out what the turnaround time would be for the quantity you are looking for. All in all, most of the companies that supply hypodermic tubing are good companies. We are obviously proud of the services we can offer and the unique role Component Supply plays but, as you look around, you will find good quality and good service throughout this industry. That being said, we hope you still choose us.

Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing Is Customizable to Fit Your Applications

Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing Is Customizable to Fit Your Applications 

Certain types of applications may require using thin wall stainless steel tubing in place of regular walled tubing. For example, for operations where fluids are being passed through the tubing, increased fluid flow rates could be required. Because machinery and equipment are often designed to use a specific gauge of stainless tubing, it might not be possible to use a different gauge of regular wall to increase the interior opening. However, higher flow rates are able to be achieved by using a thinner wall in the same gauge, since it has a larger inner diameter.

The thin wall stainless steel tubing you require can be customized to fit with your own applications and requirements. We are able to work directly with you to deliver the quantity and amount of tubing needed, based upon your specifications. For instance, if you require small sections in 5 inch lengths, we are able to cut and deburr the tubing so you do not have to perform this operation. Additionally, we offer other secondary finishing services, such as supplying you with the materials like our straightened stainless steel mandrel wire to pass through the interior of the tubing to make guide wire assemblies. Further, we have the ability to combine this type of tubing in your desired length with custom dispensing tips to provide higher flow rates, as well as enable less viscous fluids to flow more easily. We have solutions for all kinds of industries, including marine, aerospace, agriculture, aquaculture, medical, and pharmaceutical projects, as well as others, to help you achieve your desired results.


Resolve Fluid Flow Rate Issues with Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing

In situations where you are using regular wall stainless steel tubing, but are not achieving the desired fluid flow rates, you have a few options. First, you could look into a smaller gauge size of regular wall tubing as a way to increase the inner diameter and improve flow rates. However, in certain situations, using a smaller gauge may not be compatible with your current equipment setup and can be more costly to implement. Another option is to look at the same gauge size in thin wall stainless steel tubing. Thin wall tubing has the same outside diameter as regular wall tubing, but offers a slightly larger inner diameter. This slight increase might provide the desired results, without having to recalibrate or make changes to your current equipment setup.

Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing Often Requires Some Sort of Customization

Many applications and processes require customizations be applied to standard lengths of thin wall stainless steel tubing. For instance, the standard lengths offered are either 30 inches or 60 inches. In most cases, the tubing has to be cut down from these sizes to your required specifications. In order to cut the tubing correctly, you will need to obtain the right kind of tools designed to work with hypodermic tubing. In the event you either lack the necessary tools, or do not desire spending time measuring and cutting each piece you require, you are able to have us take care of this process with our secondary finishing operations. Other finishing options we provide with thin wall tubing include beveling, cleaning and deburring. Bending may also be requested, but it should be noted that completing the desired angle is slightly more difficult to achieve, in thin wall, than using regular wall tubing with a suitable inner diameter.

Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing Is Used When Working With Thick Fluids

Precision delivery of thick fluids and liquids can be accomplished by using thin wall stainless steel tubing. Because the inner diameter of the tubing is larger than regular wall, it allows fluids to flow better and at a faster rate. You might need to use this style of tubing for processes and applications where glues, adhesives, lubricants and greases are being applied to specific locations on parts and components. Delivery methods include using syringes, bottles and automated machinery. Depending on your exact processes, you may also need to have the tubing custom cut to size or bent at a specific angle in order to reach the area of application.

Non-Sterile Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing Is Used for Industrial and Medical Applications

Non-sterile thin wall stainless steel tubing is designed to be used for industrial applications and certain medical applications which do not require sterilization. It is common for the tubing to be attached to polypropylene luer hubs and made into dispensing needles with a blunt tip for certain processes. The needle assemblies are able to be attached to a syringe or bottle for easier delivery. For instance, in dental offices, this type of delivery system is often used with various liquid materials used to make molds, dentures, implants, veneers and tooth-colored fillings, as well as for procedures used to whiten teeth and supply fluoride treatments. Using the needle assemblies allows for precision delivery to create the desired product in the correct size and shape, and to  ensure the proper amount of fluid is used.

Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing Uses the Same Gauges as Other Stainless Steel Tubing

Not only is it important to select the right gauge but also the right wall thickness when using stainless steel tubing. For instance, thin wall stainless steel tubing with a gauge size of 12 has the same otter diameter of regular wall and extra thin wall tubing. The difference has to do with the inside diameter being slightly larger than regular wall and slightly smaller than extra thin wall tubing.

Use Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing When You Want to Change Fluid Flow Rates

The wall size is important when you want to use a set gauge of tubing and need to increase or decrease the flow rate of fluid through the tubing. If you are using extra thin wall and the fluid is flowing through too fast, you should try using thin wall stainless steel tubing to decrease the flow rate. On the other hand, if you are using regular wall tubing and the fluid is passing through too slowly, thin wall tubing will help increase the flow rate.

You Can Use Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing with Thicker Liquids

Thin wall stainless steel tubing can be used with thicker liquids and materials such as adhesives and glues. These types of liquids flow at a slower rate and may require a thinner wall in order to be properly dispensed. The tubing is often connected to a nub and made part of a dispensing tip. The dispensing tip could be attached to a bottle, syringe or other kind of delivery device.

Maintain Product Quality by Using Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing for Fluid Delivery

Since thin wall stainless steel tubing is used for delivering the fluids during production, there are various ways in which exact amounts can be applied. By ensuring the correct amount of fluid is delivered, you are able to prevent both under applying and over applying the fluid. Product quality will be able to be kept constant as a result of using accurate delivery methods.

There Are Medical and Industrial Applications for Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing

Thin wall stainless steel tubing can be used for both medical and industrial applications. The exact purpose for the tubing will depend upon where and how it will be used. For example, this type of tubing can be attached to a nub and turned into a needle assembly. The needle assembly can be used to extract and apply fluids. Another use for this type of tubing is to pass straightened wire through the interior opening to create wire guide assemblies.

You Can Use the Inner Diameter of Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing to Determine Gauge Size

The size of thin wall stainless steel tubing is determined by the gauge of the tubing. In cases where you are not sure of the exact gauge size you require, but know the inner diameter required you can use this measurement and work backwards to select the gauge size. For instance, if you require an inner diameter opening of 0.089 inches, you would want 12 gauge tubing.

Options for Ordering Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing

Thin wall stainless steel tubing is available in both 30 inch and 60 inch sections, when you will be doing your own cutting in-house. You will need to decide if you want to perform this extra step, or if it would be more beneficial to order your tubing already cut to the sizes you require. For example, if your production runs are small and do not require a large amount of time, then you may have the time needed to cut the tubing yourself. On the other hand, if you have a high output of tubing, and go through it quickly, ordering it cut to size will ensure you have enough available at all times.


There Are Custom Finishing Options Available with Thin Wall Stainless Steel Tubing


Certain types of applications will require thin wall stainless steel tubing to be finished in a precise manner. You may require that the tubing be angled at 45 degrees, or require it to have a blunt tip finish. You can obtain both of these types of finishes as a custom finishing option when ordering your tubing, as well as others.

Problems with Fluid Flow Rates Can be resolved by Using Thin Wall Stainless Tubing

Thin wall stainless tubing can be used in place of regular wall tubing to solve problems related to fluid flow rates. When you require a set amount of fluid to be delivered, in a set period of time, the size of the wall can be a factor. When the wall is thicker, fluid flow rates can be restricted, as the volume of fluid flowing through the tubing will be limited. By switching to a thinner wall, the volume of fluid can be increased without having to switch gauge sizes.

Thin Wall Stainless Tubing Has Non-Liquid Applications

Besides being used with liquids, thin wall stainless tubing can be used as a protective barrier. You can pass straightened wire, cable, or other types of wiring through the center of the tubing. This type of scenario is common when the tubing is used to create wire guide assemblies. Another situation where it can be beneficial is to add wall support in order to connect two ends of a wire, cable or other flexible part together.