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.

Things to Know about Thin Wall Stainless Tubing

Things to Know about Thin Wall Stainless Tubing

There are several advantages, and one concern to be aware of, when using thin wall stainless tubing, depending upon your applications. For instance, this type of tubing does help improve fluid flow rates any time you are working with a variety of liquids. Because the inside diameter is slightly larger than regular wall, fluids are able to pass faster from one end to the other. Delivery rates can be adjusted using different approaches, including reducing the amount of pressure placed on the fluid, or using a longer section of tubing.

Another advantage to using thin wall stainless tubing is it makes it much easier to pass viscous materials through the tubing. Any type of material which is sticky, thick, or greasy may get clogged or stuck in regular walled tubing. But, again, because the inner diameter is larger, these materials are able to be moved through the tubing easier and help avoid them from becoming clogged.

The main concern you need to know about has to do with bending the tubing to a desired angle. Because the wall is thinner than regular walled tubing, extra care has to be taken to prevent breaking or crimping the tubing. Often, it is recommended for this type of secondary finishing operation to use regular wall tubing in the desired inner diameter opening by switching to a different gauge size. In the event you must use a thin wall and require it bent, just remember it can take longer to complete this process, as special care is needed to maintain the integrity of the tubing.


Switching from Regular to Thin Wall Stainless Tubing Increases Fluid Flow Rates

Variances in the wall thicknesses of stainless steel tubing determine whether they are regular wall, extra thin wall, or thin wall stainless tubing. It is important to understand how changes to the wall thickness can have an impact on your applications using this type of tubing. For example, when you are using the stainless tubing as part of plumbing circuits to deliver water or other fluids in food production, the fluid flow rate of delivery is determined by the thickness of the tubing. Moving from regular wall to thin wall, without changing the gauge, increases the inside diameter, which means more fluid is able to pass through the tubing and increase the fluid flow rate.

Experiment with Thin Wall Stainless Tubing When Developing New Fluid Delivery Systems

When developing and creating a new fluid delivery system, it is worth your time to experiment with different sizes of stainless steel tubing in order to achieve the desired fluid flow rates. To help you determine the correct wall of tubing to use, you are able to obtain small samples of different gauges of stainless steel hypodermic tubing directly from us. We can supply you with regular wall, extra thin wall and thin wall stainless tubing in the desired gauge size, ranging from 5, down to 36. Once you determine the correct type of tubing you will need, we also provide secondary finishing options that allow you to obtain all of your tubing already precut, deburred and cleaned, in the desired lengths.

Connect Thin Wall Stainless Tubing Together By Using Hypodermic Tubing Adaptors

Sometimes certain applications may require connecting different sections and gauges of thin wall stainless tubing together. In order to create a secure connection between the two sections of tubing, you need to use a hypodermic tubing adaptor. The adaptors are polyimide graphite ferrules which are used with standard compression fittings to connect the tubing together or to any plumbing circuit.

Understand How Using Hypodermic Tubing Adaptors with Thin Wall Stainless Tubing Affects Flow Rates 

When using thin wall stainless tubing and hypodermic tubing adaptors with a reducer, you need to determine how using the adaptor can affect flow rates. For instance, if you desire to maintain the same flow rate, you might have to reduce the amount of pressure on the line. On the other hand if the flow rate is to be increased, the current pressure could be sufficient enough to deliver the desired output.

Get Custom Thin Wall Stainless Tubing by Using Finishing Processes

Thin wall stainless tubing can have finishing process applied in order to cut, bevel, deburr and clean the tubing. This type of tubing is also able to be cut to length and turned into blunt needle assemblies for use in manufacturing and laboratory processes. You may even require a combination of these various finishing processes, such as having blunt needles assemblies created using custom cut lengths of tubing in various gauges.

Thin Wall Stainless Tubing Has a Larger Inner Diameter than Regular Wall Tubing 

Several industries use thin wall stainless tubing as a means to increase the fluid flow rates of certain materials. Since the interior diameter opening in the tubing is slightly larger than regular wall stainless tubing, it allows fluids to pass through the interior at a faster rate. For example, when working with a thick lubricant or adhesive, this increase can be the difference between the materials becoming clogged or having it flow correctly out of the tubing.

Try Thin Wall Stainless Tubing When You Have Issues with Regular Wall Tubing

In situations where you are having issues fitting a guide wire or other similar item through the interior of stainless steel tubing you may want to try a different wall size. For instance, you might be using regular wall tubing and find the wire fits too tightly. You could be able to resolve this issue by switching to thin wall stainless tubing in the same gauge size. This is because the wall size is slightly thinner which creates a slightly larger inner diameter.

Avoid Ordering the Wrong Size Thin Wall Stainless Tubing by Use a Size Reference Chart

It is easy for some people to get confused about the gauge sizes and how they affect the inner diameter of thin wall stainless tubing. Someone not too familiar with this product may assume that as the gauge sizes increase the inner diameters also become larger. However, this would be a wrong assumption. Rather, as the gauge sizes increase the inner diameters actually become smaller. The easiest way to avoid making this error is to keep a size reference chart on hand showing the gauge sizes as well as the measurements for the inner diameters.

Thin Wall Stainless Tubing Helps Tattoo and Henna Artists Create Their Designs

There are uses outside of manufacturing and medical applications where thin wall stainless tubing is used. For example, tattoo and henna artists often use this type of tubing to deliver precise amounts of ink to their designs and creations. It is common for these professionals to use a variety of different gauge sizes in order to create stunning and vibrant images. The tubing can be attached to a needle assembly and used on bottles or syringes or be directly applied to a tattoo gun.

Several Options Are Available for Obtaining Thin Wall Stainless Tubing

You have options for obtaining thin wall stainless tubing in several different ways. You could order it in bulk lengths. This option does require you to have the proper cutting tools available in order to cut your tubing to size. When you do not have cutting tools or do not want to worry about having to cut your tubing, you can order it already custom cut to the sizes you require. Another option is to order the tubing as part of a blunt needle either in individual sizes or as part of a tubing kit with multiple sizes.

Determine Required Inventories of Thin Wall Stainless Tubing

You can make an inventory list of your current stock of thin wall stainless tubing and determine the sizes you use the most frequently. You should calculate the correct number of each size to have in inventory and at what level to reorder more. By keeping a steady supply of thin wall tubing in different sizes on hand you will never run out. The sizes listed on our webpage are standard, stock, items for us. So even if you do run out we should have them ready to ship.

The Types of Thin Wall Stainless Tubing Required Depends Upon the Industry

The kind of business industry does determine the types of thin wall stainless tubing needed. For example, hospitals, doctors’ offices and other healthcare operations will often use this tubing as part of needle assembles. In order to have a varied assortment of sizes it is best to order the tubing in lab kits. You may also use the tubing for other applications, which requires using different sizes and lengths, such as for wire guide assemblies.

Thin Wall Stainless Tubing Is Used in the Pest Management Industry

Thin wall stainless tubing is used to create dispensing needles, which can be used in for other purposes besides medical related fields. For instance, in the pest management industry, dispensing needles, or tips, are applied to the tops of containers holding pesticides and other materials. The precision the tips provide helps to ensure they are delivered in the desired locations, while helping to prevent releasing them in unwanted locations.

You Can Use Thin Wall Stainless Tubing to Refill Inkjet Cartridges

Another application for thin wall stainless tubing is to refill ink jet cartridges when they run out of ink. By refilling your own inkjet cartridges, you can save money on your printing expenses. In order to refill the ink jet cartridge, you will need a dispensing tip, and a syringe or a bottle. You should carefully measure the ink into the syringe or bottle, and attach the dispensing tip. Just make sure to refill the ink in the correct location and avoid overfilling it.