How to Work With Stainless Steel Pipes & Tubing

ridgid pipe working toolsWorking with stainless steel pipes and tubing isn't easy.

Here's why:

  • stainless steel work hardens
  • stainless steel is often used in sterile environments

How does that translate into in real world terms?

  • bending stainless steel can be a nightmare. The more you try to bend it, the harder it becomes
  • the tools you use to cut, ream, bend or flare stainless steel pipes and tubing cannot cross-contaminate the product you're working on

It therefore follows that the tools you use to cut, ream, bend or flare the stainless steel pipes and tubing you're working on must be functional, practical and safe.

Toolstop is here to help you work with stainless steel, and to do so quickly and efficiently.

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We asked Ridgid to show us the best products you should be using to work with stainless steel, and to give you some tips on how best to work with stainless steel. To help you guys out, we've created with them a 4 part video series on working with stainless steel.

How To Cut Stainless Steel Pipes & Tubes

To cut stainless steel you need a tube or pipe cutter that's up the job; stainless steel, by its nature, is a tough animal.
Choose a stainless steel cutter that will allow you to cut quickly, accurately and cleanly. Ridgid have re-engineered it's stainless steel cutters so that they now feature roller bearings on a hardened pin.


To smooth out the cutting process. It's that simple. Coupled with the hardened cutting wheel, Ridgid reckon the 35S (29963) stainless steel tubing cutter will make it much easier for you to cut stainless steel pipes and tubes.

See it in action in our demonstration video here.

How to Ream Stainless Steel Pipes & Tubes

This isn't a problem unique to cutting stainless steel. Rather, any sort of cut you make into metal using a wheeled cutter produces burr either inside the pipe or on the outside. That's the by-product of performing a "displacement cut".

This burr, if left, can impede the flow through the pipe.

So, you have to get rid of it and you do so by reaming.

Again, stainless steel is a hard metal, so you need to use a reamer that is up to the job. Ridgid recommend using 223S or the 227S (29993) inner-outer reamer.

We asked Ridgid's Mike to show us these products in action. Check it out here.

How to Bend Stainless Steel Pipes & Tubes

As mentioned above, stainless steel work hardens. The more you try to bend it, the harder it becomes.

We asked Ridgid to show us how to easily get around this problem.

First of all, leverage is king. Ridgid recommend using a stainless steel pipe bender that has long handles as this will give you the required leverage to bend the pipe or tube.

Another key factor when working with steel is cross-contamination, as we mentioned above. Ridgid's stainless steel benderis fitted with stainless steel rollers and formers.

The inclusion of rollers is another key design feature. These will easily glide around the tube as you bend it, making your job much easier.

Click here to watch it in action, and pick up some tips along the way.

How to Flare Stainless Steel Pipes & Tubes

Lastly we want to look at how to flare stainless steel pipes and tubes.

A flared end on a steel pipe is a way of jointing pipe fittings, along the pipe to be sit to a coned seat fitting.

Again, our challenge is creating a flare on the end of our stainless steel pipe bearing in mind how it will work harden.

Ridgid understand this problem and in our demo video, we're shown how to easily flare the stainless steel using a flaring tool.

The key is to make sure you have a firm grip on the flaring tool, per our video, and the tool will do the hard work.

Check out the video here

So there you go, from the cutting to the reaming, the bending to the flaring, we've covered 4 ways you'll work with stainless steel pipes and tubings, and how to quickly, efficiently and safely get the job done, thanks to Ridgid.

What challenges do you face working with pipes and tubing? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook or on Twitter using #DIYTradetips.

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Seamus Lowe on Tue, 20 May 2014 17:38:27 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

I'm going to have to get some of the tools. I'm hoping to build a special wind chime for my wife. She loves wind chimes and I'm hoping to make it out of really good steel pipe, and make it interesting as well. It's not going to be a normal wind chime, but something in the shape of an otter, because she loves otters as well. It's going to be a great birthday present for her.
-Seamus |

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