Making hard hydraulic lines
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    J3 Driver's Avatar
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    Making hard hydraulic lines

    Getting ready to add an auxiliary hydraulic system to my son’s cub. Would really like to make the lines from the bypass pluck to the control valves, and then to the outlets.

    What material would you guys make them out of. Max pressure for the system is 1300-1500 PSI.

    Would aluminum work?

    And I’m thinking to make the bends I’ll need a tubing bender. What would you guys recommend.

    Hoping for something like this when it’s done.



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    Captain Hook Kennyd's Avatar
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    I think you want steel, even with the lower pressures. I've not done them myself so I can't advise much. This place sells everything you'd need:

    STEEL TUBING, FITTINGS & TOOLING | Trausch Dynamics
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    They sell nice benders for steel tubing plus fairing tools. On my Power Wagon I use pre made lines and bend them to the shape needed.
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    I use copper nickle tube when I remake brake lines, don't know if that's suitable for tractor hydraulic lines though. It's easier to work with than steel and more corrosion resistant, might be worth researching for your use.
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    Use steel tubing meant for the purpose.
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    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    If you bend tubing the way I do, buy extra.

    Maybe get some easier to bend tubing to experiment with and kinda make a mock-up of what you want the final product to look like. It will also serve as "practice".

    I have watched electricians bend conduit and pipe fitters bend copper and they make it look sooooooooo easy. NOT! It is a learned skill and an art.

    A little time and patience and it will look great.

    I'll be waiting to see the finished work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtgt View Post
    If you bend tubing the way I do, buy extra.

    Maybe get some easier to bend tubing to experiment with and kinda make a mock-up of what you want the final product to look like. It will also serve as "practice".

    I have watched electricians bend conduit and pipe fitters bend copper and they make it look sooooooooo easy. NOT! It is a learned skill and an art.

    A little time and patience and it will look great.

    I'll be waiting to see the finished work.
    This is an excellent idea! Brake lines are cheap
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    There is literally a type of steel tubing called welded hydraulic. it can be purchased in a variety of wall thicknesses to accommodate target operating pressures and safety margins.

    On production equipment that will run millions of cycles I have had perfect results using Parker Ferrule Lock fittings, but they do require investing in a setting tool to properly bite the hardened tube ferrule into the OD of the steel tube.
    There are many other good options though.
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    J3, The fittings in your pics are 37° flare fittings. They're a good "system" but not too forgiving for a novice tube bender. I would suggest "bite type" fittings... Parker Ferrule Lock or Eaton Weatherhead Ermetto. Either one, although recommended by the manufacturer, do not require a presetting tool. (I know Weatherhead says: Install tubing in nut & ferrule. Place into fitting and tighten nut until tubing does not turn by finger pressure. Tighten nut 1 1/6 turn more.)

    Tubing: I tried to find specs for brake tubing and couldn't. My suggestion would be steel hydraulic tubing, welded or DOM. Use .035 wall thickness, whether 3/8" or 1/2".

    Bender: Harbor Freight sells a 3/8" tubing bender for $8 !! It's not the greatest or the most accurate bends, but it will get you by. As mentioned, get some cheap tubing to practice on.

    OK, USING a tube bender! The mark/line you make on a piece of tubing is the centerline of the tubing of that bend. This mark/line lines up with the "L" on the bender and the length you want extends to the left of the bender..."L" equals Left! Let's say your using 3/8 tubing (that's 3/8" OD) and you want a 90° bend 6" from the end of the tubing. Measure 5-13/16" from the end of the tubing (1/2 the diameter because you want centerline dimension!) and place a mark/line on the tubing. Place the tubing in the bender with the line EXACTLY on the "L" and the 5 13/16 length extending to the left...the remainder of the tubing will be under the bender handle. Pull handle until "L" lines up with the 90° on the scale. CHECK with a square to be sure it's 90°...as I said, NOT always that accurate! Adjust as necessary. These are VERY basic instructions!

    If you, or anyone else for that matter, wants me to elaborate, drop me an email, [email protected]. I'd be happy to help. Good luck, Bob
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwmeyer View Post
    J3, The fittings in your pics are 37° flare fittings. They're a good "system" but not too forgiving for a novice tube bender. I would suggest "bite type" fittings... Parker Ferrule Lock or Eaton Weatherhead Ermetto. Either one, although recommended by the manufacturer, do not require a presetting tool. (I know Weatherhead says: Install tubing in nut & ferrule. Place into fitting and tighten nut until tubing does not turn by finger pressure. Tighten nut 1 1/6 turn more.)

    Tubing: I tried to find specs for brake tubing and couldn't. My suggestion would be steel hydraulic tubing, welded or DOM. Use .035 wall thickness, whether 3/8" or 1/2".

    Bender: Harbor Freight sells a 3/8" tubing bender for $8 !! It's not the greatest or the most accurate bends, but it will get you by. As mentioned, get some cheap tubing to practice on.

    OK, USING a tube bender! The mark/line you make on a piece of tubing is the centerline of the tubing of that bend. This mark/line lines up with the "L" on the bender and the length you want extends to the left of the bender..."L" equals Left! Let's say your using 3/8 tubing (that's 3/8" OD) and you want a 90° bend 6" from the end of the tubing. Measure 5-13/16" from the end of the tubing (1/2 the diameter because you want centerline dimension!) and place a mark/line on the tubing. Place the tubing in the bender with the line EXACTLY on the "L" and the 5 13/16 length extending to the left...the remainder of the tubing will be under the bender handle. Pull handle until "L" lines up with the 90° on the scale. CHECK with a square to be sure it's 90°...as I said, NOT always that accurate! Adjust as necessary. These are VERY basic instructions!

    If you, or anyone else for that matter, wants me to elaborate, drop me an email, [email protected]. I'd be happy to help. Good luck, Bob

    Very good advice.
    3/8 OD,.035 wall is rated at near 2400 psi burst pressure with a 4-1 safety factor and is still relatively easy to bend.
    I found setting hardened ferrules without the hardened setting fixture could deform the soft female fitting in some cases, although I was generally plumbing 1/2 and above with these.
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