Five frequently asked questions about using tubular steel

1. What shape is tubular steel?

Contrary to its name, tubular steel does not have to be circular. It can be rectangular, oval or D-shaped.

2. Why use tubular steel?

Tubular steel is used because of its beneficial qualities. It resists corrosion, is stronger than plastic tubes, and can be used at high temperatures. Tubular steel is suitable for equipment to transport or store corrosive materials.

3. Where is tubular steel used?

Where to start! Tubular steel has a wide range of uses. It is used as tubing to move liquids and gases through cars and trucks. Streel also transport emission gases. Roll cages for off-road car racing use tubular steel because it is lightweight and very strong.

The most common uses in home design are stairways and railings. Many homes use plastic pipes for sinks and bathrooms. Tubular steel pipes are more expensive, but they are less likely to leak.

The military uses tubular steel because it is tough and will stand extreme temperatures. The substance is found in military aircraft landing gear, motor shafts, and exhausts. Assault rifles often contain it too

Hospitals need medical grade tubular steel which is used for certain surgical procedures. Steel can also be found in the construction of beds and wheelchairs.

Material handling and storage equipment is another application of tubular steel. Trolleys that are used to manually handle loads require the lightness and strength of tubular steel, while shelving and racks use it to provide strength.

All in all, there are few business sectors that don’t use tubular steel in some way.

4. How do you make things from tubular steel?

Constructing from tubular steel is a skilled job that requires a few items of specialist equipment. First, you need a cutting tool. A fishmouth cutter is a mounted hole saw that can cut the steel accurately. It creates an angled cut that resembles the mouth of a fish. This makes it easy to join and weld tubes together.

You will also need a tool to bend the tubular steel. Motorised benders are best, but they can be expensive. It is quite an art to bend the tube at the correct angle and in the correct position.

After the steel has been cut and shaped, the different lengths need to be attached. This can be done with plates and rivets, but most metalworkers weld the steel. Welding creates strong joints that are not likely to come apart under heavy use.

Although the DIY enthusiast can make things out of tubular steel, a fairly high degree of skill is necessary. Skilled metalworkers are able to manufacture items such as tables and trolleys from tubular steel in very little time.

5. How easy is it to design tubular steel handling equipment?

There are many standard designs of tubular steel trolleys that will fit most requirements. Designing custom-made equipment is tricky as you need to have both design and engineering skills. Luckily, because of low costs of manufacture, it is not expensive to have a bespoke trolley design made for you.

Posted by Katrina
7th June 2018
Metalworking

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