I'm trying to find a suitable way of bending a 1 inch stainless tube through 180 degrees at a bend radius of 600mm. Do you know of any cheap machines on the market that could do this... or even expensive production machines (preferably that can be bought in the UK)? Is there any other simple way of producing this bend (for a prototype) without buying an epensive machine?
For one offs and prototypes nothing beats a bit of sand stuffed in the tube. You can then bend freehand or around a form. If the tubing is heavy walled then the solution is to heat it up, in this case you have to make use of very dry sand. Not sure if you have dry sand in the UK
When using a torch you will surprise yourself at the complexity that you can form into hydraulic tubing this way. Your large bend radius though will require a form or shoe of some sort to give you a nice radius, Ideally the tube will be heated up for this, though at 600 mm radius that is a lot of tube to heat up. You would want to heat the tube to keep the straight sections nice and crisp. There is a heat free option if the cross section is thin enough and that wold be to slip another piece of tubing over the one you are bending, to help control where the bending takes place and keep the straight sections straight.
By the way wood works perfectly well for bending forms or shoes ofr one offs even if the tube is heated to plastic state. Yeah a bit of water will be required after the tube is removed form the form but not a big deal over all.