Step 4: Cut Pipes and Bend

Now it’s time to make the pipes.  Did you remember to get the bendable aluminum tubing?  Good! You will make a jig to use in bending the tubes so they come out uniform and hassle free.  If you happen to have a pipe cutter, this would be a good time to go get it.  If not, you’ll rely on your X-acto knife to do the cutting, but don’t expect to keep the blade for precision work afterwards.  If you’d rather use a utility knife, that will work fine too.

Cut out six sections of pipe, each measuring 7cm.  If using an X-acto knife, score the pipe by pressing down with the blade and rolling the pipe back and forth.  If you do a thorough job scoring, you should be able to break off the pipe by hand.  You can use your file to even out the ends if you like, but it’s not necessary.

cutting aluminum tubing     breaking off tubing











Build a bending jig using wire nails or similar-sized nails.  You are going to bend the aluminum into a horseshoe shape.  The distance between the nails should be about 15mm and the apex of the curve about 25mm from the base.  Add a few nails on one side to hold one end of the tube in place while you bend.

A bending jig







Use a solid object to provide leverage to bend the tube.  Use your hand to keep the tube in place while you bend.  In the picture below, I used the handle of the half-round file to bend the tube.

bending pipe on horseshoe jig







If you’ve done a nice job building your bending jig, you’ll have a perfectly shaped horseshoe!



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