Tube End Forming

G & J Steel & Tubing, Inc. uses two different methods of end forming (Shear-Form® and Ram) to suit a wide variety of applications. Our proprietary Shear-Form® process is a unique, single-operation cutoff and end-forming process for high speed capability on small diameter parts. We can work with all metals including aluminum, brass, copper, nickel and stainless steel.

Any end form shape is available, including bead, flange, flare, notch and swage. A partial list of end form shapes is published below, but we can form material into virtually any shape. Our end-formed tube parts are widely used as fuel injectors, exhaust systems, discharge tubes, steering column parts, conduit, fluid transfer tubes, and gas filter stems, among many others.

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A tubular end formation allows the assembly of other items onto the end of a tubular part, such as another tube, a hose, machined tube fittings, brackets, stampings, and more. These tubular assemblies typically serve as a fluid or gas conduit passing from one part of an assembly to another. Recognizable applications might include:

  • Oil filters
  • Pneumatic lines
  • Compressor air tubes
  • Hydraulic lines
  • Fluid transfer heat exchanges
  • A variety of medical devices
  • A multitude of electronic parts

Tube End Forming Shapes

The shape of an end formation is left to the design engineer’s imagination to accomplish these assembly connections. Typically, the most popular shapes are:

  • Swage(or reduction): Swaging reduces the tube’s outside diameter (OD), allowing one part to fit into another.
  • Expand: Expanding increases the OD of a tube and is the opposite of swaging.
  • Bead(or bulge): This allows a hose to slide over the tube and lock into place.
  • Flare: Flaring enables fitting to be used to connect tubes or other assemblies together—typically at 30-degree or 45-degree flare angles.
  • Flange(90-degree flare): This is used to slide into a hole of a stamping for welding, or molding into an assembly such as glass-to-metal seals.
  • Nose: Noses are used to restrict flow of a gas or fluid out of the end of a tube.
  • Groove: Grooving is required for O-rings to seal a part into an assembly.
  • Notch: Notching allows a part to be welded onto another tube
  • Flat: Flattening the end of a tube can be combined with piercing a hole to attach to another part more easily.
  • Tap or thread: Tapping/threading allow for tubes to be threaded into valves or fittings.

These shapes can often be used in combination to achieve multiple functions.

Tube End Forming Methods

To change the shape of the end of a tube there are three basic methods of end forming fabrication:

  1. Ram: This type of forming uses shaped tools to press, or ram, into the end with significant force to form the shape. This type of fabrication is usually the most cost effective, as the stroke of the forming cylinders can work quickly and produce significant force. Most of the time this is a cold forming process but heating the tube prior to forming can be done in extreme cases.
  1. Spinning: Spinning techniques are mostly used for extreme formation. Spinning the tool or tube at high speeds allows a slow movement of material into the final shape.
  1. Hydroforming: This technique can be employed when ram-style forming is not practical, such as with designs that have unusual, non-concentric shapes, or shapes located a long distance from the end.

tube end forming methods


Any metal that can be made into a tubular shape can be formed, including but not limited to:

  • Carbon steel
  • Steel alloys
  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Aluminum
  • Nickel alloys
  • Precious metals

It should be noted that the temper of the material is a critical factor in the determination of whether a shape can be produced without excessive spring back or material cracking.


Any OD, inside diameter (ID), and wall thickness can be end-formed with enough force. The forming equipment will dictate the size material. G & J Steel & Tubing has end formers that can form from 0.010-inch OD through 4-inch OD tubing.

The pressure or force require to form metal will increase based upon the wall thickness and type of material. For example, copper is easier to form than stainless steel, or 20-gauge aluminum requires less force than 0.250-inch wall steel.

Engineering Tips

These tips will help design engineers to compensate for potential problems with the end forming process:

  • Wall changes: As the formation become more extreme, the wall of the tubing can thin (expanding) or thicken (swaging). The percentage of change will be based the severity of the formation.
  • Spring back: This is the condition in which metal, when formed or bent, wants to return to its original state or condition. Spring back is a major consideration when selecting end formation tolerances. A shape can be formed exactly, but when the force of the tooling is removed that material will spring back more or less based upon the physical properties of the material.
  • Distances: Extremely long or extremely short end formations can cause issues during forming. For example, a swage can be easily ram end-formed, but if the distance is longer than the stroke of the machine, then a specialty process and equipment called rotary end forming is required. This method is far slower and costly.
  • Angles: Be cognizant of transition angles when designing shapes. Extremely long or short angles, or radii can present a challenge in forming.

design engineering tips-tube end forming

Tube End Forming Specifications

End Form Shapes



Outside Diameter

0.010 to 4.000 Inch

Wall Thickness

0.004 and up Inch

Workable Materials

Carbon Steel
Cu Ni

Nickel & Ni Alloys
Stainless Steel

Workpiece Type

Straight Lengths


± .007″
Tighter tolerance available upon request

Production Rate

Up to 2,000 pieces/hour

Production Rate Variables

OD, wall, shape, blank lengths


Lubricant may need to be removed


Hydraulic Ram and Pneumatic Ram End Forming
Multi Slide

Industries Served

Aerospace & Aircraft
Air Compressor
Air Conditioner

Gas & Appliance
Heat Exchanger
Utility (Power/Sewer/Water)

End Forming From G & J Steel & Tubing, Inc.

G & J Steel & Tubing provides a full range of end-forming services that create precise, high-quality tube ends in a variety of shapes. Contact us today to learn how our services can benefit your next project.

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