Researchers at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed the Handheld Metal Tube Straightener designed to remove bends within 3.5 inches of a tube end. The tool straightens thin, malleable 4-mm metal tubes like those used for fuel, pneumatic or hydraulic pressurized lines.
Commercially available tube straighteners use rollers to straighten long metal tubing, but the spacing of the rollers typically prevent or complicate bend-removal near the end of the tube and can also leave linear scratches on the straightened area. The handheld tube straightener can remove small and large bends near and at the tip of a tube enabling it to be swaged into any commercial swage fitting.
The Handheld Metal Tube Straightener is built with a stationary anvil and a dynamic hammer attached to a knob/lead screw. The extension and retraction of the hammer is manually operated by the knob. The tube straightener contains an oval opening that serves as an insertion point for the to-be-straightened tube.
Once the tube is inserted, the hammer can be repetitively clamped and unclamped while progressively inserting the tube until it passes through the tools built-in “GO” gauge, which is a tolerance inspection device. After the tube passes through the GO gauge it appears in a GO window indicating that the proper length of tube has been straightened. The operation of the tube straightener results in the straightening of a tubes first 3.5 inches, including the tip.
The device is not reliant on external power source, does not leave scratches on tube, allows users to repurpose scrap tubes, and its design may be scaled to manipulate different tube diameters. It has applications in aerospace, automotive, industrial, instrumentation, laboratories, and manufacturing.
NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at