Handheld Metal Tube Straightener

mechanical and fluid systems
Handheld Metal Tube Straightener (MSC-TOPS-107)
Tool removes bends from challenging tube-ends
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 4mm 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 so that it can be swaged into any commercial swage fitting. The Handheld Metal Tube Straightener was successfully used during a spacewalk on NASA's "EVA 61 Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS)" repair mission.

The Technology
NASAs 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, so that it can be swaged into any commercial swage fitting. NASAs Handheld Metal Tube Straightener has a technology readiness level (TRL) 9 (actual system flight proven through successful mission operations) and the related patent is now available to license. Please note that NASA does not manufacture products itself for commercial sale.
Image of technology provided by NASA (inventor) Shown: NASAs Handheld Metal Tube Straightener.
  • Analog Device: Not reliant on external power source
  • Scratch-Free Operation: Does not leave scratches on tube, unlike roller-based straighteners
  • Promotes Efficiency: Allows users to re-purpose scrap tubes
  • Scalable: Design may be scaled to manipulate different tube diameters

  • Aerospace, Automotive, Industrial, Instrumentation, Laboratories, Manufacturing: Fuel, hydraulic, pneumatic lines
Technology Details

mechanical and fluid systems
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