Ovalizing Tubes, tipps and tricks, good practices

Hey there,

I wanted to ovalize a 1” (25,4mm) top tube to something around 20x30mm, very similar to a Fairlight Secan/Faran top tube. I placed the top tube on an extrusion profile with a V-groove to prevent the tube from sliding away under pressure. However, with this, I created a longitudinal dent along the top and bottom, similar to a peanut shape in cross section. I assume as the tube was not held on top and bottom the material there crawled into the inside direction of the tube.

So are there any tricks and tips for ovalizing tubes? Especially how to hold the tubes in place.


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You’ll need to have two dies with a matching half ellipse shape to do it properly but it can also be done with a flat plate if you can keep it all together and not fly off.

I just use the Kurt vise on my mill with a few long, thick, rectangular steel extrusions and smush it until it looks good! There’s a bit of faffing involved to get it centered but it’s not super hard.


I’ve seen a photo of someone squishing a full length tube using two 2x4s and some bolted plates that were incrementally tightened over the length of the tube until it was squished enough.

Or you could just buy the tube :wink:


I’ve had great succes with ovalising smaller tubes using 3D printed dies. Just using PLA and you can get any shape you want, just account for spring back of the tube. You probably need to print it in a couple of pieces for a toptube, but I find it to be great and cheap way to get this done.


Fairlight FTW. You know you’re onto something good when people on the internet want to copy it!

Paul Brodie doesn’t seem to get too fancy with it. Arbor press and flat plates.
(Go to around 22:00)


@Marco Welcome!

@alejandro I did a bit of ovalizing here: A quick experiment on CS Dimpling

I have been toying with the idea of getting some full-length dies made. It would be nice to be able to ovalize 25.4 tubes so they don’t look so small against the headtube and seat tube.

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Here are some smoosher setups I have.
For BB pinches I use two pieces of 2x4 about 2’ long, connected with a gate hinge at one end. Stick the tube in there and smoosh it in the hydraulic press.

I did make some fancy aluminum dies for top tube smooshes at the ST. I just smoosh them in the vice.

I can’t find any photos of my full tube smoosher but basically that is just a piece of real thick 2x3" steel square tube with some uprights welded on to help keep everything lined up nice then I sandwich 2x3, 1/8 aluminum plate, tube, aluminum plate, 2x3 and put that in the hydraulic press.

Don’t overthink it! Unless you want to.


So I (finally) had a go at this last night. I borrowed heavily from Paul Brodie’s method, and it worked really well. I have access to a nice arbor press at work. I over-squished (of course), but I was able to move the tube back by compressing in the opposite axis.

-Jim G