Sometimes we’re asked for tips and advice about telescopic tubing or pipes.  Typically, telescoping tubing is used when the application has an unknown or constantly-changing width. For example, adjustable table legs, shower curtains, selfie sticks, tent poles, and camera tripods.

The following will help you better understand telescoping tubes and pipes:

  • Subtracting 2x’s the wall thickness from outside diameter, gives you the inside diameter of the tube.
  • Inside most tubes, there is a weld for which you must account, as it will prevent proper telescoping.
  • Tubing has OD (outside diameter) and ID (inside diameter) tolerances; these tolerances tend to run larger on OD’s (outer diameters) and smaller on ID’s (inside diameters). Even if you allow .010″, your tube still may not telescope. We recommend purchasing metals for telescoping when where our staff can help you ensure your tubes will telescope as intended.

The Bottom Line

  • It is not possible to guarantee that your tubes will telescope. It is recommended that you confirm in person (when possible) that your tubes will telescope.
  • When choosing the tubes that you want to telescope, be liberal in your size selection. Keep in mind that you may have to do some machining, such as sanding down one of the tubes outside diameters.


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