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Old 06-29-2007, 05:40 PM
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How To: Tubing Bender

If most of you are like me, the cost of a tubing bender makes you cringe. $1000 plus once you have a die or two, and its still manual. Well theres a way around the big cost. I spent under $350 building mine, and its completely hydraulic.

Plans can be had from

The best prices on the dies needed for this bender can be found at The guy is great to deal with, and very fast to ship.

The air over hydraulic ram can be had at Harbor Freight for $60 with tax if you catch them on sale and use one of the coupons.

Now onto the bender itself. Some stuff needs to be machined. It could be done on a drill press if you're patient. I did mine on the mill at school, and it took me 3 class periods. So it could be done on a weekend easily. I was told it would be roughly $100 to have it done at a machine shop.

*If anyone plans to use a 1" or smaller die, with a CLR smaller than 3.5" let me know. I have some revisions for the die puller arms to make it fit. The plans will not work well with the smaller dies, as I found out the hard way.

To start, I clamped together the die puller arms, and aligned them with bolts and tubing prior to welding the support in place.

I beveled the edges and slowly welded the pieces together to keep warpage down.

Once it was cool to the touch I pulled everything apart.

A word of caution, the edges of cold rolled flat stock are razor sharp. I'm currently bleeding profusely.

Next, put together the base of the frame, which looks like an I. Square it up and weld it. Try to keep it from warping as best you can. Think about where you weld first.

Align the uprights with tubing, and clamp together.

Ad the braces towards the back (make sure they don't hit the ram) and then weld everything.

The next step is to align the tabs that the die, and die puller rotate on. I bolted everything together, and stuck the die puller arm on a jack to easily adjust the height.

I put a piece of tubing in the die, and adjusted the arm/tab placement until the tube was level.

The measurements in the plans are a bit off, so you need to fine tune it yourself.

Now you're pretty much done. Add the two front legs for balance, and add some swivel casters to make it easy to move (this thing is heavy by now).


Throw some paint on it and slap it together, top off the ram (I was surprised to find out it comes with fluid). ATF works great, and is easily available. You'll need a half quart to top it off.


Now give it a shot. One stroke gets almost a full 90 degree bend. Re-index the die and you can do much more.

I went ahead and tried a 180 just for ****s and giggles. Turned out quite smooth.

It has no problem bending 3/16" wall tubing.

Any questions, let me know.

Now you can go toss your Harbor Freight pipe bender, and use the jack in it to build a press.

Last edited by Twisted Minis; 07-02-2007 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:41 PM
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:48 PM
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Nice work looks better than what can be bought these days
Shane
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Old 06-29-2007, 09:02 PM
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Excellent post, and work, looks really nice. Keep us up to date as you work with it.

Thanks
Vince
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Old 06-30-2007, 05:47 AM
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Why not buy the Speedway bender for around 600$ with all the dies and then put the air hydraulic jack on it?
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:29 AM
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Great post TM. I was going to suggest you add some of the building dimensions for the frame and the arm but my guess it that would violate the copyright on the ebay plans. I think a person could glean enough info just off the pictures to build it without the plans.

And I love the fact that you did part of the work in a shop class. Jeez, when I was in shop I think the best thing I made was a letter opener.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:02 AM
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Plans are only $18.00, pretty good buy IMO.

Vince
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Old 06-30-2007, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by web01_99
Why not buy the Speedway bender for around 600$ with all the dies and then put the air hydraulic jack on it?
Because that one is meant to bend solid rod. Kinks and flattens tube.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cboy
Great post TM. I was going to suggest you add some of the building dimensions for the frame and the arm but my guess it that would violate the copyright on the ebay plans. I think a person could glean enough info just off the pictures to build it without the plans.

And I love the fact that you did part of the work in a shop class. Jeez, when I was in shop I think the best thing I made was a letter opener.
Yeah I posted all the info I can. The plans are great for the dimensions, but it leaves you on your own for building it. It basically shows the completed piece, and tells you how long to cut each piece.
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:50 PM
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great post TM!...im gonna build one now!.
Things like this is what makes this forum well worth coming here for.

Here in Georgia where im at is dirt track city,regular people racing on weekends at the local circle tracks just having fun..one thing i hear alot of them say is they cant afford a good tube or pipe bender but the track rules say you must have a roll cage even in the very inexpesive stock class with stock 4 bangers,they all say they fill the pipe with sand and weld the ends closed and bend away and it prevents wringles in the bends..anyone ever try this?..im just curious and plan on building a pipe bender,i borrow a freind mine's right now when needed so i havent tryed this backyard techinique..lol
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Old 06-30-2007, 01:02 PM
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A good friend of mine has a Speedway Motors bender and builds race cars and it doesnt flatten or kink the tubing he uses.
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Old 06-30-2007, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by web01_99
Why not buy the Speedway bender for around 600$ with all the dies and then put the air hydraulic jack on it?
You could do that but I think TM is being very nice in posting this and helping out.
Next time I think you should look at the words you use because it sounds negative to me to say this to someone that is making an informative post.
TM, I have been looking at the work you do and it is amazing and at your age. You do really have a talent.
I hope you have support in your life to pursue this if this is what you want to do for a career.
I think it is great to see someone of your age doing the things you do and being dedicated to it.
Great job and great post. Keep up all the good work.
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Old 06-30-2007, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by web01_99
Why not buy the Speedway bender for around 600$ with all the dies and then put the air hydraulic jack on it?
i think you missed 2 things ..

#1 TM only spent under 350.00 for the whole thing,not 600.00 less the hydraulics
#2 i doubt VERY seriously those speedway motors benders have the quality and durability of what TM built

put 2 and 2 together and come up with less money out of your wallet and a MUCH better product

Im with Smoke 100%,TM...GREAT job!..and yes..you are very talented at such a young age,glad to see young guys get so involved and do things the right way.The old saying"The younger generation is our future"....and you seem to be doing such a fine job at keeping all our great hobby and love going far into the future...my hat off to you
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Old 06-30-2007, 06:45 PM
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First I never intended for what I said to be meant negative. TM has been doing a excellent job at what he does for his age.

For me having been in TM's shoes when I was his age and starting out in the fabrication world I too made some of my equipment. Now about 15 years later I cant have the down time while I have a job to stop and make things when I can order it and in a couple of days I can have it. Any new tooling I buy I figure in advance how many jobs at xxx price its going to take to pay for it then I own it.
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:03 PM
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web01, Sorry man. I guess I just read it wrong or took it that way.It sure is hard to tell what someone is saying everyone interpets it diffrent. To me it sounded like "why would I build one when for a few bucks more I can buy one" My bad.
I am just triying to give support to a young guy that is doing great work.
I know I wish I would have had more support from people when I was his age.
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Old 06-30-2007, 09:22 PM
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I took it the same way.

But I do tend to build most of my tools because it saves me a lot of money, which I don't have a whole lot of. I did the same thing with my English wheel. They go for over 1K all the time, and I built mine for under $300. And I did it in two days after work/school. I'm also building a frame jig for motorcycles. They start out at $1200. I will have about $100 wrapped up into mine, and it will be essentially the same thing. I have to be careful where I spend my money.

Now with this bender, I will be finishing up a set of control arms this weekend, and will have made back $250 out of my $350 using it. Thats worth it to me.

And thanks everyone else for the kind words. I appreciate it, and I hope this helps someone, and that someone else builds one for themselves.
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