I like the ingenuity of the Hot Rodders also....That said, when bending any type tubing, square or round, I need to know that my bends will be uniform and tight, bend after bend. The Harbor Freight Pipe bender is fine for some bending maneuvers, but if you really want great bends, that repeat, try this bender. It's the Model 4 Hydraulic Bender, I purchased a couple years ago. And if you want to save money, you can also use it manually, and scratch the Hydraulics. I can bend up to 2-1/2" round tubing and currently I have the dies for :
While yes this bender and it's dies are more expensive then the HF unit, it is a wonderful bender that allows me to make a host of items, and allows for multiple repeatable bends. I also use the bending program Bend Tech, which has to be the greatest advance in bending since the bender it self. I would recommend that simple program for anyone bending Tubing, no matter the bender they use, it quickly works-up the correct bending position, degree and arrangement, with several fast reference most used bends, like Roll Bar Main Hoops, Down Bars, Door Bars, Drive Shaft Loops and so forth. The really nice feature of this bending program, is after entering the bend data, it will produce an animated bend cycle, of the bend your about to make, showing you the bend sequence, bend angle and position of each bend needed, it turns out what looks like a small movie, and strats with the correct length of material and ends with the bent part. This is very nice and allows you to pre-view the process before you ever commit a single piece of tubing. You can also print out the complete bend process, so when you move to the bender, you have all the bends, and positions there with you. I especially like the section that tells you exactly the length of material you need to make the bends you programed. This keeps you from wasting material or coming up short, both allow you to work faster, smarter and more efficiently with out the waste. Something we all can appreciate.
While I didn't plan for this post, the only pictures I had available that represented some bent metal work, were the following. I recently bent up a roll cage for a '33 ford sedan out of 1020DOM 1-3/4 round tubing. The side frame shot was a funny project that needed some 1-1/2" and 1" square tubing bent. And the other shoots are a '33-34 frame and it's cross-members.