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Old 04-20-2004, 04:26 PM
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pipe bender?

Hey everyone,
I was browsing around harbor freight today, and I came across a couple of different pipe benders. My question is, are these pipe benders good for bending your own exhaust? I'd like to learn how to do this, but I don't have access to those big expensive mandrel benders that the shops have. here's a link to the type of bender I'm talking about, thanks in advance for all your help! pipe bender

~Frank~

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Old 04-20-2004, 05:34 PM
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I have that bender. It does not work with exhaust or any thin wall pipe, it just crushes it. But works well for thick wall stuff like roll cages
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Old 04-20-2004, 05:45 PM
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There is a difference in pipe and tubing. Pipe benders are for bending pipe. Tubing benders are for bending tubing.

Pipe is measured by the inside diameter, and tubing is measured by the outside diameter. This is why a 1" pipe bender will not work on 1" tubing, etc...

Royce

Edit: to correct my error (I typed the tubing and pipe measuring backwards).

Last edited by camaroman7d; 04-20-2004 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:07 PM
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Hey guys thanks for the quick replies! Gearhead69, thanks for that info, I was also looking for bending a roll cage for my bronco so I could put in some shoulder harnesses for the back seat. Would a bender with a lower rated hydraulic press on it be able to bend exhaust pipe? That one said it was a 16 ton hydraulic ram (I guess that's what you'd call it??? ), but they have them with 12 ton rams too, would that be even too much for exhaust? Do you think the best bet would be to let the pros handle it, and just let a shop do it?
Royce,
Thanks for letting me know there was a difference! Is the only difference in the way diameter is measured? Also, what is the difference between a tubing bender and a pipe bender? Is it just the size of those rollers? So pipe rollers would have to be a little smaller than tubing rollers? I did a search in harbor freight for a tube bender, but that didn't give me any results.
Thanks both of you guys for the info!

~Frank~
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:15 PM
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I think it would still crush it.. The reason it crushes the exhaust pipe is because of the design of the bender itself not the power, it's made for thicker wall stuff. I would let the pros do exhaust bending.
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:15 PM
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Tube benders are usually a little more expensive for some reason. The size of the dies/shoes are different. If you try to bend tubing with a pipe bender it is going to crush, fold, kink the tubing. It has nothing to do with the rating of the ram. I typed it in backward on my earlier post. Tubing is measuerd by the O.D. (outside diameter) and pipe is measured by the I.D. (inside diameter). Pipe is usually thicker walled as well. Tubing is thin walled. So 1" tubing will be a far smaller OD that 1" pipe, this is why you can't use a pipe bender for tubing or vise-versa,

Royce
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:39 PM
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This model works very well for up to 1 3/4" exhaust tubing.

http://www.bii1.com/benders_a1.htm

Here's the entire line up.
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:58 PM
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hey guys thanks again for the replies.
Gearhead thanks for clearing that up, I just thought it was the pressure from the ram that would crush the pipe. Have you made your own roll cage? Does anyone on here make their own exhaust? Do you guys just get a bunch of pipes and elbows and cut and weld em till they fit? Or does everyone leave it to the pros with the big guns?
Royce,
thanks for setting me straight on that one. I did some more searching through yahoo and found some tube benders, they do look different. It looks like where this pipe bender just pushes on the pipe to bend it, where the tube bender looks like it "pulls" the tube through, and there is a plate that holds the straight part of the tube, this is the picture I found: . Thanks again for the help guys!

~Frank~

hey 4 jaw,
sorry, I didn't see your post before I typed out my reply! I guess I just have to type faster . Thanks for that site! looks like they have some great stuff, I'll have to get in contact with them and get some prices! Thanks again.

~Frank~

Last edited by flamedfordbronco; 04-20-2004 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 04-20-2004, 09:32 PM
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I was waiting for someone to mention this, but since no one did I will. Most pipe and tubing benders accomplish the bend by making the short turn bend of the pipe smaller. In other words, the bender compresses the pipe to make the turn. Even if everything is done perfectly, the pipe diameter is reduced quite a bit. A 2" pipe will come out being about 1.5" through the bend even if smoothly bent, and top of that, you usually end up with a few creases in the radius.

Most good exhaust pipes are mandrel bent, which stretches the long part of the bend. If done correctly the pipe will remain at its exact size, and have a true arc through the bend. What you might want to do if you really want to create your own exhaust system is to buy the individual mandrel bent turns in the appropriate lengths and radius, and then weld them together. The money saved on the pipe machine will go quite a ways in purchasing the pipe assortment.
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:32 PM
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Hey lust4speed,
wow, I didn't know that! Thanks!! I was wondering if people bought all the bends and pipes and welded them together, but I didn't know if some people on here bent their own, but thanks for letting me in on that piece of info. But, the pipe bender (like the link in the first post) would be ok to make a strong roll cage with right? Or would the compression somehow make the bend weak? Thanks again for your post.

~Frank~
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:37 PM
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Ditto to that.
I work with metal for a living, and with the limited use you will get out of one of these beautiful yet expensive tubing benders, it would be more cost effective to figure out how many 90 degree bends you need to make and put together your system from a series of straight and curved section pipes. Using a pipe bender will make a horrible mess of a tube, which is too bad, because they are a fraction of the cost of the mandrel benders. If you plan on going into the exhaust pipe installation business it is a must have item, but if you plan to do one car the costs could be better spent on other improvements for hp gains instead of aesthetics. If you go with steel tube you can wire feed it or gas weld it together. It would be a considerable task to get your exhaust run installed in one piece on your first try.... hope you got lots of material! seriously though, a zip disc on a grinder will cut segments of curves to suit the installation for about the cost of one or two discs and the material costs. Good luck.
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Old 04-20-2004, 11:19 PM
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Good question on the roll bar, but I don't know the answer. Most racing associations require that the roll cage be certified, and this could be a problem for anything home made. I remember that most of the car mags have advertisements for companies that sold pre-bent roll bars and cages that only needed to be welded together. Again, this would be more economical than starting from scratch with a new bender.
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Old 04-21-2004, 12:50 AM
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Very few muffler shops have mandrel benders. The mandrel benders are VERY expensive. I live in the Bay Area and I only know of one shop withing hundreds of miles that actually has a mandrel bender. The price to have a system mandrel bent is not cheap.

While I agree if full flow is an absolute must mandrel bent tubing is the way to go.

As far as a roll bar/cage you do not have to have mandrel bent tubing. If it is going to be certified the thing they look for is no thin spots in the tubing (via sonic testing or x-ray) and that all the welds are good. If it is a chrome-moly cage it must be tig welded. I don't remember the minimum thicknesses for each type of cage (moly or steel).

With that said you are better off buying a pre-bent cage from the likes of S&W Race cars or Chris Alston Chassisworks, they both guarantee their tubing will pass certification.

Royce

Edit: All benders will stretch the outside of the tubing/bend. A mandrel bender has a "madrel" that goes inside the tube while it is bent and it keeps the tube from being crushed or deformed on the inside or outside of the bend. Any time you bend tubing you are going to stretch or thin out the outside of the bend (there is no way around that).
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Old 04-21-2004, 07:36 AM
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ratlover,
Thanks for the advice, it sounds like buying all the bends and welding them together is the way to go! When I get out of school, I might give that a try, I'll let you know how it goes.
lust4speed and camaroman,
thanks for all that advice on the roll cage. I'm not going to be building it for racing, one of the main reasons I want to build it is for a place to mount shoulder harnesses for the people sitting in the back seat, and also for a little more protection when the top is off. I've seen people that make small roll cages for the broncos, but they only cover the people in the cab . So I'll have to either bend up my own cage for the entire back, or have one bent... should be an interesting project! Thanks again everyone for your posts.

~Frank~
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Old 04-21-2004, 07:49 PM
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Hey guys,
So I've given up on bending my own exhaust , but I still have a few questions about pipe bending and the roll cage. Would I need the 16 ton bender to bend a roll cage? or would the 12 ton be enough? What size tubing do you guys use for your cages? How thick of a wall do you use? Like I said up there, I'm not building a cage for a drag car, so it doesn't need to pass any strip inspection. I'm putting it into my bronco, and I'd like to know what sizes would be good to use. Thanks for the help.

~Frank~
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