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tube bender

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by bluethunder, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. bluethunder

    bluethunder Registered Member

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    I found this tube bender at the local harbor freight for under $100. I asked one of the guys in there and he said he didnt see why it wouldnt bend .120 DOM tubing. Any opinions on this bender? I would like to use it to make a roll cage.
    thanks
    -Jonathan
     
  2. Chris Demartini

    Chris Demartini 1/2 ton status

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    <font color="blue">Pipe benders will not bend tube /forums/images/icons/frown.gif . Tube is measured from the outside and pipe is measured from the inside. The dies are different sizes and the pipe bender will kink tube.
     
  3. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    These guys sell the Model 2 bender, as well as Vansant. The bender and die will be around $500+ but it won't kink tube.

    Pro tools also makes a good bender, it's very similar to the JD2 bender.

    BIGJ
     
  4. ChevyCaGal

    ChevyCaGal 3/4 ton status

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    You can bend tube with a pipe bender but you will have to figure out how to work the angles because pipe is measured differently then tube and they will not be the same. But I have seen a few cages built with the Harbor Freight bender and they work. Might not be as pretty as an expensive bender and have some crinkles, but hey some padding and you won't see them.... really it can be done, but it will take some extra work and some real practice to get down how to compensate for the bender being that for pipe, not tube...
     
  5. yunit

    yunit 1/2 ton status

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    You will only be able to bend the tube so much before it kinks with the pipe bender; maybe 20 degress. I use my pipe bender for quick small degree bends and when I need to make nice smooth tight bends I use my Pro Tools M105 HD bender. Pro Tools
     
  6. beater74

    beater74 1/2 ton status

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    some folks will fill the tube with sand when using one of those pipe bends it will help prevent the tube from kinking.
     
  7. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Might not be as pretty as an expensive bender and have some crinkles

    [/ QUOTE ] The problem is that those crinkles create weak spots in the tubing that are much more likely to collapse the bend in a rollover. /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif

    I think it was Grim-Reaper who said that he had tried the Harbor Frieght bender, or knew someone who had, and that it wouldn't make a bend in tubing tighter than 45 degrees before the tube started to wrinkle. You're betting on a roll bar or cage to save your life, it's probably not a good idea to get cheap when building it. I'd use the right tool or buy an aftermarket cage. You have to bend a lot of tubing to pay for a good bender. (And you'll most likely waste a lot of expensive tubing as you learn how to use the bender).
     
  8. ZZ4x4

    ZZ4x4 1/2 ton status

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    I went out and bought the harbor freight bender and specifically got 2" tube which fit nice and snug in the 1 7/8 pipe bender die of the HF bender. Still wouldn't bend more than 20 degrees without flattening the tubing. Tried filling with sand and it didn't really help. Forget bending 45 degrees without major kinks /forums/images/icons/mad.gif . I sold that bender and bought the JD2. It bends perfectly although for the thick wall tubing (.134+), I highly recommend a hydraulic assist. Good luck. JT
     
  9. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    FYI, the bender he linked is the strap and bar stock bender...

    As for bending tube with a pipe bender, I wouldn't want to, but several people out here have done it. Takes a few tricks but it will bend 45* successfully. I’ve seen these cages and they look ok. But, I don’t know any that have specifically held up to hard rolls. I still say get a tube bender, if I (and my son) get into a triple endo followed by a half-gainer I don’t want “slightly kinked” corner bends collapsing like a wet cardboard box… If I did use the HF pipe bender, I would gusset every important bend, not just the joints. That's allot of gussets and the extra effort/electricity/steel would likely pay for the tubing bender anyway.
     
  10. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Oh, got side tracked. You CAN NOT bend any kind of tube with that, it will completely crush the tube or pipe or whatever. It is for bending solid stock only. MOST of those guys that work there know as much about tools as a stewardess knows how to fly the plane... So don’t put much stock in what they tell you…
     
  11. FLASHLIGHT76

    FLASHLIGHT76 1/2 ton status

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    A friend of mine just buys the pre bent sections for the tight turns and welds them in. It cut the cost down on benders and he was able to use a cheap benders for the shallow bends. Came out looking great and very strong. Just a suggestion. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     
  12. bluethunder

    bluethunder Registered Member

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    The reason I asked about the bender is I would like to make a roll cage for my 53 M-37 in shop class at school for my project. unfortunately you have to furnish your own materials and Im not sure I could talk my teacher into getting a $500 tube bender. Im interested in the prebent tubing that can be welded together. Would this be strong enough?? My truck weighs about 6000 pounds and then a roll cage will add some to that. I might could get a shop around here to bend the tubing or let me use their bender since its a school project and my teacher has lots of connections around the area. Thanks
    -Jonathan
     
  13. Butch

    Butch 1/2 ton status

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    Sounds like a perfect time for a school fund raiser /forums/images/icons/grin.gif Baddog is correct in what he is telling you about the bender you showed in the link. Even their pipe kinker will not work for what you want to do. Always the chance the JD2 or protools will do some type of donation to your school.
     
  14. bluethunder

    bluethunder Registered Member

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    Well since it looks like there will be slim chances of me being able to get a tubing bender then what about this idea...if I went out to the junkyard and bought the roll bar out of 2 blazers or broncos or something to use as the front and rear main hoops, then I might be able to simply get a tubing notcher and weld in the rest of the pieces because most of the other tubing would be either straight, or if it was bent then I could probably have it done free somewhere because its for school. Any thoughts on this idea? Thanks
    -Jonathan
     
  15. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Forget the notcher, I rarely use mine, though it does come in handy for some of the funky joints. Most of the time I just use the chop saw and/or the hand grinder...
     
  16. chevyracing

    chevyracing 1/2 ton status

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    Muffler shops usually only charge about 3 or 4 bucks a bend for a mandrell bend, which is what you want for a roll bar. So for about 20 bucks you are in business.

    If you are buying prebent corners and welding them to runs of tubing I would suggest internally sleeving the joints at least 3 inches on each side or the tubing will likely break at the edge of the welds if it receives a good enough impact.

    John
     
  17. bluethunder

    bluethunder Registered Member

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    Wow, I had no idea it was that cheap to get tubing bent. Sounds like I need to call an exhaust shop. I may be able to use one somewhere through school, but that is still being worked out.
     
  18. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    In my experience, most exhaust shops do not have the equipment to bend roll-bar grade tubing. I remember calling around years ago for some simple roll-bar extension pieces and was told repeatedly that they didn't have the equipment and/or were not interested in doing it. Even if they did, getting what you need is a problem. Making a roll bar (at least for me) was a "try and adapt as you go process". Good luck cutting and having all the pieces pre-bent and welding them together... Do you need an 87* bend? Or a 90*? 2 bars come together and one is offset (like my halo braces), what angle do you need? No real way to measure it so I sort of winged it. More than once I bent just a *little* to far and had to grab another piece, or put it back in to add 1 or 2 degrees for a proper fit. Bending a bunch of pieces and trying to fit it together, no thank you, not even on a bet. You'll spend more welding consumables, gas, time, sweat, tears and cursing and get an inferior (IMO) product out of it in the end. If you want to do it, I would highly recommend saving for a bender. Take all the extra time and headache redirected into whatever you do normally to make money so that you can afford the bender and you will be way ahead in the end...
     

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