Announcement Announcement Module
No announcement yet.
Tube Bender Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
Conversation Detail Module
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Tube Bender

    I've been wanting to buy/build a tube bender to finish the work on my CJ rebuild and ran across this:

    The Bandit was (it's an old post) building a tube bender for his senior project for a Mechanical Engineering Degree. Really good stuff there, but hey, I'm a simple guy without a ME degree, and without his kind of budget or smarts! I think he spent over 2K + had a few corporate guys chip in some nice freebees.

    To make a manual bender I'd need a place to anchor it and have plenty of room for the tube to maneuver, which means some place outside. But, heck in addition to being simple, I'm old and lazy and don't want to dig a hole in my solid rock landscape, much less have to pull on a ratchet bar 8' long to accomplish my bends, so a manual machine was out of the question. All the power machines use hydraulic power, which pretty much meant big $$ on a hyrdaulic pump, rams, etc. Did I mention that I was cheap? Brainstorming over a couple of sleepless nights , I came up with a few ideas, not sure if they would work or not. I even thought of using a gear reduction starter motor turning a flywheel mounted to a pinion shaft on a spare 8.8" rear I have lying around: thinking all the gear reduction might give enough power to accomplish the bends. That also meant more investment, which might be a failure.

    Then it came to me! Use something I already had, that had plenty of power, you may have one Warn 9000# winch!

    I contacted both Pro Tools and JD2 about die sets, but none were willing to send me any info about their dies, so I'm forced to buy one and design off of 1 die and hope other sizes I may want to use in the future will easily adapt.

    If anybody is interested in the design, post up and I'll share my progress as things develop. My goal is to build a bender that will make a 180 deg bend in a single pull, have an adjustable stop for repeatable bends, be portable so I can take it to my buddy's house and bend tubing there if needed, little or no machining (so you can build one too) even though I have a lathe and mill and finally, excluding the cost of the dies and my winch come in under $200.00
    Let me know if you're interested!
    Last edited by NOCHEEPGAS; 01-05-2009, 08:21 PM.

  • #2
    Here's a "concept drawing" I did today. Sorry, no expensive CAD software, I did it on "Paint".


    • #3
      Looks good to me. I'm not seeing any problems in the geometry, and the concept sure seems sound.

      Looks like a good deal man!


      • #4
        neat design.
        If you want a little better drawing program I tried teh Gdraw from google it seems pretty cool and easy to learn.
        When are you starting?
        Progress would be cool.


        • #5
          Looks good to me. My buddy Russ built one very similar to the one you linked to, but with one ram. He used an air over hydraulic ram, and uses the air compressor to power it.

          Only problem I see, is after the bend. Russ' ram is a one way, and getting it and the die returned is a pain.

          Figure out some way to leverage it back, you should be good.


          • #6
            I ordered some 1 1/2" x .250 tubing yesterday,
            - 41.00
            $159.00 left in budget

            Looking for a free used flywheel and will order dies next week. Will post some pics as I progress.
            Last edited by NOCHEEPGAS; 01-06-2009, 11:08 PM.


            • #7
              Let me know if you need/want a hand building it!


              • #8
                why not just order a set of plans from and then convert to power the ram with air?



                • #9
                  Originally posted by RalphXJ View Post
                  why not just order a set of plans from and then convert to power the ram with air?


                  Couldn't find any free plans anywhere, didn't want to invest in hydraulics and I like the idea of powering it with my winch!


                  • #10
                    Never said they were free, but for VERY detailed plans for $20 seems like a cheap investment. It was just a though.

                    So your planning on keeping the Jeep running while using the winch, or just winching using the battery and paying attention not to drain it?


                    • #11
                      I didn't mean to put "free" in there, but What the Heck, I still like my unique approach. The individual bends will only require less than a 4' pull to do a 180 degree bend, so I'm not worried about battery drain + I'll be at the house and could always throw a charger on it if needed.
                      Last edited by NOCHEEPGAS; 01-06-2009, 11:10 PM.


                      • #12
                        info on tube benders

                        I found some info for others who may want to build a bender:

                        Bench-top bender powered by a hydraulic jack, with plans for dies:

                        Outfit selling plans and such, but with a free plan set available. Just call and ask and they'll email it to you for free:

                        A bunch of welding project plans, including a tube bender. Also has fun stuff like an excavator toy for the kidlings and how to build your own welder:

                        This inspired the first link, no plans, but had photos and how-to info:


                        • #13
                          Picked up a flywheel today at the local auto recycling yard, cost a 6 pack of beer at some time in the future! Also ordered my die set today from, a 4.5" CLR for the JD2 Model 3 bender. This bender uses "Rotary Draw" bending, which is how mine will work. Once I get the dies I will be able to start making some shop progress.


                          • #14

                            Despite my goal to do minimal machining, I couldn't see spending good $$ on buying a degree wheel, like one used for degreeing a camshaft. I had a scrap piece of aluminum lying around (actually it's the center piece I cut out of the fan shroud I made for my electric fan), so I spent 40 minutes at the mill after I got home from work and made this:

                            Also, just got the tracking # from VanSant for the die set, it should be here Friday! Wish my steel had come in....
                            Last edited by NOCHEEPGAS; 01-14-2009, 08:13 PM.


                            • #15
                              Posted to so many threads, I had to give my own a bump!