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fastasleep
fastasleep Reader
4/2/10 7:13 p.m.

I need some help picking out a tubing bender (that will not press-bend the tubing; I've heard the NHRA/IHRA tech guys don't care for those too much). I need to purchase one for my shop (personal shop) to assist in my $2010 build. I'd like input from those who know about constructing legal cages, please. I don't think that I can afford the top-of-the-line model, but would like some input into what options are out there. I have never bent tubing before, but need to learn to keep my car in budget. Also, anyone know who I can buy chromoly tubing from (for <$6/ft.)?

-Les

jhaas
jhaas Reader
4/2/10 7:19 p.m.

hosfeld...just keep an eye on CL and you should be able to use DOM tubing...but its not cheap either

JThw8
JThw8 SuperDork
4/2/10 7:26 p.m.

The 2 below are, from what I can find in my research, the best bang for the buck budget benders. I dont have any personal experience with them, just been shopping around myself. But most of the Lemons teams are using these if they are bending their own.

http://www.jd2.com/shop/

http://www.pro-tools.com/

jamscal
jamscal Dork
4/2/10 7:41 p.m.

I have a JD2 bender. Make your own stand and handle and save a bit of money.

Upgradeable to hydro in the future if you want. There are also plans (it's easy) to adapt a HF air over hydro ram.

The money is in the dies. I think the bender cost <$300 but just one 1.5" die set was $265 IIRC.

There is a poplar set of plans called the gottrikes (I think) bender which uses the protools dies.

fifty
fifty Reader
4/2/10 8:14 p.m.

We used the JD2 bender on our Lemons car - very capable bender. Like the above poster, we came up with our own stand - it came free from a local Porsche shop (Performance Plus in Little Rock - used to be a stand they built air cooled engines on). You could weld your own stand from steel plate and square tubing for around $20.

word of advice - do a "practice run" with electrical conduit (cheap!) from Home Depot before you bend the DOM tubing ($4 - $5 /linear foot). Our team mocked up the entire cage in conduit and then used it as a template.

Harbor Freight also has cheap hole saw fixtures for cutting "fish mouths" into the tube ends.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy Reader
4/2/10 8:32 p.m.

http://www.mittlerbros.com/tube_bender_90_hydraulic.htm

This is not that budget friendly, but it is a high quality tool. I'm on cage #32 with mine, and it works a treat.

These:

See post below.

are a wonderful accessory for both laying out, and bending.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy Reader
4/2/10 8:34 p.m.

Hotlinked with my new skilz!

oldtin
oldtin Reader
4/2/10 9:42 p.m.

blind chicken racing has some ideas on bender designs After adding up material costs and time to build it made sense to buy one - so I got the pro-tools 200

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
4/3/10 8:48 a.m.

I bought a Pro Tools 105. It works great but its main drawback is it has to be mounted SOLIDLY. I drilled 4 holes in the driveway outside my shop and dropped 5/8" lead anchors in them. I have to set it up and take it down each time (don't want to leave it in the rain). You get 1 set of 180 degree dies when you buy it, your choice of tube size. I prefer the 1.750" x .095 wall tubing since that is the most commonly accepted tubing and it is lighter than 1.625 x .120 wall by about 30%.

Toyman and I are skulling out an idea to convert it to hydraulic ram operation which would make it much easier to handle, since it wouldn't need to be bolted down. More on that as it happens...

There are some fairly inexpensive hydraulic benders out there, but they all share 1 common problem: aluminum tube dies. Those have a tendency to deform and split. The ProTools dies are CNC machined steel.

About dies: whatever tube size you decide on, the 240 degree piece with small radius is the way to go, I got the 6" radius. That way you have a lot more room inside the car when the bar is finished.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg SuperDork
4/3/10 10:45 a.m.

Timely thread for me.

Less grassroots but I am interested in this unit, any advice or experience

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220567576393&viewitem=&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT

poopshovel
poopshovel SuperDork
4/3/10 12:45 p.m.

Les: There are a few on CL. Also, maybe keep an eye out for existing cages(?) Waynimal got a close-out deal on an autopower cage for a 2g CRX to go in the LeMons car. IIRC, it was about $300 shipped. Required a little cutting and pasting, but the price was right. The cage in the Festiva was a CL find too. $30. Meant to fit in a 1st or 2nd gen civic.

redzcstandardhatch
redzcstandardhatch Reader
4/3/10 9:12 p.m.

i took a harbor freight press-bender and modded the heck out of the mandrels to make it not kink or crush at all. PERFECT bends.

i'll get some pics if anybody is interested, but heres what i did.

buy crappy bender.

take the "mandrel" that is a little bigger than the tubing i was using (1.625x.120 dom), took a sheet of steel, pressed it around the tubing, crushing it into the mandrel (making a NICE AND TIGHT mandrel). it extended the mounth of the mandrel about an inch up straight, then, welded to reinforce that "mounth". it doesnt let the tubing crush, and works great.

took some trial and error, but works wonderful

vazbmw
vazbmw Reader
4/3/10 11:29 p.m.

I would love to see you mods on that bender

Thanks

redzcstandardhatch wrote:

i took a harbor freight press-bender and modded the heck out of the mandrels to make it not kink or crush at all. PERFECT bends.

i'll get some pics if anybody is interested, but heres what i did.

buy crappy bender.

take the "mandrel" that is a little bigger than the tubing i was using (1.625x.120 dom), took a sheet of steel, pressed it around the tubing, crushing it into the mandrel (making a NICE AND TIGHT mandrel). it extended the mounth of the mandrel about an inch up straight, then, welded to reinforce that "mounth". it doesnt let the tubing crush, and works great.

took some trial and error, but works wonderful

Don49
Don49 New Reader
4/4/10 11:50 a.m.

I've done a similar mod and can verify that it works great. Very simple to do and inexpensive.

vazbmw
vazbmw Reader
4/4/10 12:44 p.m.

I don't understand what is stopping the tubing from being crushed, and I can't visualize the mod. What's stopping the tubing from being crushed?

Don49 wrote: I've done a similar mod and can verify that it works great. Very simple to do and inexpensive.
tr8todd
tr8todd New Reader
4/4/10 8:15 p.m.

I wouldn't buy anything cheaper than the JD2 bender. I've built a dozen or so cages with mine with little to no wear in it yet.

Don49
Don49 New Reader
4/4/10 8:24 p.m.

The sides of the mandrel extend further with the insert and prevent the sides of the tube from spreading. Rather than the 1 3/4 mandrel being 7/8" deep it is now over 1 ' deep, thus the tubing is completely contained at its widest point. I also do the bends in multiple steps moving to each side of the center of the bend.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
4/4/10 8:27 p.m.

I have a pro-tools 105 with 3 cages on it. Its a quality tool. I was just on their site looking at some square dies for it and ran across this sale:

http://www.pro-tools.com/march_2010_special.pdf

Thats a pretty good deal for 2 sets of dies and a decent notcher. Like others have said - you can save a couple bucks making the stand and the handle. IIRC I paid around $650 with shipping for just the bender and one set of dies.

DILYSI Dave
DILYSI Dave SuperDork
5/23/10 10:22 a.m.

Les,

Did you ever pull the trigger on a bender? I'm going through the same mental cartwheels trying to figure out what I need.

Anyone who has one - I'm going to get a 180* die for sure. Any reason not to get the tightest radius you can? The 1.5" die for the JD2 is available in 4.5", 5.5", and 6.5" radii. Why would I want a wider bend?

jamscal
jamscal Dork
5/23/10 11:26 a.m.
DILYSI Dave wrote: Les, Did you ever pull the trigger on a bender? I'm going through the same mental cartwheels trying to figure out what I need. Anyone who has one - I'm going to get a 180* die for sure. Any reason not to get the tightest radius you can? The 1.5" die for the JD2 is available in 4.5", 5.5", and 6.5" radii. Why would I want a wider bend?

The radius affects the min wall thickness you can bend.

Thick wall tube can be bent tight, but once you go under .095 wall or so you have to have a larger radius.

-James

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
5/23/10 12:36 p.m.

I just took some advice from a friend... we made a stand that fits the receiver hitch on my truck. It works really well - we made it so you can stand in the bed, or rotate it 90 deg and stand on the ground to bend vertically. I need some more 2" square box tubing but I'm going to mount the notcher & pipe vise on the side of the stand for a completely portable cage shop solution. Just toss the welder & chop saw in the bed...

924guy
924guy Dork
5/23/10 7:22 p.m.

all this fancy stuff!! I was expecting to see pics of a bag o play sand and a sledgehammer!

DILYSI Dave
DILYSI Dave SuperDork
6/15/10 9:58 p.m.

Well, with any luck, this:

+

+

A bit of steel and a bit of fab time

=

Dave has a hydraulic tube bender

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro Dork
6/15/10 11:22 p.m.

We've got a China knockoff version of a JD2 coming in to work next month.

It's gonna run about $300-400 including three dies.

I think I'll have to buy one.

Shawn

MrJoshua
MrJoshua SuperDork
6/15/10 11:29 p.m.
Trans_Maro wrote: We've got a China knockoff version of a JD2 coming in to work next month. It's gonna run about $300-400 including three dies. I think I'll have to buy one. Shawn

If the dies match roll bar tubing diameters thats a hell of a deal. It should be possible, Chinese tools often manage to include a lot of steel for crazy low prices.

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