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Old March 5th, 2011, 07:20 AM   #1
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Default Manual Tube Bender Suggestions/Recommendations?

I'm posting this in view of the amount of threads I see regarding this topic. I decided to pursue a manual bender for several needs here at my home. Fabricating tube fenders for my Xj's is only one of these needs. I found this design from Australia that appears similar to the JD2 Model 3 bender:

The designer stated I could build this for $100-$200 but also added that I should have some of the components cut from laser cnc or waterjet. I cannot estimate these expenses, because I have no experience with them. His #3 bender requires the builder to chose between the JD2 dies or pro-tools dies before building. I prefer the JD2 dies.

I have searched for tube bending services and came away empty handed so I decided to do this to ensure my needs are met.

The only other alternative I can think of is to check the availability of a good reputation used manual bender, which does not seem to be a percentage decision.

Any other useful suggestions? It appears I could gain some help from Tab and a few other GL4x4 members I saw mentioned in some of the tube bender threads.

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Old March 5th, 2011, 08:24 AM   #2
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I have a pro tools and like it. It's pretty much the same thing as a jd2 bender but as you know the dies are different. I was the first in the area to get one like 10 years or so ago and just went with the pro tools. If you have someone local that has a bender (doesn't sound like you do) then it may make more sense to get whatever is in the area so the two of you could buy different dies than each other and trade off when needed, as long as you trust the person won't loan them out or f them up.
The biggest cost is the dies. I am not familiar with the model you posted but when I got mine it was right around $200-250 for the "heavy duty" version with the 5/8 thick arms.

Using one manually gets the job done and you will get a rythm for bending but it is a workout on bigger tube and/or dom and having it bolted to the floor is a pain in the ass. There always seems to be an instance that it's never in the right spot. When I built the new house/shop I didnt want anything bolted to the new floor and everything to be moveable so I converted mine to hydro. I used a 24" ram and a 12v hydro pump (because it was cheap) and built a rolling stand that also holds a yellow top optima for power. It works awsome and it rolls around very easily but is too heavy to loan out (very important ).

I used Creative Fabs bender for a bit while I got mine ready and his is a "got trikes" style that could be made very easily and would not require any waterjet or laser work. I think they cost 15 for the plans and about 100 for materials and use the pro tools dies. They run off a air over hydro ram from harbor freight (unless you want a better one) that costs $80. It bends slow but its still a million times better than doing it by hand. It also bends in the vertical plain which only seems weird if your used to the horizontal plain like I was. But that position has its advantages and disadvantages and you will get used to them both. Plus it's on wheels and is easily portable, but easily lifted into your buddies truck too This is the style I would look at if starting over due to the cost and ease of use. But again, the dies range from $150-$350 so thats what adds up. The actual bender is the cheapest part. And ALWAYS get the 180 degree dies for a few bucks more or you will wish you did at some point.

I'll post up a pick of my setup later if interested. Oh and this should be the last time I ever post about bender info.......too much two finger typing!

Last edited by Tab; March 5th, 2011 at 08:28 AM.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response. I do know of the Takacs bender but did not know how to evaluate or compare it. You changed my mind you clever hunt-n-peck typist!

I programmed your number into my cell phone because I do not consider you too far of a drive for me; 1 h 35 min gets the job done correctly the first time! I will probably call next week to discuss some of the bending work I need done.

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Old March 7th, 2011, 06:54 AM   #4
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i would like to see how you made your stand please.

i got mine from woodward fab. it's at m59 & 23 in highland. it uses the same dies as the pro 105. they only make a few die for theirs but they were $50 cheaper a peice and there was no shipping. just my 2 cents.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 07:11 AM   #5
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If it's going to cost you $300 to build the bender I would just buy the JD bender. I got mine for about $350. Your still going to have to buy dies, thats the expensive part.
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