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Author Topic: Buying a tubing bender - which dies to purchase?  (Read 17019 times)
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SteveM
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« on: January 06, 2012, 11:22:01 AM »

I'm on the verge of buying a tubing bender for roll cage construction.  I have done the search on this forum, and read what I could find. I have read the online reviews, the pro's, the con's, etc. of the various designs. 

I am planning to buy a JD Squared Model 3 bender, and 1 die set to get me going.  This seems to be a pretty standard bender.  I don't want anything "oddball" that I might eventually have problems finding parts for.  This is for a basic roll cage construction in my '84 Rampage.   Any and all records I have my eye on are all less than 175 mph at present. 

The first issue is whether to use 1-5/8 or 1-3/4 tubing.  The rulebook states minimum 1-5/8"  tubing with nominal 0.120 wall.  However, I have also heard (maybe true, maybe not) that inspectors would prefer to see 1-3/4" tubing.  Although there is no requirement in the rulebook to use 1-3/4" tubing, what are people's thoughts on this issue?

The second question is which set of bending dies to get.  I don't see a need for greater than 90 degree bends, but then again, I'm new at this.  The cost of a 180 degree die set isn't too much greater than the cost for a 90 degree set.  Is there a reason why either a 90 or 180 degree set would be preferred?

Third - what about the radius of the bends.  Are there places in a cage where a 5" radius would be needed, as opposed to a 6" radius?  I assume that a 6" radius would generally be stronger in service, and easier to bend without distorting the tube.

Anyway, I'd appreciate input on the tubing diameter, 90 vs 180 degree isssue, and the radius question.

Thanks,

Steve M.
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2012, 11:33:20 AM »

I don't bend...........but I see a lot of 180s in the cages and roll-bars.   It saves on trying to mate two 90s with a weld.
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 12:01:42 PM »

Steve,

I have the same bender, manual not hydraulic.

It is a tool, in my way of thinking, 180 tooling is a must, if for only that one time you need a 110 bend.
As far as CL radius, I try to design around the larger radius, if for some reason I need the smaller it is 2 days away UPS.

As for tubing size, I think the decision is up to the designer of the cage/car. In real world, the strength (read size) of the tubing is not the real factor, it is the design of the cage. Of course you still have to meet the minimum requirements for the organization you intend to race with and remember, they specify only the minimum size. For myself, the current car is 1 5/8", if I build something else later I may go 1 3/4 or even up to 2".

I will try to find a picture of a collapsed cage, if the tubing size had been larger it would not have made a difference.

John

 
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 01:52:52 PM »

These are great benders and I cool group of people running the show there.  I live 2 hours from them so I just drove to there shop and picked mine up.  I have a 1.75", 1.625", and a 1" and have used them all whether it be for cages, handle bars, furniture, or tools.  For the small diameter stuff I would stick to a smaller radius die, no need to have a 10" dia. drive shaft loop. but for the larger diameter tubing I went with a 6" radius die on both if I remember off the top of my head.  Go with the 180* dies for sure though.  They will allow you much more creativity in your build and you never know when someone will hear that you have a bender and want shock hoops or something bent up, I get calls all the time from the 4x4 guys that populate this area. 

Also, be careful about where you mount it and make sure you have the handle (if its a manual bender) around chest hieght.  If you mount it too close to anything you end up running out of room while bending things such as a main hoop that normally are over 10' worht of tubing and if it is mounted too high or low you will be sore for days after making a handfull of bends.  Also I had some trouble with the chromoly tubing slipping throught the die and ended up buying some shaft collars from McMaster to clamp to the tubing to keep it from pulling backwards through the die.  Another trick will be to mark the beginning of your bend with a plumbing style pipe cutter.  I just barely put pressure on it and give it one turn around the tubing so that it ever so slightly marks the material.  This will keep you from losing the sharpie mark in the shadows or rubbing it off with your hand while putting the material in th bender.

Zach
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 02:59:59 PM »

I have this bender and have had no problems. I started with the manual but added hydraulic.The reason being the manual model must be anchored to the floor. The hydraulic is self contained. As Zach pointed out location is important. I built a stand on heavy casters which can be stored in a corner and rolled out when needed. I also bought a bend calculator from Mittler Bros. which is a manual and C.D. with a lot of good info. As far as tube size I would always go with more than the minimum required. Safe is better.
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 03:34:30 PM »

I have a Speedway bender with two shoes & a Harbor freight cheapy pipe bender that I added shims to the pipe shoes to do tubing. The fine china from harbor freight was about $150 & does a good job. I've done five tube chassis with this stuff.
  Sid.
 http://www.speedwaymotors.com/2nd-Generation-Speedway-Hydraulic-Round-Pipe-Bender,4883.html
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2012, 04:52:33 PM »

Hmmm, that Speedway bender looks pretty decent, especially if it comes with a good recommendation from an experienced racer.  I've been back and forth mentally about which bender to buy.  Realistically, this will probably be the only race car chassis I will build for the foreseeable future.  If the Speedway bender can get the job done for $300, that would mean more money for my suspension, engine, fire system, wheels/tires, etc.

I'm a bit too leery about the HF stuff.

Steve.
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2012, 07:24:18 PM »

Steve, you will not be disappointed with the Speedway bender. It's compact, easy to move around & works bitchin right on the floor.
I have a Harbor Freight notcher that will survive three builds & then I toss them. There is a lock pin hole that goes through the middle, I tap it & put a zerk in there & keep it greased. The current one I have, has done a pro-mod chassis & my streamliner chassis & is on loan to a friend right now who's building a tube drag truck. The trick is keep it lubed & run it slooow. I built a frame out of scrap that was lying around & set it up with a slow gear drive hole-hog drill. It's not pretty but works great, kinda like me.
  Sid.
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2012, 07:34:48 PM »

Time for me to jump in and thank you for mentioning Speedway Motors.  they're one of the three or four advertisers on the site, paying a bit for the privilege, and I appreciate that you folks out there in Forum-land at least shop at the advertisers.  Mentioning them here -- that helps show them that their ad dollars are not being wasted.

So - check out Atomic Speedware and Z Leathers and whichever of the DVD vendors happens to be running.  And don't forget Guy Caputo, by the way, and his Tiger Racing products.  He was a regular advertiser and has been hit hard by the slowing times - but is working his way back to big time stuff.  I see today that he'll be at the Dealer Expo Show in Indy mid-February, and that's good. 

Remember - we don't have many ads on here - on purpose.  The site loads more quickly this way, and you don't get banner ads flashing and pop-ups popping (or is it pooping) and all of that stuff.  Donations are by and large what keep the site running, and I thank you for them.  And I thank you for shopping with the advertisers, and I now leave for a little while.  Must go ruminate after a fine supper.
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2012, 09:34:58 PM »

You can learn alot by visiting a chassis shop. There is a very good one in Irwindale, Top Fuel to Jr Dragsters.
He has a JD3 sitting in the center of his floor, enough space around it to manuever long pcs.
Once he works out the details, he has a CNC bender make the production parts.

I used a Speedway/HF floor bender to do rigid conduit for electrical jobs. It is portable, doesn't get in the way, but, I refuse to work on the ground anymore. Its a long reach over the belly.

As I have learned, the bender is only the start. saw(s) notching tools and grinders are also needed.

Buy the best you can afford today, it is a tool that will be around for a long time.

BTW, Speedway has the bender on sale with 5 mandrels for $799 ?? don't quote me, I saw it yesterday.



John
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2012, 11:06:20 PM »

Is there an Irwindale near Festus MO, or is he going to need to take a drive to CA?
  Sid.
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SPARKY
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2012, 11:09:56 PM »

spend the little extra mon-e and get the 32 that will do the 180 deg.  I went with 1.75 dies because 1.75 ew is stronger than 1.625 dom and is cheaper to purchase.


UPDATE!!!!!  I have tried to find the chart that I based this comment on----and have not been able to find it!!
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 09:22:09 AM by SPARKY » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2012, 11:33:45 PM »

Just remember the bender is only as good as the shoes and the followers.

Tom G.
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2012, 11:35:06 PM »

Have one question about the JD Model 32..Website shows the dies are good for .120 wall tubing, fine if your using .120 DOM but what if I wanted to use .134 EWS for something? Just thinking... huh

Bill
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 11:36:55 PM by BHR301 » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2012, 08:54:36 AM »

the 32 can bend 2" .250 that the rockcrawlers use---- and .120 2.5" tubing 

I bought the one with the hyd ram and adapted another pump I had.  I have 2 inch and 1.75  I have bent a lot of 2" .120 and some .092 .120 and .134 1.75 I have been very pleased---I use "nasty" hi pressure black grease to lube my dies trying to get them to last a long time.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 09:20:02 AM by SPARKY » Logged

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"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."   Helen Keller
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