I have decided my next purchase will be a small rod/strap bender.
Using the big machines is fun, but making hooks and bending up little
brackets is something I find myself doing a lot. I currently do a poor
job of this using a vise, a hammer, some mandrels, and a few short
pieces of small diameter pipe. I figure a bender will make it faster
and a whole lot prettier.
The only small benders I have actually seen are the Harbor Freight one
and one my friend made up from the idea in the "Shop Savvy" book. I
was looking for something a little bit better. I've heard about the
Duo Mite. I found one in the MSC catalog, "Metal Bender", Part Number
65365041 on Page 1467 of the latest big Blue Book. I also found one in
McMaster Carr, "Wire, Rod, and Flat Stock Bender", Part Number 2460A11
on Page 2180 in the yellow book.
I figure the Duo Mite is probably better, only because it costs more
and I've heard of it. Does anyone have any real experience with small
benchtop benders this size?
I have a DuoMite, and it's very nice, but of somewhat limited capacity.
Check the specs & make sure it can handle the stuff you're likely to
want to do. I've only used mine for 1/8" SS rod, and it worked great for
that. It might balk at strap that thick if it's very wide, and 1/4" rod
is probably it's limit depending on how stiff the stuff is.
and it did the first job I needed it to do very well:
That first job more than paid for the tool, and I was actually pretty pleased
with how the bender was built. It didn't feel too cheesy. On the other hand, I
probably won't try to bend 5/8" round bar with it like some guys do!
I paid $42 for it (had one of those coupons ..) and I think it's well worth it.
In its manual it talks about the scroll attachment, well, that one's gone
bye-bye too bad.
I agree. Its a pretty good bang for your buck
"If I'm going to reach out to the the Democrats then I need a third
hand.There's no way I'm letting go of my wallet or my gun while they're
"Democrat. In the dictionary it's right after demobilize and right
before demode` (out of fashion).
-Buddy Jordan 2001
After all these years of bending things around sockets, pipes, tanks, and
various pulleys, I bought one of those Chinese benders last week; from a
traveling flea market vendor who sets up in a closed-for-the-season ice
cream stand parking lot nearby once or twice every year.
It is the exact same benchtop version of the bender that is shown on page
131 in the current Northern Tools catalog for $99.99. The one with the 38"
stand is shown for $149.00.
The vendor had the benchtop one priced at $79.00 and the floor model priced
at $109.00 - cheaper than N/T - but I've dealt with this guy before and I
knew that the prices listed on the tool were really "suggested" prices -
and that the incoming New England winter was getting ready to close his
I asked what his bottom line was for the benchtop version and, after
checking his printout, he said $60.00 - cash!
For the $30 difference between the benchtop and floor model, I can make my
own 3" X 3" X 3' square-tube stand. The top and bottom plates are already
on the "benchtop" version.
I figure I saved $75.00-or-more over the N/T price given the catalog list
price and 43 pounds worth of shipping costs.
I've used one of these several times before at a friend's shop, so I'm
ready to hit the ground running with this one.
It has dies from one-inch to three-inch diameter, but there is room for
larger ones - which I intend to make.....probably up to six-inch.
Also gonna' carve up a square-tube die or two for the stuff I commonly use.
People have complained that the instruction manuals are not that clear.
There is a little "Chinglish", but you really only have to read it and pay
For example, when setting up to do a square bend, you are actually moving
the fulcrum to push the moving die instead of pulling it around. I think
that's one place where people get confused.
This bender came with some 100th generation photocopied instructions -
including instructions on bending each letter of the alphabet.
I downloaded the Harbor Freight "Pittsburgh Tool" instructions and printed
them on my laser printer.....Much clearer and easier to see and understand
the photos of the setups.
If you do a Google search on "compact bender", you'll find more info and a
couple of instruction sheets/booklets you can download.
You will also see this very same benchtop version of the bender selling
anywhere from $79.95 to over $150.00....but watch out for shipping and
"handling" charges that tend to equalize the final cost among different