Newbie Tool question

I've been reading this group for a while now and am impressed with the knowledge I've seen. I've learned alot. I am new to metalworking, and
have a couple of questions I hope you can help with.
I want to make some ornamental things, mostly one-offs such as bird feeder hangers, artistic wall hangings, etc. This would involved making bends in mild steel. I plan to use mostly thin plate (less than 1/4 " for sure - mostly 24 gauge) and round and square bar (nothing more than 3/8" - mostly 1/4" and smaller) and possibly rebar. This would all be out of mild steel or possibly copper wire and the radius' involved could be quite small (2-3"). This might also include large curves, rings, etc.
I have a MIG welder, vise, hand tools, propane torch, and mapp/oxygen torch. I think i should purchase one of these, bur I'm not sure which would be best. Does anyone have any recomendations or other suggestions?
A "universal bender" I see at http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber6790
A parts bender at http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeIdi70&productIdc0&Rc0
or possibly just a ring roller at http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber6790
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I make a hand rebar bender. I normally sell them to custom rebar installer in the swimming pool and spa trade. you might check them out at this link.
http://www.fishiron.com/hickey.htm
snipped-for-privacy@tyson.com wrote:

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeIdi70&productIdc0&Rc0
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Electricians also use a hickey-type tubing bender. ---------------------------- Mr. P.V.'d formerly Droll Troll
wrote:

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Only vaguely familiar w/ benders. Note that Northern Tools has competitive prices w/ HF, but they BANG you bigtime on the s&h. HF is (was) surprisingly humane on s&h.
You can make a bender of sorts in 1/2" plate, or thinner iffin you don't mind nutting/screwing the pegs from the bottom. Or thicker. Choose a std insertion diameter (1/2 seems reasonable) for pegs (say, 5/8 or 3/4 turned down to 1/2, or tap the holes for 1/2" studs), and then make a set of collars that can fit over these pegs for various curvatures. Plumbing pipe would do, as these collars don't even have to be tight fits at all on the peg--you could put a piece of 3" pipe over a 1/2" peg, and in many cases the wobble/play won't matter. You can even make wood collars!
You can get fancy and use thick collars w/ a radius cut in them for specific-sized rod. HVAC guys use small hand benders for 90 bends in 1/4" rigid tubing, if that helps.
You can make s system where if the project is large, you can link a number of plates together, as one plate could get pretty heavy.
Sometimes real good prof'l stuff (read: heavy--diacros, etc) become available pretty cheap. But the parts likely ain't.
Ackshooly, I'm talkin to m'self here, as I've wanted to do this for *years*. May finally have to, when Gothic Iron Gate building time comes (along w/ nagging wife)... :) ---------------------------- Mr. P.V.'d formerly Droll Troll

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeIdi70&productIdc0&Rc0
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On 8 Nov 2005 07:57:22 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@tyson.com wrote:

I use something similar. HF also sells a "compact bender" They work very well, though its not always intuitive as to how to set the thing up for multiple bends.
I made a bunch of hooks, to hang from the holes in pallet racks yesterday. Now Ive got my extension cords (10/3 and 10/4) off the floor. I made a shelf for milling clamps the night before with it, out of 3/16 x 1" flat stock, and tigged it all together (I needed the practice badly)
It likely will not do tiny stuff very well but for general work..they are hard to beat. The big problem is...mounting the things so they dont move, or pull over the bench if its mounted on a bench. Im going to pour a slab just for this, as mine is pedistal mounted.
Gunner

"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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Thanks very much. Would there be any advantage to getting the Universal Bender vs. the compact bender? Jack
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You have an error in your question, the first and third links are the same. :)
The ornamental things work well with the MIG welder you have so you have a good start.
The 'parts bender' from Northern Tool is also available from Horrible Freight http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber8471 This is commonly on sale for $49.99 or $54.99
You probably want to buy 3 tools (sorry, you asked!) The order depends on what kinds of things you are planning to make.
The 'parts bender' (see above) is good for sharp radius bends. Think clamping a chunk of rod or strap in the vice and pounding on it. But MUCH more repeatable, MUCH nicer bend quality. 3" radius and smaller.
The roller is for larger radius things: rings and hoops. 3 to 4" and larger radius.
If you get into sheet material you will want the beading/forming tool: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber4104 By switching tooling you can do cutting, beads, forming, etc. Commonly on sale for $99.95
I think I'd buy them in the order listed.
cheers.
snipped-for-privacy@tyson.com wrote:

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeIdi70&productIdc0&Rc0
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Oops, sorry for the mistake. The Universal bender I was refering to is at;
http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G7153
This looks like a nice machine, and might be better overall than the "parts bender" - has anyone used this?
Thanks again for the responses.
Jack
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