Square tubing bender suggestions

I need a bender. Mostly, I will be bending solid square bar, rod, and flat bar. Occasionally, I might want to bend the occasional 1/2" to 1" square
and round tubing. And then, I would like a scroll bending attachment.
I have seen these all over the board in prices. From Harbor Freight on up. Anyone have one of these benders, and can suggest a source, and maybe some cautions on what to look for? Would I be better off to just get a simple one, and not go for all the extra stuff that I might only use rarely?
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

2 different categories of benders.
For solid bar stock look here
http://www.shopoutfitters.com /
And here
http://www.metalcraftusa.com /
For tubing benders look here at the #3 bender
http://www.jd2.com /
And here for their version
http://www.pro-tools.com /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have the Hossfeld #2 bender. It is a bit pricey but I never ever worry about the dies breaking when I'm leaning all I have into the handle. There are LOTS of dies available for this unit to bend nearly any shape in nearly any position. They will even custom make you a die for an odd shape or application but I imagine that would cost alot. The base package has everything you need for up to 1/4" x 4" flat, 2" pipe (not tubing) and I think up to 5/8" CRR. Dies are extra for square tubing. I have the die set for 1" square and it works great. It also comes with stops and guides for production runs. Also made in America.
Shawn

flat
up.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A Hossfeld #2 clone can be had from http://www.americanbender.com/ for a little less than the hossfeld. They also claim to be working on a smaller version for the hobbyist and smiths. The American Bender #2 clone uses the same dies as the hossfeld #2, so no worries about the availability of a large variety of die sets. Good luck with your search. Chuck
Shawn wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Interesting what a little paint can do. None of the dies, blocks or rollers that came with mine had any paint on them. Their extra tooling package doesn't seem to include nearly half as many dies that came standard with my Hossfeld.
Shawn

square
some
simple
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sounds similar to my situation.

The one I saw at Harbor Freight     http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber1980 seemed very simple. It didn't strike me as fitting to the shape of the tubes. Instead, the dies are plain cylinders.

I orderd a Van Sant Model 3 bender     http://www.vansantent.com/model_3_bender.htm last month. The dies are finally on their way tomorrow. (One is for 1" square tube.) It's expensive (to me) and different dies are needed for every size tube and they take forever to get but it seemed like a reasonable place to start. The person with whom I spoke on the phone was knowledgeable, helpful and pleasant, and the followup by their shipping/ sales people has been quite competent. (There was a small glitch and it was handled well.)
I found a similar bender that didn't have the mechanical advantage of the ratcheting lever system. BTW, Van Sant also makes an attachment (which I have) for putting the handle directly on the moving arm for greater range.
I look forward to making solid, planned, repeatable bends - as opposed to the kludges I've been making with simple conduit benders. I'll try to report on it.
--kyler
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Kyler I was impressed just looking at their video on how easy it was to bend that pipe.. I do not plan on doing anything that thick, but I can see it can be done... I only plan on bending 1" SQ. 063 tubing and or 1 1/2 X 095, or Sch 40. not sure at this time. The notches looks pretty good also.
Keep us posted on what you think when you start bending around.
Don D.
writes:

flat
up.
some
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The original is still the greatest.
I have been using a hossfeld bender almost daily for over 20 years, and it is still the best all around bender design you can get. If you have a production application, or you are only going to be bending a specific type of section, then there are other machines to consider, but the hossfeld will do the most different things well. I recommend a hossfeld no. 2 for a general metalworking shop. The patents have now expired, so there are currently 3 companies making hossfeld compatible benders and dies- Hossfeld itself. www.hossfeldbender.com They have literally hundreds of different die sets in stock, or at least the patterns to cast them, and you can bend ANYTHING with a hossfeld. They are the best for oddball structural shapes- channel, angle, tee, square on the diagonal, etc. American Bender www.americanbender.com These guys are a cnc machine shop who took over a business started by an ex-hossfeld employee. They make nice, accurate, finely finished 100% hossfeld interchangeable benders and dies. Their intro package is quite reasonably priced at $775. They are kind of cherry picking the more common hossfeld applications, so they only have a few dies, but what they have is very nice. JDsquared www.jd2.com These guys are more oriented towards the hot rod and auto shop- so they are concentrating on tubing dies. Their benders are designed to do lots of roll bars and they are really good for that, not so good for every oddball application under the sun. Also 100% hossfeld interchangeable.
Then, there are the knockoffs- first came shop outfitters, who developed a smaller, cheaper hossfeld copy with much less capability. They got knocked off by the chinese, who started selling a shop outfitters clone for about what it cost shop outfitters to buy materials. Shop Outfitters responded by upgrading their bender, and it is a decent tool, but no comparison to a real hossfeld. They make only a very limited array of tooling, and it just doesnt have the strength or mass to do what a real hossfeld can dol. The clones are what you see at Harbor Freight. They are ok for very occasional use on very light materials. But real benders, even shop outfitters, have features like higher carbon steel, heat treated parts. The chinese ones dont- you can snap em by overloading them.
The other possibility is a Di-acro bender. www.diacro.com These are very nicely made, relatively expensive, and good for smaller, more precise bends. They do not have the brute force or larger size capabilities as a hossfeld style, but they are very accurate and elegant at what they will do. Di-acro is still in business, but new benders are not cheap- $975 to $2600 new. Very rarely found used, and usually the sellers want close to new prices for benders with no tooling.
A Diacro, or a hossfeld or clone will bend anything you need to bend, and last your lifetime, if not longer. Personally, I would rather buy a tool once. I have bent 1" x 4" flat bar (hot) into driveline loops for a tractor, 2" pipe, 1 1/2" square tube into 20 foot radius roof beams, angle, flat bar the hard way, round bar into perfect circles, and literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of round, square, rebar and flat bar with my hossfeld.
As far as scrolls go, there are no small, affordable scroll benders that make very nice looking scrolls, in my opinion, but I am a snob about scrolls. Hossfeld does make a scroll die, and I have it, but I have used it once- it only fits small flat bar the easy way. I think scrolls made from that look like home depot screen doors. So I bend scrolls by eye on the hossfeld, from everything from welding rods to 1" square. Or, you could buy one of these- www.heboe.com A german cnc scroll bender, with over 30 different multipart scroll dies- or any design you want custom made. Figure about $12,000 to $18,000 landed at a port in the US. Worth every penny, as far as I am concerned- mine has 7 1/2hp geared down to 14 rpm, and that is enough torque to cold twist 1 1/2" bar without even making a groan. But most people probably think its a little bit of overkill.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

<HUGELY INFORMATIVE POST SNIPPED>
Thanks for more than I need to know about benders. I am getting geared up for production work, and will see which one I finally settle on. Thanks for taking the time to post all the info. I have copied it to my "welding stuff" folder for future reference.
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.