tubing bender

I did a search on tubing benders and found some general info, but I still not sure what to do. I thought about having a local shop bend
some tubing for me, but if something isn't exactly what I want I will have to run back down and have them do it again (and pay again). I like the idea of having my own bender, but I am still not convinced I need to spend a lot of money.
I saw several positive comments about the JD Squared model 3 bender. With the proper dies, will this typically do any bending the average person would do? I am only using this for a home shop, but I am always designing/buidling new things and would like to have the ability to bend tubing in my shop. What I don't want to do is spend $500 and then find out I need to spend another $500 for the next project.
Is there anything cheaper that works (even if it takes longer)? How many dies to people typically buy and what sizes? Am I crazy for buying one of these for my home shop?
Thanks for the opinions, Nick
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It all depends on what you are doing. There isn't a machine out there that will do everything that the average home shop owner can afford. Don't confuse pipe bending with tube bending, two different creatures. Plus, the radius of the bend and wall thickness determines the bendability of a particular material of tubing. Dies are dedicated to one size and radius only. So each time you want something different you will need to buy a new set of dies. I've seen dies sets that cost hundreds of dollars.
If you give some examples of types of bend you want to make; material, size, wall thickness maybe you can find a machine that will do that for you. Or call the manufactures directly. They too will ask for specifics before recommending a machine.
Lane

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I bought a Bouldin and Lawson bender in 1990 for $3200. It was a heavy square thing with a humongous motor and gear reduction drive assembly. It bent square and round tubing in large radiuses for use in awning and wrought iron fabrication. I have done searches for them, and it appears they are either out of business or going by another name. I sold it with the business in 1995. Since then, I have seen some very good home made benders made on the same principles that even worked better than the Bouldin and Lawson. They consist of three triangulated rollers. The middle one is adjustable to crank down on the piece being rolled. The other ones drive the tubing through. The motor is reversible to pass the work back and forth until the desired radius is achieved.
I really believe that I could build one now at a very reasonable cost. The motor and gear reduction drive would cost the most, but I have seen them for ridiculous prices here and there at garage sales and swap meets and auctions. The rollers could be done by anyone with basic machinist skills. They can be made to handle 1/2" to 2" square tubing.
If you are interested, or if anyone is interested, e mail me, and I can mail you some sketches. Bending tubing with a bender is easy, and making a bender isn't that hard.
Steve
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If you have some of those sketches that I could look at I'd love to see them, a tubing roller is high on the list of projects for my shop. Thanks in advance for your time.

wrought
benders
forth
The
for
skills.
mail
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I have a JD#3, it is a nice bender. Seems a little over the top for a home shop, but if you feel your going to be doing a lot of bending it will pay its own way. Les
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Made My Tubing Bender from an old flywheel an axel flange (with the ball bearing) and a six ton bottle jack. The form (die) is a block of steel with a 180 radius I cut on a lathe for 1' 5/8 tubing. I made a degree plate (180) that bolts to the top of the form and an adjustable pointer. I cut large teeth in the flywheel bolted the axel flange to it. used a 1/4 plate for a table. The Flywheel sits under the table as does the bottle jack. Made a pusher that slides over the bottle jack screw end, with a 3/8 rod that extends out the side of the table. The jack pushes against a block of steel that I radiused (Because the jack pivots) and bolted to the underside of the table. When the jack reaches the end of its travel I release the tension, pull the rod back to the starting point, pivot it slightly to engage the next tooth and continue with the bend. The degree wheel is accurate and the whole process is surprisingly fast. There is little to no distortion in the tubing as long as radius is tight (.010 over the tubing size). Been using it for years as have my buddies to make Roll bars and cages. Everything bolts on so theres no problem changing things. However the only change I have had to make was to replace the jack from a two ton to a six ton that made things a lot easier. It bends 1"5/8 .120 wall as if it were butter (ok! a slight exaggeration) and I believe its more accurate as its done manually (IMO). Cost me little to nothing to make, just some time and work.
Don
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Made My Tubing Bender from an old flywheel an axel flange (with the ball bearing) and a six ton bottle jack. The form (die) is a block of steel with a 180 radius I cut on a lathe for 1' 5/8 tubing. I made a degree plate (180) that bolts to the top of the form and an adjustable pointer. I cut large teeth in the flywheel bolted the axel flange to it. used a 1/4 plate for a table. The Flywheel sits under the table as does the bottle jack. Made a pusher that slides over the bottle jack screw end, with a 3/8 rod that extends out the side of the table. The jack pushes against a block of steel that I radiused (Because the jack pivots) and bolted to the underside of the table. When the jack reaches the end of its travel I release the tension, pull the rod back to the starting point, pivot it slightly to engage the next tooth and continue with the bend. The degree wheel is accurate and the whole process is surprisingly fast. There is little to no distortion in the tubing as long as radius is tight (.010 over the tubing size). Been using it for years as have my buddies to make Roll bars and cages. Everything bolts on so theres no problem changing things. However the only change I have had to make was to replace the jack from a two ton to a six ton that made things a lot easier. It bends 1"5/8 .120 wall as if it were butter (ok! a slight exaggeration) and I believe its more accurate as its done manually (IMO). Cost me little to nothing to make, just some time and work.
Don
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Pardon my two replies. I got a message saying the first one didn't send.
Don
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http://www.mtechsupply.com /
I was looking @ the model 4 (uses your air compressor). I'm saving my money...........looking for other ideas until I do.
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Carlo F. Serusa, Jr. RPh
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