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Guest Message by DevFuse

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help me buy a few shop tools. for all of us.

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16 replies to this topic

#1 tallwelder81


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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:21 AM

as some of you already know, i was in a MAJOR car wreck in 2007. heli-lifted to harborview, broken spine, bolts in my back, 2 year on heavy narcotics, etc etc.....
whatever whatever.

point being, i got a decent settlement, but tow caveats of that settlement:
1. it was big enough to notice and patch a few holes in my life, as far as home repair and a reasonably priced worktruck, and college tuition <COMMUNITY college, F.Y.I.>. but hardly big enough to buy a swimming pool or a leer jet, or a bathtub full of cocaine and caviar, and lobster every night, lol...
2. it was legally set-up so i didnt get any tax penalties for it, as i am on low-income status, officially. in return for low-income status, and aforementioned tax breaks, i had to agree to only spend it on necessities.
leaky roof, vocational school, job related tools. not a big screen tv or an xbox, etc....

on a side note, i wouldnt want a bigscreen anyhow, never really saw the need for a tv over like 35". mine is 27 and ive had it 7 years, and im extremely satisfied with it.

basically, to get to the point, i have been window shopping and plotting on a tube bender, and a nice 4" air-saw, and a tubing notch cutter, if y'all know what those are. they are to prep the end of the tube to join in a clean, professional quality T or X intersection. rollbars, complex bumpers, etc....

the saw and notch cutter are pretty cheap. i want a GOOD set. not a chinese one thatll crap out on me after a single weekend of serious use.

the main expense is the actual bender. and more specifically, the infinite number of dies in various tube diameters and curve radius.

where YOU all come in, is to advise me on what works and what is worth paying more for, vs. what costs more but just sounds cool in the ad.

i want QUALITY, smooth bends. im strong, and dont mind a manual powered bender. the one on ebay i keep seeing is the infamous JB2 bender.


but the dies, ouch. i only have 2 kidneys. im not the type to piss away money just because i have it. i figured the 2" die was teh most important. well..... wouldnt you know, its 405 dollars. american dollars, not pesos.
for the DIE. not teh tool. actually i think the tool is less than each die, at least the bigger, more useful sized dies.

basically, anyone who wants anything done on here, i will do it for free, or at least dirt cheap, like ten bucks per hour. but if YOU want a diameter other than 2" tube, 7.5" curve radius, then YOU can pay for the stupid die itself. and when i do your project i want to keep the die for MY garage. HAH....

hence my willingness to do your work for ten bucks an hour. but if you wanted one that i want also, id probaly pay for half. like a 1.75" would be handy for exhaust and smaller stuff like the add ons to the core of bumers. headlight protectors and such.

all input is welcome and appreciated.

i NEED this stuff to be a valid and professionally functional welder/fabricator.
i havent done near as much work as i want to, because although i have a great, high quality 240v lincoln electric Mig, my ONLY way of cutting anything is a sawzall. it just doesnt work for a lot of situations.
and i cant BEND any material. that limits me more than i can even describe.
help ME out, and it will benefit us all. at least, all of us between olympia and everett and yakima. i am serious about doing dirt cheap work for you guys. at least as long as you give me good word of mouth advertising. at the very least, if i work cheap for you guys, it will get my skills known by the public more.

#2 Turbone


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Posted 07 August 2011 - 10:41 AM

I would keep my eye out for a shop that is shutting down. It would have all the dies and accessories already. Yes, I know its not new but you might get lucky and find a good quality unit for a reasonable price. I'll look around and see if theres anything out there.

Did a quick search on CL and found this...


Edited by Turbone, 07 August 2011 - 11:28 AM.

#3 tallwelder81


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Posted 07 August 2011 - 02:47 PM

thanks a lot rob. i was aiming at maybe like 800-1200 range though. although, as you say, i can cut costs now on the bender, and end up losing out over the months and years, buying a $200 die here, a $300 die there, adds up fast...

blue angels just blasted over my house... from here to downtown seattle in under 3 minutes. and thats WITHOUT afterburners.

i dont think even mid-90s era bill gates could budget the fuel the US military burns up every year, lmao!!!


and back to the point, rob, i dont mind used bendeing equipment. the good stuff is designed to be abused hard for many decades. did you check out the link i put up here? does anyone know if those are good? the picture makes the bend look pretty smooth, no pinch, no krinkle, no accordian-polka action...

and if the AD looks good, then it MUST be good, right? just like jack in the box commercials, the cheeseburgers look like ten dollar gourmet red robins style burgers. heh.... sorry folks that i get off track so much. im a chronic rambler.

#4 obk25xt


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:25 AM

Hi, were in similar situations. I'm getting set up to do all of the above as well. I have a 220 Hobart mig machine, 20" drill press, porta band, harbor frieght notcher ($60ish and I'm satisfied with it FYI), just bought a Hobart 700i plasma machine, and I have plenty other tools to work metal in my shop.

I also am looking into benders. Looking to spend about $1200ish on the tool alone before the dies. Have you checked out van sant enterprises? Google "trick tools" and it'll come up. They have no markup on the jd2 stuff vs the actual manufacturer. I called and spoke with a rep, he was super helpful. He told me they don't have any markup based on the volume they deal with.

Another thing to consider would be the dies. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna go with a die for 1.5" sch 40 pipe (not tube), based on price of material. I'll probly also buy a small die (3/4" or 1" or something?) for roofracks, lightguards, garden stuff etc. I will also buy a die or 2 for square material. Not looking forward to dropping the coin on the selection of dies either, but I guess you gotta pay to play right?

I'm deciding between the jd2 model 4, and the jmr 1005 (I think!?). The jmr is a couple jundred more but suppose to be a little nicer fit and finish. Dies are comparibly priced. Both are air/hydraulic powered.

Maybe some of this will help you maybe not I dunno!? If you haven't checked out vansant trick tools yet do that! Also share what your research comes up with cause I too would like to pull the trigger on buying a bender but am slightly hesitant based on my limited experience.

Also there is the tube shark, more expensive all around, my cousin has one and it's very nice! But I will end up with a machine that does the exact same work for much less $$$$.

That's what I know bout it,


Edited by obk25xt, 08 August 2011 - 12:40 AM.

#5 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:12 AM

Have either of you guys considered something a little more professional/industrial from the used market?

I used one of these at my last job with great results:


Here's another:


The Enerpac stuff can be hooked to an electric/air hydraulic pump with a foot control - that's how our's was setup. Made bending tubing really simple.....


Edited by GeneralDisorder, 08 August 2011 - 01:19 AM.

#6 tallwelder81


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 05:26 PM

tubeshark is nice. and local. well, depends on your definition of local. i figure anything within 500 miles. 100 for fruit and dairy, lol....

hey GD, YEA thats a killer find, much grassy-rump roast....
good start with the dies. at least i would have a decent selection for a few months until i get itchy for something smaller.

2 questions. when they say THIN wall, does that mean it will or wont do bumper/rollbar/etc?
and how smooth are the bends? im kinda picky about exhaust curves.
kinda get p.o'd when i pay good money at a professional exhaust shop, and the bends end up looking like dog crap. pinched, kinked, etc.....

do YOU think the bends are acceptably smooth?

i would definately consider buying one of those enerpacs.

and thank you obk and rob, also.

#7 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 06:33 PM

When I was using one I was bending a lot of Lenz tubing.... here's a chart of the OD with wall thicknesses:


Our enerpac bender would bend the 1.25" and 1.5" tubing like it was paper - very smooth and never any kinks, etc. Which is just a bit less than 1/8" wall thickness but Lenz tubing is very high quality stuff - 1600 psi working pressure even at 1.5" OD.

Does it do bends like a mandrell bender? - no. But it's as good as any non mandrell bent tubing I've seen.

But yeah - you can pickup a used one with most of the dies you want.... probably wait around till you spot some used dies on ebay also. And then ebay has a whole selection of Enerpac air-over-hydraulic foot operated pumps that can be added to their benders for about $200 to $300 - making the bending process effortless!

The general rule is that when you get into thicker walled stuff.... well they start calling it "pipe". Yes you can buy thick walled tubing..... tubing is always measured on the OD - so that when you talk about tubing you talk about such-and-such OD *and* such-and-such wall thickness - subracting the two gives you the actual ID of the stuff. Pipe on the other hand is measured by ID - so that 1/4" pipe will have a wall thickness of.... well whatever it needs to be. They measure the wall thickness (and thus the OD) of pipe by "Schedule" - which you basically need a freakin chart for because wall thickness depends on ID and changes for every schedule rating..... suffice to say that higher schedule numbers mean thicker walls.....


Edited by GeneralDisorder, 08 August 2011 - 06:40 PM.

#8 tallwelder81


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:03 PM

thanks! i dont mind hand pumping it.
im 95% positive i want to buy this one.

does anyone else think $150 is way too much for shipping a tool from new york to seattle?

i shipped a 5x10ft teardrop camper trailer from milwaukee/chicago to seattle for 200 bucks. thats practically a small car. this bender would fit in a wheelbarrow.


maybe the seller will work with me on shipping. whatever......

so OBK, that notcher is decent? frankly 60 bucks sounds about right. a notcher is such a simple device, i dont see why any of them cost 500 dollars.
its really just a frame to hold a tube steady and then a hole saw. and you dont even get the hole saw blade or the motor to turn it. its basically a glorified jig.

ill definately check it out. thats just one less thing to ship across the galaxy.
i got a harbor freight/ tool town just a minute away from me.

#9 tallwelder81


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:21 PM


what do you think of THIS one?
twice the price, same seller. looks sturdier, and it has more dies.

the other ones, the actual frame/bracket dealymahoozit it so small, i dont understand how it stays stable during use.
does it bolt to the concrete floor? or a worktable? im confused....

#10 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:53 PM

Ours was bolted down to a table. It was likely a steel table - we built our own. One of the first projects you should do as a welder is build your welding table, oxy-acetylene cart, and MIG welding cart. My shop welding/heating/big-rump roast vice table is 60"x36" and has a solid 1/4" thick plate steel surface. It's no fun to move but it was kinda fun to build :). I used an old refrigerated dryer frame I got from my former employer for free (scrapped out the mechanicals). I cut, folded, and mutilated it into a table frame with a shelf about 10" off the floor - to save weight the shelf is made of 1-1/4" plywood. The table legs sit on 4" x 4" x 1/2" plates with 3/4" fine machine thread leveling bolts through each.

Greenlee is not bad either. They are a cheaper competitor to Enerpac in this type of equipment. Probably a fine unit though.


#11 tallwelder81


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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:03 PM

dang, look at G.D. with all the useful responses. im gonna have to give you a thank you one of these days.....

just kidding.....


yea ive built temporary tables and junk, but i AM about due for a long-term, pro quality table/workcenter. my prob is that my access to 220v is kinda limited. its there but in the far corner. kinda at the far opposite corner of my shipping container/carport of where would be most convenient and obvious place for me to do my major work. whatever, i deal with it.

i swapped out to a long long power cable for my lincoln Mig. and its pigtailed with BOTH common 220 males. 3 prong and 4 prong, so i can use either the residential laundry style outlets, OR the industrial style.

Edited by Turbone, 08 August 2011 - 10:55 PM.

#12 3eyedwagon


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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:22 PM

Listen to the advice that Rob, and GD are giving you. You can pick up a used piece of equipment for a fraction of the cost, and often end up with a far nicer machine than you originally budgeted for.

I watched Craigslist for nearly a year, and did alot of research before I bought mine. I ended up finding a guy that was in desperate need of getting rid of a machine that he had inherited. It was a long drive to go get it, but, it was well worth the trip. I ended up with a machine that cost over 10k new for pennies on the dollar. I think I'd have a hard time reproducing that deal, but, that's what waiting, and watching is all about.

I ended up with a Ben Pearson MC59 with a very extensive die package.

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I couldn't be happier with it. It had a few issues when I got it (backpressure gauge was broken, it was dirty, and out of alignment from being moved multiple times), but I saved thousands of dollars, and got a machine with more dies than I would have had I bought new. I also learned a ton along the way.

If you do some research on these machines you can see that they are fairly easy to inspect for wear before purchase, and that they are made to last forever. This is relevant to nearly all brands of benders. They are very similar whether they are Bend Paks or Ben Pearsons. They have rotation bushing or bearing packs that are straight forward to replace, and all the systems are simply inspected by checking for play in the components. After some looking it over I found that mine had very very little wear. Boy was it dirty though...:-\

Glad to see you already learned about the die packages. Yes, they are very expensive, but, the machine can't do the job without them. Improper die fitment will make you go nuts. It is crucial when bending larger thin walled tubing. You won't notice it as much on smaller thicker tubing. If all you want to do is 2"- and heavier walled, one of the cheaper manual benders will do that stuff just fine. You really don't start to notice the high quality fitment until you get into the 2 1/2" + thin walled stuff, and then it starts to deform quickly with a misalignment.

The best piece of advice I can offer you is this:

Take care of your dies, and they will take care of you.

Seriously, I cannot stress that enough. That was one of the problems when I got my bender. It had grit, and grime all over the dies which made it bend like a piece of crap. After talking to the really nice people at Ben Pearson I took the time to clean all of my dies thoroughly, and oil them frequently. Now I oil them all the time, even not when in use. This prevents rust. I also keep them covered to keep dust off of them. There is alot of friction going on with a compression die bender, so, cleanliness is super important to prevent crushing or other deformation of the tubing. Again, this gets more important the larger the tubing, and the thinner the walls. However, I can tell a difference on even the thicker walled smaller stuff. You just get a better looking bend with less "push in" (that's from the walking shoes pushing the tubing in against the radius die) if you keep the die/shoes, and workpiece well lubricated.

My machine operates on 220v, and is sort of a behemoth, but, man can it bend some tube. It also is nice to be able to flare/expand/compress exhaust, make Buick balls, and other exhaust flanges/fitments, and has a nice degree bend shutdown switch. Finally, it came with the card catalog for making reproductions of stock exhaust systems, and the accompanying degree finders. These are handy things to consider, and a really good reason to buy a bit more machine.

It also came with a few sets of dies for various sized tubings/pipes that the original manufacturer didn't offer. The original purchaser had them machined....:eek: That had to be expensive.

I know what you're saying about the dies too. I called Ben Pearson to order a set of dies for 3 1/2" and 4".... They cost more than I initially paid for the entire machine, and setup. :rolleyes:

Edited by 3eyedwagon, 09 August 2011 - 08:25 PM.

#13 tallwelder81


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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:00 PM

very nice, but way more bender than i have a need for.
when i said i want to do exhaust professionaly, what i really meant was maybe 20 hours a month, or even less, of actual exhaust work.

a question would be, gd, when you say a cheaper model wont bend thin wall as good, what do you mean? im not sure how thick your typical aluminized 2" exhaust would be. 16g i am used to, not sure what the inch measurement would be.

isnt typical exhaust tubing 16g? i know the nicer brands of headers brag of 14g in the magazine ads. so 16g seems likely in my brain????

#14 tallwelder81


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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:36 PM

also, the final end all question is, im set on one of the two ebay links gd sent me. WHICH one would you guys grab up?

they are teh same price, same shipping, same seller, same brand name.

but one has a nice steel box to hold it all, and an extra 2 dies, i think 1 inch and 3 inch. plus the core, whatever youd call that piece, the core of the whole machine, the skeleton thing that holds the pipe itself and the dies bolt into it, that part is bigger and looks more.... solid, stable, substantial??

so one has 1.25, 1.5, and 2".
the other has .75, 1, 1.25, 1.5, and 2".

could one of you read both of the ads, and tell me what YOU would pick, please? the one with more dies, better "core piece", amd carry box CLEARLY looks better. but my hesitation is that they are both same price, same shipping. and yet, from the same seller, with the same website. maybe the bigger kit has more wear or time on it? so the more basic kit costs the same cause it is newer, meaning "less miles"

PLEASE help, it would be much appreciated.?

#15 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 10 August 2011 - 11:51 AM

Exhaust tubing is quite thin. Much thinner than the Lenz tubing I bent on a regular basis - half as thick or less. 14g is .07"

The one with fewer dies is a newer design - it's not less strong - it uses a differerent "action" and I beleive it will make prettier bends. It draws the tube around the die rather than pushing the die into the tube.....That's the style we used and I liked it. That is definitely the one *I* would buy.


#16 3eyedwagon


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Posted 10 August 2011 - 12:11 PM

a question would be, gd, when you say a cheaper model wont bend thin wall as good, what do you mean? im not sure how thick your typical aluminized 2" exhaust would be. 16g i am used to, not sure what the inch measurement would be.

isnt typical exhaust tubing 16g? i know the nicer brands of headers brag of 14g in the magazine ads. so 16g seems likely in my brain????

A cheaper model won't bend exhaust tubing as well because of fitment, and alignment issues. It really has nothing to do with what is creating the force to bend the tubing, although improper use of the force can create problems as well.

My bender is a walking shoe radial die compression bender. That means that while the radius die is being pushed into the inside of the bend, the shoes are being drawn out and wrapping the tube around the outside of the die. This design is not really anything special, it's pretty old, tried, and true. The important part is the alignment of the dies, and being able to replace worn parts in order to keep that alignment in check. That should be your number one concern when purchasing a bender. If the bushings (or whatever mechanism keeps the alignment in check) are worn, then the alignment will suffer, and ultimately your bends will show it.
Like I said, this isn't a big problem on heavier walled small diameter stuff, but, alignment issues REALLY start to show up the larger diameter you are bending. Just think, the larger the diameter, and the thinner the wall, the less material you have, and the more you are asking that material to move/stretch. Any sort of lateral movement in the bending process can create all sorts of problems when trying to bend larger stuff. That is why you just don't see cheap benders advertising the ability to bend 2 1/2" +.

I personally use 14ga aluminized on most of the systems I do, unless somebody needs something to "get them by", and doesn't have much cash. Then I will help them out with whatever I can. I like the way the 14ga aluminized bends, and it is just far stouter. Then again, I don't do much exhaust under 2". When dealing with exhaust under 2" diameter, 16ga being fairly standard wouldn't surprise me at all.

Another bit of advice I can offer you is:
Don't stockpile massive amounts of aluminized exhaust tubing. You're better off buying exhaust tubing as you need it. I was told by the people at Ben Pearson that older tubing (even good quality stuff) can be problematic to bend. I guess it loses it's elasticity as it ages. I can confirm that some stuff I had sitting around for 18 months or so didn't bend as well as the new stuff. Just letting you know so you don't go buying a truckload to outfit your shop. From what I've seen, this isn't as much a problem when dealing with plain vanilla steel tubing for bumpers, roll cages, etc.

Good luck on whatever you decide.

#17 monstaru


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Posted 07 December 2011 - 01:05 AM

Buy a plasma, then search pirate for the CAD file of the JD2 stuff.You can cut out everything you need to build one.Then buy the drill press/index needed to drill out the holes.Finish off buy putting air over hydrailuc .build stand to move aorund and voile'.
You now cut with a plaz, built your own bender(allowing you to spend more on the dies.)....

I bought my JD2 and the 1.5 dies.Added air over hydraulic and was in quite the grip.
I seaarched for a guy to build me a chassis.He wanted about 800 to start.Thats -ish what I have into my setup.Then I built a moveable stand for it with large bolts on the bottom as feet for leveling purposes.I also bought a mount for the bender that allows it to be completely turned 360 degrees if I run out of room on a bend, I can rotate tthe whole head, mid-bend.

bender with air over hydraulic
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removeable head mount so that I can eventually mount it outside to a trailer , or whatever.:-p
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I guess my point is that you can buy stuff to build stuff you need.Don't count that out

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