View Full Version : HF pipe bender mod

10-28-2007, 03:21 PM
I finally found a use for the harbor freight pipe bender I bought before I knew any better, and I thought some of you would appreciate it, so I will share

I needed to bend some 3/16" x 2" flat plate to make some mounts. I did the first few in the vise, with a torch and a BFH and then thought, there has to be a better way. I do not yet own a press, nor do I have room for one, but I have this silly pipe bender...

Hmmmm. I could weld in a set of dies to bend plate, but nah... I use it occasionally to bend pipe, why ruin it.

So, I made a set of dies from 1.5"x3/16" angle iron. I milled the corner off both pieces. I cut two pieces of 1" pipe I had on the shop floor and turned and faced them on the lathe for spacers for the bender frame. Ideally something with a 3/4" ID would be better, but use what you got... I turned a little bung out of 1.5" round stock to fit the nipple on the bottle jack, it is a fairly tight fit, but not so tight it wont come back off. I cut a 45 angle on each side of the bung with the disc sander. I assembled everything in the bender and used the bottle jack to bring it all up tight to the spacers. The flats on the inner die are so that it will fully mate with the outer die, and the flat on the outer die was just so it would register with the spacers and be square to the jack. Jacked it all together tight and tacked it all together. Disassembled it and welded it up solid and then added a bunch of other scrap steel as gussets.

I wasn't sure if it would work, or fold, so forgive the hideously scrap design, I was in a bit of a hurry, and didn't really care much what it looked like as long as it worked.

Without further ado, here are the pictures


The two dies side by side.


Top side of the top die.


Bottom side of the bottom die.


Dies mated together, they fully engage each other, no gaps.

(cont. next post for picture limit)

10-28-2007, 03:21 PM

Dies in the bender. The bottle jack has a bit of movement, that is why they dont look lined up.


3/16"x2" flat stock, as far as I was comfortable bending w/o breaking it. It is not quite 90, but I presume that this is due to the inner and outer die being the same size. I think if the inner was a bit smaller, or a bit more of an angle, then it would go the full 90. I only needed it to do 45, so it surpassed my expectations.


Here is the tab I designed this to make. The biggest issue with it is there is not good way to line up both halves of the die and it is really difficult to index the piece of stock to keep the bend square. I may add two alignment pins on the bottom die to register with holes in the top die and eliminate the issue of lining the two dies up.


Just for grins, I through a piece of 1/4"x2" in to see if I could break it. Not even a whimper.

I may machine some solid dies for it if it works out. It only takes 5 pumps to bend the 3/16"x2" to 45, and I can do it with one finger. The 1/4" was a lot harder, but it makes a lot better bend then I expected.


10-28-2007, 03:57 PM
Thats nice, Good mod.