View Full Version : How to use a pipe bender?

03-07-2011, 03:44 PM
Hi, I got one of these craptastic pipe benders: http://www.hydraulicpumpsmotors.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/hydraulic-pipe-benders1.jpg (Well actualy I got the air over hydraulic version) And im wondering, How am I supposed to use this on 1" tubing without just crimping the tube in half as It did when I tryed it?

03-07-2011, 03:47 PM
Does it have a shoe for 1" tubing???


03-07-2011, 03:52 PM
Yea its got a 1" shoe, Did'nt help. the shoe radius is a little larger then the pipe.... say, 1 1/8"
The next size down is about 7/8" (for 3/4"?)

03-07-2011, 03:52 PM
The tube will crip when bending, you need the other half of the mandrel to regulate its cross-section to a round one. If those heads in the picture were rolling-type, you would have to roll it back and forth until it assumes its shape (this also would not crimp it). Also make sure the shoe's have the same diameter as the tubes.

Video Man
03-07-2011, 03:52 PM
What they don't tell you is that these benders are designed for Sched 40 and heavier pipe---tubing, they just kink. You could try filling the pipe with sand or freezing the pipe filled with soapy water (that's how they bend trombone slides, btw) but light pipe doesn't work. You could download the Harbor Freight documents on how to use their very similar bender (look for SKU number 32888 at Harborfreight.com)

03-07-2011, 04:05 PM
Looks like the shoe is for pipe dimensions and not tubing. Thin wall tube will flatten out if the shoe doesn't fit. See if you can find one of those springs that the plumbers use to bend copper pipe. I bought a set of I think three of them 1/2" - 1". If not wrap some wire around the tube to make the OD 1 1/8" 1/16" bailing wire might just do.

Sometimes you have to improvise !


03-07-2011, 04:34 PM
You want an Electrician's conduit bender, not a pipe bender. Optionally take your project down to a muffler shop. They might have the correct shoes, etc. for 1" tubing.

03-07-2011, 05:55 PM
Seems to me any "pipe" bender should be set up to bend tubing. Aren't they used mostly for DOM? Why would anyone be bending water pipe? It's more likely a result of Chinese built items not conforming to American standards. For instance, I bought an HF hydraulic crimper and the gauge on the dies don't even come close to matching the gauge markings. I had to machine a new set of dies to get what I thought I was buying.

03-07-2011, 06:17 PM
Another thing you can do is fill your tubes with water, then freeze them (in canada its possible with long ones, we just leave the tubes in the snow). I've seen people do that on youtube. If you want to preserve the interior profile, one thing I've seen trumpet makers do is force steel balls through their tubes, with oil, and a press.

03-07-2011, 07:45 PM
Well, I got some play sand...

Next im wondering.. Should I fill the tube and try and bend it cold in the oversized pipe shoe, Or bend it hot with my oxy/fuel rig..

03-07-2011, 08:20 PM
wrong place

03-07-2011, 10:47 PM
That is defiantly a pipe bender. ID pipe plus some play 1/8 wall X 2 = 7/8 same for pipe OD is about 1 1/8. You would drill a 1 1/8 hole for 3/4 pipe to fit throe. I make all kinds of stuff with pipe. It is easier to come by and a lot of times cheaper. 1 1/4 pipe makes perfect hand rails.I used pipe for the back rack.

03-07-2011, 10:50 PM
Pipe sizing and tubing sizing are 2 different things. A 1" pipe die will measure
1.250", the inside of a 1" pipe will be about 1".
Pipes dimension is OD, tube dimension is ID.


People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people!!!

03-08-2011, 01:43 AM
As stated, if you want to bend pipe, get a pipe bender. For tubing, get a tubing bender. There is some cross over with special dies, but they tend to revolve around completely different styles. I've got a tubing bender with several 180*+ dies ranging from 1" up to 1.75". I use them for roll bars, bumpers, mounts, and occasionally cross members or frame elements. These can bend tubing up to 180* or more without crimping. Minimum radius generally determined wall size. Thinner wall needs a larger radius to avoid crimping. Otherwise you need a much more expensive mandrel system. I've only seen one guy have decent luck with a "pipe bender" on tubing, and he made what amounted to adapter shims that fit the dies to make the "fit" the tubing better. Still didn't work well, and he could have had a much better system for the trouble and time invested, but...

For examples of easily built benders you can search for JD2 and Pro Tools (2 of the most common fabricator benders that are fairly affordable with LOTS of die/shoe options). You can also look at www.OFN.com. This is a hard core home built off road truck/truggy/buggy focused site with LOTS of discussion on the topic.

03-08-2011, 10:35 AM
Just a thought but you could make spacers. By bending the schedule 40 pipe and then cutting it in half on the radius. Bend some 1 pipe cut in half then you have a spacer for 1 tubing to go in the same die you just used. I will throw one together and take a pic.

03-08-2011, 01:24 PM
Jeremy: Nice looking rigs you have there, but aren't those 1919A4's considered LMG's? As in not heavy?(Like 1917A1's)

03-08-2011, 01:33 PM
*looks at boring head and rotary table*
Now, if I only had some giant slugs of metal....
*looks at brother who works in heavy machinery fab/customisation*

03-08-2011, 02:38 PM
I have both benders pictured above. The second one works much better. I have the need for long arched tubing recently and have been thinking of turning the first bender like in the OP into a rolling bender. I think I can make the dies on the lathe.