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Anyone ever use a HF tubing roller

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  • Anyone ever use a HF tubing roller

    I was looking at hydraulic pipe benders when I ran across a tubing roller. It
    looks like a manually operated English wheel type roller. Seems like this would
    do a better job that a hydraulic bender. Its Harbor Freight brand so thats why the price is about 175 or 1/4 the price of a better quality roller, anyway
    has anyone ever used or knows anything about one of these.

  • #2
    I am in the market for a tubing roller now. I came acrost this one and found this thread in the search and am wondering the same as OP. Are these any good? do they squash the tube or hard to work with because they are cheap?


    • #3
      I just bought one of these the other day. It seems to be stronger than I would have thought. I rolled some conduit with it for a lawn sculpture and it did it pretty easily. There are some issues with the way the dies and wheel are attached to the shaft. Both are tightened to the shaft with set screws and should be modified to make it stronger. It does kink the tube somewhat on the ends when it runs out of tubing, but if you plan right it shouldn't be a problem.

      I am not sure what you are looking to use the roller for, but I would only use it for light stuff. HF has some reviews of it on their web site that I found accurate.

      Use the 20% off coupon on it and save a little money.

      The one in your ebay link is the same as the HF one. If you have a store near you it is on sale.
      Last edited by slowmo5o; 03-22-2011, 10:26 PM.


      • #4
        The idea and device looks pertty sound, However I would highly suspect its mainly for bigger radiuses. Can anyone quote the smallest radius they have gotten on a perticular OD and wall thickness of pipe with it? (without serious crimping/malforming)

        I must also say that the 'weld end closed, fill with sand, heat with torch, hand bend, cut off welded end, empty' technique, while sounding like a lot of work, isent that much work after all and worked amazing well (for me) with no bulges or excessive distortion (Except where I heated the inside of the bend excessively compaired to the outside, But that was totaly a mistake on my part and only happened once, a little heating + hammering got the bulge back into place), Even for a reasonabley sharp radius on 1" tube. Also very cheap with no need to buy dies for every size pipe and ability to do funky radiuses, and 40lbs of sand is only $4. (Cook sand in oven first, and drill a steam hole at both ends of the pipe near the seal)

        PS: the hydraulic 'pipe' benders only come with *pipe* sized dies (not tubing sized, don't fit tubing worth a damn), And basicly just love to crimp tubing if you try to use tubing. Also seems to only like a certian wall thickness (So I have been told) so even making the right dies for tube may not help much.
        (Pipe = Water pipe, Gas pipe, Etc, sized by a square peg into a round hole before the wall thicknesses where changed.. or some bull like that. Tubing = What you buy at the metal store, Sized by actual OD)
        Last edited by Black_Moons; 03-22-2011, 10:36 PM.
        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


        • #5
          Well for me I would be using it for car stuff. I would never need any tight radius out of it just the longer curves/arches. Right now I have two benders, a pipe bender and a tubing bender. The tubing bender (aluminum one) works much better and leaves a nice finish then the cheap HF one which I kind of expect (get what you pay for). That is why I am wondering how the HF roller works. It is very similar to the bigger rollers which makes me think it could possibly work ok. I would want to be able to use it and expect a decent finish up to its rated capacity.

          I work with all kinds of pipe from thin wall 1" to 4" exhaust stuff but I would only need to roll 1 5/8" max but it can be 4130 at times.

          This is the kind of stuff I do, 1 5/8"OD 1/8"wall DOM. Did this one today.

          Forgot the bender pics. I have been thinking of ordering aluminum stock and making my own round dies and turning the black HF bender into a roller.

          Last edited by vpt; 03-22-2011, 10:50 PM.


          • #6
            Anyone else use the HF roller and have results?


            • #7
              Here is THE harbor freight tube roller thread...



              • #8
                best thread on the web for this...just bought one, rolled a piece of 1" DOM, 1/8" wall...takes some muscle and slow going, but got it done in reasonable time. As a base for further modification of sticking to lighter weight stuff, you can beat it for the price.



                • #9
                  I have and have used the HF tubing roller. I used it to make some large radius's of about 3' diameter on 1" DOM. It worked great. I also have used it to do some wrought iron work for gates and such. I bought the extra set of dies for square and rectangular stock and have improvised with those to bend curves with inflection points and was again very happy with the accuracy of the results I was able to obtain and the repeatability on making multiple large pieces with compound radius's.
                  I have had some trouble with buckling on 1 1/2 x 3/4" ~0.08 wall rectangular tubing I put through it, but I don't think it had anything to do with the roller itself, but more to do with the process. In this case I was trying to bend a radius of about 18" over a short section. It actually worked okay, but left the tubing slightly buckled in the apex of the bend; structurally it still had some strength left, but I needed an aesthetic appearance for this piece so I resorted to 1 1/2 x 3/8" HR flat bar and it came out great when formed to the same constraints.
                  As far as how tight an arc you can bend I believe it depends on the structure of the original material and of course the clearance around the roller. I've made some very tight radius bends on short sections but not forming a full circle.

                  There use to be a YouTube video of its operation; I'm not sure if its still out there, but you might want to look it up. IIRC the guy was bending some ~1 1/4 DOM into an arc.


                  • #10
                    Most excellent information! Thanks all of you! Looks like it'll do the jobs I need it to do for now. $175 is a great price for a tool that will hold you over for awhile for the $1500+ tool. Saves space too!


                    • #11
                      I have one and about the tightest radius you can get with minimal distortion is about 8" on 1" 16 ga tubing. I have done as tight as 6" radius on 1" tube but you get a little flattening (not kinking). It works best for large radius sweeps.
                      Under construction - MGB roadster widened 11.5" with Corvette C-4 suspension front and rear, 440 hp LT1 V8 with a T-56 6 speed.

                      Lots of pictures here
                      Part 1,7581
                      Part 2,22422


                      • #12
                        We don't have a close HF but we do have a central machine (similar to HF) close by. I am gonna go today and check it out and see if they have one. I always end up buying stuff when I go there and then wonder why I bought it the next day.


                        • #13
                          There is a HF close to me! I am going to be broke! Nah, most stuff there is to cheap for me however they have good deals on consumables, odds and ends, and one time use tools. They have the copy of the copy of the rong fu bandsaw that I have on sale for $800. It was interesting to see all the stickers that had fell off mine like the band tension sticker. I was able to get a feel by the knob for how tight they say the band should be and it seemed to be close to what I have been setting mine.

                          Anyhow I picked up a couple pairs of leather gloves, 1 for $1 , and the other for $5. I also got the last boxed up tubing roller on sale for $159.99 normally marked $199.99. 20% off! Sale ends the 31st.

                          Brought it home and put all 3 parts together and tried it out on some thin wall 1" aluminum tubing. Results get a big thumbs up for the price of the tool! Barely any squish and no cracks even when rolled into a 12" radius 180 degrees. The only other thing is exaclty what was mentioned in the 4x4 forums, the dies. As expected for a HF tool the dies are a little rough. There are the ridges (tooling marks) left behind from a lathe so at least in the soft aluminum they leave lines along the tube. The dies could be easily sanded out on the lathe. Lastly the need for the 1.250" and 1.75" dies which could also be made fairly easily on the lathe and I probably will. So over all a good tool for the money.


                          • #14
                            Glad it worked out for you

                            I have had mine for a long time now, it's built to last unlike alot of China stuff my only regret is that I have yet to install a gear motor to drive it. As you will find out it will give you a good workout, better than any gym.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chuckinnc
                              I have had mine for a long time now, it's built to last unlike alot of China stuff my only regret is that I have yet to install a gear motor to drive it. As you will find out it will give you a good workout, better than any gym.

                              I saw a pic of a motor installed on one while searching google. I think at least a suicide knob on the wheel is necessary. A local metal shop just so happens to have a 4x14" round chunk of aluminum. I think I might turn it into some dies.