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Homemade tubing bender - Has anyone done this?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Kerry, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. mykwillis
    Joined: Sep 27, 2007
    Posts: 282


    i've got a jd2 model 4. if you bend a few things up for a few people it'll pay for itself in no time.
  2. I posted a stack of tubing bender plan links here a couple weeks ago.
  3. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,117


    Memphis Tennessee Sprint car driver//builder Hooker Hood built many supers, sprints and other race cars.. In a article in Stock car racing mag.. He said he drove a pipe in the ground by a tree and used the tree to bend all his cages and frames. He said the radus was perfect. I think he also said he used black water pipe. you know with the theads on the ends. This was in a shop in his mothers back yard. His cars were very fast...As for my self I have been using a conduit bender for a long time. It gets the job done but it doesnt work very well on anything less than 87 wall.
  4. Kustm52
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,982


    Also works if you use two trees that are growing really close together.. don't knock it, it works...!

  5. I started to build that bender to do the cage in my HA/GR, but haven't finished it. Whenever I do, I will post pics.
  6. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,557

    from Garner, NC

    Smoking deal for someone closer... soemone buy that thing...
  7. I've attempted to bend chrome moly by filling it with sand and capping the ends, and I gotta be honest, it didn't work. I needed a customs radius that no body had and the damn thing kept kinking on me. I know that the local chassis shop (Pro Car Chassis) uses a JD2 hand bender, and they make some incredible shit. I figure if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. They build low 6 second pro mods, owtlaw 10.5, etc and the bends and such are perfect. I've never personally used it so I'm not familiar with the problems JohnnyFast had, but I'm definitely gonna consider buying one in the very near future.
  8. When I built the topframe for my roadster, I needed a bend radius that simply did not exist in any available dies. I used a relatively thin wall steel tubing, and since it has canvas stretched over it, it had to be perfect, and both sides of the top had to be exactly the same. I found a company in Toronto that does mandrel bends, using the "machined eggs on a cable" method.---the bends turned out perfect.
  9. Bonehead II
    Joined: Apr 18, 2005
    Posts: 360

    Bonehead II

    Hey Brian
    Are you saying that you found a company in Toronto that makes mandrel bends ?. If so could you please tell us the name of the company and phone number.
  10. Flatty
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 98


    Coming from a guy with EXTENSIVE bending experience. I have built a bunch of cages, a full tube chassis, and other odds and ends. All built with a JD2 bender. The bender itself is only about $250 if you shop around. The dies are the expensive parts. Don't skimp on the bender. Get the right one, and go from there.

    As for the bend being different on each one... You set it once, and then go from there. Here is a GREAT way to lewarn how to bend.:

  11. mike
    1250 Matheson Blvd.
    Mississauga, Ont.
  12. Tex621
    Joined: May 17, 2008
    Posts: 7

    from Rusk, TX

    Here's the story and notice on the bender sketch I failed to show what is required to hold the tubing in place while being bent and it could be just a piece of angle iron on the back side of the tubing and welded or bolted to the table. Story follows:
    In 1962-65 I built and drove gas and fuel dragsters and I will provide a link/picture of the car I drove in 1964. It will be a color picture before the long story about one of the 6-7 cars I built while living in CC,Tx.

    Story of labor, dedication and fun!!

    In late '64-'65 my friend Bill Rogers inquired about building a HEMI(R) powered dragster and having built about 4-5, I already had most of the required equipment and material on hand. This first picture is of the roll cage and the bending required, but only tack welded. The car assembly requires bending all four frame members, front axle, roll bar and brace and the steering box mounting bracket. The first car I built, the tubing was hauled from CC, Tx to the Rio Grande valley for bending and it turned out looking about like exhaust tube bending. I then started think about how to make decent bends in 1.5" O.D. X .050" wall frame rail tubing and 1.625" O.D. X .125" wall roll bar and front axle tubing. Actually I always used 1¼" IPS SA-106-B steel pipe for roll bar and axle, it being 1.66" O.D. X .140" wall. I wanted the bends to be about 7" inside bend radius so I started thinking about bending it around a piece of 14 " pipe, but I knew it needed something to prevent it from collapsing/kinking. I solved the collapse/kinking problem by machining a solid steel, egg shaped object that would barely fit inside the frame or roll bar and axle tubing. It was set up on a steel welding table with a piece of 14" pipe about 4" long mounted on an axle vertical to the table so that the tubing could be secured to the 14" pipe and the 14" pipe rotated in order to cause the tubing to bend. To prevent collapsing and kinking the "egg" was welded to a 20' piece of 1/4" pipe and the "egg" inserted inside the tubing to the point where the bending occurs and the 1/4" pipe secured so the "egg" would remain where located while the tubing slides over it during bending. The entire bender was made from 4-5 pieces of scrap and was manually operated; I will draw, scan and post a sketch of the bender if anyone wants to make one, Below is a link to the cage picture:

    I have added this link to show a sketch of the bending apparatus:

    The next shot is of the back end of the car. The scatter shield was made from a steel, 1/4" min. thk. 14" pipe cap with a flange welded on to fit the engine bolt pattern. Look close at the bottom and note the clutch release fork shaft that sticks through and through; drilling the 3/4"+ holes on either side for a smooth fit of the shaft ain't very easy. You may notice a new scatter shield pipe cap lying in the background.

    The next shot is also the back and also shows the 392" HEMI(R) block. The object between the scatter shield and rear end housing is a homemade lineup jig made from pipe and machined to fit the main bearing saddles, scatter shield bearing housing and rear end pinion bearing housing. The rear end is an Oldsmobile, junk yard variety that was narrowed by torch cutting and welding. A lineup jig was used to keep it close.
    Some axles were shortened by torch cutting and welding; some were resplined and heat treated.

    This next shot is from the engine to the rear. Here it gives an idea of how the frame tube bends look and keep in mind that no two of the frame rails are alike. The uprights were fish mouthed to fit the rails using a hole saw the same size of the tubing; the fits must be good in order to stick weld .050" wall tubing. I would normally put the first pass with a 3/32"Lincoln Fleetweld 180 rod and then cover with a 3/32"Lincoln Fleetweld 37 rod.

    Next is a shot of the car frame full length and as I recall it was 180" wheelbase. The torsion bar was made from a junkyard VW torsion bar that came laminated by using stacks of 1/8" X 3/8" steel bars, but the normal was to use the correct number to make a 3/4" square bar and then use 3/4" drive sockets welded to the arms bolted to the axle. The trick was to locate and weld the sockets on to get both sides built with the same setting on each arm.

    The next is the front end and lots of hours in hand making each component including wheels; hubs machined from solid aluminum 3.5"diameter bar so as to accept tapered roller bearings, spokes were intended for wheel chairs and the hub caps were freeze plugs. The spokes were installed and tightened using a dial indicator so that very little balancing was needed. Negative camber was about 3 degrees and caster about 30 or so. I still have the spoke hole drilling jig.

    Next is a shot of the car on a borrowed trailer for the first time and I think it went to the old Houston track on the Gulf Freeway. As I recall the car ran 3 runs at 215+. The guy with the white hat on and with the big bulls eye is the owner/driver. Any doubts he could get in it.

    Next shot appears to be a very important conference; the two guys with writing on the T-shirts are the co-owners; guy with the shades is Blackie Blackard (RIP), Blackie. I took the picture, but don't know where, probably Houston. I think the guy with the funny looking hat is Tom Crowley who I built a car for which appears on the near side in the match race 2 pics. below. The guy leaning on the rollbar is present day starter Rick Stewart; I showed him that picture at Houston in '06 and he got laugh out of it. He was running the old Houston track at that time

    Next is a 2 out of 3 "match" race between Gary Watson, near side and Bill in his first ever and Ford powered race car. These "match" races were like the WWF in that no one ever won the first 2 and back then the money was slim pickins.
    The race was at old Rodd Field at CC, Tx where I and many others saw their first ever big time racers that would come and put on 2-3 exibition runs, the likes of Garlits, Eddie Hill and the twin Pontiacs, Bobby Langley's SCORPION and once with an aluminum channel framed car, Bob Sullivan in Pandemonium and of course half a dozen locals.

    Next is Bill on a run at Victoria, Tx, I think, and at Victoria Bill hit the ET/MPH lights etc. and laid the right half of the front axle back about 30 degrees, had to cut it off and install a new end.

    Next is Bill and Blackie waiting in the push to start line; I think at Green Valley near Fort Worth, Tx.

    Next shot is probably at the Green Valley Spring Nationals which Bill won over the best diggers in Texas. The race was billed as a $5000 dollar race which was probably more than the cost of Bill's car. There was much torn up equipment at the race with two cars becoming entangled at about 200 mph and the Cortines car flipping 7 times, but he walked away.

    Last is a little about the Green Valley race and win. Hope you enjoyed this little dab of drag racing history and one of my biggest regrets is I never spent the time or money to photograph things I have seen since seeing my first ever drag race at Halls, Tn. in 1957 or so where I saw what would later become the "Tennessee Boll Weevil" get beat by Lewis Carden's SBC, NHRA record B gas dragster. A friend and I pulled the Boll Weevil trailer back to Memphis to Ray Godman's home where we met him and I first learned of him being in a wheel chair.

    Here's a couple more made from slides dated Aug, '66.
    '51 hemi & '55 sbc; a class of their own.
    "One Day At A Time"
    The 12th root of 2 = 1.0594631
    A good dog don't sing on a covered trail.
    As in Cool Hand Luke, "What we've got heah is a fail-ya to communicate."
    "Shakin' it over here, boss".
  13. murfman
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 539


    Here is my take on the Gottrikes bender:




    I used a Monarch 12V Hydraulic Pump / Reservoir I had from a Drum Handler that was destroyed at work, and a Lyon 2500 24" travel Ram I picked up on Ebay. I program PLCs to pay the bills, so I whipped up a little CNC controller for it. I mounted a Rotary encoder to the pivot shaft of the die that is accurate to .1 degree, I wrote a Database to store the spring back of various diameters, wall thickness, and material of the tube stock Ive used so far. Type in the desired angle, press start, and it bends it, up to 90 degrees in one shot without re-pinning, and I've been able to tweak it to give me accuracy to less than 1/4 of a degree. It uses regularly available dies up to 2" diameter, and Ive bent 1.5" .250" wall DOM to 90 degrees with no sweat. Future upgrades are going to be full 3 axis staging, I will have to manually move the pipe into the die, but the controller will be able to tell me the exact position along the length, and rotation of the tube.
  14. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,748

    Drive Em

    The best thing to do with the JD2 instructions is to throw tham away because they are far too complicated. Once I figured out the deduction for each bend on each die, the JD2 became very easy to use. 15 years, and thousands of bends later I still feel it is the best bender for the money.
  15. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,479


    i built my own mandrel tube bender for thin wall tubing, the egg in the drawing is just the guys way of making a mandrel and could be replaced with a more normal mandrel, an easy mandrel is just a piece on round stock about 10" long, rounded so as not to score the inside of the tubeing and made to fit snug inside the tube your bending, looks to me like in an afternoon and some old scrap you could have a mandrel bender, kinda..
  16. Bill.S
    Joined: May 5, 2004
    Posts: 449

    from NW OH

    Tex621, that scattershield made out of the pipecap and the wheels made with wheelchair spokes is the stuff I like.
    If you have anymore of those kind of parts you made back then, please post them.
  17. GlenC
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 757


    Bent a rollbar up out of a length of 2" dia 1/4 wall pipe one day by packing it with sand and bending it around a support for the verandah on the house. Jammed one end of the pipe so it wouldn't move and two of us started the bend by hand by hauling on the other end, then finished it by tying the other end to the car and pulling it around the corner. Worked fine.

    Cheers, Glen.
  18. [​IMG]
    A friend (Vega Bob) bent my bars for me from cardboard patterns i made. He has a manually operated rol bar bender that is bolted to a large steel table. He says it is easy to use .It is a pretty simple device but canmake about any bend you wish. I need the room for my old worn out bones so i could get in and out of the rail. He obliged bending right to my patterns. I dont know who made it but could find out.
  19. Tex621
    Joined: May 17, 2008
    Posts: 7

    from Rusk, TX

    Only one other of any significance that I recall which was I think the first ever rack and pinion steering for a dragster and it was hand made in 1953-4. I used some 1" thick, scrap, aluminum plate from a shop where I worked and used a bandsaw to cut out, as I recall, a 1" X 1" square bar about 8" long. I bought a rack and pinion from an ordinary machinery supply which as I recall was 1/2" wide. I had a machinest friend to mill a slot in the bar for the rack to slide in. I made the pinion shaft supports from 1/4" thich aluminum bolted to the sides of the bar. I then drilled 4 holes, 5/16" thru the bar and welded the heads of 4 - 5/16" bolts to the front axle to mount the unit on. You could steer the car with one finger.
    The car in the below picture also had a R & P unit that, as I recall, came off a Renault. You can see the car does not have a drag link and you can barely see the R & P unit behind the axle and you can clearly see the vertical rod/bolt on the tie rod which is the connection from the R & P unit. This was at the OLD Houston track in about 1965.
  20. Excellent tech Tex621!!!

    FWIW I gave up on making my own bender. With the cost of steel and how cheap I could get it bent it was hardly worth me screwing it up.
  21. beaulieu
    Joined: Mar 24, 2007
    Posts: 361

    from So Cal

    ummmm I think saw that too, on MR Rogers Neighborhood

  22. This must be a two seater digger. Never seen one that was that wide? Why?
  23. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 18,642


    Bump, just because this is a good thread.

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