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Hot Rods Precision Bending of Nicopp

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by earlymopar, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. earlymopar
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,027

    earlymopar
    Member

    Just curious what members have used for successfully bending Nicopp tubing to 90 degrees without collapsing. The purpose of using Nicopp is of course for ease of forming as well as being non-rusting but there is a point where the tubing softness works against you. I have designed and built several dedicated tubing benders and clearly know the flaws in the hand held bender I have. I'm about to build one but before investing the time I thought I'd see if any of you have had success with the benders on the market and if so, what you're using. There is a boat-load of small tubing benders available in several different design styles in terms of how they form the tube shape. I'd like to see what you have found that works for you.

    Thanks much,

    - EM
     
  2. john worden
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,443

    john worden
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from iowa

    From my experience it seems that most tube bending collapse occurs when attempting a radius too small.
    Experimentation is sometimes necessary to find limits.
     
    Budget36 likes this.
  3. brianf31
    Joined: Aug 11, 2003
    Posts: 475

    brianf31
    Member

    I've used a variety of cheap hand benders for both 3/16" and 3/8" nicopp with good results. One was a combo Harbor Freight unit set up for different diameter tubing. Just make sure your bender has a fairly good size radius.
     
    lake_harley likes this.
  4. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 3,567

    stanlow69
    Member
    from red oak

    I haven`t made any benders but I have made tubing straightners. I mount them on a board alternating them in a straight line
     
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  5. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 657

    lake_harley
    Member

    I was working with normal 3/16" brake line, not Nicopp, but bought a multiple size bender at Harbor Freight. Seems it was ~$10. It did nice, tight bends without any kinking. I wanted a bender that was capable of starting the bend right where the tube comes out of a tube nut, like at a wheel cylinder double flare connection. Although I positioned the tube nut a bit different than you would position the tubing along the length of the tube, it started the bend really close to the nut.

    The only bender I found that looked like an overall nicer unit was about $140!

    Lynn
     
  6. Fitnessguy
    Joined: Sep 28, 2015
    Posts: 1,227

    Fitnessguy
    Member

    Did my coupe with nicopp and I have several benders. Having done my Camaro with stainless I can say you can definitely bend a tighter radius with stainless vs nicopp but stainless is a pain in the ass to work with vs nicopp. This is an example of the tightest bends I made with the nicopp.
    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  7. David Gersic
    Joined: Feb 15, 2015
    Posts: 1,929

    David Gersic
    Member
    from DeKalb, IL

    Imperial bender.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Kind of a pain in the ass to use, but 1/2” radius bends work fine. Here’s a piece of scrap I was fooling around with.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  8. deucemac likes this.
  9. earlymopar
    Joined: Feb 26, 2007
    Posts: 1,027

    earlymopar
    Member

    Thanks for your comments fellas. I had previously done my brake lines in Nicopp 3/16" diameter and had issues but not quite what I'm having with the 3/8" line I'm doing now. The main issue is that while my hand bender has a perfect radius to fit the tube, the radius depth in the center mandrel and on the forming shoe are not deep enough. The result is that around 25% of the tube (at the centerline of the tube) is not supported or controlled by the bender so is free to deform. This is an old Harbor Freight model. I'll check into the "Imperial". The other option is that I might just machine this cheapo bender so the radius' are the proper depth.

    - EM
     
  10. Bearcat_V8
    Joined: Sep 21, 2011
    Posts: 369

    Bearcat_V8
    Member
    from Dexter, MI

    I have re-plumbed two cars using Ni-Copp tube. I have found that the 3/16" tube bends real easy by hand or with a cheap bender. I have even bent it around a socket to get the tight radius I needed.
    The 5/16" however was a different story. I had to go out and buy a Rigid bender to prevent kinking the tube. The results were excellent.
    Also be careful with a straightener. Too much pressure on the straightener can distort the cross-section of the tube and that can contribute to kinking when attempting to bend it.
     
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  11. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,565

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    I always heard to make really tight bends to fill the tube with fine sand. Never tried it, but I bet it works.
     
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  12. Happydaze
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 790

    Happydaze
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Another Imperial user here! Funny thing though is that having never used anything else and thereby never having had a problem it's kinda odd to imagine anyone having difficulty! I'm clearly blessed, haha! But I do manage to fuck up all kinds of other things, so maybe it's just a case of being lucky occasionally.

    I have a facsimile of an Imperial for 3/8" and it won't bend stainless beyond about 45% without excessive flattening, but i think that's because the shoe type design instead of rollers stretches the tube. I dunno.

    Chris


    Chris
     
  13. All of my brake line radii = that of a floor jack handle for some reason...
     
  14. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,707

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Have you tried a spring bender like is used for soft copper ,if you go slow , you can bend a fairly tight radius around a piece of 3/4" pipe with a spring bender...
     
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  15. Cliff Ramsdell
    Joined: Dec 27, 2004
    Posts: 1,017

    Cliff Ramsdell
    Member

    I too have used my imperial bender for Nicopp line.

    This line bends nicely and was very happy as opposed to the new steel lines they sell.

    Cliff Ramsdell
     
  16. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 9,803

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

  17. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 973

    deucemac
    Member

    I bought Imperial Eastman individual tube benders starting in 1973. I still have them and use them often. I don't use the multiple size tube benders because they are made to bend all size tube at the radius of the largest tube channel in the group. Imperial Eastman is not cheap by any means, just the best I have found. I have from 3/16 up to 1/2 inch benders and they bend steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, and Nicole without any problem. Granted, they are a little spendy but they are as reliable as lassie. My son is now building cars for a living and borrows them when he does plumbing. He get them full time when I croak. There is no substitute for quality or accuracy.
     
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  18. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 5,433

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,170

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    If it goes under the car, it gets gravel guard, which is a spring tubing bender, itself.

    Otherwise, Imperial, as I used to have a shop. Other brands are good, too.

    Imperial has little 3/16" and 1/4" benders that go on a ratchet, for brake lines, that work well in tight spaces, for on-car replacement, or for assemblies that are too complex to put in once bent.
     
    town sedan likes this.
  20. I made benders from small pulleys. I also have set of bending pliers


    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  21. Ridgid 400 series tubing benders... Not cheap, but the best. Designed to bend hard stainless lines, these will bend our tubing with ease. If you buy new or with the factory paperwork, there's a guide on how to measure for bends. Do shop for these, as deals can be found.

    https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/400-series-instrument-benders
     
  22. fordflambe
    Joined: Apr 9, 2007
    Posts: 397

    fordflambe
    Member

    Ditto on the Imperial benders..............Mine stay on loan to my buddy car builders and for that, i feel like they are worth the investment.

    If you use the wrong size mandrel (i think thats what it is called) to bend your tubing around, it will not properly support the diameter of the tubing and create the collapse.

    Key to good bends is using the correct size bender for the tubing.
     
  23. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 9,803

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    :D
     
  24. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 292

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    Watch eBay and buy used imperial benders. Prices vary a lot. They let you make tighter Ben's that look better. Once you have one you will never go back to the multi bend crap.
     
    deucemac likes this.
  25. I have an older KD 2189 tube bender that works pretty well, they are still available. Another one I need to get is the ATD-5472, the last one I borrowed when I was doing the lines for my Ford.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  26. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 7,569

    mgtstumpy
    Member

  27. bschwoeble
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 406

    bschwoeble
    Member

    I got chastised on another thread for mentioning buying quality tools instead of going to HF. Ridgid and Imperial Eastman are good example of quality. I've been using them for over 40 years. They go along with a quality flaring set, and not from HF.
     
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  28. Been doin that for years. IT WORKS. I used glass bead outta my blaster
     
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  29. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 292

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    Here is a picture of Imperial type of tube bender and a "jig" that I made for finding the correct place to start a bend when you want the tube to be flush at a 90 degree turn. I bought a bunch of excess steel rod at the metal supply store.
    It works great for making brake and fuel line patterns. It can be restraightened in your vice and saved for your next project. I cut a small piece and made the jig. Basically you just make a bend at the angle you need.....normally 90. While you have the jig piece in the bender, you make a mark where the bender starts the bend. Then when you are bending your pattern or your actual line, lay it in place and put the jig against the intersecting 90 degree surface. Make an identical mark on your tubing. When you make the bend, it should perfectly align with the surface.

    Tubing 2aa.jpg Tubing 4a.jpg View attachment 4433283 Tubing 6aa.jpg DSCN5583.JPG DSCN5581.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

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  30. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 292

    ekimneirbo
    Member
    from Brooks Ky

    I think the thing about tools is that there is no "always right" choice. You have to not only evaluate the comparable costs of a tool, but the result you can obtain. Many times a cheap tool will do exactly what the expensive tool will do and give the exact same result. Compare the cost of HF impact sockets to Snap On. Absolutely no advantage to purchasing a Snap On Socket. When you compare the Impact Guns, the SO will out perform the really cheaper HF guns, but falls short when compared to an Earthquake gun. It either loosens the bolt or it does not loosen the bolt, so you get an exact result.
    Now look at tube benders. I have a bunch of the cheaper benders that I accumulated over a lifetime. They work fine when you just need a general bend. If you want to make a tight crisp professional looking bend, then you need to buy a better tool.
    The thing a lot of people don't consider when buying a used purpose specific tool, .....its almost always worth what you paid for it if you want to resell when done.

    As for flaring tubing, there are lots of tools out there that are foreign made and not big name $$$$$ stuff. They work great, and a little shopping can get you some stuff that does quality work. 37 degree flaring tools are expensive but I found a great one for a decent price. You just gotta shop around. If someone buys one of the neat multi flaring sets, get the more expensive and more complete ones that do fuel lines too. DSCN5592.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
    stanlow69 likes this.

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