Bike Forums

Bike Forums (
-   Framebuilders (
-   -   Inexpensive tube bender (

daddybland 10-18-11 12:23 PM

Inexpensive tube bender
Hi all, I need to bend some 3/8 4130 tubing for a front rack. Anyone know of a cheap option for a bender? This will be a simple lowrider front rack like the Tubus Duo, so not a lot of complicated bends. Tubing has a wall thickness of about 1mm.


fietsbob 10-18-11 12:39 PM

. Make one . others have.
the shoe forms are the inside radius and the roller,
on a long lever, makes the outside of the bend ..

A simple lathe and drill press job..

tuz 10-18-11 01:07 PM

I have this guy.

Inexpensive, but not designed for strong steel tubing. Worked fine for the 1/4 & 5/16 cromo tubes, but wore out quickly with the 3/8 cromo tubes. Now the bends come out a bit flattened, and the "indexing" functionality is no more.

I think this bender is better?

randomgear 10-18-11 03:01 PM

I have this dirt cheap one from Harbor Freight:
I have bent 5/16" x 0.028" chrome moly with it, but it didn't feel like it would do much more. I have some 3/8" x 0.035" coming this week for a rear rack, hopefully the bender will last long enough to complete it.

Live Wire 10-18-11 05:00 PM

Anything cheaper isn't worth getting

unterhausen 10-18-11 06:53 PM

agree with Live Wire. You can find those on ebay, occasionally for a decent price. The similar Parker is nice too. Be careful with the older chrome Rigid benders with a handle that looks like an adjustable wrench, they have a weak spot. The Imperial Eastman benders with the cranked handle are a pain to use. They are often found on ebay cheap, they make crummy looking bends.

Just wanted to add, people always say that the holy grail for hand tubing benders is the Swagelok. I got a decent price for a 1/4" on ebay. I don't really like the bend it makes. It has a really tight radius, which is nice, but it does distort the tube more than the larger radius tools. Rigid and Parker both sell the same kind of tool, it has two rollers instead of a shoe.

daddybland 10-19-11 10:45 AM

Live Wire and unterhausen, have you guys bent 3/8 4130 with the ridgid bender? Both the local plumbing house and Ridgid customer service said it couldnt handle .9 3/8 tubing. If you guys say different the plumbing place has the Ridgid 406 in stock for about $40 so i'll get it tomorrow.

Live Wire 10-19-11 11:01 AM

I have the older model, but it is a 406 and it works fine. I've done 4 or 5 racks with it, mostly using stainless with some 4130 I don't think I've bent anything thinner than .035.

unterhausen 10-19-11 09:00 PM

I can't imagine the 406 would have a problem with .9 tubing. I have bent .035 3/8" tubing with mine and it didn't complain at all. I actually have the older model as well as the newer model. I bought the newer one after I saw a batch of the older ones on ebay that were broken. There is a point in the bend where you need to really push on the bender, I think a lot of people use cheaters on it and the older one had a weak spot.

Had to calculate, .9 is .035"

Henry III 10-20-11 09:23 PM

I was over at Herbie Helm's house a few times not too long ago and I asked him about racks and he showed me the two Rigid benders he used. One was an older unit and the other was fairly new that was a bit pricey. The stuff he makes is pretty amazing to say the least. He had a rando build that was in Bicycle Quarterly that Jans tested out also that should be coming up in the next issue or so I think.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:32 PM.