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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to do my own tube bending,

What type of bender do you recomend, what is the correct tubing to use, and what type of fittings do you prefer.


Also any tips or tricks you have would be appreciated.
 

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one of these will help:



but whatever bender you choose make sure it has interchageable dies so you can bend all sizes of tube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
TTT

Don't make me go to Harbor Freight. Looking for something a little better then that.
 

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if you're only doing yourself and few friends cars get a hand bender that can be gripped in a bench vice, if you're planning on doing loads as a small business get a hydraulic bender on its own work stand (expect to pay lots of $$ for these though !)
 

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i use Parker and Imperial tubing benders, both work well and both of them use an industry standard radius for each given size.

i have 1/8", 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" benders.


the 1/8" is good for making hardlines for small wires, such as power wires for dumps, that bender doesnt need to be heavy duty, you can pick up a quality bender that will do 1/8" for around $30. for wires, i use very thin wall tubing. tubing is measured by the OD (outside diameter) so in that case the thinner the tubing wall, that larger the ID (inside diameter) and with wiring the more room the better, and since its not holding any fluid or pressure, thin wall is better in that situation.

i use 1/4" return lines alot, mainly for aircraft setups, but thats what i build the most of, but i also use 1/4" returns for regular setups too, but MOST people dont use them, and you might not need to invest in that size.

but the 3/8" and 1/2" are the most common sizes used in lowrider hydraulics and those are the 2 benders you will need to spend the most cash on to get something quality, Parker or Imperial benders will be fine, usually around $100ea give or take, depending on the exact model you buy. if you are building highly detailed engines and frames where rubber lines just dont cut it, you can use the benders for that too.


FLARING TOOLS is what will make or break the hardline, and your sanity. cheap flaring tools will end up pissing you off, and can scar up the hardline or cause a poor connection.

there are 2 flaring tools that pretty much reign supreme over all the rest. The Ridgid 377 which uses a massive 1" finely threaded shaft to apply the pressure to create the flare, it flares a 37 degree which is a must to work with JIC fittings, and it will do some pretty thick wall tubing. it will set you back $100-$175, depending on who is selling it, and how bad they want to rip you off, shop around online.

then there is the Imperial 400-F which also flares at 37 degrees and this one is the HOLY GRAIL of flaring tools. It will flare the thickest tubing of pretty much any other hand held flaring tool, and it is very light weight and easy to use, it will set you back at least $300, some venders sell them for around $310, and some sell it for $400, shop around, dont pay over $310 for it, its out there for that price, again, shop around on line.



Parker also makes some heavy duty benders with interchangeable dies, but a complete setup will set you back around 2-3 grand, depending.

I got a bad ass new bender coming that has interchangeable dies, I will post pics when I get it here and try it out. but the hand benders are easy, especially if you have a bench mounted vise to put them in, that makes like alot easier.


ANOTHER TIP I CAN TELL YOU THAT WILL MAKE YOU LIFE EASIER FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE , go buy a pair of channel lock pliers, WITH NO TEETH on the jaws. Channellocks part number is (415 - 10 inch Smooth Jaw Tongue and Groove Plier) they are around $15. they will allow you to bend the tubing to fit into tighter places because you can use the pliers to lock the tubing into the bender without using the built in lock, the built in lock requires you to use a certain amount of straight tubing for each bend. its alot easier to show you what i mean, than it is to type it on the internet, but all in all, just practice. hardline is cheap, shop around, i usually get 3/8" .049 wall tubing for 60 cents a foot. go buy 20 foot and practice, and then practice. READ THE MANUALS THAT COME WITH THE BENDERS, it will teach you how to measure from fitting to fitting, and where to make each bend to make it fit right.


it helps ALOT to have an account to a wholesaler or supplier when it comes to buying the tools and especially the hardline. you can PM texasgold he sells alot of hardline to layitlow members and everyone has had great things to say about buying from him. but nothing is better than having an account, but that depends on how much money you spend monthly, quarterly or yearly with a company. if you can get in good with a local supplier you would be surprised at how much free hardline they will give you.
 

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thanks for the good info Tattoo76 ive also been looking to run some hard lines but didnt know where to start :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the jump start. I'll look up those tools and see if I can't find some locally to order. Then start practicing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Anyone else have Hardline tips or tricks, favorite equipment, maybe even some photos of work done or in progress.
 

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My first set of benders came from Grainger, Imperial tube benders that i still use , then i came across the ones that Parker uses in there shops when making hard lines for customers, the bending tool and flaring tool are used in a bench vise and they save alot of time especially the flare tool. Grainger has the benders for $ 85 to $120, the flaring tool is $ 320. Parker benders cost me $235 for the 3/8 setup and the 1/2 was $ 360. Tattoo has alot of very good advice.... ;)
 
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