nocones GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/25/19 9:07 a.m.

Who makes the best manual or low cost hydraulic tube bender?  I know I should just pay someone to make my roll bar tubes for the car but I'm too dumb for that and think I want to bend my own.  

Is the Horizontal manual JD2 model 3 and similar the way to go?

What about these vertical ones?  

Would be bending 1-5/8 .083 chromoly.  Budget is what it takes but less is best if it still works good.


If anyone knows a chassis guy within a few hours of Central IL (Chicago, Indy, STL) I would consider having something bent but it's for a challenge car so I can buy the tools and DIY or I have to pay labor if it's a shop.  So beer for bends deals would be best.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/25/19 9:58 a.m.

In reply to nocones :

About 16-years who there was a guy on the west side of STL building cages. I stopped by his shop once while I was in town for work. I don’t remember his name offhand, but I happened to see it mentioned within the last year or 2, which made me think he’s still around & in business. Sorry, I know that’s too vague to be of much use, but hopefully someone else will know who it is. 

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/25/19 10:17 a.m.

I have the affordable vertical bender and it makes nice tubes and comes with one die set for under $400.  Carli just got me the air over hydraulic jack to convert it so I don't have to pump the handle a million times to make bends anymore.  I'd never used more than a conduit bender before and i made my tubes correctly immediately with it. and i got it on ebay during a 10% bucks promotion so I got $35 back

SkinnyG UltraDork
12/25/19 10:37 a.m.

I built my own off plans from

Whatever bender you choose, make sure you can source dies. The GotTrikes bender uses Pro-Tool dies, and my local suppliers sell JD2 dies.  Grrrr.

captdownshift GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/25/19 12:07 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

Izzy's custom cages (they also do trackmaps and trophies now's) 

gumby GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/25/19 12:21 p.m.

I have a JD2 with the SWAG Offroad air over hydraulic conversion. I would offer to let you come use it, but I haven't bought 1 ⅝" dies for it yet.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/25/19 12:46 p.m.
captdownshift said:

In reply to Pete Gossett :

Izzy's custom cages (they also do trackmaps and trophies now's) 

Yes, thank you!!!

lotusseven7 Reader
12/25/19 1:46 p.m.

I've had a JD2 Model 3 for 3 years and have fab'd hundreds of cages with it. Manual, no hydraulics on mine. It's a bit more work, but I can "bump" it a degree or two if needed.

nimblemotorsports Reader
12/25/19 5:21 p.m.

I made my own using affordablebender dies.  Been planning to make my own 1-5/8 dies too, but alas still in shop purgatory, so haven't been able to do much of anything for months.

newrider3 New Reader
12/25/19 6:50 p.m.

I built a vertical hydraulic bender similar to the gottrikes bender, but to accept JD Squared dies. I can't find the original plan source anymore, the website appears to be down. Here's someone's CAD file reproduction.


Having used a JD Squared manual bender (horizontal configuration) and this vertical hydraulic bender, I like the vertical orientation better, and also prefer the hydraulic ram power over long manual lever action. It does take a lot of pumping, but it's far easier than trying to secure the bender to be able to reef on the lever of the ratcheting manual bender. 

TasdevEngineer2of3 New Reader
12/25/19 7:35 p.m.

JD2 manual horizontal on a home made stand bolted to the floor is what we use and it makes great bends. Impressive little machine for the price. Agree that the ability to bump the bend a degree or two is handy.

Your first cage will take you a while and may scrap some bends - but it gets easier as you go. Also like it when someone asks who built our cage - and can say I did.

Rodan Dork
12/25/19 8:34 p.m.

I have  a JD2 Model 3 on a custom rolling stand I built from plans available on eBay... bends in the vertical plane with HF air/hydraulic power.  Works great!  Info in this thread:

GRM bender thread



Another GRM bender thread



wawazat HalfDork
12/25/19 9:19 p.m.

Hossfeld has a great selection of dies.  

AAZCD HalfDork
12/25/19 9:28 p.m.

This thread got me looking at options and I came across these super cheap ones on Amazon. Comments mostly say that there's a learning curve, but they work. Has anyone tried one similar? I'm guessing that it's 'you get what you pay for' Chinesium.

untchabl Reader
12/25/19 9:32 p.m.

I like the RogueFab bender, it's a vertical bender and isn't too bad price wise. 

newrider3 New Reader
12/25/19 9:34 p.m.

Those aren't tube benders, they're pipe benders. And they don't even do that well, they're more like pipe kinkers or pipe smashers. For starters, the dies are sized for pipe, so not correct for tube. Sure, you can play with technique enough to not completely ruin your tubing, but I certainly wouldn't try to use one on something you expect to pass tech for racing.

Spoolpigeon PowerDork
12/25/19 10:19 p.m.

RogueFab here. It's a vertical bender, but worked great. 

12/26/19 5:37 a.m.

In reply to AAZCD :

I tried cause one was available. Zero luck.

McDesign New Reader
1/16/20 2:49 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

I'm a big fan of the Rogue kit - I welded one together this year and made my first cage ever,  from 1.75 X .120 - swing-out side bars and all.

Can post more pix if interested -

Forrest in Atlanta

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/16/20 7:41 p.m.

This is pertinent to my interests.

I bought a Harbor Freight Pipe bender like AAZCD posted. Garbage.

Those idiots on Orange County Choppers used to make sacrificial wooden bucks, heat and bend their frame tubes around them. Note: I did NOT say this was a good idea.

Other Note: how does heating affect the temper of rollbar tube. My gut tells me it's bad.

McDesign New Reader
1/18/20 9:58 a.m.

If it's just mild steel tubing, there's not enough carbon for any tempering - so reasonable heating makes no real difference.


Forrest in Atlanta

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 UltraDork
7/11/22 2:22 a.m.

That is the most oddly specific canoe I have ever seen. Bravo, bot. Bravo. 

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