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Thread: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

  1. #1
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    For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    i bought a HF 12 ton pipe bender to bend PIPE. i know plenty of people buy these and modify them for tube but i want to bend pipe. no matter what size pipe i use or different dies, play with the rollers, pack with sand. i cant even make a 40 degree bend without kinky. what am i doing wrong? i want to bend pipe.. everyone says they work fine for pipe. i see people making nice 90 degree bends no problem. the pictures speak for themselves...

    did i get a ****ty one or something? whats the secret..... :P

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  2. #2
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    Don't have the bender but I've worked with one... You need to ad straps to keep the pipe from lifting out of the die.

  3. #3
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    I've only done a few bends and had results only slightly better than yours (sch 40). After digging a little deeper, I found the problem to be the ill-fitting bottom die. Pipe would not properly seat against the die unless basically hammered into place as you went--pipe always sat proud. Part of this problem is that as the pipe bends, it gets wider--and won't fit in the die, even if it would fit well before bending. Results improved after touching up the die so that the pipe was tight but could seat. It's still mostly a pipe crimper as it sits but at least partially does the job.

  4. #4
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    I made adjustments to mine to bend tube. It work 'ok'.





    Thin wall tube.
    12v battery, jumper cables, and a 6013.
    I only have a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/VPT/244788508917829

  5. #5
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    90's are difficult. Make sure pipe sets tight in die. I have put a small bend then move a couple of inches and bend some more. Maby 30 degrees at a time. Three moves per 90. Good luck

  6. #6
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    those bends arent half bad, i could live with that. i tried the u strap clamp and it didnt work. the pipe flattens out too much, i think the dies are too loose even though theyre made for pipe. did you modify your dies? im thinking of grinding out one of smaller dies to make it fit tighter on the size pipe i want to bend.

  7. #7
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    Yes, if you look closely I shimmed my dies to fit the tube better. The shim is just a piece of tube cut in half and bent around the die with a thick piece of pipe or tube.
    12v battery, jumper cables, and a 6013.
    I only have a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/VPT/244788508917829

  8. #8
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    Never had any problems with the harbor freight pipe bender and never used sand while bending pipe. I have bent 1" up to 2 3/8 no problem. Tubing is a different story which I was not successful at.

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  9. #9
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    I've used mine to bend 2 3/8" oil pipe and it works great other than being slow. The jack is leaking oil now and I plan on using the dies to make my own frame with a hydraulic cylinder.

  10. #10
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    The Harbor Freight bender is for pipe such as black iron or galvanized pipe which is measured INSIDE DIAMETER. Tubing is measured OUTSIDE DIAMETER and trying to bend tubing in pipe dies does not work since the dimensions are off.

    Good benders cost more money since the dies are machined instead of cast and have followers to help spread the load so the pipe does not kink.

    Also pipe quality varies greatly, if you have ever had to thread or cut grooves in pipe one can see the differences. Some of the asian stuff is gummy and difficult to thread and I could see were it might kink instead of bending.

  11. #11
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    i had some pipe from home depot, i would imagine its not the greatest quality.

  12. #12
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    Have you tried setting the upper dies farther apart?

  13. #13
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    im going to try setting the dies all the way apart and maybe checking to see how sloppy of a fit they really are this weekend when i have time.

  14. #14
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    Re: For those of you that have had SUCCESS with a harbor freight PIPE bender

    Quote Originally Posted by gmakra View Post
    The Harbor Freight bender is for pipe such as black iron or galvanized pipe which is measured INSIDE DIAMETER. Tubing is measured OUTSIDE DIAMETER and trying to bend tubing in pipe dies does not work since the dimensions are off.
    Small pipe is measured by nominal diameter, not actual inside or outside dimentions.


    The best way to bend small pipe is with an actual tubing bender (JD2, etc.) with dies that are specifically made for the pipe.
    https://www.jd2.com/p-45-m3-pipe-die-sets.aspx
    Last edited by MikeGyver; 04-16-2015 at 11:21 PM.
    Welding/Fab Pics: www.UtahWeld.com

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