I have had and used a JD2 model 3 manual tube bender for several years. It has served me well during that time, allowing me to build several cages, bumpers, and other tube projects. Recently through the vendor forums on Pirate4x4.com, I came across a bender design that would allow me to re-use my JD2 die sets, but convert to a more mobile and - most importantly - non-manual way to bend tube. Previously, my manual bender required that I drill into my shop floor to attach a stand, which gave me one location in which to bend - and took up a fair amount of shop space due to the horizontal bending design. This design instead utilizes a mobile base, and also concerted to a vertical style of bending tube. A phone call to Rob @ ProBender.com had one of his benders (specifically a his pro3) on it's way to me.
Let me say one thing before I get started... Rob not only has a good product, but I was seriously impressed with how the bender was packaged and shipped. After years of receiving various products in marginally packaged containers, it was great to get a well packaged box where everything was in place and there were zero concerns about missing pieces or parts.
The ProBender comes in kit form that will require bolting and some welding. A quick look at the included installation diagrams and I was able to assemble the bender and do a test bend. I then disassembled the bender to fully weld the rolling base and add some paint.
Here is how it turned out - the only change I made was to add a few elbows to route the air hose nipple in a downward position, mainly for my own convenience. The air-over-hydraulic ram is easy to operate and is fast enough for my needs, yet slow enough to allow controlled and precise bending. Initial testing shows that I can bend just under a 90 degree bend without re-pinning the die in approx. 75 seconds.
The ProBender kit also comes with an easy to operate ball valve - as it flows better than the one that you might normally use on one of these rams.
Stay tuned as I update this page with video clips of the bender in action, as well as my thoughts once I have used the bender to complete a tube project.
|This page last modified 07/10/03||
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