Woodward-Fab Pipe/Tube Bending Kit, Model# SPBENDKIT
Works very well, but not quite I need it for
I purchased one of these benders to use with some 18mm metric seamless tubing that had a 2mm wall thickness. It handled it with no problem.
My only complaint is that the radius of the bend was larger than I would have liked, and I can see similar projects I'll be involved with having the same issue, therefore it may wind up on Craigslist and I'll be on the lookout for a bender that will give me tighter radius bends. The other option would be to make my own die that would allow this. Regardless, it works well for its intended purpose.
March 18, 2011
I purchased the bender for a project I'm building for my backyard. I did my homework and reviewed a lot of different types of benders before buying this one. I needed it for bending 3/4 square tubing. I found two things right away. First make sure you anchor it good. After my first bend, and walking my bench across the garage, I anchored the bench to the wall. Second, make sure you grease up the channel that the tubing bends in. I used STP. It keeps the tubing from getting jammed in the bender. Other than that I found it very easy to use and it makes a great bend. The outside edge stays flat.
October 19, 2009
Acceptable Functionality for VERY Low Price
I was in the market for a tube bender, but didn't quite have the need for the next level up, which would have been about four times the cost of this kit, and would have only included one die. I was skeptical about getting the cheapest bender on the market suitable for bending steel, but in the end I'm extremely happy with this purchase.
I do have a problem with the fact that the model you see above is branded Woodward-Fab, while the model in the stores (which seems to be the EXACT same tool) is branded differently. The problem is that online reviews of this Woodward-Fab bender elsewhere claim its maximum bendable wall thickness is .065 inches, and the bender in the Northern Tool stores claims the maximum wall thickness is .047 inches. Same tool, different specs.
Well, despite confusing specs, I took a gamble and bought the model from the store, and bent .065 thick 3/4" square tubing all weekend. Nice. That's 14-gauge steel, or approx 1/16th" wall width.
As mentioned in other reviews, you'll have to build a stand. I can't imagine that a shop workbench wouldn't scoot across the floor if you tried to use this thing on it. Seems crazy to even attempt it. I wanted a portable solution, so I welded a small 3/16" plate to a 2" square tube about 4 feet long... the 2" square tube slides into a trailer hitch and the tube bender mounts to the plate on the end (with the bender and plate level with the ground). Get the truck backed up to a ditch, and you've got a mobile bender. The mounting holes form a perfect square, so you can mount the bender facing any of four different directions, and the 2" square tubing can be rotated 90 degrees in the trailer hitch so you can either turn the bender arm horizontally or vertically. I'm a genius.
This bender is probably meant to be cheap, not easy to use (though I haven't used expensive benders so I don't have a frame of reference). Two of us were able to bend those 3/4" square tubes with a medium level of effort... one guy pulling the bender arm, and one guy guiding the tubing still hanging out of the bender. Bent square tubes need some banging with a hammer to get out of the bender dies, but I hear a little lubrication beforehand helps. Keeping a wrench on hand big enough to accommodate the bolt in the die would also help. Also, next time I'm going to try sliding a much longer pipe over the bender handle and just walking it around instead of tugging on or leaning into it.
As I said, the next-cheapest option for bending steel tube starts at around 4x this cost, and while this Woodward-Fab model has it's limitations, for tubing 1" and under it's money very, very well spent. I would have given it five stars, but the weirdness on the branding and specs left a bad taste in my mouth.
I'll probably write another review in a few months, after I have more experience with it. I hear that one problem with benders is wear and tear on the die, so after more use, I'll check in on that.
June 7, 2009
For the price, the kit is solid. It does require that you fabricate a solid mounting base to withstand the high forces generated during the bending. I used 6" square tube with 12" square, 3/16" flat mounting plate welded off. I attach the device as needed into female inserts set in my garage floor.
August 11, 2008
Tubing Bender Kit
Bender is heavy duty and requires a sturdy mount for the base. The kit is easy to use and bending is smooth. I used it on 0.095' wall seamless tubing with no problems. I would recommend this tool for light to medium duty use.
April 21, 2008