Okay so I know I started this thread saying I was looking for a way to make a cheap bender, but now I'm thinking I'm going to spend a little bit more on this and get what I want from the start. I've been looking at getting a Pro-tools 105HD with 2 or 3 dies and a tube notcher. Then maybe convert it to Hydraulic like this http://www.mindspring.com/~jayk5/bender/
Yeah the only problem with a mechanical one is that you have to bolt it to a concrete floor or very sturdy workbench bolted to the floor or wall. With hydraulics you can have the whole setup on a cart.
I don't know what I want to do. Iâ€™m thinking Iâ€™ll buy a mechanical bender and converting it to an air over hydro setup on a cart with the idea to convert it to full hydraulics later. I change my mind about this everyday.
I vote for the gottrikes.com bender. I purchased the plans and have been very happy with them. I like the idea of a bender that works on a vertical plane. It takes up less garage space when the tube swings upward instead of across the shop, also you do not need a degree wheel to measure your angles a simple magnetic angle meter will work.
I have found some neat DIY tools on the pirate4x4.com site. If you need a tube roll bender for more radiused bends look there at the Harbor Freight roll bender threads. Troy at Swag Offroad makes a set of dies that improves the tool and fills in all the missing dies that HF leaves out. I give the HF bender and the Swag pieces a 10 out of 10 for the money. Plus, most magazines have 20% off coupon these days.