Everything needs a good compliment. Peanut Butter has Jelly, The crashing waves have the warm sand, and even in our world of metal fabrication the tube bender has a tube notcher. The notcher cuts a small semi circle into the end of the tubing to allow for a precise and clean fit against another tube. We refer to it as notching, but is also known as coping in some circles.
PRO-TOOLS offers a line of tube and pipe notchers to meet everyone’s budget. For those with budget in mind they offer two types of hole saw notchers. These units ultilize off the shelf bi-metal hole saws to cut the tubing. The HSN-500 can do straight and angle notches up to 60 degrees. The HSN-501i takes it a step further and adds offset notches into the mix. An offset notch is when you are crossing two tubes. A half circle cut is made into the side of one tube so that the other tube can slide into it. This increases the structural integrety of the joint.
The HSN line of notchers stand out in the notcher market due to the precision and careful planning of materials used to offer a superior product at competitive prices. The HSN line utilizes sealed ball bearings instead of needle bearings to extend the life of the unit. A solid shaft is also used to eliminate chatter and flex. The best feature is the ability to mount this notcher in a drill press. A drill press allows the user to dial in much more accurately the cut speed. This will greatly extend the life of the cutters and the cost of consumables.
Another product offered by PRO-TOOLS is the EMN-510 End Mill Notcher. They call this unit “GODZILLA”. It is a beast of a machine in terms of capacity but very easy to use. The EMN-510 uses a roughing mill more commonly found in a machining center like a vertical mill. This unit is focused on production. Using a 1.5hp Lesson motor with gear reduction to limit the spindle speed to 190 rpm. The unit can do straight, angle, and offset notches in the standard unit. Brass inserts are installed to as well as bearings in the on the acme threaded rods to make moving the motor or vise a single hand operation. If your notching 1″ x .065 wall HREW tubing or even 2″ cold rolled solid steel, there is nothing this unit can not handle.
For the best quality American Made fabrication tools PRO-TOOLS offers everything you need for your shop or garage. From Tube & Pipe Benders, Notchers, Bead Rollers, Sheet Metal Brakes, and Dimple Dies. Come check out them out at www.pro-tools.com.
For many years Pro-Tools has offered the 105B tube bender. In its infancy the 105B was a bigger thicker version of the MB-105 Mechanical bender with hydraulics added. It did have a larger capacity than the MB-105 bender. The 105B can bend up to 2.5″ O.D. (.134 wall) tubing and 2″ schedule 40 pipe. It wasn’t until a year ago that 2 customers came in with material that was outside that range.
One of the customers were bending 1.75″ O.D. (.250 wall) DOM for a stunt car roll cage and the other was bending 416 Stainless Steel schedule 80 pipe. Pro-Tools engineers went back to work. They knew the from the 105B’s massive 1″ 1018 plate steel frame that it would hold up to the most challenging wall thicknesses.
Powered by a 15 ton SPX PowerTeam hydraulic cylinder, the 105B only had one thing stopping it from reaching its true potential. The weak link , which was the pins, had to be changed. Instead of going bigger like other companies Pro-Tools kept the same size pin. They went better. That really isn’t a fair statement. They didn’t go better. They went with the best. Enter stage right the ETD pin sets.
Who would have thought that changing the pin material could have opened a whole new spectrum of applications for the bender. NOW the 105B has grown up into THE BRUTE. Capable of bending schedule 120 pipe and .288 wall DOM with ease. It will not only bend it with ease. It will do it over and over and over. Now with its potential fully reached the 105Brute can now compete with benders costing $10,000 and up. Along with the all the standard features it had before like a built in degree ring, the first true anti-springback on a mechanical / hydraulic bender.
There are no short cuts taken with this bender. It is more expensive than other benders on the market. But other benders can not do what the Brute can do or do they offer the features that make it the best bender for heavy wall tubing.
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I get 5-8 calls a week from people asking for a mandrel bending solution. They are usually wanting to bend exhaust, headers, or intercooler piping. There is a misconception that any bender not from Harbor Freight is a mandrel bender. This simply is not true. A mandrel bender is a purpose built machine designed to bend thin wall tubing on a very tight radius with close to zero deformation. To anyone hearing it that sounds awesome.
“A perfect bend. I’m in, how much is it? I want to get one.”
When I mention the price of entry level models that only go up to 2″ diameter I usually hear a “THUD!!” followed by, “40 grand!!! Never mind!”
As awkward as it is to educate people on all the different types of benders out there. It helps in the long run. I’m sure a Mandrel Bender is on the top of everyone’s wish list for their shop. But due to the reality of the cost of the machine, the training neccessary to run the machine and the correct tooling and set up it is a very costly venture. It is not unrealistic to spend 100k on a mandrel bender with tooling and training just to bend 2″ headers and that is it.
The thing to remember is the thinner the wall you are bending and the tighter the radius you need to bend the higher the price of the bender. PRO-TOOLS manufactures and sells every type of bender from portable pump operated benders to powered rotary draw benders and even mandrel benders. You can call their courteous and knowledgeable sales staff to assist you with choosing the right machine for you.
Inside or Outside? This is a question most people that are new to fabricating with tube or pipe will come to. Their confusion comes from the misconception that Pipe will measure from the Inside Diameter (I.D.). Tubing is pretty straight forward in that it measures from the Outside Diameter (O.D.). So how do you know what size tube or pipe you need for your project? And how do you measure it so you get the correct die set for your bend.
Lets start with tubing since it is a lot easier to understand. Tubing is a structural material. That means it is meant for strength. Diameter, wall thickness, and material type will be determined by the load placed on it. Take for example a roll cage for a car. Most racing sanctions have specifications pertaining to tube. This is determined by horse power and weight of the vehicle. They may spec 1 5/8″ diameter chromoly with a .095 wall thickness. This is not the only material you can use. You can opt to use mild steel but in 1 3/4″ with a .120 wall thickness. This situation is about personal preference since Chromoly is lighter than mild steel but more expensive.
Now lets tackle the monster. Pipe not only goes by size but a schedule. I know, when you hear schedule you start thinking, “What? Do I h have to set an appointment?” The general purpose of pipe is to handle pressureized liquid or gasses. Pipe is a transmission material. The schedule will refer to wall thickness. Where tubing is sized by O.D., most will tell you pipe is sized by I.D. or so they lead you to believe. Pipe actually has a constant O.D. size. As the schedule changes the I.D. will grow smaller. Here is a Pipe schedule chart.
As you can see on 1 1/2″ Pipe your actual O.D. is 1.9″. As you move through the Schedules your I.D. continues to shrink as the wall size grows. This is done for the purpose of strengthening the pipe to handle increasing pressures from the inside.
Some people opt to use pipe in a structural application due to cost restraints. Please let me warn you that Pipe is not designed to be used as a structural material especially as a roll cage. When you figure that out on your own it might be too late. That is not to say there is not a place where you can use pipe instead of tubing. A brush guard or light rack would be acceptable. Please remember when doing your project to always measure the material to make sure what your O.D. measures. It will make a huge difference when you are bending the material to have the correct die sets. Also make sure that your Tube Bender or Pipe Bender can handle the size you are working with. As always research your project, have a plan, and have fun. If there are any corrections please leave a comment.
Pro-Tools is an American Fabrication Company that started in Boca Raton, Florida in 1987. Founded by Phil Peters, he wanted to offer a economical tube bender to the DYI hobbist. Since then Pro-Tools has gone on to produce well over 30,000 tube and pipe benders in use all over the world. Pro-Tools has relied upon 2 things for its growth. Produce quality tools and provide the best customer service possible. Since they rarely advertise, Pro-Tools has relied upon the best advertising possible, “Word of Mouth”. PRO-TOOLS philosophy is to treat their customers like Family. Their sales department goes out of their way to answer whatever question you may have. You don’t just get customer service with these guys. You get an education. With over 50 years of bending experience you are sure to get what you are looking for. Their knowledge is not limited to just tube and pipe bending. If it has to do with metal fabrication, these are your people. You can contact Pro-Tools at 813-986-9000 or send a question through their website. Keep you bends on plane and your headlights between the lines.