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.