Hydraulic Tubing Bender: Wheels, Paint & 1st Bend

Hydraulic Tubing Bender

Click link to see my search, and purchase of tube bender and getting it home…

Tube bender : Paint and Wheels

Picking up where I had left off, I had purchased paint and larger/better caster wheels.


First thing I did was to finish disassembling the bender by removing the hydraulic pump and valve assembly.

Then I worked on removing the wimpy 3″ caster wheels that had been welded on.  Because of the way they were welded on, I used a cold chisel and a big hammer to cut the welds and get them off.  Then I cleaned up the bottom with an angle grinder in preparation for the new mounting plates.
Next I cut out some 4x6x5/16″ plates, 4 of them, and drilled 4 holes in each one, and then tapped them for 5/16″ bolts.  By welding on the mounting plates, and then bolting on the caster wheels, it eliminates any problems of weld spatter in the caster wheel swivel.  Also, should the caster ever have issues, it sure is a lot easier to unbolt a caster than cut the welds.

Plates clamped in place, and ready for welding:
Throughout the effort of plate cutting, drilling, welding and bolting, my 10 yr old nephew from NY was assisting me, and learning some shop knowledge.  He’s a pretty good helper!
Here it is before paint with the new caster wheels!  These are 5″ casters, rated at 330# each, for a total capacity of 1320# for the unit.  That should be sufficient!
Now to disassemble the wheels, and wire brush everything, and then wipe it all down before paint.  Here I’m preheating the steel with the kerosene heater before I paint, as it was only about 30F in the shop.
Now a layer of Rustoleum brush-on primer on the underside first:
Then we put the wheels back on, flipped it onto the wheels, and then painted the topside with primer:
hen repeat for the topcoat of Blue Rustoleum for underside and topside.
IMG_9048 IMG_9055

The bending arm pieces I also primered and painted gray for some nice contrast.

Then we assembled the hydraulic pump and valve assembly, and then the rest of the pieces.


Here’s the finished tube bender, ready to bend some tube!  Here’s the die options I have: 1″ x 3″ radius, 1-1/4″ x 4.5″, 1-1/2 x 5″, 1-5/8″ x 6″ and 1-3/4″ x 6″.

IMG_9223 IMG_9224IMG_9225 IMG_9226

It will bend 90 degrees in one cycle of the hydraulics, and then you release the pin, cycle back to the start, and then use the other leg of the arm to finish bending 180 degrees.

The hydraulics can bend 90 degrees in about 30 seconds, but setup time is where you spend the most time to calculate, measure, mark and setup the tube so the bend is in the correct location.

Once I did a test bend, I was able to calculate the bend deduction, and then accurately figure out where to mark and set the tube for accurate bending.  For the second bend, I then used a torpedo level, as well as a carpenter’s square and clamps to measure and mark from.

IMG_9108  IMG_9110

This piece is the very first bends I made and it’s for a man basket attachment for the knuckle boom crane project.  This is a piece of 1.5″ tube, heavy wall, not sure on the thickness.  With the hydraulics, this was super easy to bend.


I need to try the rest of the dies in it, and setup a quick reference table for the correct bend deduction for each tube/die set.  That will then make it easier to make repeatable accurate bends.  I also want to fabricate a degree wheel for it to be accurate for bends less than 90 or between 90 & 180 degrees.

Next time I’m back in the shop (probably June 2015) I’ll try to make a video of it in operation.