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Hi everyone,

I'm just getting started in metal work and blacksmithing, and I'm thinking about buying a metal bender.  There are two benders available locally (see links and attached pics), and I'm not sure which would be the best choice. The floor mount model is $115 cheaper and appears to be more versatile, but the benchmount model appears to accept larger stock and has an adjustable work stop and angle stop for repetitive bends. Right now I'd like to make some shelf brackets and some table legs, and don't think I would exceed the capacity of the floor mount bender, but I really don't know what I'll get into in the future. 

Is one of these benders a better choice than the other?

Thanks very much.

 

bender 00.jpg

bender 01.jpg

 

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I'd take the pedestal bender. However a guy could make a pedestal pretty easily, the bench model does look more stout.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Greetings Street,

             Floor mount for sure... I have several including a Hossfeld... What many guys don't know is that you can weld a piece of square tube to the handle and use it in the vise vertical.. The forming dies are worth the price..  You can also make a simple bending fork for your Hardy that fits the dies..  Great tool.. 

Forge on and make beautiful things 

Jim

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The floor mount is more versatile in terms of bend radius--and one can even get/make scroll attachments that fit these.  However, they are also not the most accurate in the world in terms of repeating bends or making good (sharper) 90 degree bends.  They are pretty light in the material that can realistically be formed.  (and yes, I have one)  Try and put a fairly sharp 90 degree bend into a piece of 5/16" stainless round bar with one of these and you quickly discover what they are NOT good at.

The bench mount would be great for repeatable sharp bends in bars.  I'd much rather work with this one for fabricating than the other for plain old bending.  It's a better tool all around, just more of a one trick pony.

Knowing what I know now, I'd hold out for a used hossfeld bender (a deal which never seems to come around except for someone else) or go with the bench version.  The reason I'd go with the bench one is that I have found that most of my work tends to be straight bends rather than the fancier stuff.  Your mileage might vary.

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Thanks for all the replies! I went to look at the benders at the store today and I am leaning toward the bench mount for many of the reasons Kozzy stated. The floor mount definitely looks more versatile, especially with the optional Scroll Bending and Twisting accessories, but the bench mount is much heavier and does look like it would be much better in terms of sharp, repeating bends.

 

scroll bender.jpg

twister.jpg

I started looking at benders because a client was asking me about installing some custom shelving and I thought some brackets like the ones pictured below would be a good metal working project to get started with. I'm pretty sure I could make them with the floor model, but I feel like I would probably get more consistent results with the heavier bench mount model and could also use heavier material if needed. 

bends.jpg

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Any suggestions for ways to do it without a bender? I've seen DIY jigs that will make a radiused bend in lighter material, but haven't found anything that would put a tight 90 in 1/4" or thicker. I haven't built a forge yet, so I don't have the ability to heat the steel yet either. 

Thanks.  

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Well without a forge the way I was thinking of won't work. Of course with a torch you could build a jig bend it hot and upset the corner into itself making it a cleaner 90. 

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A hole in the ground some charcoal and a hair dryer and you have a forge. Probably make one in less time that it takes to boot up and post that you don't have a forge.

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To be fair, in today's world "booting up" is as simple as pulling the phone from your pocket and swiping the screen. 

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Only for some people.  I'm used to being considered odd:  I don't own a TV (or a smartphone) but have 4 bookcases in the room I'm in now at the casita  and another 4 in the bedroom and another one in the guest room...Now back in my real house we have 10 6' tall bookcases in our living room and another 7 in the master bedroom and 4 in the study and 4 in the white room and I don't know how many in the spinning studio. We do have a large TV at the house but we never bothered to get the digital conversion box for it and so use it only for DVDs.

So lets just say it takes a bit to boot my desktop up onto Kubuntu Plasma and log in, bring up chrome and access iforgeiron.com.

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A hole in the ground some charcoal and a hair dryer and you have a forge. Probably make one in less time that it takes to boot up and post that you don't have a forge.

Fair point Thomas. ;) I do need to spend more time making stuff myself, and less time online reading or watching videos of other people making stuff. 

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streetcore

Forging temperatures lets you get a ton of work done with limited tooling.  It's incredibly empowering for a lot of reasons.   Forging is one of few physical processes that can move the materials volume without always resorting to  reductive (cutting) or additive (welding, riveting, brazing, gluing, bolting, etc.) processes.  Pottery is the only other one that comes to mind.

Task specific tools that can reliably and precisely bend, cut, punch, and shape large metal stock are very expensive.  Thomas is right that you can scrounge together a working setup for very little.  

The brackets you're looking to make would be very doable for a beginner working with very limited tooling.  If you started with a long enough bar of parent stock, you wouldn't even need tongs.  To my eye, you'd need a forge, a hammer, an Anvil Shaped Object (ASO), a round punch, and a chisel.  With the first three tools and a decent bar of tool steel, you could make the last two tools on your first day of forging.

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I have a bench version of the pedestal bender. I think it is all but useless. I spent more time trying to get something to work than and fit in the bender than making anything. The other one looks like it would work better.

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