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Benders and Bending Which bender is best? How do you use a bender? How do you calculate bends? Everything Bender related...


Benders and Bending Which bender is best? How do you use a bender? How do you calculate bends? Everything Bender related...

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  #1  
Old 01-01-2018, 04:00 PM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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Hossfeld Bender

I just purchased a Hossfeld #2 bender a couple weeks ago to go along with my JD Squared Model 4. There were a few reasons for this, but one of the big ones is a client I do prototypes for keeps supplying drawings of brackets that are challenging to do other ways. As I researched different methods, the Hossfeld came up as an option to do some pretty interesting things with a variety of materials, so I pulled the trigger on the basic #2 bender, the tool set for bar stock, and a 3/4" square tubing die set.

Years ago, when I bought my other bender, the Hossfeld didn't seem like a great bang for the buck to bend tubing. And, if you're only doing tubing, it's probably not the best tool for the job. JD Squared and Pro Tools have taken the basic design that Hossfeld has made for over 80 years and refined it to bend tubing really well. But, the Hossfeld is the Swiss Army knife of benders...it can bend nearly anything that fits inside the frame if you have the correct tooling for it. They are relatively expensive compared to some benders, but the frames and pins are heat treated, and nearly all the tooling is cast iron.

So...here's the basic manual bender secured to my table. Eventually, I want to build a stand for it.



I had square tube tooling installed when this was taken. While I do have some square dies for my other bender, Hossfeld offers a tighter CLR than I can get for the other bender. I bought the smallest die, which is a 2" inside radius (2-3/8" CLR) because this project had some bends specified pretty close to that. The square tooling is different than my other bender. A single center die does a number of sizes, while the backing block and follow die are size specific.

This is an example bend in 3/4" x 0.065" square. There is some distortion, but it's as good or better than my client's production work.



One of the downsides to the Hossfeld tooling is you're not able to get as close to the end, or as close between bends as other benders. Something else interesting is there's an option to drill a hole in the tube and use a retaining pin if you're getting distortion in the bend (slipping and kinking). This is pretty much necessary with the tube I was using, but it worked out OK because I needed to cut off the pieces with drilled holes anyway.

The other tooling I've used so far is for flat stock, in particular the yoke and the "sharp square bending block". Here is what the yoke setup looks like in action:



And the type of part it allows you to do:



The legs of this clevis are over 3" deep, but only 1-5/16" apart. You could do this on a press brake with a tall window punch, but that's not something I have at my disposal. Hossfeld rates the yoke for doing 1/4" x 3" HR flat. This particular part was 1/8" x 2".

The other tool I've used is the sharp square bending block, which is for wider stock than will fit in the yoke. It's essentially the edge of a brake that allows bending flat up to 4-1/2" wide.

Here's one view of it in action (from the back side):



And from the other side:



There are two bending edges on this, one for under 1/4", and one for 1/4" and over.

Here's the part I was making, from 1/8" x 4" flat (before rounding the corners, etc.):



This would be tough in my little press brake because the first leg would contact the punch when bending the second leg. I've done it by bending a "W" shape and straightening it back out, but it's an extra step that can go wrong...

The Hossfeld bender is getting a big thumbs up from me so far. It definitely opens up some different ways of doing things that are really difficult otherwise. I also got some tooling for doing eyes and other bits from bar stock and I'm eagerly looking for an opportunity to try those out...possibly as some ornamental ironwork at some point.


Last edited by Graham08; 04-20-2018 at 06:55 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2018, 06:49 PM
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Bray D Bray D is offline
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Very cool. Thanks for the brief review. I've seen benders like this, but never paid much attention to their capabilities. Looks like it'll be a worthwhile addition to the shop. Congrats!
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:11 PM
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TheBandit TheBandit is offline
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Thanks for taking the time to share all this. Hossfield has so much great tooling - some of the setups are insanely clever. I wish they had better quick visual rundown of all the things it can do. Their tool brochure shows the tooling very clearly, but it doesn't show clearly what kinds of parts can come out of each tool. They have a few YouTube videos that are great. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOf...gpRn2qEHlNTU0A

I'm sure some of the toolsets/functions could be replicated on a JD2 or Pro Tools bender, but Hossfield has everything ready to go.
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:02 PM
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R.DesJardin R.DesJardin is offline
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Hossfeld was "the" bender back when I first got into off road fab in the 80's. Very versatile.
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2018, 07:45 AM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bray D View Post
Very cool. Thanks for the brief review. I've seen benders like this, but never paid much attention to their capabilities. Looks like it'll be a worthwhile addition to the shop. Congrats!
Thanks! It already is a worthwhile addition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
Thanks for taking the time to share all this. Hossfield has so much great tooling - some of the setups are insanely clever. I wish they had better quick visual rundown of all the things it can do. Their tool brochure shows the tooling very clearly, but it doesn't show clearly what kinds of parts can come out of each tool. They have a few YouTube videos that are great. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOf...gpRn2qEHlNTU0A

I'm sure some of the toolsets/functions could be replicated on a JD2 or Pro Tools bender, but Hossfield has everything ready to go.
Yeah, the manual is only 30 pages, and the catalog another 30 or so. It's very matter of fact..."this tool serves this function" kind of stuff. It would be nice if they showed more examples of what can be done with the different tools.

I started following the hashtag "hossfeldbender" on Instagram, and there's more examples of what can be done there. A lot of furniture and architectural stuff...which I would like to try my hand at for some stuff in the new house we're building.

You could do a lot of the same things with a JD squared, but you would about have to have knowledge of the Hossfeld tooling and access to it to duplicate certain things...and your time is worth something, too. Part of this started with me looking at the little HF bender, which is a copy of a copy of a #1 Hossfeld, with nearly none of the functionality or tooling available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.DesJardin View Post
Hossfeld was "the" bender back when I first got into off road fab in the 80's. Very versatile.
For sure. My dad had one with tons of tooling (and hydraulics!) in the early 90's, but he sold it off when he sold the shop. It would cost a fortune to duplicate what he had at that time.

The biggest issue I found looking for a used one is you generally find a set of rusty bender frames with a couple pieces of tooling and pins, but missing a lot of the stuff that comes with the basic bender. I think most of the problem is the application of the stuff is non-obvious, so it just gets lost over time...

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Old 01-05-2018, 03:51 PM
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I am not saying the JD2 or Pro Tools benders SHOULD be adapted for Hossfield type duties, just pointing out that if a hobbyist like me has one of those and has a specific project they should open their mind to making tooling for it to do the specific task. JD2, Pro-Tools and the likes have chosen to focus on tube bending which means their marketing and product support is more focused in that area, whereas Hossfield while capable of doing tube bending is probably not going to be as good at responding to tube bending issues, but also has many more capabilities to offer.

I would love to have Hossfield tooling and the knowledge to use it but I feel like they could do much much better at marketing those capabilities, especially in the digital age. I'm not criticizing the capabilities or the merits of buying one over one of the tube bender companies' products.
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  #7  
Old 01-06-2018, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
I would love to have Hossfield tooling and the knowledge to use it but I feel like they could do much much better at marketing those capabilities, especially in the digital age. I'm not criticizing the capabilities or the merits of buying one over one of the tube bender companies' products.
Absolutely. They're a very old school operation. Chances are if you call you will talk to Rollie, who is the guy on the YouTube videos. They do quotes via email, but you have to call them to order. I would hope they document the wealth of knowledge that's there because none of those guys are getting any younger...
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2021, 12:47 PM
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Wow! I didn't realize it had been three years since I started this thread...time flies!

I used Imgur (I think) to host the original photos in this thread. It appears all the links are dead now. I'm getting close to completing a bit upgrade on my Hossfeld...hydraulics!

Here is what I'm starting with:



This is the basic bender plus the hydraulic hardware and cylinder from Hossfeld. The hardware is not horrendously expensive compared to reverse engineering and making it, and it works with all the setups for the bender for doing different materials.

The cylinder is not a cheap piece compared to what you can find on Amazon, etc. The difference is it's a 15" stroke, which is an odd length compared to standard 14" or 16" cylinders you can find from a lot of different vendors. Rollie at Hossfeld explained that with a standard cylinder it will either be too long and not able to insert material between the dies, or too short and not able to bend a full 90. So I shelled out the cash for the correct cylinder.

Here is the beginning of the cart/cabinet for the bender. The tube is 2" square and the end panels are 12 gauge HRPO steel. The end panels are pre-punched for heavy duty drawer slides.



Some caster brackets...



Bent tube in place of sharp angle miters is getting to be a recurring theme in my work.

And sitting on the floor for the first time!



The bender is just sitting on the cart in this photo while I was checking out positioning. I had the top burned out of 3/8" plate by my local steel supplier. It's extra beefy, but the extra work surface will be handy while juggling tooling and doing layout.

More coming later!

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Old 03-19-2021, 01:11 PM
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Here is the bender bolted down to the table:



This got a little interesting...I was drilling the holes on my mill and realized I couldn't reach one of them. Unfortunately I don't have a turret mill like a Bridgeport where I could just slide the ram out. I was able to get it in a couple steps with a hand held drill, but it caused some head scratching for a minute.

I have the bender offset to the front of the cabinet so the hoses will clear the table top on their way down to the drawer that houses the hydraulic unit...more on that in a bit.

The cabinet will ultimately have six drawers. One for the hydraulics, and the other five to store tooling. Hossfelds are different than other benders in that some of the setups have a bunch of small pieces. Drawer storage makes sense to keep it all organized and protected.

Here's the bottom drawer frame after I welded it up:



The drawer slides came from Rockler and are rated for 220 lbs per pair. I'm making these from 1/2" x 2" tube to gain some load capacity, plus I don't have a press brake to form them out of heavier gauge sheet.

The bottoms are 14 gauge HRPO that is stitch welded around the perimeter. Here's the bottom drawer, checking clearances for the hydraulic components:



I have the bottom of this drawer shifted up 1/2" for clearance on the fasteners for the power unit. It also worked out that I could use a piece of 1/2" x 2" laid flat for a brace under the motor to better support it and keep it from vibrating while running.

I turned some 1-1/2" angle into brackets for the control valve:



And then got to making up some hard lines for the plumbing in the drawer:







I did a little thinking ahead and placed everything to make life simpler when bending the lines. It's a lot easier when you can keep everything in one plane!

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Old 03-31-2021, 04:50 PM
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Not sure how I missed this post. That looks really clean. I like how you put all the hydraulic components in a service drawer. With the control valve you're using, are you able to "throttle" the speed or setup an automatic limit switch for repeat bends?
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Old 03-31-2021, 05:00 PM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
Not sure how I missed this post. That looks really clean. I like how you put all the hydraulic components in a service drawer. With the control valve you're using, are you able to "throttle" the speed or setup an automatic limit switch for repeat bends?
I need to post some more updates now that I'm further along. The valve is pretty much on or off, but a limit switch is in the plans. That's why I went this route instead of a log splitter valve (well, that, and hands-free operation).
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:08 AM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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Finishing up the plumbing...

The other couple details for the hydraulic plumbing were using a pair of these guys to allow better range of motion and enable using shorter hoses:



They're Parker live swivels so the hoses can rotate more easily. This also prevents the motion of the cylinder from trying to loosen the fittings. They're definitely proud of these (I got them from Zoro/Grainger) but they work really well for what I'm doing.

The other thing I did was make up a short hard line and bracket on the cylinder to clean up the hose routing.



The zip ties were replaced by this guy...zip ties are not a structural fastener!



This is a T-Bolt clamp from McMaster. The bolt is turned to the inside to make it less likely to snag on stuff.

Finally...some hoses. I used field-installable fittings instead of crimps so I could dial in the lengths I needed to make things work correctly.



Here it is with the ratchet fully extended (making the last bend of a 90):



And a check on opening the bottom drawer:



Next up...drawer fronts and wiring!

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Old 04-05-2021, 08:50 AM
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sfm1951 sfm1951 is offline
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Bender pin hole size

Graham, what size are the pins to hold the dies? I have a #1 And a friend has some extra #2 stuff. The pins on my #1 are 5/8" and what is the distance between the frame where the dies go? I'm hoping to maybe save some money if the are the same size. But the probably aren't
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:01 AM
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On a #2, the center pin is 1" and the other pins are 3/4". The inside of the swinging frame is 4-1/2" high, and the spacing between the 3/4" holes is 1-3/32". I'm not sure if some of the #2 tooling could possibly be sleeved down to 5/8" to work with your #1.
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:08 AM
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Thank you sir
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  #16  
Old 04-10-2021, 09:09 AM
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Hoddfeld bender

Thank you sir
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Old 10-28-2021, 09:44 AM
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Wow. Beautiful work on the plumbing. I also like the "below the casters" approach to the cart. We have done a few like that here for internal use. They remind me of the drop-deck boxcars on trains.
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