View Full Version : Pipe Hickey??Bender?
I was looking for the pipe hickey thingy to bend 1/2" and 3/4" tubing to make some tree stands from EMT. I found one at northerntool.com and was wondering if it'll do the trick. In the ad it is stated that it will "Bends virtually all types of pipe except conduit!" Wonder why not conduit? Here is the link:
04-15-2002, 06:17 PM
the bender you posted the link to is mainly for bending thicker wall tubing ,
we have one in the race shop for fab work
the reason it will not bend E.M.T. is that a bender for the thinner tubing has to be supported from the sides to keep it from collapsing while bending it
here is a pic of a hand bender for conduit
and also here is a link to a site that makes the conduit bender pictured above
the conduit benders can usually be found in hardware stores or the likes of Lowe's and home depot and are not too expensive.
04-16-2002, 12:49 AM
###Exactly,if it has a thin wall or is of a soft alloy it will collapse at the bend if not supported.
###Sorry GunDocc,but i just had to jump in here and repeat your words so that it looked as if i know what im talking about:smile-big-blue: Forgive me?
04-16-2002, 05:38 AM
Not to add to any confusion, but a hickey is slightly different from the bender. ###A hickey does very sharp bends for incremental bending.
Now just to clarify, the one i want for EMT is the one Gun Docc is showing? Is this a hickey? It will do 90 degree bends?
BTW, I recently purchased a Hobart Handler 175 MIG outfit and have someone with experience teaching me the basics. Sure is fun! ###
04-17-2002, 05:33 AM
Gizz, that's the one you want! ###That's right! ###It will do 90 degree bends very well.
As I have mentioned before, I have purchased my 1/2" and 3/4" benders at Lowe's for approximately $15 and $20, though the price may have changed since then. ###I am now setting my sights on the 1" model, though it's quite a bit pricier at approximately $55. ###(Why the huge jump in price from one size to the next reckon?) ###BTW, my prices do not include the handle, which is sold seperately.
Also, I would recommend you get a good bending manual to go with it. ###Although bending conduit is not rocket science, it does take some practice. ###90 degree bends are very easy, but if you desire to build something that requires bends that are a little more complicated, then a good manual is very helpful.
Here is a link for one such manual: ###
Benfield Conduit Bending Manual (http://www.bookmarki.com/item6509.ctlg)
Another thing I recommend buying with your bender is an angle finder. ###About the size of a tape measure, the angle finder is indispensible for helping you to bend your conduit to the proper degrees. ###Walmart used to sell one for about $6 or $7. ###Sears has a really good one for slightly more.
Thanks Welby! Lots of good information there. I'm off to Lowes on Friday to find a bender for 1/2, 3/4 and maybe 1" if i can afford all 3 at once. I'll check out the link for the book as well although for now i expect to make mostly 90's and 45's. I have an angle finder already, i just gotta figure out how to use it :confused-yellow:
04-18-2002, 07:11 PM
I was not willing to spend $50 on a 1" conduit hickey so I made one. I used a piece of pipe, seems like it was 1" pipe that I split lengthwise for the bend guide. I cut a 90 degree pie shape from 1/4" plate at the appropriate radius and heated the split pipe and wrapped it around the curved part of the pie section. I heated the pipe, wrapped a short section at a time and welded it to the pie section. I added a hook bent from 2" X3/8" flat bar and a handle. It seems to work as well as a storebought one.
Sounds like a good tool kmitch but I'm having a hard time picturing it. Any way you can post a pic of it?
04-19-2002, 06:15 AM
I'd like to see a picture of that as well. ###I had thought of doing something similar to this but wondered if it would work.
Can you post some pictures of this?
The reason I though about doing this was so I could build a bender that would bend tighter radius bends than the ones produced by regular conduit benders.
04-19-2002, 07:22 AM
i have a homemade 1/2 inch bender that bends a tighter radius than the store bought models and it works very well
i mainly made it for bending out tree stands which needed a smaller radius on a lot of the bends
most of the store bought benders will bend a 7 inch radius but the one i made bends a 4 inch radius
it is fairly easy to make your self one with a few pieces of steel lying around....lol
i will get a pic of it as then you can see how it's made
04-19-2002, 06:36 PM
Here is a link to a webpage I created with pictures and a description of my homemade conduit bender.
Any questions, just ask
04-21-2002, 06:43 AM
Man, I like that! ###Thanks for sharing. ###Maybe I won't buy one after all.
Finally went to lowes today and purchased the 1/2 and 3/4 inch EMT benders. The 1/2 was around $12 and the 3/4 around $15. The 1" was $49!!. Also for anyone going to Lowe's to buy them, make sure you look for the the "Bender" only. Lowes had some benders with the 3/4" piped already threaded on and was selling them for $40 and $50 dollars(can't remember the exact price). I just went 2 isles over and picked up 2 sections of threaded black pipe for $4 ea. Wonder how many people pay $50 for something they should only be paying $18 for?......Uh...probably me if you guys wouldn't have posted the information above.:eat-burger:
I already started building a ladder stand today and the benders work great and the EMT welds nicely. I've been using a heavy vice for crimping the ends of the EMT, sure would be nice to have a small shop press:ideablue:
Here's a link to EBAY for a 1" EMT bender. Looks to be NEW!
Currently no bid and the starting bid needs to be $20 (S&H is $7). Ends 5/7
05-06-2002, 06:48 AM
From looking at the pictures of Curtiss ladder stand in the other post I looks like he coped the short sections in the side truss and flattened the ends of the conduit used for steps. Is that what you are doing. If that works the fab should be fairly simple. I was thinking of trying to find some webbing such as that used to rehab lawnchairs for the seat. Sitting on conduit bars 3-4" apart for hours on end would seem to be a butt numbing experience.
Yes that is what I'm doing although I haven't started the 1/2" truss yet. Honestly I have no idea on how to easily cope the EMT(any ideas?). I am flattening the steps on the 3/4 main tubes and was thinking of flattening the truss pieces(the little short pieces) as well. For added strength i was also thinking of cutting a "slit" in the long 3/4 and 1/2 tubes to insert the flattened short pieces into. I could then weld em fast although i'm not sure all this is necessary since the steps are just surfaces welded and they seem plenty strong. I have a small air cutoff tool that cuts very fast with a 1/8" wheel and putting the slits in the tubes would be a simple job but I don't want to weaken the structure(i'm no engineer). What do you think?
That's a good idea on the seat. I purchased a piece of foam rubber that I put elastic velcro straps on. I used it now when moving from one stationary tree stand to another. I figured on using this. The tubing would definately be hard on the arse after a couple hours!
(Edited by gizz at 10:15 am on May 6, 2002)
05-06-2002, 08:04 AM
Gizz, before I got my Ol' Joint Jigger tubing notcher, I had two ways of joining conduit without coping it.
First of all, you can slightly flatten the ends of the EMT. ###By this I mean you don't flatten it all the way, just enough so that there is very little gap to fill with your welder. ###It works very well and is quick.
Another way, though not so quick, is to make two 45º cuts, one one each opposite side of each end of the piece of conduit you intend to weld. ###This makes a natural cope, or "fishmouth", that snugs up tight to the adjoining piece of conduit. ###This method is a little more time consuming though and requires a bit more precision.
You might could experiment with your drill press and vise and some bi-metal holesaws if you don't intend to get a tubing notcher. ###Just remember, you don't want a high speed when cutting pipe with a hole saw. ###Low RPM is the way to go here.
(Edited by Welby at 10:32 pm on May 7, 2002)
05-06-2002, 11:33 AM
I use a holesaw in a drill press or in my milling machine to cope. This MUST be clamped down tight. Not pretty if it gets away. To get two copes aligned so they are parallel I cut the first cope and turn the piece around ###and fit a scrap piece of tubinto the first cope. I use a level on the scrap tubing to get the second cope aligned. ###15/16" works well on 3/4" EMT. Welby is right. a slow speed and even feed is needed.
I would cope anything I was depending on for strength. In particular the side trusses. What I had planned is to cope maybe every other step in the ladder. Slitting the tubes to insert the flattened ladder rungs probably adds no strength to the joint and may be detrimental.
Good idea on the foam seat cushion. Keeps the undesirables from using it when you are not there. Plus you don't have to worry about damage from the sun or critters.
What has been your experience with the Joint Jigger? Do they work well? I've looked at those and thought about building one. I've used a chop saw to notch both sides to fishmouth pipe. Works OK. But lately I usually just flame cut by eyeball, ###do a little grinding and fill the crack with a MIG. Not a professional quality joint but will probably last my lifetime.
Thanks for all the suggestions and insight with this stuff. You guys sure know your EMT:roll-wink-green:
I've got the upper section completed and the bottom section 1/2 done. I set up the upper against a tree outside and carefully climbed up to test it out. I decided to put side braces from the seat to the foot section to give it a bit more strength and better piece of mind. I ratchet strapped it to the tree and this thing seems very sturdy. Incidently i tried it out before building the truss section and it was a bit wobbly. It is very rigid now! I coped with a grinder:nope-blue: It was the prettiest cope but it did the job. Probably won't get much time to work on it until friday but I hope to have the unpainted stand done by this weekend.
I can alread see that I'll be doing a lot with the EMT. What is tubing notcher and where can I get one? Sorry to sound so dumb but I'm a computer geek or umm programmer and never worked with this stuff much but it sure is a good time.
05-07-2002, 08:25 PM
kmitch, I really like my Joint Jigger, but it took some getting used to. ###I tore up a lot of hole saws before I realized just how slow and easy you have got to go with it.
I considered building one before I bought mine, after all there isn't much to them. ###However, that precision milling that was required to do the angle slot spooked me. ###So, I just plunked down the $130 or so for the real McCoy.
I have seen a Joint Jigger copy that retails for about half the Ol' Joint Jigger, and as far as I can see (from pictures) it looks pretty good. ###The only difference I am sure of is the copy has a cast aluminum base whereas the Joint Jigger has a machined aluminum base. ### Both are available from Northern Tool Supply.
Gizz, you don't HAVE to have one, but if you get into building treestands and other stuff from EMT like I did, you'll get your money and then some out of one. ###I think it's a worthwhile investment for piddlers. ###Think of all the climbers, ladders, tripods, go cart frames, etc...you can build. ###:)
05-07-2002, 08:30 PM
Gizz, sorry...I forgot to post a link for that Joint Jigger Tubing Notcher.
Here ya go!
Ol' Joint Jigger Pipe & Tubing Notcher (http://www.jointjigger.com/)
05-07-2002, 08:31 PM
Oh and one more thing...I actually talked my wife into getting me my tubing notcher for my birthday. ###Sweet woman, ain't she?:smile-big-blue:
05-08-2002, 03:22 PM
Gizz - how are you comming with that new welding machine? ###How do you like it? ###would you recommend one? ###I have a gasoline powered Miller on a trailer that has been my buddy for many years but it takes an act of congress to set it up for MIG and TIG welding. ###I sure would like to have one of those little 175"s.
05-08-2002, 06:24 PM
You must have a Miller Bobcat. I would like one but don't find them used very often. Until I bought a real TIG machine I used to run TIG on carbon steel and stainless using a DC stick welding machine. All you need is an Argon bottle, flow meter, and TIG torch. MIG is certainly faster for EMT welding but you can certaily do a good job with TIG.
I now have a 150 amp Miller TIG with HF so I can do light aluminum. I'm going to try a home built climber from aluminum. ###
Bald Eagle - Since i'm a total novice at welding i'm not sure i qualify to give recommendations but my brother is a machinist and also does a lot of mig and tig welding at a local tool/die company. He got me started on the HH175 and he was impressed with the welds he got with the machine. So far I've built one treestand and tested it with ME climbing and everything held together. I still have a lot to learn but that's definately not the machine's problem! I've already melted 4 lbs(2 spools) of wire doing test welds before tackling the treestand. I'm learning as i go but i've already found that I like it - ALOT!
06-02-2002, 10:24 AM
About that 1" bender you built.... ###how hard is it to bend 1" EMT with a 6" radius? ###And, do you think a 5" radius would be too small for bending 1" EMT?
I love your bender for three reasons: ###because you built it instead of buying it, because it is cheaper and better built (I can tell by looking) than a store bought unit, and because it bends tighter radius bends.
06-02-2002, 07:05 PM
The 6" is not too difficult. You need to do it in one continous bend. You will get a failure from time to time due I think to inconsistent wall thickness in EMT.
I think 5" with my bender would be a strech.I'm starting to get a flat spot on the outside with a 6" radius. I think the key to bending thin wall stuff is restraining the sides, forcing the outside radius to strech instead of flattening out. If you look at the high end benders the dies all extend well past the center of the tubing, or they use a follower roller which helps restrain the sides.
Harbor Freight sells a bender that's about $100. There is one advertised in Home Shop Machinist by Shop Outfitters that sells for about $500 for the basic unit and $100 for dies for thin wall square and round tubing that claims to bend some really tight radii. I suspect I could start with the Harbor Freight model and make the dies to bend thin wall tubing and be close to the $500 model.
Finding some way to anchor a bender is always a challenge. I have a small bender that handles up to 3/8" round or square bar and 1/4X 1" flat bar. I mounted the bender on a piece of 2" x 1/4" wt square tubing so it plugs into the receiver hitch on my truck to anchor it.
The other way to bend thin wall material is to fill it with sand and weld some plugs in the ends. If I only had a few to bend I would consider this method.
I have one of the Curtiss ladder stands built and have made a few crude drawings. I'll post the drawings when I have a little time.
06-04-2002, 07:27 PM
You said you use 1" pipe split lengthwise for the guide on your bender? ###How does the 1" EMT fit into the 1" rigid pipe, even with it split lengthwise?
I tried tinkering with this project today. ###Mostly I had great difficulty cutting that pipe lengthwise. ###When I finally did (and boy it looked rough!) I found that the 1" EMT would not fit into it very well. ###How much do you expand yours?
06-05-2002, 05:23 AM
I'll check tonight but I'm afraid I messed you up. Looking at the pipe tables, the pipe I split was probably 1-1/4", not 1". Seems like 1" EMT is about 1.3" od. and 1-1/4" schedule 40 is 1.380 id. I split mine with a abrasive blade in a skil saw. Seems like I tack welded the pipe to the edge of my welding table and clamped a guide on the table for the saw. ###Again, apologize for the bad info. I'll get the website corrected tonight.
06-05-2002, 03:19 PM
I remember going to a salvage company one time a few years ago to purchase a motor. ###While I was bummin around there I saw a box of stamped T's that were made for making super-strong tubing joints. ###They were made of about 16 or 14 gage steel and stamped to fit very tightly around one side of a tubing T joint. ###I remember they had a small display of some joints made with 1/2", 3/4" and 1" EMT. ###It looked as though someone had used two of these on each joint (one on each side of the pipes) and silver soldered them. ###I think I have seen these on some tubing assemblies somewhere but I don't remember where. ###Anyway, they made terrific T joints that are very strong and the tubing was simply cut off square. ###There was a brochure there that said that these things would make a joint 200% stronger than the tubing itself. ###There must have been a thousand of these things in a wooden box for $0.12 apiece. ###A quarter per joint does not seem bad to me. ###Now I kick myself.
Have any of you guys seen any of these? ###If so where and what do they cost?
(Edited by Bald Eagle at 6:20 pm on June 5, 2002)
06-05-2002, 05:15 PM
I should not have doubted myself. I did make the bend shoe from 1" sch 40. 1" EMT is 1.160" OD. 1" schedule 40 is 1.049 id. When you heat and roll the split 1" around the radius it spreads slightly. Mine measures as near as I can tell about 1.130" inside across the opening. The fit of the EMT is snug but it does fit.
06-05-2002, 07:12 PM
Hey guys check out these tubing notchers and pipe bender:
(Edited by Bald Eagle at 10:17 pm on June 5, 2002)
(Edited by Bald Eagle at 10:25 pm on June 5, 2002)
06-06-2002, 09:01 AM
Bald Eagle, I absolutely cannot believe the prices on those tubing notchers!!:surprised-purple: ###DIYers, take notice! ###If you build with conduit or round tubing very often, buy one of these immediately!
Thanks for sharing that.
kmitch, I bought some better blades (abrasive discs) for cutting so I will try again probably this weekend. ###In the meantime, I had a thought - instead of splitting a length of pipe and using it, how about using a piece of small angle iron bent and welded around the bender form? ###Perhaps a piece of angle 1" x 1" x 1/8"?
I know that it would not be better than the rounded guide made from the pipe, but I do believe it would keep the tubing from flattening. ###What do you think? ###Seems like it would be much easier to build that way.
Tell me what you think.
06-06-2002, 04:52 PM
Might work if you used two pieces of angle and made the bend guide a "U" shape. I think you need the support on the tubing sides to keep the tubing from crimping. When I use mine the tubing expands to fill the bending guide and is a tight fit when the bend is complete. Slitting the pipe is a nasty job with all the sparks and grit from the abrasive blade. Never tried it but a bandsaw, if you have one, might be easier. With the abrasive saw, I cut one side and then turn the pipe over and split the other side. Try to leave a little more than half on the piece you will use. May have to grind a little to get a good fit.
I've seen the Harbor Freight tubing notcher in the flesh. It's decent quality. Probably not the equivalent of a Joint Jigger be should be OK for occasional use. With a few modifications to the work holding part could be a decent tool. I was wishing I had bought one when I built my Curtiss ladder stand. I had one piece I needed to notch at a 80 degree angle. Took some time to get it set up in the drill press.
The tubing notching would be easier if I could find hole saws with finer teeth. They want to grab the work since the tooth spacing is greater than the material thickness.
I have one of the pipe benders you listed in one of your links. It works great on pipe. I use it to build gates from 2-3/8" pipe. Won't work for light wall tubing.
06-06-2002, 07:23 PM
kmitch said - "The tubing notching would be easier if I could find hole saws with finer teeth. They want to grab the work since the tooth spacing is greater than the material thickness."
Man, that thin wall EMT will really give you a ride if you're not careful. ###Wouldn't it be cool if we could find hole saws with the abrasive grit edge instead of coarse teeth? ###Rotation speed and feed rate have a lot to do with smooth cutting.
06-07-2002, 05:46 AM
I have been told that you CAN get the holesaws with finer cutting teeth. ###However, I've never seen any locally. ###I think I recall seeing some once in a specialized tool catalogue, but I honestly can't remember which one.
You're right - I wonder too why they don't make holesaws out of the same material as abrasive disks. ###I think they would work very well. ###But, they could be dangerous.
Have you ever seen one of those fiberglass cutoff wheels come apart? ###That's bad enough, but usually cutoff saws have enough guards to prevent injury. ###I think there would be more potential for danger and injury if holesaws were made of this material.
I'll keep y'all updated on my bender project.
06-07-2002, 06:01 AM
They make some with carbide brazed to the cutting end, but they are $20-30 each. I use a lot of carbide lathe tools because the inserts are cheap. But carbide is so brittle it does not tolerate impacts very well. In a hand drill application I would be afraid I would fracture the carbide and destroy the saw quickly.
There is a company called Williams Low Buck Tools that makes a tubing notcher that uses a punch and die arrangement. Not cheap enough to make sense for me. My guess is his market is the race car chassis people. Here's link to his website.
For the present I'll continue to fight the hole saw at $6 each.
06-10-2002, 07:55 AM
Update on my homemade bender...
After one unsuccessful attempt at cutting my 1" rigid conduit lengthwise, I made another try. ###This time, however, I used some scrap wood to make a jig that would hold my pipe and guide my Skilsaw as I cut it in two. ###I highly recommend this method as merely clamping the the conduit in a vise and trying to split it with a circular saw is a major challenge to one's patience, skills and good health. ###The jig worked very well and I was able to cut the pipe quickly and very precisely.
I cut out my bending radius with a torch and used 3/8" stock for that piece. ###That went pretty well. ###Welding the conduit guide (the length of pipe split lengthwise) at one end, heating it and bending it around the bending radius was easy also.
However, I did notice one thing after I had welded my conduit guide to the bending radius. ###The conduit guide is just a hair crooked where it is welded to one end of the bending radius. ###Apparently, I did this at the very end and did not notice it until after it was welded in place. ###I hope that does not cause any problems with bending my conduit. ###If so, I'll have to cut that assembly off with the torch and do it all over again.
All I have to add now is a handle and the tab that holds the conduit against the guide and radius while bending it. ###Oh, and a leverage step -- I want to add one of those too.
IF...I get some free time in the next day or so, I should finish it up. ###I'll let you know how it goes.
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