When you want to construct a car roll cage, it's only wise you get a high-quality tube bender for the job.
A high-quality tube bender is easy to use. It creates accurate bends at the precise angle in accordance with the interior of the car's framework. Plus, it makes bends without breaking the steel.
Currently, there are many tube benders in the market, and if you are new to tube benders, searching the internet for the one that suits your need can be a tedious task.
However, we've made this well-detailed comprehensive list of the 10 best tube benders for constructing a roll cage just for you.
This article will help you out, be you a DIYer, hobbyist, or fabrication shop owner. Without further ado, let's begin!
Baileigh RDB-050 Manual Tube Bender
SWAG Off Road Tubing Roller "HULK"
Baileigh RDB-25 Cast Iron Manual Rotary Draw Tube Bending Set
Value For Money
Woodward Fab Tube and Pipe Bender
RIDGID 38048 Model 608 Tubing Bender
Our 10 Best Tubing Benders For Roll Cage Picks:
Here are the detailed reviews on the top tube benders for roll cage-
1. Baileigh RDB-050 Manual Tube Bender
High-functionality, capacity, and efficiency are the characteristics of the Baileigh RDB-050 manual tube bender. It is a heavy-duty, powerful bender for any chassis fabrication shop or DIYer.
However, it's expensive. This bender effortlessly tackles mild steel with outside diameters of 2.5" and a wall thickness of .120". Also, it works on a 2" outside diameter Chromoly with a wall thickness of .120".
It doesn't require any assembly or disassembly to make a bend. It comes ready to use out of the box.
You have an option to choose between three bending speed settings per the type of material you want to bend. The first-speed setting makes 4° per pull. It produces the most torque for bending 2" outside diameter Chrome Moly or 2.5" outside diameter mild steel.
The second-speed setting produces 8° per pull for standard materials, while the third-speed setting produces 12° per pull for lighter gauge materials.
The Baileigh RDB-050 manual tube bender bends up to 200° at a go without requiring any adjustment or reset. It features an anti-springback mechanism to keep each bend steady as you ratchet forward.
Thanks to the quick-hand release hook arm, change over to different size tubings is straightforward and doesn't take up to a minute.
Baileigh used an aluminum bronze bushing and thrust washers in this bender's pivot points for it to last long. When you buy this tool, it comes packaged in a box alongside a stand, degree dial, and a bending handle.
Be informed that this tool doesn't come with any die. You'll need to buy dies separately.
- Heavy-duty tool
- Doesn't require any assembly or disassembly during use
- Makes up to 200°bend at a go
- 3-speed setting to cover all your bending needs
- Doesn't come with dies
2. SWAG Off Road Tubing Roller "HULK"
The SWAG Off Road brand is an American producer of innovative, unique, and efficient metal fabrication tools. Their HULK tubing roller is made from ¼" thick American steel and 4340 heat-treated Chromoly axles for durability and endurance. Its mode of adjustment is a 2-ton bottle jack.
It features a side to side slop in the two outer non-drive rollers to keep your material from twisting. Plus, the Chromoly 4340 axle pins length is threaded down to +/-.003 thousand.
There are two adjustable shaft collars that ensure the dies stay centered between the ¼" thick steel frame rails. Speaking of dies, SWAG Off Road has about 69 different sizes of dies that fit this tool for bending round tubes and round pipes.
Also, there are other dies for bending flat bars in edge or square in a diamond profile, and a full line of Delrin dies ideal for copper, aluminum, brass, and chrome finishes.
Delrin dies are hard-plastic that works well and won't scratch finishes. However, it's limited to some materials.
Furthermore, the HULK tube bender can bend up to 2" x 2" .1250" wall square material. It can roll ¼" outside diameter to 2½" outsider diameter tubing, ½" to 2" square tubing, and ½" to 2" NPS pipe.
It has an electronic digital display for downward travel, ideal for constant accurate, repeatable rolling. Also, there are roller bearings installed on both the outer non-drive rollers to ensure smooth movement.
- Made in the USA
- Easy to operate
- It has a vast collection of dies for making bends in many materials
- Creates accurate bends
- Electronic digital display feature for consistent, repetitive rolling
3. Woodward Fab Tube and Pipe Bender
The Woodward Fab pipe & tube bender is one of the quality tube benders for bending chassis, roll cages, and motorcycle frames. It is cheap and offers excellent value for money.
This tube bender is built from heavy-duty steel to last long. It has dimensions of 37" L x 13" W x 14" H, which makes it compact and easy to handle. It uses a ratcheting type system with a 29" ergonomic handle.
Hence, as you bend your tubing, it will require minimal effort from you. You can bend up to 2" diameter tubings with this tool effortlessly.
Furthermore, all its compartments are CNC machined to deliver the most precise and accurate bending. Woodward Fab has a vast collection of hardened steel dies of different sizes ranging from ¾" to 2" round tubing with ⅛" wall thickness.
Additionally, there are square dies from ½" to 1½" with ⅛" wall thickness. These dies work with this manual tube bender to bend round and square tubing of mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and various other materials.
No die comes with this tube bender. You'll have to purchase only Woodward dies that fit the size and shape of what you want to bend.
However, when you buy a die for the tool, it will come in three pieces: the main die, the follower die, and the shoe to firmly hold your workpiece.
The Woodward Fab pipe and tube bender have an engraved degree ring and degree pointer for the accurate telling of angles for creating precise bends. It requires little assembling, but it's straightforward to assemble. Also, there is an optional stand available for it.
- Very cheap and offer great value for money
- CNC machined parts for precision
- It has a vast collection of round and square hardened steel dies
- Engraved degree ring for telling angles accurately
- Works with only Woodward dies
- Doesn't come with dies
4. ab103 1-1/2" Hydraulic Tube Bender
The ab103 1½" hydraulic tube bender by the Affordable Bender brand is a premium choice tube bender that's cheap and works well. This tool helps you bend roll cage, chopper frame, Prerunner protector, or ship railings easily.
It's an excellent tool for DIYers and small fabrication shop owners. Its design enables it to make up to 110° bend. However, its 8-ton hydraulic jack bends only 1½" round tubings.
This hydraulic tube bender is compact, lightweight (50lb), portable, and easy to use. It bends .080 to .120 wall HREW or ERW and .080 to .095 DOM or 4130 Chromoly tubing. Its 1½" die and mandrel has 1" shafts for durability and to ensure it lasts long.
One of its characteristics is the nice, clean, and smooth bends it produces. It makes bends that pass NHRA, SCORE, and SCCA technical inspections with flying colors.
Note that this tool isn't recommended for use on thin wall muffler tubing and doesn't need to be mounted to any surface to use.
Additionally, there are other die set available of 1" on 5" radius, 1¼" on 5" radius, 1½" on 7" radius, 1⅝" on 7" radius, and 1¾" on 7" radius. Each of these die sets is compatible with the ab103 1½" hydraulic tube bender.
- Affordable tube bender
- Makes up to 110° bend
- Portable, lightweight, and easy to use
- Create clean and smooth bends
- No return spring
5. RIDGID 38048 Model 608 Tubing Bender
Since its inception in 1923, the RIDGID brand has built a good reputation by making tools with high standards of quality, strength, and endurance.
Their expertise is vividly seen in this RIDGID 38048 model 608 tube bender. It's a simple but high-functional tool that's perfect for bending stainless steel and other hard tubings like steel and titanium, to mention a few.
This tube bender has two 16" long ergonomic handles, with rubber cushioning at the base for support and firm grips. It features a two-stage design that allows in-place bending from 90° to 180° without the handles crossing.
The handles fasten and unfasten with an easy half-turn rotation, making this tool very easy and straightforward to use. It has a bending carriage with roll dies in it to reduce force and tube flattening. In addition, there is a visible angle gauge from 0° to 180° to ensure you make bends at accurate angles.
Moreover, the RIDGID 38048 model 608 tube bender outside diameter bending capacity is ½", while its bending radius is 1½". There is a vise clamp block built into the bending form for additional stability.
This tube bender creates nice and smooth bends with no distortion. And since it's a RIDGID product, there's a lifetime warranty on it.
- It has an accurate gauge on the side for making bends at the precisely desired angle
- Heavy-duty construction
- Works excellent for stainless steel, steel, and other hard metals
- Ergonomic handles
- Simple to use
- Lifetime warranty
6. Baileigh RDB-25 Cast Iron Manual Rotary Draw Tube Bending Set
Making a second appearance on this list is the Baileigh brand, this time around with their RDB-25 manual tube bender.
This manual tube bender features a professional-grade cast iron frame to ensure it lasts longer and provides an accurate bending result for many years. It's an excellent option for hobbyists, DIYers, and small fabrication shops.
With this tool, you'll effortlessly bend standard tubing sizes on safe centerline radii and produces clean-looking, smooth, and neat bends. It bends up to 180° and can mount on a bench for comfortable and more productive use. Its wall thickness capacity is .047".
The Baileigh RDB-25 manual tube bender comes with eight standard tubes die sets for round and square bending.
They include ⅜” OD x 2" CLR, ½” OD x 2.25" CLR, 9/16" OD x 2.5" CL, ⅝” OD x 3" CLR, ¾” OD x 3.5" CLR, and ⅞” OD x 4.25" CLR dies for round tubes. Plus, ¾" Square x 3.75" CLR and 1" Square x 4.25" CLR dies for square tubes. These dies come packaged with the tube bender in a carrying case for better transportation and storage.
- Carrying case
- Professional-grade cast iron construction
- Can make round and square bending
- Comes with eight different die sets
- Needs mounting on a table
- Dies are rough and may mar the tubing
7. Yellow Jacket 60325 Deluxe Ratchet Hand Bender Kit
The Yellow Jacket 60325 Deluxe ratchet hand bender kit uses a trouble-free ratchet mechanism that allows you to make 90° one-hand bending.
It functions with two interchangeable heads of different colors (yellow and blue) that attaches to the ratchet hand bender. The yellow head does ¼" 5/16" ⅜" ½" and ⅝" bending by just making adjustments to it.
While the blue head does ¾" to ⅞" bending by making adjustments to it also.
Be informed this tool is ideal for bending only soft copper and soft aluminum. If you want to bend rigid copper, you'd have to anneal it before bending. It has index marks to locate bends accurately.
This kit has quick-change hardened plastic mandrels of different sizes that allow it to make reverse bending. A tube reamer that features steel blades for removing inner and outer burrs in 1/16" to 1⅜" outside diameter tubings is also included in the kit.
Also, the kit contains a small premium tube cutter for ⅛" to 1⅛" outside diameter tubings. All these accessories come included with the tube bender in a plastic casing for easy transportation and storage.
- One-hand ratchet mechanism
- It has two interchangeable heads for making bends in different size tubings
- Carrying casing
- Contains a tube reamer, a tube cutter, and hardened mandrels for reverse bending in other size tubes
8. Happybuy Pipe Tube Bender
The Happybuy pipe tool bender is a heavy-duty all-purpose pipe & tube bender that's cheap and highly functional. Its frame is made with a high-grade carbon steel and aluminum alloy to possess anti-rust, lightweight, and long-lasting properties.
This tube bender makes different sizes of bends on flat and round tubing. It's an ideal tool for making roll cages, frames, furniture, etc. It is perfect for DIYers, repair shops, and metal fabrication shops.
This tube bender can bend any stainless steel pipe, wire pipe, metal pipe, copper pipe, brass pipe, aluminum pipe, circle steel pipe, and low-pressure liquid jointing pipe of 10mm to 25mm and a wall thickness of 0.8mm to 2mm. It comes with seven dies with sizes ranging from ⅜", ½", 9/16", ⅝", ¾", ⅞", and 1" for making bends in these sizes tubings.
And seven half-circle bending molds of sizes ranging from 100mm, 119mm, 139mm, 159mm, 179mm, 225mm, to 225mm. Plus, it features a unique sliding mechanism that places dies quickly in the correct tube diameter position.
Furthermore, this tool mounts on work trucks, tractors, or any concrete floor. Thanks to its long telescoping ergonomic handle, it is very comfortable to use and offers easy operation.
Its handle bends round bar workpiece of ⅝" thick with 1-15/16" maximum width. This tool is also compact with dimensions of 21.26" x 8.27" x 6.30", making it portable for a wide range of applications. It comes with a user manual to guide on its uses.
- Heavy-duty tube bender
- All-purpose manual bender
- Long ergonomic handle
- Portable, lightweight, and compact
- Mounts on tables and different other surfaces
- Works for a wide range of round and flat metal pipes
- Comes with seven dies and seven half-circle bending molds
- User manual
9. Mophorn Pipe Tube Bender
The Morphorn pipe bender is very similar to the Happybuy tube bender in terms of design and appearance. It is made from durable material to provide good bending performance, strength, and exceptional durability.
With this tube bender, you can easily make different sizes of bends on flat and round tubing. It's an excellent tool for making roll cages, frames, etc.
It doesn't matter if you are a hobbyist, own a repair shop or metal fabrication shop; this tool is easy to use and produces smooth and neat bends.
This tube bender features a long ergonomic handle with a rubberized grip at the base for steady and firm operation. It is versatile for making different kinds of bends on flat, square, and round tubings.
You can use it for pipes and tubes of 10mm to 25mm diameter and wall thickness between 0.8mm to 2mm in different materials such as stainless steel, metal, copper, brass, aluminum, etc.
Moreover, it comes with seven dies with sizes ranging from ⅜", ½", 9/16", ⅝", ¾", ⅞", and 1". Plus, seven half-circle bending molds of sizes ranging from 100mm, 119mm, 139mm, 159mm, 179mm, 225mm, to 225mm.
This tool is very compact, lightweight, and produces excellent bends. It has four holes for mounting on walls, bench, or any surface for a more effective and productive operation.
- Easy to use
- All-purpose manual bender
- Long ergonomic handle
- Portable, lightweight, and compact
- Mounts on tables and different other surfaces
- Works for a wide range of flat, square, and round metal tubings
- It has seven dies and seven half-circle bending molds for its bending operations
10. KAKA Industrial HB-8 8 Ton Hydraulic Roll Cage Tube Bender
To round up the list is this great tube bender from the KAKA Industrial company. High accuracy, easy operation, and flexibility are the perks of this tube bender.
The KAKA Industrial 8 ton tube bender was made to create accurate bends in steel and chrome-molybdenum tubings with thickness ranging from ¾" to 1¾". It is made up of a sturdy steel frame and an 8-ton forming jack that provides a stable and steady bending process.
The KAKA Industrial 8 ton tube bender creates bends without flattening or deforming the edges of the tubings. Its hydraulic backed and manual system makes it easy to operate. It functions with five dies with outside diameters ranging from ¾", 1", 1½", 1⅝", to 1¾" for bending round tubing.
This tube bender with these dies makes it a quality tool for DIYers and fabrication shops to make roll cages, frames, and any metal fabrication job. The dies can quickly be changed to be flexible for different size tubings.
It makes bends up to 90° in ¾", 1" and 1½" diameter tubes with wall thickness up to 0.040" and bends up to 60° in ¾",1", 1½", 1⅝" and 1¾" diameter tubes with wall thickness up to 0.040" in Chromoly tubings.
In mild steel tubings, it makes bends up to 90° in ¾" and 1" diameter tubes with wall thickness from 0.049" to 0.090" and bends up to 60° in ¾", 1", 1½", 1-5/8" and 1¾" diameter tubes with wall thickness from 0.049" to 0.090".
- Makes perfect bends
- Sturdy construction
- It makes up to 90° bends
- Easy to operate with Its hydraulic backed and manual system
How to Choose the Best Tube Bender for Roll Cage?
A car roll cage is a complex piece to construct, and having the best tools at hand will make the job easier and safer at the same time. One of those tools should be a tube bender, and before purchasing one, there are some questions you should ask yourself:
What bender types are there?
The art of tube bending is not restricted to one sole method. Find some of the most common and basic strategies below to understand how one of these can fit your needs:
Open Rotary Draw Tube Bending
With a forming die set with a determined radius forming a pipe shape, this is a very common method for bending tubes that will have industrial or structural applications.
Rotary Tube Benders are great for thin tubes, and since they hold them externally while working, they are more durable because there is very little friction between the bender and the material that the tube is made of.
Ram Style Tube Bending
A die is pushed into the tube with a hydraulic ram that causes it to bend between two other dies that are opposite each other. Normally used for gates or carports.
Mandrel Tube Bending
As the name of the technique suggests, a mandril is used as an aid for this bending (or it can be replaced for a plug or balls made of steel). It gives internal support in a tubular shape so that the tube can have thin walls and be then applied to uses such as cold air intakes, furniture, turbos…
Since, in this case, the tube is also supported from within (and not just externally like the Rotary Tube Benders), Mandrel Tube Benders are great for intake pipes and roll cages. It is a good option when looking for one to construct your car.
Roll Tube Bending
In this case, three roll machines are used with dies that are positioned in a pyramid shape and bend large radius tubes.
What capabilities can a tube bender have?
You should be aware of many aspects, especially speed, when looking at tube bender features, but for this, you have to understand what types of benders are out there:
Manual Tube Benders
Being the cheapest alternative, manual benders can be great for using at home, particularly for the do-it-yourself appliances, especially if you are a beginner in the tube bending world. How accurate it is, however, will depend entirely on your hand and distress. The more careful you are with details, the less risk this type of tube bender presents.
Air or Hydraulic Tube Benders
Air pressure is used to power these types of tube benders, making them super powerful and implying less manual effort. However, it can feel like it is taking forever to bend since they are quite slow for production.
Electric Tube Benders
Also, using air pressure, these tube benders benefit from being powered by electric pumps, making them way faster than air tube benders and as easy to use.
NC and CNC Electromechanical Tube Benders
These tube benders are top-notch. They have all kinds of fancy screens, automatic stops, and other gadgets. They are super accurate and fast; you may imagine they have an associated cost.
What is there to look out for when adapting your Tube Bender to your needs?
Some failures can be avoided in tube bending if you pay close attention to:
- The material the tube is made of
- The size the tube is and the outside diameter it has before bending
- How thick the wall is (outer diameter minus inner diameter)
- What the centerline radius of the tube you are expecting once the tube bending is done.
All of these factors will determine what tube bender you pick for the job. You need to bear in mind that tube benders go from industrial applications to light-duty or DIY appliances, and the same bender should not be used across these different options.
You will also have different capabilities to choose from depending on the industry your tube bender is for, and you should make sure the tube bender you are looking for has them before taking it home:
Heat treatment: this will be necessary if the metal the tube is made of needs to be cut or shaped in a particular way
End flattening: needed mostly for tubular connections, such as for furniture or combined pieces
Buffing/Polishing: if the tube is visible, you will probably require your tube bender to touch it up once the work is done
Notching: together with hole punching or slotting, these features are needed, again, if tube assembly is required, which happens in several industries, especially the automotive.
Tube benders have made it easy to create smooth and accurate bends at different angles in roll cages and many other metal tubings without breaking. They work with dies of different sizes to make bends in tubings of various sizes.
Before their invention, making bends in tubings was difficult, and most times, the tubings end up breaking. With a tube bender, you are guaranteed that your tubings will bend accurately and won't break.
In conclusion, we have reviewed each of the tube benders on our list thoroughly with their capacity, mode of operation, compatible dies, and the type of metals they work well with. At this point, you should have found the one best and suitable for your roll cage.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What size tubing is used for the roll cage?
There are two types of tubing for roll cage: the smaller size is typically used as a frame, while the larger size is more often found in supports.
For either type, you’ll need to measure and purchase your tube based on its diameter – this will determine how wide it needs to be so that it fits around or inside your framework without any excess space. It also determines what thickness can be bent by an individual machine which has a limited range depending on its design!
How do you bend tubes for a roll cage?
The answer lies in the the best tubing bender. A tube bending machine is designed to bend steel or stainless steel tubing into complex shapes with precise measurements and angles without breaking, kinking, or distorting the material.
To get started you will need a good quality measuring device like a micrometer caliper; some scrap metal stock rod (or channels) for practice, and of course your new hydraulic tube bender.
The basic steps are-
1. Set up the tooling by inserting either an alignment mandrel or punch through one end of your straightener bar so it protrudes out both ends.
2. Insert another mandrel on the opposite side from where you want to start bending that helps hold everything together.
3. Slide up against this mandrel with the material you want to bend.
4. Next, clamp your tube bender's foot onto the bar and set its measuring scales so they match up with one of the notches on the straightener bar.
Most tube bending machines have a dial that can be turned to adjust how close or far from this mandrel you need it for each bend; just make sure these measurements are correct before applying any pressure!
5. Now bend the tube according to the requirements.
What is the difference between a pipe bender and a tube bender?
Tube benders are typically used to bend square, round or oval-shaped pipes. They have a U-shaped opening on the top and a V-shaped set of jaws that open at the bottom, which really grabs onto your workpiece.
A pipe benders are the same machines. These two terms are used interchangeably for the same bending machine.
Is DOM tubing stronger than Chromoly?
Yes, DOM tubing is stronger and more durable than Chromoly steel because it has a higher yield strength, which means that the material can be deformed plastically before breaking under tension.
Chromoly does not have as high of a yield strength so if you were bending something with Chromoly steel, there would be no grounds for flexing or stretching before reaching its elastic limit and then suddenly snapping back into place without warning.
How do you bend a tube without a pipe bender?
The process of bending a round tube without using a pipe bender is possible, but you will need some different tools. I found that the easiest way to do this was with my vise and an adjustable wrench - if your toolbox doesn't have one it's worth investing in one for those off-the-wall moments when you find yourself needing one (I've used mine for all sorts of things).
First, make sure there are no kinks or bends in the tubing before beginning to bend them. It will be much easier at this stage than after being bent into place as any small knots can lead to difficult fits later on.
Once they're removed, straighten out each side where it needs to be bent and clamp down on one end of the tube.
Adjust your vise so that it will clamp down on the tubing and tighten it up with an adjustable wrench in order to keep things still while you work on bending the other side.
To bend a straight section, hold onto both sides and adjust them as needed until they are about at your desired angle then tighten everything back up again. Repeat for each half of this type of joint you need to make.
Can I build my own roll cage?
Yes, it is possible to make your own DIY Roll Cage. The process of making a DIY roll cage starts with finding the right tubing and cutting it down to length. Once you have cut the tubes down, take them inside and bend them using an automotive pipe bender tool. After that, you need to connect them together using a welding machine.
What is a mandrel tube bender?
A mandrel tube bender is a metalworking machine that bends round bars, tubes, and other shapes into curved configurations. The process of bending these long pieces through mechanical leverage helps make welding easier because the parts are already in place when they're assembled. Mandrel pipe bending tools come with an assortment of attachments to suit different needs.
How much does a mandrel bender cost?
A mandrel bender is a device that can bend metal tubing. It's typically used for roll cages, but it has other uses too. You might have seen these tools in action at your local junkyard or on YouTube videos about cars and motorcycles.
Mandrel bending machines are priced depending on their quality and use cases—prices range anywhere between $500 to $1500 for the smaller machines and for the industrial-grade products, you may need to spend around 15,000 bucks.