TECH – COOL TOOLS – Metal Fab – Air Over Hydraulic Tube Bender

| May 20, 2020 More

For most every RPM reader, the goal is to have the fastest and nastiest car (or truck) you can afford. And for the vast majority of those individuals, the only thing more satisfying than that is to actually do it yourself.

A big step in that direction is to equip your shop with the fabrication tools needed to complete heavy fab chores like building a cage or backhalf all by yourself. Until recently, acquiring an entry- level tubing bender usually meant a manual unit with limited capability for as little as $250-$300 and up. While many such tools can provide quality bends, most are limited in terms of bend radius, bend range capacity, and other factors. And if you wanted to make the jump to a powered bender, you needed to save your pennies because powered benders would increase that cost to several thousand dollars. For most, there was no way to justify that expense unless you were a production shop bending tubing all day every day.

Until now.

We featured Rogue Fabrications VersaNotcher in our February 2017 Cool Tools article and were impressed by the overall quality and ease of use. It made us throw our old tubing notcher in the trash because it was such a better tool. That’s why we were so excited to get our hands on the RogueFab M600 air-over hydraulic bender and put it to use. We weren’t disappointed.

The M600 starts as an unfinished, unwelded kit for as little as $650. With the addition of a $100 air ram from your local import tool store, you can have a powered bender with one die for well under $1000. But that is only the beginning.

The true strength of the M600 is the impressive assortment of dies and upgrades available. With 15 different round tube dies, 12 square tube dies, a thin wall attachment for chromoly tubing, an HD upgrade for  bar stock and other heavy gauge material, and even things like a convenient cart with die storage, a fully-equipped M600 kit could eclipse the $2,000 range. However, an apples-for-apples comparison to other available options would quickly show you that a machine with comparable capabilities from another manufacturer would probably cost $5,000 or more, making the M600 a clear choice on value alone.

However, fabricators never select tools on value alone—they have to work well, too. And here’s where the M600 really shines. Just like the VersaNotcher, it doesn’t take long using the M600 to realize that it was engineered and built by someone who really understands what makes for a user-friendly tool.

The M600’s rotary draw design  ensures quality bends and material is loaded in easily with a clamp on one end as the machine draws the other end over a bending die with a pressure die.

Commonly, thinwalled materials will flatten out over the bending die, producing an oval rather than round tube that not only looks bad, it is structurally weaker perpindicular to the arc of the bend. RogueFab has solved this issue with an exclusive thin wall attachment that adds a cam-operated 2-axis adjustable pressure die to help keep the tube from deforming as it is drawn over the die. The M600 is easy to set up and adjust, using polyvinyl-dipped quick pins and return springs that draw the bending die assembly and… Read more of this article.  Just click on the digital feature below this introduction.

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