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Thread: In today's episode of "Don't Buy Cheap Tools"...

  1. #1

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    In today's episode of "Don't Buy Cheap Tools"...

    OK, time for today's rant...

    Last week I made life unnecessarily complicated for myself when attempting to dial indicate my bellhousing with a cheap Amazon dial indicator gauge and magnetic base that never gave repeatable results and broke on the third use. I ended up buying a suitable tool and getting the job done with far less frustration.

    Well, this is apparently a theme in my garage at the moment. I'm now starting to do some mock-up of brake and fuel lines (templating with Nicopp first before making the real ones out of stainless steel). I purchased several tools from Eastwood - flaring tool, tubing straightener, tubing cutter, deburring tool, and the tubing bender that can handle different tubing sizes from 3/16" - 3-8". You know the one... it's sold under a bunch of different names all over the place. Who wouldn't want a tool that can bend all the different sizes of tubing on the car, right?



    All the Eastwood stuff is working beautifully except for that tubing bender, which has been an endless source of frustration and wasted tubing for me. I started by trying to make the section of tubing that connects the two front brakes... the one that "V"s at the front cross brace. I ended up scrapping two 5' sections of tubing as I couldn't get accurately placed bends with that tool. Accurate angles. Sure. Accurate position? Forget about it. In the photo above, you can see that it's darn-near impossible to figure out where the "0" "R" and "L" marks are for 4 different tubing sizes.

    I spent some time studying up on how to accurately bend tubing on Youtube, and the common theme was to get a good quality tubing bender (duh). So I picked up two Ridgid 600-series tubing benders (model 38028 for 3/16" tubing and model 38043 for 3/8" tubing). Wow. What a difference. Now, I'm not suggesting that one necessarily needs to spend this much to get good results, but I will suggest that there are three key features on these benders that make them FAR more accurate than the other bender:

    1) dedicated bender for a single size of tubing
    2) a clamp that locks the tube in position before bending
    3) ability to clamp it in a vice to work (this one is not absolutely necessary but makes life sooooo much easier).

    Here's the 3/16" bender clamped in my vice making some practice bends. I'm amazed at how accurately I can bend with this thing. I'm sure that a master tubing bender could easily make do with the cheaper tool but for someone like me that's doing this for the first time unnecessarily handcuffing myself with a cheap tool was driving me nuts.

    (Rant over)

    MkIV Roadster build: Coyote, IRS, TKO600. Ordered 10/24/18. Delivered 1/29/19. Build thread here.

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  3. #2

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    At least you got a good flaring tool on the first try. I tried the Harbor Freight one and the wing nut snapped and hit me in the eye the first time I used it.

  4. #3

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    We should start a "don't buy this tool" thread.
    MkIV Roadster build: Coyote, IRS, TKO600. Ordered 10/24/18. Delivered 1/29/19. Build thread here.

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  6. #4
    The Traveler R. Button's Avatar
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    Good tools are with you for life!
    I still have some Mongomery Ward screwdrivers that just fit my hand right and some older craftsman tools. They are the tools I reach for when I'm working. My old faithful snapon timing light always works ... the new xenon timing light sometimes does not fire... I can't get it to work the same every time. I'm sure others have had the same experience.
    Good tools do last a lifetime!
    Ralph Button
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  7. #5
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    Dang, I just bought a multi sized tubing bender from OTC on amazon. Hopefully it will work a bit better then the Eastwood one. I have been a bit worried about this stage of the build but I am just going to use the Nickle Copper line to make it easier. Do you think I should just buy a Rigid tool now and not even bother trying the bender that is made for three different sizes?

  8. #6

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    Since you already bought it, give it a try. Nicopp is relatively cheap. I think I got a 25' roll on Amazon for $23 so it's not the end of the world if you give it a try and it doesn't work out. I know others have used that tool with success.
    MkIV Roadster build: Coyote, IRS, TKO600. Ordered 10/24/18. Delivered 1/29/19. Build thread here.

  9. #7
    Papa's Avatar
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    I agree good tools make any job easier. I used that convoluted Eastwood bender to do my brake lines, and it does work. However, it is a real challenge to get the bend in the right place and with the right orientation. I used a Sharpie to mark the lines as I went. The clamping feature would be worth the cost difference alone!
    There are 10 types of people in this world;
    those who understand binary and those who don't.

    My Build Thread: http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...ter-Build-9754

  10. #8
    Senior Member AZPete's Avatar
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    For locating the bends and the orientation, are you using clothes hanger wire to make a model before bending the tubing?
    818S/C : Chassis #25 with 06 WRX 2.5 turbo, ABS, cruise, PS, A/C, Apple CarPlay, rear camera, power windows & locks, leather & other complexities.
    Mk3 Roadster #6228 4.6L, T45, IRS, PS, PB, ABS, Cruise, Koni's, 17" Halibrands, red w/ silver - 9K miles then sold @ Barrett-Jackson Jan 2011 (got back cash spent).

  11. #9

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    No, i haven't been. I supposed I could but I'm using Nicopp as the template for the eventual stainless steel lines so making a template before making my template seemed a little redundant. My problem so far has not been figuring out where I want my bends, it's been being able to put that bend in the tube where I want it, so I'm not really sure that making a template out of wire first would help a whole lot.
    MkIV Roadster build: Coyote, IRS, TKO600. Ordered 10/24/18. Delivered 1/29/19. Build thread here.

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