In the previous post about setting up the Harbor Freight Bar Bender, we bent some 5051 aluminum using the right angle attachment. Here, we will be bending 1/8″ x 1″ cold rolled 1018 steel. With this material, you can not use the right angle attachment, as the steel will actually fracture on the back side. On these parts, I had to get the 90 degree bend with a small radius around the center pin.
For this set up, we use the bar bender in it’s more standard set up, of having the swinging arm pined in the last hole, and bending around the center pin as the mandrel. I wanted a tight radius bend, so I used the pivot pin with no extra mandrel in the center. The driving pin in the swing arm was in the 3rd hole, as I only had a small amount of stock sticking out to bend. In the frame of the bender, I bent against the other pivot pin, although I should have installed the square stop block. I wanted a bend of just 1-1/8″ sticking out, and this is about the minimum possible in this set up. Anything less, and the material will slip past the swing arm driving pin and you won’t get the full 90 deg.