Sunday, September 14, 2008

Diacro tooling

Several years ago I bought a Diacro #2 Bender. This is a beautifully made machine for bending steel bar and tube. Put the piece of metal between two pins, apply some leverage, and you have a bend. The Cadillac of benders is the Hossfeld and, IMHO, the Rolls Royce is the Diacro. Of course, if I had a Hossfeld I might reverse the analogy. All of the inexpensive benders on eBay are based on the Hossfeld design because it is much easier to copy.

My Diacro came with a roller nose and no tooling. Easy enough to make some pins but the roller nose is for curves, not sharp bends. Not only do I need a standard nose, I need tons of tooling. Want to bend square or round tube? Want to make sharp 90 degree bends? Want to make spirals? All of these require tooling that, similar to mills and lathes, can easily cost more than the machine.

Over the years I have had the bender, my tooling desire has grown. Finally, with my new mill, I can make it myself. The photo shows my first project, a standard nose which is sitting on the bender. Above it, installed on the handle is the roller nose.

Doing the math, I spent a couple of thousand for a mill that I used to make a tool worth a couple of hundred. Only nine more tools to go before I am even!

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