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This crossbow-style ratcheting tubing bender from Uniweld will bend soft copper and aluminum tubing up to 90º. The ratcheting mechanism replaces the long lever arms of other benders, allowing you to make bends in tight spaces.

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Designed to distort the tubing as little as possible to maintain optimal flow, the ratcheting handle drives the mandrel and the tubing against the side support blocks. As the mandrel continues forward, the side blocks rotate to keep their concave surface supporting the tubing.

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Uniweld’s website describes the Crossbow tube bender coming in a plastic carrying case with mandrels for 3/8”, 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4”, 7/8”, and 1-1/8” OD tubing, and three side support block bars. I can’t find the exact same kit listed by the manufacturer, but Enviro-Safe sells what looks to be that same bender with a slightly different list of accessories for $130.

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Ratchet Tube Bender [Uniweld]
Ratchet Tube Bender [Enviro-Safe]

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10 Responses to Crossbow Tubing Bender

  1. area_educator says:

    Is ‘mandrel’ the proper term for the bit that the ratcheting action pushes forward?

    I thought a mandrel, in the context of tube bending, referred to something inserted into the tube to keep it from collapsing, creasing, etc.

  2. @area_educator:

    You may very well be right, but they use the term mandrel to describe the curved block the tube bends around on their website. So that’s what I called it too.

  3. Dave Hooper says:

    These work very well. They are not cheap but if you are in the HVAC field they are great and a much better option than hand bending or other methods.

  4. fred says:

    Back in 2009 I posted this comment that included a mention of a Yellow-Jacket (Ritchie Engineering):

    We do lots of tubing bending – in the shop, out of the back of the truck and in the field. At the high end in the shop we have a dedicated mandrel bending machine capable of bending nearly anything with the right set of dies mounted – and that includes stainless steel pipe. In our trucks – we have ratchet benders of the type shown here:

    http://www.stridetool.com/tools/hose_tubingtools/tubebenders_08.html

    We also use Imperial (used to be called Imperial-Eastman) hand benders with good results.
    For soft copper tubing – I’ve seen our HVAC sub – using Yellow-Jacket benders – but I can’t comment on their use.

  5. Keith says:

    It would take quite the kung-fu grip to use that all day long, especially on the larger diameters.

  6. karst says:

    It is very easy to use. The only draw backs are the mandrel gets stuck on the tube and is hard to come off and if your not gentle with the mandrel breaks easily, right where the mandrel connects to the bender.

  7. Cameron Watt says:

    @karst: It can be a pain. I’ve only used benders like this for pipe where giving the work a firm rap with a hammer isn’t a big deal. Have you tried putting oil or soap on the pusher die?

  8. area_educator says:

    @Benjamin Johnson
    Fair enough. I noticed they called it that as well– my question was intended more as a general question than any sort of challenge.

  9. Aeroaggie says:

    This shows a good comparison of the manual bender vs. this type of bender.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/DrZarkloff#p/u/3/8p_I9qiZ3OI

  10. karst says:

    @Cameron: I do HVAC work so using soap would be a bad idea, getting contaminates in the lineset is not good for the system. Hitting it with a hammer, if not careful, will damage the die. It works good for what it is and if its not used that much, one or two bends per job and it will last a few years.

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