There’s a problem with using superb tools. Afterward, every time you have to use something less than the best, it’s a little depressing knowing there’s something better out there. By that mantra, I’ll never be satisfied with another tubing bender after using a set of Swagelok’s tubing benders. They’re made from extremely high-quality steel, and create easy, beautiful bends thanks to bearings which roll along the tube as the bend progresses, forcing the tube into a precisely-cast base.
But — and this is an elephant in the room — the cost of these things puts them dangerously close to Tool Pr0n territory. Don’t bother trying to find them at Ace; Swagelok pulled a Snap-On and retails these only through its satellite distributors. The smallest bender, for 1/4″ OD tube, costs $125.20. The largest, for 1/2″ OD tube, costs $347.00. Ow. Definitely not worth it for anything shy of a plumbing specialist, which is a shame. It’s hard to find this level of quality. The design is simple, the materials are top-shelf, and the results are the best.
Tubing Benders [Swagelok]