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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.

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I’m going to start with the bad news about Mittler Brothers’ Machine and Tool’s Ultimate Notcher: $3900.

So you won’t be seeing one of these in your kids’ high school shop anytime soon, nevermind your own. This is a tool designed for an extremely specific function, and it does actually make some sense. Designed to notch tubes for TIG-welded race vehicle frames and roll cages, the Ultimate Notcher is definitely a niche product. Nevertheless, it can handle tubing of any wall thickness up to 2″ outer diameter, and the manufacturer claims that its titanium nitride-coated hogging cutter will last nine months (assuming 1,500 cuts per week), even without using cutting fluid.

Other features include automatic feed and chip collection, in addition to the expected adjustable-angle vise. Surprisingly, the whole device weighs a whopping 350 pounds. While it’s light and cheap compared to a Bridgeport, the lack of flexibility makes the Ultimate Notcher a tool for only high-throughput, narrowly-focused shops.

Ultimate Notcher [Mittler Brothers]

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