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Old 05-01-2006, 11:45 AM
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Lightbulb Tube Front Bumper with Bend Tech Pro

The time has finally come! I am ready to make my first project using the tube bender

A lot of great ideas have taken shape on this whiteboard, including the tube bender itself. It took a lot of sketching and resketching, but I finally came up with this design.



After holding up some scrap pieces of bent tubing to the truck and scratching my head, I decided it would be worth spending some time in Photo Shop to see if I would like the design. Here is my 4Runner with a PhotoChopped bobb, paint job, and minimalistic exocage.



Okay, I like it! Time to get to work. The next step was a lot of careful measuring. I sketched out front, side, and top views of the key points on my 4Runner. Then I took lots of measurements and drew in circles to remind myself to offset to account for the tube. Next, I transfered my key points into Bend Tech Pro. Gotta be careful here and double check all points.



There are a few different ways to make parts in Bend Tech Pro. I like to get all my pick points figured out, then connect the dots. You can also make each piece individually in EZ3D and then couple them together.



Here's what it looks like using 1-3/4" tubing and a 6" CLR. What better color than yellow?





There are two pieces with four bends. The very uppermost piece (number 6 below) is a multi-plane part with four bends. It's hard to see but there are some smaller bends just outside of the two middle bars. I circled them in red.



I don't have a notcher and since I have NO EXPERIENCE with tubing, I'm going to rely heavily on Bend Tech Pro's tube coping feature. The two straight pieces forming the winch opening (number 2 above) intersect a bent section of tube, so I may have some trouble here. At this time BT Pro does not cope tube that interesects a bend (come on Cris!).



This will be my FIRST TIME ever bending tube to make something useful, so I may need some help! Please let me know what you think and if you see anything that I need to look out for! ANY FEEDBACK good or bad is greatly appreciated! I would much rather find out I need to change something now before I start cutting and bending.
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Old 05-01-2006, 12:24 PM
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If you need help calibrating let me know.

Looking at part 4, I will guess you will need to add a handfull of inches to both ends so you can bend it.
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Old 05-08-2006, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fabcam
Looking at part 4, I will guess you will need to add a handfull of inches to both ends so you can bend it.
Thanks for the headsup. I had that in my mind already, but the reminder is helpful!

After some criticism from the Pirate folks I decided to raise the upper cross bar (number 6) so that it would protect the radiator in a rollover. Unfortunately that really changed the look of the design so I'm not sure if I like it as much anymore. I might go back to how I had it, but I will have to address radiator protection somehow. I don't think a stinger would look well with my current design, but I'm open to suggestions.

This project is on hold until I can get the bender's autostop controller working. I had some complications with my current encoder (the sensor used to measure bend angle), so I had to buy a different one and it's going to take a while to make mounts for it.
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Old 05-08-2006, 11:59 PM
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After what I've heard here on OFN about pbb I wouldn't take their criticism too seriously...I think the design you have looks great. About the only thing I can see you might do for radiator protection is maybe a removable bar with a slight bend or two connecting the bars going along the top of the fenders.or maybe two bars say 6'' apart with cross tubes? If I wasn't computer challenged I'd draw you a picture
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:01 AM
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I say keep it the way you had it. If you damage your radiator you have alot more things to worry about than what a single higher bar would fix.
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBandit
Thanks for the headsup. I had that in my mind already, but the reminder is helpful!

After some criticism from the Pirate folks I decided to raise the upper cross bar (number 6) so that it would protect the radiator in a rollover. Unfortunately that really changed the look of the design so I'm not sure if I like it as much anymore. I might go back to how I had it, but I will have to address radiator protection somehow. I don't think a stinger would look well with my current design, but I'm open to suggestions.

This project is on hold until I can get the bender's autostop controller working. I had some complications with my current encoder (the sensor used to measure bend angle), so I had to buy a different one and it's going to take a while to make mounts for it.

I like it the way it is. I you want to protect the radiator I would suggest some sort of under hood roll bar mounted from the frame horns and looped over the top or next to and slightly higher than the radiator.
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Old 05-09-2006, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian1
I say keep it the way you had it. If you damage your radiator you have alot more things to worry about than what a single higher bar would fix.
Except that may be the difference in driving out or tearing up more stuff being drug out (or over heating). I broke my trans housing in half and had to be towed out of a really bad place. Wound up doing more damage to my truck and another guy's too!

Still, if you don't like it, don't do it. Do you really plan to push it that far, or is it only a "in the unlikely event" kind of thing? And you can certainly build something less conspicuous that does not interfere with your prefered design.
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Old 05-09-2006, 05:42 PM
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Thanks for the continued feedback.

The goal for the exo cage is to be able to drive away from flop on the side. In the rare (hopefully never!) case of a barrel roll or end-over-end roll, safety is my first concern. Keeping the truck driveable is hardly the issue, but if I can make minor changes that will do so, that's also a step in the right direction.

I am still playing around with design ideas, hoping to come up with a solution that will fit my original design concept while also protecting the radiator.

CaptainFab, are you suggesting a removeable cross bar that goes over the hood? I have been thinking a lot about this and one thing I'd really like to do is extend the number 4 tubes so that they go over the hood and tie into the cross bar at the cowl. This would really accentuate the body lines on the hood. The extensions would have to be removeable (maybe swing-up) for engine access, so my concern would be whether or not I could get them on & off after (for example) the front bumper is bent back a bit from hitting something hard.

RacinJason, I like the idea of an underhood engine cage, but I'll have to give that one some more thought. If I am doing an exocage, I may as well integrate engine protection if I can. I'm not sure yet.
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Last edited by TheBandit; 05-09-2006 at 05:45 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-10-2006, 12:04 AM
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Another option if your that concerned with the rad is too relocate it to the rear. I saw a really cool set up not that long ago that I wish I got pictures of but the rad was the tailgate. It went up and down like normal but had 2 fans on it that you could reverse flow on which is nice here in Canada where the temp can get to -20* often.
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Old 05-22-2006, 07:56 PM
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The plans look nice and I'm sure we'll see plenty of good step by step pictures.

One thing I'm not sure if your planning is that I would make sure and add a brace close to the ends of the bumper where the wrap around the corner of the truck, somewhere behind the yellow lenses, going at an angle under the front body mount to the frame. I have tube bumpers on two of my trucks, and I have hit some pretty serious stuff and some decent speeds and had I of not had enough latteral bracing more carnage would of been plenty.
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Old 05-22-2006, 11:55 PM
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sapper - While moving the radiator to the rear would certainly free up space and negate the need for protection, I don't think it's practical at all for a DD/weekend wheeler like my truck. There are some cool setups like that though!

JWBURES - I definitely want to add as much support as I can. I will be adding support tubes once this main assembly is welded on. At this point it's hard to picture where everything should go.

UPDATE

Got a few pieces bent today. Here's my plane of bend bracket, which was custom made by John (aka CaptainFab) here on the board. John has been following my progress on the bender and offered to make this for me to save time. He gave me a great deal and even custom powdercoated it yellow (the future color of the bender) and added a knurled setscrew. THANKS JOHN!



(below) The first piece I made was the lower hoop. This came out perfect, but I ran into a bug with the cutting templates (now worked out) and will have to cut it for fit tomorrow.



(below) Here I am measuring to check the angle. I didn't have to rebend a single piece today; springback was consistent from tube-to-tube and the bender nailed every angle. Bend Tech Pro worked awesome!



(below) The next part is the waistline hoop. This is a four bend, single plane part. Here I am gearing up for bend number 2.





(below) The completed part, ready to remove from the bender.





(below) I did this work today by myself, so I didn't have anyone to hold it up to the truck to check fit.



(below) Later in the evening one of my roommates got home. I had him hold the part up while I took pictures. It sticks out a little further than I had pictured, the measurements are correct and it should accomodate a winch without moving the A/C condensor.





That's all for tonight.
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Old 05-23-2006, 12:05 AM
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yeeeeeeww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALRIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thats awsome, glad to see some action with the new toy. that main bar looks great! cant wait to see more. good work!! keep it up!
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Old 05-23-2006, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBandit

CaptainFab, are you suggesting a removeable cross bar that goes over the hood? I have been thinking a lot about this and one thing I'd really like to do is extend the number 4 tubes so that they go over the hood and tie into the cross bar at the cowl. This would really accentuate the body lines on the hood. The extensions would have to be removeable (maybe swing-up) for engine access, so my concern would be whether or not I could get them on & off after (for example) the front bumper is bent back a bit from hitting something hard.
Sorry I missed this until today Bandit. Yes I was talking about a removable bar over the hood. Tying in the #4 tubes would add strength to the assembly, but as you mentioned it would be a sob to get back together if things got bent. I think it could possibly be accomplished....not exactly sure how...maybe with 2 tubes going across side to side. I'm sure you'll figure it out you're an intellegent guy!

Thanks for the kind words...glad I could help you out in some way. And thanks for the pics too...that thing IIIsss bright! Good job on the bending, you're well on your way to achieving professional status
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scootek
ALRIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thats awsome, glad to see some action with the new toy. that main bar looks great! cant wait to see more. good work!! keep it up!
Thanks scootek! I only wish I were as good as you at this stuff. Hopefully I will have some beginner's luck on my side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainFab
you're well on your way to achieving professional status
You are too funny.
I think we are on the same page w/ crossbar ideas. We'll see - that is a long ways off.

UPDATE

After getting a little more familiar with Bend Tech's cutting features, I spent most of my evening cutting tube. I started with the lower hoop which needed to be fitted to the frame.



I suppose I could have cut it in a chopsaw, but I figured I would be less likely to screw up using a cutoff wheel.



It fits perfectly as designed!



Bend Tech prints out these neat wrappers for coping tube. I'm finding them to be quite handy! For pieces that are fishmouthed at both ends, you have to line them up somehow, so I initially used my table to do the job.



Then I found it was a lot eaiser to use a piece of angle iron.



(below) Here is an example of a short piece with fishmouths on both ends. You can see the lines printed on the wrappers for lining them up. One thing to keep in mind if you are using these is to cope the tube so your seam wont be visible on the final part.



(below) It takes quite a bit of time using a cutoff wheel! I really need to get a hole saw type notcher - these would go much faster.



(below) Since the tubing has some thickness, you can't just cut along the wrapper line and expect it to fit. It takes a little grinding on the inside to get things right.



(below) After a while I started getting a feel for what areas needed grinding to get a nice fit.



(below) No less than four hours later cutting and hand notching parts, here is where I left things for the night.



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Old 05-24-2006, 04:34 AM
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hey this is turning out awesome, can't wait to see the final product.
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:15 AM
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Man thats looking good. Bet you sit back at night holding in the shouts of excitement of what your benders' putting out. The bumper is looking sweet.

Watching you do the cutting with bend techs lables really hints to me that I need this software. I guess I need to win some sort of giveaway, "hint".

Take care,
Josh the eyeballing master.
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:12 AM
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Arrow

Looking good so far.
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
You could have saved some room (and some wire and resistors) on the breadboard by multiplexing the seven-segment LEDs... could have used 8 outputs instead of 32. then you would have only needed 8 current limiting resisors and 1 LED driver chip. Mulitplexed at 10kHz, they all look like they are lit at once, even though they are blinking really fast..

Last edited by ErieJeepSteve; 05-25-2006 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 05-24-2006, 12:59 PM
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nice!!!

that looks awsome. it flows nicely. looks like someone knows what they are doing. hold that thing up to the truck so we can see better. BEGINNERS LUCK MY ASS, THATS SKILL BROTHER!!!!!!! BE PROUD.
here is the first tube i bent and you know were it goes from there...

be careful bending and fitting tube, it can be ADDICTING and spread throughout your truck like cancer.

YES THIS SOFTWARE WORKS, IF YOU DONT HAVE IT YET...WELL.............GET IT!!!!!!

only one thing left to say.....

Last edited by ScooteK; 05-24-2006 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 05-25-2006, 01:50 AM
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Thanks for the complements conseann3ry, Rompn, JWBURES, and scootek!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWBURES
Bet you sit back at night holding in the shouts of excitement of what your benders' putting out.
Somethin' like that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErieJeepSteve
You could have saved some room (and some wire and resistors) on the breadboard by multiplexing the seven-segment LEDs
You are quite right. I actually have another seven segment display that is setup for multiplexing. I may be making some changes in that direction for the final product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scootek
looks like someone knows what they are doing.
Maybe you've got the resolution turned down on your monitor Seriously though, thanks for the complements. I am not that good at this stuff, but I am pretty happy with how this design is turning out.

UPDATE

It may not seem like I did much since last time, but it took me about an hour to tack these together. I'm sure more experienced folks wouldn't have taken nearly as long, but I took a ton of measurements and did a lot of creative "fixturing" using things laying around the garage to get all my angles right. I also did a little grinding here and there to get better fits on my notches. So although it doesn't look much different from where I left off yesterday, all this lower half needs now is finish welding. Here it is loosely attached to the truck (using bailing wire)





Do you think there will be enough room for a winch? I left about 8" in front of the radiator to work with.



Here is one area I would do differently a second time around. I am not happy with how much space there is between the marker light and the bend at the corner. If I moved the bend apex toward the rear of the truck this area would look much better.



It doesn't look too bad from this angle.



Here's what it will do for my approach angle. What do you think? Liveable?



33s and IFS



My next step will be making the plate for the front of the crossmember (that should be pretty quick/easy) then I will get started on the upper assembly.

*EDIT* Keith if you are reading this, can you please turn up the forum's image width to something bigger? All my images are being resized from 650 pixel width to ???? width and it makes the pictures look horrible. BTW they are still getting mess up in Internet Explorer the way I described in my PM a few months ago.
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Last edited by TheBandit; 05-25-2006 at 01:52 AM.
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