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Wasn't sure where to post this because I'm not a vendor. Feel free to move to a more appropriate section if needed.

I Just joined the forum here to share a recent project of mine. A couple of weeks ago I had a large fabrication order come through our shop that required a cnc bender. I've had a JD Squared model 32 manual bender for years but I didn't have the cash to upgrade to a full on Baileigh CNC model or the equivalent. So, I designed a fairly easy CNC Hydraulic conversion for the Model 32. I know lots of offroad DIY fab guys out there have this bender and wouldn't mind upgrading to a CNC hydraulic set up so I'm considering putting together plans and possibly kits depending on interest.

Since I'm a brand new member I can't post links or images but if you'd like to see a vid, search youtube for jonathon friedl and click the most recent video. Thanks for watching.
jonathon
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong but you have created a glorified limit switch.

(Didn't watch the whole vid so I may be a :homer: )

I have a Model 32 with full hydro and I don't see any time savings over it.

Both require a person to be there: Loading, lining up tube, hitting button, moving/indexing/removing tube.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Correct me if I'm wrong but you have created a glorified limit switch.

(Didn't watch the whole vid so I may be a :homer: )

I have a Model 32 with full hydro and I don't see any time savings over it.

Both require a person to be there: Loading, lining up tube, hitting button, moving/indexing/removing tube.
Yes, you're missing a bit more. A limit switch has to be moved to the desired angle. With this conversion, there's an HMI, a PLC an encoder and a pressure sensor. The operator punches in the desired angle on the HMI and presses the start button. The PLC reads the position of the bender via the encoder and moves the bender to the desired angle and stops. There is also a spring back compensation in the HMI that can be programmed by the operator. Once at the desired angle, simply press the return button and hold it down to move to a desired position or press it twice in rapid succession to have it automatically return to the home position.
There is ALSO an automatic calibration mode. It works like this. Every time you put a tube in the bender, your zero point is where the wiper has all the tension it can have against the tube without physically distorting the tube. Finding that sweet spot every time you make a bend by hand is tough. So, the PLC has an 'Auto calibration' mode where it will set the start point of the bend based on the pressure inside the hydraulic cylinder. I just did a bunch of 14ga 1.5 square tubing and the auto calibration pressure was 250 psi. It would be more for heavier material and less for thinner stuff. Figuring out the right pressure is fairly easy. There's a window in the HMI where you can watch the pressure climb inside the cylinder as you bend in manual mode.
I know it sounds a bit over engineered, but it really does remove a significant amount of operator error, especially on large volume bending. It also makes things infinitely faster.

I snooped on your instagram, btdubbs. Looks like you guys build some good looking bumpers!
 

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Looks like it could save a lot of time for production bending. Would be interested in plans when they become available. How much do you think you have it this all up for the CNC conversion?
 

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Yes, you're missing a bit more. A limit switch has to be moved to the desired angle. With this conversion, there's an HMI, a PLC an encoder and a pressure sensor. The operator punches in the desired angle on the HMI and presses the start button. The PLC reads the position of the bender via the encoder and moves the bender to the desired angle and stops. There is also a spring back compensation in the HMI that can be programmed by the operator. Once at the desired angle, simply press the return button and hold it down to move to a desired position or press it twice in rapid succession to have it automatically return to the home position.
There is ALSO an automatic calibration mode. It works like this. Every time you put a tube in the bender, your zero point is where the wiper has all the tension it can have against the tube without physically distorting the tube. Finding that sweet spot every time you make a bend by hand is tough. So, the PLC has an 'Auto calibration' mode where it will set the start point of the bend based on the pressure inside the hydraulic cylinder. I just did a bunch of 14ga 1.5 square tubing and the auto calibration pressure was 250 psi. It would be more for heavier material and less for thinner stuff. Figuring out the right pressure is fairly easy. There's a window in the HMI where you can watch the pressure climb inside the cylinder as you bend in manual mode.
I know it sounds a bit over engineered, but it really does remove a significant amount of operator error, especially on large volume bending. It also makes things infinitely faster.

I snooped on your instagram, btdubbs. Looks like you guys build some good looking bumpers!
Thanks.

The other good thing you've done is a one shot 90.

The factory jd2 model 32 hydraulics does only 45 in one shot.

What you've done is interesting as you've described it, and I don't want to be a hater :flipoff2: , because I couldn't design/program any of that...

But business wise I don't see you selling many and I also don't see a big time savings at all when considering total time when dealing with tube (marking/ loading/unloading/general handling).

There is a benefit from me or my employees not paying attention and overshooting the mark. :homer:

I see the model 32 as a great bang for the buck bender...but if I were bending tube everyday for 'production' it wouldn't be a model 32.

I've farmed out 'big' bending jobs.

Once you get a good sample bend with the 32 and the pointer is set you can do multiples without worrying about 'finding the sweet spot'.

Maybe I'm wrong. I wish you luck. We have several 'mad scientist' or 'awesome machinist' types here on pirate who build really cool tools.

Check out some of stuff that ZAG builds, for example:

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/shop-tools/951950-homemade-hydraulic-chain-driven-bender.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think the Jd2 is so popular because it fills a massive market niche thanks to its price point. It's the everyman's bender, and for the cost you can't beat it. But making the jump from a manual bender to a CNC hydraulic set-up is very cost prohibitive. Plus, buying a new bender means buying new dies. This is why I think there might be a market, however small, for a cnc hydraulic conversion kit for the jd2.

There's two ways I could market the idea. The first is to offer a turn key machine that you could simply mount your jd2 to. I estimate the cost to be around 5k plus shipping. The second approach is to sell plans along with the pre-programmed electrical hardware and the few components I machined or waterjet. Total out of pocket on the set up would be 3k. That's 3k for a cnc hydraulic tubing bender!
 

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Neat implementation. Those that are bending tubing in production quantities are using other tools, not refitting a Model 32. You do get past having to buy new tooling but for many particularly those doing off road you'll be approaching the capacity of the machine. For $5k you could buy a Model 54 and a starting assortment of dies. Model 32 dies still hold a pretty good resale value. The mechanisms on the 54 are more robust, it's got a greater capacity and is also an automated bender.

I see this project as something someone looking to bootstrap that could do a DIY project. At $3k for the DIY is well past what I think someone will spend to upgrade something they've already got a couple grand into in bender and hydraulics. As a small shop owner I'd be looking for something that was a good value, not the least expensive. Something supported by someone with experience making the tool and something that can hold some resale value. I can get a lease for a 54 or a Baileigh pretty easily, not so much what is essentially a DIY kit.

The business model for this I see more like CandCNC. Sell the electronics and whatever cut parts are needed but include the plans in the electronics package. The value is in the electronics not the cut bits or even the plans. I think you're going to have to knock it closer to $1k to get any traction. You're pricing estimates are too steep for hobby/DIY and for a production shop you aren't offering any more tool for the money.
 
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