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Bumper welding questions

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by 1stgen4life, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Mar 12, 2018 at 7:05 AM
    #1
    1stgen4life

    1stgen4life [OP] Active Member

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    I'v done a lot of research on welding my own tube bumper for my 1999. All the lead times of 4 to 12 weeks make me want to just do it and have a new skill by that time. I know ill want other fabed things later.
    Any poking hoes in my plan or advice is appreciated.


    Design question/advice:
    welder(not bought yet): https://www.harborfreight.com/170-amp-dc-240-volt-migflux-cored-welder-68885.html and will be buying a tank to use MIG
    My current plan is to build/buy something like https://www.yotamasters.com/shop/armor/front-frame-brace/
    x2, 1 to weld to frame rails after cutting ~2in(1999), 1 for the bumper side to build off of
    -Going to use the section with 3 verticly stacked bolt holes as the place to attach.
    -weld the nuts to the back side of the mounting part for ease of install/removal.
    -then start with angled flat plate ending off bumper side to mount the tube to.
    i.e. : http://image.fourwheeler.com/f/52657985+w660+h440+re0+cr1+ar0/tube-bumper-on-toyota-4runner

    Tube Bender question:
    Im considering skiping the $$ in tube bender gear for the time and cutting the tube at angles then welding as desired. I only needed to really bend 4 spots for the wrap around the front. I have not found many examples of this nor any reason why not to. Is the structural loss signifcant?
    If I really do need the bender id rather just do it right the first time so id probably buy: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/hck-wfb2

    Any cheaper DIY options if I dont want to invest $$ to bend a few tubes?? Most iv found online under $300 seem to have a reputation for kinks.


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Mar 12, 2018 at 7:30 AM
    #2
    Blue92

    Blue92 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you've got a good plan. About your tubing bender question, a solid piece of material is always better than adding a joint. That's why you don't see a whole lot of what your talking about. In my opinion, it will look better with bent tubing as well. If its only a few bends, most fab shops should be able to handle it if you dont want to purchase a bender.
     
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  3. Mar 12, 2018 at 8:46 AM
    #3
    Dogs

    Dogs Well-Known Member

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    I didn't build my bumper, but I built the headlight hoops and grill guard. I just borrowed a tube bender from a friend, but harbor freight sells them for $110. Buy the warranty so if it breaks or doesn't work you can take it back. Mine left small dents in the tube from the rollers, but we just bondo'ed those so you couldn't see them. The tube also go stuck in the fitting for it when we bent it the first time, but we stopped that from happening by spraying pam on the tub and fitting for it. Slipped out very easy. Your pipe shouldn't kink if the fitting for it fits on the tube snug.

    Here is the part we bent. You can see the blue bondo that filled in the dents in it. We first spray painted it but that didn't last or match the rest of the bumper, so I bed lined the whole thing.


     
  4. Mar 12, 2018 at 9:03 AM
    #4
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Made you look

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    There are some cheap tube benders out there. Harbor Freight as one for $100. Basically a hydraulic bottle jack with a mount for the tubing above it, and you crank away. Not great, I look at most HF stuff as a one-project purchase, and if it happens to last longer, great!

    I trick I've heard is to fill the tube with sand so it doesn't get pinched, but I've never done it and am in no way an expert on that...

    I agree with @Blue92, bending is superior to cutting and welding, and not just for strength, but the corners, imo, will look weird and the sharp corners will get caught on things (rocks, your legs, etc...)

    But have you considered a plate bumper? There are DIY kits for ~$400 where literally all you do is weld up the pieces, no bending etc required. By the time you buy (even the cheap) bender, this is easily what you'd spend.

    http://nwtrailinnovations.com/

    Or, get a Trail Gear tube bumper, those are pretty much the cheapest bolt on tube bumpers, and generally in stock iirc...
     
  5. Mar 12, 2018 at 10:18 AM
    #5
    LukeCC

    LukeCC Well-Known Member

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    Alot of metal shops will bend tube for $10 a bend. it sounds like your sold on fabbing yourself but thats always an option as far as the tube bending goes.
     
  6. Mar 12, 2018 at 10:40 AM
    #6
    1stgen4life

    1stgen4life [OP] Active Member

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  7. Mar 12, 2018 at 11:04 AM
    #7
    Fuergrissa

    Fuergrissa If you build it, trails will come.

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    So far I’ve built, front and rear bumpers, sliders and just finished a swing out tail gate. Like you I started with no experience. It can all be seen here:

    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/diy-bumper-build.468823/

    If your going the tube route, I highly recommend a tube notcher, and a good quality tube bender. Yes they are costly (my bender, jd^2 model 3 was $730 with shipping), this includes the die and bending mechanism, I built the stand to save some$. Yes the cost up front is high but you can sell it when your done.

    As far as the bumper goes check out trailgear’s mounting bracket


    http://www.trail-gear.com/product/4716/rock-defense-tacoma-front-bumper-mounting-plate


    Check out this thread for some inspiration.
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/show-off-your-diy-armor.465225/
     
  8. Mar 12, 2018 at 11:45 AM
    #8
    Shebs556

    Shebs556 Member

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    Honestly your best bet for the tube bending is getting all your angles measured up and hitting a muffler shop. Aside from it being more aesthetically pleasing w the bends, you'd have more structural integrity and strength with the bends. Plus the possibilities are endless with the bends. Then again, as long as it works right?
     
  9. Mar 12, 2018 at 12:15 PM
    #9
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Made you look

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    I can easily see something like this go sideways in a hurry. Fitment is a lot of trial and error for a custom job, so you bend it, then maybe end up having to bend it some more, then a little more - oops too far, repeat. Then you realize the thickness of the tubing interferes with some stupid bracket you didn't account for and have to re-cut and measure. Or, you get it together and realize it sticks out 2" more than you anticipated and hate it.

    Take all the measurements you want, but with custom work like that, rarely do all your initial measurements make it to the final version.

    At that point, you might as well just have the shop do it all, or could have bought the cheap tubing bender.

    If you plan to do a lot more fab work on your rig, definitely look into the nicer benders, or get buddy buddy with someone who has one.
     
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  10. Mar 12, 2018 at 12:57 PM
    #10
    Fuergrissa

    Fuergrissa If you build it, trails will come.

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    Just to break down the bending/bender aspect

    Here you have the usual pipe bender from harbor frieght5097A92F-CD2F-4E9C-BD04-EB8D84132E04.jpg
    It relies on compressing the tube at one point, which in turn forces the material near inside of the tube(inner part of the bend) to push together forming the kink and structurally weak point.

    Here is an example of the jd^2’s design

    401E8960-3B08-4D92-B278-9D3FA1EE3FC2.jpg
    Here the tubing is pulled through the die, distributing the compressed stress on the inner side equally while adding again equally distributed tension to the outer part keeping the structure integrity.

    799FF0C4-CE4A-4163-AE06-EBD877748937.jpg

    The tubing bender the OP has a link to is $300 but that is excluding the die, which is around the same price, keep in mind you still need a stand.
     
  11. Mar 12, 2018 at 1:10 PM
    #11
    1stgen4life

    1stgen4life [OP] Active Member

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    Thanks for all the insight. It sounds like a non harbor freight bender is the way to go for long term use. The Jd^2 looks very very similar. It was one of the 3 or 4 others on
    http://www.swagoffroad.com/SWAG-Formed-Tubing-Bender-AirHydraulic-Ram-Mount_p_53.html that all seem very popular. I wasn't going to do the SWAG mod initially but like the option, figured id see how much i used it manually. But ya $250 for 2in die + $300 for bender + $99 stand(should prob build, if I cant do that shouldnt be doing a bumper heh) was what i was looking at.

    @Fuergrissa
    Ill think im gonna pull the trigger on the trail gear low profile one shortly. I believe it comes with that cross-member but im going to check. Most of them look to require removing the frame fangs.
     
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  12. Mar 12, 2018 at 3:50 PM
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    LukeCC

    LukeCC Well-Known Member

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    Good point. It’s my understanding that the guy at the shop asks people to bring a piece of wire or rebar bent to the desired shape and he matches it on the actual tube used for the bumper. Something like that. A friend of a friend is supposed to go in this week and have him bend some material for his tundra. We’ll see how his turns out before I do mine. :devil:
     
  13. Mar 12, 2018 at 4:57 PM
    #13
    Fuergrissa

    Fuergrissa If you build it, trails will come.

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    yeah if i remember correctly, the low profile comes in two pieces, the frame mounting plate,the bumper portion and you bolt them together.
     
  14. Mar 13, 2018 at 9:59 AM
    #14
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Made you look

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    Yeah, the problem with using rebar or something like that is, well, it's not the same size as the DOM tubing you will presumably use for the bumper. You need to use something the same diameter as the end use tubing to get the fit even close. Maybe get some 1.5" PVC and heat it up and make your bends that way. then you'll at least have a 1-1 scale the fabricator can match. Or cut out a template, and have teh fabricator match the inside edge of tube with the template.

    Custom fabrication really is a one man operation, or at least that's how it turns out best, imo.
     
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  15. Mar 13, 2018 at 10:09 AM
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    LukeCC

    LukeCC Well-Known Member

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    as i turns out, a friend of mine is in the market for a tube bender now so we may be doing it all ourselves. but i see your point. doing it all yourself gives you the freedom to take time to play around and get everything "right" like you said earlier.
     
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  16. Mar 13, 2018 at 10:49 AM
    #16
    Exracer2

    Exracer2 Well-Known Member

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    I own one of the HF style benders. They work REALLY WELL on small radius bends. As the bend increases they tend to flatten the tube. If you fill and cap the tube with sand this helps limit this and in some cases it isn’t noticeable without precision measuring tools. For a couple of bends they are ok. If you have a lot to bend the sand and capping method gets real tiresome. Ones like the summit bender are the way to go. You get what you pay for.

    I strongly suggest bolting the bumper on vs welding to the frame. It allows the bolts to break or stretch vs all the force going into the frame. Plus you can remove it to repair or change it up.

    I built this bumper 20 years ago with a pallet racking beam and an old oil tank vent pipe. Before every clown on the planet screams DOM tubing realize this is not a roll cage. I have hit trees of all sizes and it never moved. No it isn’t as strong as DOM but schedule 40 is a fraction of the price. You can’t notice it on this picture but the bends in the stinger are flattened slightly. Not very pretty but mig wire and gas were the only money spent. The rest was all scrap metal. I have maybe 3 hours invested plus paint and mounting. That included winch mounting plate.


    D3F192AD-37E5-412E-972A-0E75310C31BD.jpg
     
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  17. Mar 14, 2018 at 8:03 PM
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    1stgen4life

    1stgen4life [OP] Active Member

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    Just to update. I ended up pulling the trigger on a trail-gear low profile bumper. Gave them a call and they were very helpful. Seems trail-gear and all-pro are combining and theyve been extra busy.
    I dont really need anything fancy and I think that will keep me happy for at least awhile if not forever. Figured id a save hundreds on tools right now annddd have a bolt on bumper i could resell if I wanted to change later.
    Welder+tank+tube bending+metal started to add up pretty quick as i did the math $.

    Will throw some pictures up when its done.
     
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  18. Mar 14, 2018 at 8:18 PM
    #18
    Slashaar

    Slashaar Trail Limo Supreme & Certified Hole Massager

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    Also, if you decide to buy a welder at some point, I've owned one of the HF Fluxcore Migs before. The whole nozzle and handle fell apart after my second project. Was such a total PITA playing phone tag just to get a replacement that I just tossed the thing. If you want a good welder on the cheap, you can't go wrong with stick. Less moving parts to go bad. Takes some practice but its not hard.
     
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  19. Mar 14, 2018 at 9:48 PM
    #19
    Adude

    Adude Well-Known Member

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    It kinked and dented cause harbor freight sells pipe benders not tube benders. Pipe is measured by id tube by o.d and a dent or kink takes the strength out of the tube.

    Stand on a beer can, doesnt crush. Stand on the can and have a freind flick the side.....

    Harbor freight welders are door stops.

    The JD2 design has been used since the mid 70s. And still because it is a good simple design. I have made one used for 2 years, and bought one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  20. Mar 15, 2018 at 5:46 PM
    #20
    1stgen4life

    1stgen4life [OP] Active Member

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    I definitely agree with you the JD2/etc design seems significanty superior. The one I indicated in my first post is actually an almost identical competitor that also seemed popular.

    Saw the value in having it bent for overall consistent strength across the main bar.
     

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