I’ve wanted a wire bender for quite a while. (Not one of those little jewelry wire benders – I can do most of what that does with a pair of needle nose pliers.) Ever since I’ve been stocking that nice #7 (.014″) steel wire I’ve needed something to form tight > 90 degree bends in it to make custom hangers for stuff.
One of the first benders I found was the $83 big honker at Harbor Freight. But after I saw how big it was (in a review on YouTube – who reviews HF stuff??), it was clear it was overkill. I did almost get one for the space, but it would hardly earn its real estate keep with the limited space there.
There are other cheaper ones – like the classic K&S. The eye opener was that you used a vise to hold one part. Ah – that makes sense! That was tempting, but I never got around to ordering one. And then I found the elegant Harry Higley benders (in 3 sizes). Effective and inexpensive, I almost got some. But they were so simple, I thought I could probably make something like that myself.
It took most of a year to get around to it, but I finally made one. It’s a chunk of 1/4″ steel bar with two 1/4″ holes, plus a couple of pins cut from an old 1/4″ drill bit. It’s not as nice as Harry’s, but it was all from scrap and it works for the heavy wire I needed it for. Together with some simple operations in the vise, it should let me make about anything I need. And the bar is big enough that there’s room for some additional pins if I need them some day.
And now that it’s made, I gave it its own little home near the vise where it can watch out over the shop until the next time it’s needed. This one is a winner. It knocks something off the “someday” list, does just what I wanted, and it was free!