A selection of very Useful Tools and products designed by Ex-Lotus F1 and winning Indy 500 chief mechanic David Lazenby

Mandrel Hand Tube Bender

It is widely recognised when bending tubing that the normal minimum bend radius is 4 times tube diameter. Attempting to bend on a smaller radius introduces a number of problems, namely rippling on the inside of the bend, cracking or splitting on the outside and extreme distortion of the tube

For those who need a tighter bend radius we have designed the Useful-Tools hand operated mandrel tube bender. These machines will allow tubes to be bent with an impressive 2 times tube diameter bend radius (in some instances, even smaller) with no rippling or cracking of the tube and an absolute minimum of distortion.

We have four machines that all operate on the same principle, namely the pipe or tube to be bent is located between a formed mandrel and back plate with another formed internal mandrel (‘bullet’) held at a carefully controlled position inside the tube.

The tube is secured firmly to the main mandrel and when the mandrel is turned the tube is pulled over the internal mandrel as it wraps around the main mandrel.

(This internal “Bullet” holds the tube open and helps reduce distortion to a minimum.)

MK3 Hand Bender

Up to 3/4″ diameter 16 swg mild steel.
Up to 1″ diameter 16 swg aluminium and copper.


MK5 Hand Bender

Up to 1″ x 16 swg stainless steel.
Up to 1.5″ x 16 swg in aluminium and copper.


MK6 Hand Bender

Up to 1″ x 16 swg stainless steel.
Up to 1.5″ x 16 swg in aluminium and copper.
Can handle larger mandrel sizes than the MK5.

Hydraulic Bender

Up to 1.5″ diameter x 16 swg 316 seamless stainless steel.
Can be set up to twin-bend 2 tubes at a time.

In most cases, a thinner wall tube can be bent very satisfactorily and we can provide internal ‘bullet’-type mandrels to suit your tube wall thickness requirements.

Also, we can bend other special materials – including square tube.

Some examples:

1″ square steel – 16 swg

3/4″ titanium – 1mm wall

1″ copper tube – 16 swg

3/4″ mild steel – 16 swg

Due to the unique design, the Useful Tools Tube Benders will allow amazingly tight bends to be formed with the minimum of tube distortion (a nominal 3-4%).

The Tube Benders come with an easy-to-read degree dial to allow precise angles of bend to be achieved and repeated.

The machines are extremely easy to use and allow for multiple bends in the same piece of tube at alternate angles on different planes. Once the machines are set for a particular size of tube it will be found that multiple bends are rapidly achieved.

We carry a large range of mandrel sizes, in both imperial and millimetre, and can make custom sizes to your requirements.

Please remember to select the mandrel(s) you require when ordering.

Check out the sample videos below to see how easy it is to produce really tight bends:

Bending 1/2″ 16 swg aluminium
tube on a 1″ Centre Line Radius

Bending 3/4″ 16 swg aluminium
tube on a 1″ Centre Line Radius

Bending 1″ 16 swg aluminium tube
on a 1.5″ Centre Line radius

The MK 3 Bender will bend up to 3/4″ diameter 16 swg mild steel, and up to 1″ diameter 16swg aluminium and copper.

Max Centre Line Radius = 3″ (6″ diameter)

Useful Tools Mandrel Tube Bender Demo

Because of the sheer physical effort involved in bending 1.0″ x 16 swg steel we designed the MK 5 Hand Bending machine.

This machine has a five to one reduction ratio between the operating spindle and the main mandrel spindle, which means we can now bend stronger and larger tube than on the Mk 3.

This machine retains all the standard features of the Mk 3 machine and is the most versatile machine in the range, able to bend pipes up to 1″ 16 swg stainless steel, and up to 1.5″ 16 swg in aluminium and copper.

There are a few differences from the Mk 3:

* Mandrel is now driven by two 8mm dowels instead of a 5mm key

* The base plate is larger to allow the use of larger size mandrels

* There is an additional support roller for the back plate to stop flexing

* 5-1 built-in reduction ratio

* Can handle a mandrel up to 4″ Centre Line Radius (8″ diameter)

(The MK 4 bender has now been superceeded by the MK 5 – which can do all the MK 4 could and so much more – and is no longer available.)

Has adjustable rotating degree disc to make accurate bending easier.

Max Centre Line Radius = 5″ (10″ diameter)


Hydraulic Bender

Based on the solid build principle of the MK 5 hand bender, but strengthened and upgraded with a hydraulic motor.

Features include:

  • Increased diameter main shaft – to support larger bend formers.
  • Heavy duty hydraulic motor providing power – enabling 180° bends to be formed in one continuous bend operation.
  • Increased bending capacity – will handle up to 1.5″ diameter x 16 swg 316 seamless stainless steel on a 3″ CLR comfortably.
  • Faster bending – takes just 10 seconds to bend the above material 180°.
  • Twin bending – Can bend two pipes up to 1″ x 12 swg stainless steel on a 50mm CLR at the same time in one operation.
  • Hydraulic power pack – operating at 12 volts to eliminate health and safety concerns when using mains voltage.
  • Adjustable degree disk – controls auto stop positioning enabling accurate, easily repeatable bends up to 180°.
  • Very compact unit – will free stand on a bench top or can be bolted down if required.

Will bend tubes ranging in size from:

  • 3/8″ / 10mm diamaeter up to 1.5″ / 38.1mm x 16 swg, in mild and stainless steel.
  • and up to 1.5″ / 38.1mm x 5-6 swg (5mm / 0.2″) wall aluminium.
  • Max Centre Line Radius = 5″ (10″ diameter)

Wide range of metric and imperial mandrel sizes available. We are happy to produce custom sizes on request.

The hydraulic bender comes complete with:

  • 12V, 200 bar hydraulic power pack.
  • All hoses and electrical connections.

Just fit a mandrel, connect a 12V battery (a standard car battery will be sufficient) and start bending.

Complete package showing the bender, hydraulic pump, battery
(not included), activation buttons, and hoses and cables.

Bending 1.5″ 16 swg stainless steel
316 tube on a 3″ Centre Line Radius

Bending 2 off 1″ 16 swg stainless steel tubes
at the same time on a 2″ Centre Line Radius

Choose Bender Model

Metric mandrel required

Imperial mandrel required

Other Information

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