Making a Tube Bender Stand (Out of an Old Engine Stand)

Mechanical tube benders need to be mounted securely to the floor for operation. Typically, a hammer drill and concrete anchors are used to secure the mount to the floor. This time, though, with the JD2 bender being converted to hydraulic, I am free to mount the bender in a mobile configuration. Instead of purchasing or building a mobile kart, I adapted an old engine stand to mount the bender.


I love low-cost builds and repurposing old materials and ideas to new life. While looking for a way to mount the tube bender, I found several pictures of engine stand mounted tube benders. And you guessed it, I had an extra stand lying around.

Engine stand used as tube bender mount.
Honestly, this is genius. I have a different-style stand that I no longer use, and it is perfect for conversion.

I also strongly favor function over form, so this would be a quick and dirty job. But also ready to bend some tubing for the exo car.

The Build

This is a very straightforward build. First, I disassembled and cleaned up the old stand. I then cut the cylinder from the center tube where the rotating engine mount plate sits. Next, I used an electric level to level the bender mount to the base of the stand. Then, I welded the mount and attached the bender. The pics below will walk you through the process.

(Optional: I also removed the stabilizer arms and cut them 10 inches shorter for a smaller footprint.)

Old harbor freight engine stand that I no longer use.
Here is my victim for repurposing. An old Harbor Freight engine stand that I no longer use.

Step 1: Disassemble and Cut

Shortening the engine stand legs
I wanted a smaller footprint on the finished stand. After removing the caster wheels, I marked 10 inches from the end of the stabilizer arms.
Cut stabilizer arms on the harbor freight engine stand.
The shortened arms were cut 10 inches with a metal saw. To reinstall the caster wheels, I will need to drill four holes in each arm.
Central engine support tube on the old Harbor Freight engine stand.
The tube bender mount will attach to the top of the central engine stand tube instead of the cylinder shown here. I cut the cylinder off at the sharpie line. Note that the base of this tube has a slight angle, around 5 degrees. I made sure to replicate that degree when I cut.
Harbor Freight engine stand being converted to a tube bender stand.
Here, we have the central tube reattached to the stand base, with the cylinder removed.

Step 2: Build and Level the Tube Bender Mounting Plate

A lot is going on in the image below. First, I welded a scrap piece of metal to one of the 10-inch sections I removed from the stabilizer arms. (Don’t judge my welding too harshly; it’s the first time I’ve touched the MIG in 10 years, and it’s already coming back quickly.) I then use two Klein Tools Digital Levels to set the level of the tube bender mount. These two levels are zeroed to the engine stand base and then used on two axes to set the level. I am looking to be within .1 degree of level.

(Important: The levels are zeroed to the stand base instead of the floor because the floor is not level, and the actual level will be relative to the base…not the floor.)

Intermediate step of constructing the tube bender mount.
Leveling on two axes to get the bender as level as possible on the engine stand mount.
Image showing the two holes where the JD2 bender will mount.
The two rough holes above are where the bender will mount. I used an old plasma cutter to cut the two rough holes where the bender will attach. They were smoothed out before the final installation.
Image showing the two holes where the JD2 bender will mount.
Here is the finished engine stand tube bender mount before attaching the JD2 Model 3 bender. After verifying the level in the previous pic, I used the MIG to fill in the significant gaps from the lower mount to the bender central tube. (It may not be pretty, but it is super solid.)
The JD2 Model 3 mounted to the Harbor Freight engine stand.
The two bolts at the back of the JD2 Model 3 bender attach to the two holes in the engine stand mount. Once tightened down, everything is secure, level, and ready to bend—that is, once my hydraulic conversion arrives.


Sometimes you can have it all. This build was quick, easy, and free. I also ran my first welds in 10 years and they turned out strong, although a bit sloppy. However, I’ve had a bit more practice on the welder since this build, and things are starting to come along nicely. With that said, it is only a matter of days before I start welding on the exo car and moving it towards completion with the addition of a roll cage. See you next time.

By Chris Simmons


and keep up to date on the latest news and content.

Full Site Nav


The Crew @ Memphis International Raceway