I talk to Ed a couple of times a year, good guy. He's my source for pipe when someone wants the absolute lightest system they can get. I'll use his 18ga tube.
For bending I use a Hossfeld manual bender. You can pick up the basic machine for about $800 with no dies. If you pick and choose carefully you can get the dies to do most bike exhaust for another $800 or so. But..as with any manual bender, each system is a bit different from the next....ie...pain in the ass.
A cheapo roller can be had for around $300-400 that will do 22-24ga megs just fine...although it's a bit of an art even with a roller. Get one of the 30" combination machines $300-400 and it has a shear and press brake too. The shear is an absolute necessity for doing megs. The butt welded seam has to be perfectly straight.
Inexpensive name brand TIG can be had for around $1200 I think. Been 12 years since I bought my SyncroWave so I'm not sure. Course it could be done with gas, just kinda slow.
I've come to the conclusion that CNC stuff is just out of my reach. I've been to several auctions...the affordable stuff is obsolete crap, the decent stuff is astronomical in price. CNC pipe benders are just too useful...you don't see people getting rid of them. But...that would be the tits...do it right once...next time just throw the tube in and turn it on. Would reduce fabrication time of a whole system by about 70%....but I guess you'd still have to charge more to pay for the machine
Same here...pretty much a day in the shop. The tubing bender speeds things up some...but if you bend something wrong you have to throw it in the garbage unless you want to cut and weld it.
Is Aircone still in business!? I tried for a year to get in touch with them/him...no luck. Lately I've heard someone say he died or something, phone disconnect etc.
I looked in my sheet metal workers hand book and got the layout setup for cones...then I made a bunch of metal patterns for different sizes, drilled a hole in them and hung them on the wall. Now I can just pull them down and trace them. Huge time saver.
I hate making exhausts....but I love the results when they turn out right. Bent up some stainless not long ago...oh man it bent beautiful...easier than DOM tubing. Course I bent them for a CB160 instead of a CB175 sloper with vertical head...so they are just sitting in a box
Bought one of the predator systems several years back for my 175 twin. Nice heavy duty Stainless street system....quite heavy in fact. Fit was pretty good. I think it was about $450 by the time I got it to the US.
When I got the box it was covered in sheet after sheet of freakin mailing stamps...hopefully their shipping dept has improved since then.