Your latest project isn't going to get very far without an exhaust system, but while a lot of builders are happy to tackle many aspects of a build, exhaust fabrication seems to be one job that often gets farmed out to muffler shops. However, with the availability of mandrel-bent tubing, there's no reason why homebuilders can't fab their own systems.
We were invited along to MagnaFlow's R&D facility to see how the crew built a custom system for the Cruisin' for a Cure event giveaway roadster, and figured it'd be an ideal way to pass along some tips, while at the same time see how a custom-bent stainless steel exhaust was made.
MagnaFlow doesn't fabricate one-off systems in its general course of business, rather the team designs and builds prototype systems for musclecars and late-models before offering such systems for sale. Sure, the computer-controlled bender and tube scanner shown here are beyond almost everyone's reach, but Dan, one of MagnaFlow's fabricators, started piecing together the system from a number of pre-bent sections, just as you or I would, before it went all high-tech, resulting in one-piece multi-bend sections of tube. Starting with headers already installed, and a selection of bends, here's how it came together.