How to Bend Copper Pipes with or without Tools

Plumbing is an important part of every home. Although plumbing pipes today come in a wide range of products there are still many plumbers and homeowners who prefer instead them, the durability and versatility of copper pipes. Usually, these traditional copper pipes can be found in rolls and they are installed mainly behind walls.

However, in many cases you need to install your pipes on the wall surface for example, when you are dealing with a modern industrial interior design. In this case you need a good and neat job. The only way to achieve that is to bend your copper pipes.

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There are many ways to bend copper pipes and you can do that with or without tools, because sometimes you don’t need a plumbing tool to bend a copper pipe.

Bending Copper Pipe Tools

  • Pipe Cutters; Blow Torch;
  • Pipe Benders; Pipe Bending Springs;
  • Dry Sand; Funnel; a Vice;
  • A Bucket filled with cold water;
  • A Square – to check the pipe angle;

The Importance of Properly Bending

It is extremely important to support the copper pipes during the bending process, otherwise they would pleat and even collapse. Besides the fact that they will look quite ugly, they will not be able to ensure the free flow of water, which in fact it is the most important thing and also their main role.

Therefore, you need a way to support a copper pipe during the bending process. Let’s see first several tools used for pipe bending.

1| Blow Torches

For most of people bending copper tubing means the heating of the pipes.

A butane torch is usually great for a soldering job, but it is not really very useful when you have to bend a copper pipe, because it cannot create the required temperature of the process.

So, if you have a big job to do and you need to bend a lot of pipes then investing an oxy-acetylene torch can be indeed a good idea. An oxy-acetylene torch can heat your copper pipes at the optimum temperature for bending.

2| Pipe Benders

A pipe bender is a great and efficient tool, but unfortunately it is designed for one size of the pipe only. So, you need an entire pipe bender set if you are dealing with many and different pipe sizes and that can be quite expensive.

However, pipe bender remains a good tool. It is accurate, simple to use and most important, you do not have to heat the pipes.

3| Pipe Bending Springs

This is indeed an ingenious method to support the copper pipe during the bending process. The principle is simple. All you have to do is to heat the pipe along the bending length until is red hot. Slip the reddened pipe into a spring as quick as possible and then bend the spring, which will support the copper pipe until is bent to the desired angle.

This method is less expensive than the previous method, namely pipe benders and is obviously easy to transport from a site to another site, and to store. However, it still has a major disadvantage. It requires a different bending spring for every copper pipe.

4| Bending Pipes Using a Vice

This is perhaps the simplest bending method.  You can use just a vice and the strength of your hands to bend a pipe. Of course, the pipe has to be heated along the bend length before bending. However, you should pull the tube at both ends if you want to achieve a correct and precise angle before the pipe cools down. The pipe will be supported by the vice until the bending process is done.

Don’t forget to wear protective gear such as gloves and glasses and to cool the reddened pipe into a bucket filled with cold water. However, this technique requires some skill because can be a little tricky, but the advantages are obvious. You need only a vive and is a free and easy method.

5| Sand to Support Your Copper Pipe

You can bend a copper pipe using only sand. The sand has to be absolutely dry and fine as granulation.

The method is extremely simple. Block one end of the tube with a piece of cloth or a newspaper screw and fill the copper pipe with sand. Make sure that the sand is compact and dried inside the tube, otherwise the moisture and the air can make the pipe pleat and collapse. Block the other end, with another piece of cloth or newspaper and heat the pipe until is completely red. Bend it manually. Don’t forget to wear protective gloves during the bending process.

It is indeed a simple and free method but unfortunately is a time consuming way to bend a copper pipe.

In conclusion, copper pipes are still preferred by many homeowners for their homes. Therefore, it is good to know how to use them effectively. Bending them is basically a simple process that can be executed by any handy homeowner.

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