Do you need to bend some copper pipes, but you do not feel like spending a lot of money on a bender that will probably end up collecting dust in your garage? This article will give a few ideas on how to bend copper pipes without using expensive pipe benders.
Without a doubt, the bender is the best tool that you can use for bending. However, there is another tool called a bending spring, which does the same job.
So, let’s see how you can bend your pipes without a bender.
How to Bend Copper Pipe Without A Bender?
1. Bending Pipes with Sand
Before you start a project, it is vital that you take some safety precautions and buy some protective gloves and safety glasses if you do not have those already. Let’s see what tools you need for this project:
- Dry Sand
Step 1: Block the End of the Pipe
Before you pour the sand, you must first plug one end of the pipe or block it using the pliers, so the sand does not go through the tube and onto the floor.
In most cases, you will have to cut this end of the pipe, so keep that in mind so that you do not make a smaller pipe than needed.
Also, this depends on the diameter of the pipe; for pipes with a smaller inside diameter, you can use pliers.
However, if your copper tube’s diameter is bigger, for example, 3/4″ in diameter with a wall thickness of 0.035″, you will need to use a fitting carriage bolt or something that will block the sand.
Step 2: Fill the Pipe
Using the funnel, pack your pipe with the dry sand. If you do not have the proper funnel because your tube may be too narrow, you can make one using paper and some tape.
You should use beach sand or sandblasting sand if you have it at hand.
Step 3: Tamp the Sand
Now it is time to tamp the sand and ensure that the entire pipe is equally filled. Depending on the pipe size, you can use a rod for this step, or you can tap or bounce the tube against a concrete stone or table.
If the pipe is not full, add more sand until it is completely packed with sand.
Step 4: Heat the Pipe and Bend
Before you bend the pipe, you will have to use the hammer to smash the other end of the tube and shut it. Then heat the pipe with a fan or a heater and bend it around a rod if your pipe has a smaller diameter.
If it does not, you will have to use a bigger round object such as a barrel planter or something else that you can press the pipe against and, using your hand and muscles, bend the pipe to achieve the angle you need.
If you try this using a standard pipe without sand, it will immediately kink, which explains why people have problems bending their pipes. Even though copper has numerous advantages, such as thermal conductivity and durability, copper pipes are prone to damage.
Step 5: Cut off the Ends
For the last step, you will cut off the deformed ends that you initially shut using your pliers or rod. Then, empty the sand and ensure the pipe is completely clean inside.
2. Bending the Copper Pipe with a Vice
You can also bend the pipe with the use of a vice, and your hand; that is all the tools that you will need for this project. First, heat the copper pipe using whatever you have at hand until red hot in the spot or area where you plan to bend it.
Then place the pipe into the vice and close it at the spot where it nearly touches the pipe. Finally, pull the tube at both ends to create the intended bend point.
You will have to be quick during the bending process because the pipe will be bendable as long as it is hot; it will cool off in a minute. After you have finished, dip the pipe into a bucket with cold water.
3. Bending the Copper Pipe with a Spring
You can bend your pipe very quickly and effectively using a pipe spring. First, heat the pipe to make it more bendable, or skip this step. Then, pull the spring through the tube. It is vital that the spring is the right size and can actually fit into the pipe.
You will see the spring sticking at both ends. Grab those ends and put them against your knee, achieving a smooth radius. We suggest you take your time doing this, so the pipe does not develop kinks, and also, you will have better control of the bending process.
Potential Problems with Bending a Copper Pipe
Bending the pipe is not a tough job; if it has a smaller diameter, you can do it with your hands.
However, bending the pipe in the right place is a different ball game. To work out the diameter of the bend, you will have to practice bending other (useless) pipes so you can have an idea of where exactly you need to bend to get the diameter and angle.
Also, if you have bent the pipe and seen some kinks and creases, you will have to buy a new pipe and do this all over again until you have executed a perfect job.
As you can see, you can use different methods and tools to bend your pipes. Those include dry sand, a pipe spring, and a bench vice.
If you are someone that likes to fix things around the house and learn valuable skills, we suggest you try some of these techniques for bending pipes.
Have you had experience with bending pipes before? Please share your experience with us! If you have questions, do not be a stranger and ask away!