I have some 3/8" copper tubing that I need to bend at a tight radius. Like
2". I have the spiral bender, and another hand held type, but can't find
either. Next week, I gotta get organized. In the meantime what's the best
way to bend it? I've heard of putting it full of sand. If I do that, do I
bend it around something round, or just bend it slowly and cautiously?
I have a similiar dilema. Refrigeration units that store salads and foods
with high acid content, eat up the condensate line (condenser high side line
that dissipates the drain water in a pan). The radius is like you say about
two inches and all the benders I can find are larger radius than that. Oh
and I need 180 degree bends to get as much surface area as possible. If I
lose a complete pass, due to space, it will not get rid of the water and we
now have a water leak to worry about. Harbor Freight has one that
works........but mine leaves a pretty good scar on the tubing on a 180
degree bend, and all the others on the shelf look identical with no
difference in quality. It seems the guide is too loose and crimps the
tubing, For the money it is not bad. I am half tempted to fashion a bender
out of some heavy wood using a 3/8" core box bit and woodworking router
(cutting the flutes as deep as possible). Another posibility is to stack
large flat washers between two flat pieces of steel and bend away. This may
require dissasembly for each bend but get you out of a bind. Good luck and
tell me what you came up with.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, October 08, 2011 9:35 PM
Subject: Bending copper tubing
Steel wire will work better. Have you ever seen "spring benders"?
They're a little bit of a chore to get back off a tight bend, but they work
very well. I have a nice full set in my refrigeration kit. Just expect to
spend longer getting the bender back off the tubing than it took to put it
on and make the bend. Spin the bender in a direction to UNwind the spring,
and it will slowly screw itself off the tubing.
On Sun, 09 Oct 2011 10:31:50 -0500, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"
Or secure one end with lightly applied visegrips and unwind the spring
enough to pull it right off. They're usually a PITA to use, though,
and you can't use them on complete tubes, with flared connectors
already installed. I have several handheld benders for those.
Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.
-- Thomas Jefferson
"open coil" benders can be used on already flared tubes, you
justunwind the spring off the tube. Closed end coils CAN be used this
way as well, but a lot harder to get the end started unwinding without
damaging the spring.
Good idea, I will try it. I could leave the wire on it for extra protection
and wear resistance. 14 guage solid wire?
I always used .040 stainless lockwire. Don't see why the 14 guage copper
wouldn't work, but haven't tried it.
On Sun, 09 Oct 2011 11:21:54 -0400, Michael A. Terrell
I did some research on this question some months back when I wanted
to wind copper and aluminum coils to power a "putt-putt" ("pop-pop")
boat. "Spring coil" benders/winders are helpful up to a point (about
270deg), but with really tight turns it's hard to remove the spring
coil from the finished tubing coil.
Through some oversight I actually saved the links to a couple of
sources that I found useful:
Home Distiller: How to wind a perfect coil condenser
MetalGeek: How to Bend Tubing and Pipe by Hand
Hope these are helpful.
"The true rule, in determining to embrace or reject any thing, is
not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more of
I have tried the sand method and it did not work well for me. The classic
way to make the sharp bends on trumpets and such is to fill the pipe with
melted pitch and let cool. Another method is to fill with a water-detergent
mixture and freeze it. The detergent keeps the ice from becoming hard enough
to burst the pipe. Don't ask me what the right detergent concentration might
On 09/10/2011 16:59, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I don't think that would be strong enough, I think it will just extrude
and the pipe will flatten. Molten lead is another option; there used to
be low melting point alloys specially for this (Cerrobend, in the UK).
Non-trade name is Woods Metal.
works just fine if you start with tube a bit longer than you need,
fill 1t 100", and crimp both ends of the tube shut before bending.
Also works best if the tube is at temp where the wax is still
"Plastic" - not totally hard.
Full of grease works too, but it is a lot harder to clean out.
Tallow would likely work too, and it never gets as hard as Paraffin. -
again, perhaps not as easy to totally clean out??
I saw the program where they were making trombones, they used the soap
and water mixture there. I think sand has to be finer stuff than
playground sand, probably more like some grades of molding sand. The
classic production method for small tubing is Cerrobend as a filler,
melts in hot water. Wall thickness will have a lot to do with how
sharp a bend can be made, tubing is available in a lot of different
wall thicknesses. And I'd definitely run the stuff through a torch to
anneal it to dead soft before starting anything. Doesn't need to be
red heat, just enough to discolor it. It DOES make a difference.
Will probably take a number of tries before you get the right
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