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  • How to bend hard copper pipe

    Hello. Can anyone tell me the best way to bend hard copper pipe? I need to do neat, repeatable bends in 1/2" and 3/4" type L and M pipe (it's for a custom lighting fixture). Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

    You will need a torch to get it red hot then it becomes very pliable. You may not like how it looks afterwards. Try it out on a scrap piece 1st.

    Post up a picture of the fixture when its done.

    P.S. Nice wordplay on the name

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

      Originally posted by Eclectrician View Post
      Hello. Can anyone tell me the best way to bend hard copper pipe? I need to do neat, repeatable bends in 1/2" and 3/4" type L and M pipe (it's for a custom lighting fixture). Thank you.
      When I have bent copper tubing it has been with a conduit bender. If you really want to keep your bends true you may want to fill the tubing with fine sand prior to bending it.

      Mark
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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      • #4
        Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

        Could a custom steel/auto shop help? If they have the jigs to bend steel tubing maybe they'll bend hard copper too.

        Scratch the first comment. Look at Black Book of Tools. Here are some benders.
        Imperial IMP700-F
        Imperial IMP270-F-08 1/2" IMP270-F-12 3/4"

        Hope this helps. Ben
        Buy cheap, buy twice.

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        • #5
          Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

          Why would you need to bend soft copper as an electrician? Sure you have a good reason----but what is it?

          I don't know your application, but have you considered "soft copper"?
          the dog

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          • #6
            Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

            Dog,

            He posted he is making a light fixture.

            Mark
            "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

            I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

              Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
              Dog,

              He posted he is making a light fixture.

              Mark
              I assumed he was connecting a light fixture. But, I'm not sure. That's why I asked.
              the dog

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              • #8
                Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

                I tried bending 1/2" type L rigid copper for a guy once. He wanted to make some outdoor sculptures. I tried heating it, filling it with sand and using a conduit bender. It would not bend, but kept splitting. I don't know how you can bend it since it's not malleable.

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                • #9
                  Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

                  Originally posted by plumbdog10 View Post
                  I assumed he was connecting a light fixture. But, I'm not sure. That's why I asked.
                  We all know what they say about "assume".
                  Last edited by gear junkie; 04-18-2007, 05:35 AM. Reason: reword it
                  Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

                    Makes an A55 out of U and ME

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

                      Use a lever type bender. No deformation, no softening of pipe. with a little practice you can bend to suit almost anything.

                      i dont have pictures but im sure what im talking about can be found in the ridgid catalogue.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

                        The hard pipe is for crazy arms on a huge lighting fixture I'm making. Soft copper droops too much.

                        I tried all the suggestions and I'm going to go buy a ratcheting bender. All the other ways left me with little crimps in the pipe.

                        Thank you, one and all, for the suggestions! It's like a great plumber's bar, but on-line.

                        Adam

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                        • #13
                          Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

                          i have a ratcheting bender and i don't think it will work .i can try it tomorrow and let you know .

                          about 20 yrs ago i thought there was a hard copper pipe that was made to bend ,what was it called and do they still make it ?
                          Charlie

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                          • #14
                            Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

                            How about steel tubing with copper plating? Maybe anodized aluminum? Just some ideas.

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                            • #15
                              Re: How to bend hard copper pipe

                              Swagelok makes a hydraulic bender for tubing that they probably have a shoe for 7/8 OD tube which would work for your 3/4 L copper. You could probably find a shoe to use on a conduit bender. I didn't see or must have missed if you specified a radius for the bends. If you try to get below 8 or 10 pipe diameters with hard drawn tube you will have kinks I think.

                              You might try to soften the tube with heat as was suggested. Heat the copper cherry red (but don't let it burn and turn black) and then let it cool slowly (i.e.; don't quench it in water). Then bend to shape and work it as you wish. Now heat it up again and quench it to harden. You'll have to do a bunch of cleaning to get it bright again then hit it with lacquer or whatever finish you plan to put on it. Filling with sand as Mark suggested will help avoid kinks, but you got to get it packed in there 100% or it will not help.
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