Bending Copper

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Bending Copper

Postby gsugg » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:23 am

I've taken the time to read and re-read all the info I can find searching on bending copper tubing. I have not tried filling with salt/sand yet though if that's all that will work, I will do it. (I really wanted to do this without filling it if at all possible) I've heated my tubing (1/2" od, .032 wall thickness) the tubing to glowing red, gone slow in making small bends, etc. I've read that this can be done without filling the pipe, but beginning to wonder. I'm trying to take this 1/2" od pipe and form a coil around a 3 inch pipe. I cannot make it work without causing it to flatten. I'm sorry to repeat a question so much has been written about. Does anyone have any ideas, or should I just bite the bullet and start filling it up with salt? Thank you for any help you can offer.

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Re: Bending Copper

Postby ShineonCrazyDiamond » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:34 am

Buy (2) $.50 caps for the 1/2" pipe. Fill it with WATER. Works well. Makes you go, huh, how simple.
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby Kareltje » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:26 pm

I used a normal pipebender to make a spiral of a 15 mm OD copper pipe. Without annealing. But of course that had a fixed width of the spiral: 15.5 cm OD, much more than 3 inch.

There has been a Russian member who filled his pipe with some fluid that got solid at about 0 dgr C and fluid at, say 20 drg C. I do not remember the name, but it is a normal part of some medicine or curing preparation. It seemd to be harmless, but of course not readily available.
Problem with sand and even salt seems to be the removing.

Found it: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=60162
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby corene1 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:56 pm

If you are wanting to make a coil , the easiest way I have found is to use annealed tubing and fill it with water. Then crimp the ends and freeze it solid , do your coil and let it thaw.
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby Pikey » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:27 pm

I did mine with salt - much smaller pipe and much tighter radius. IWhen I do another, I WILL dry the salt thoroughly in a pan and dry the pipe with my torch before I fill it ! :roll:
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby Kareltje » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:21 pm

corene1 wrote:If you are wanting to make a coil , the easiest way I have found is to use annealed tubing and fill it with water. Then crimp the ends and freeze it solid , do your coil and let it thaw.

Freeze it solid? You mean the whole pipe or only the ends?
Does freezing the whole pipe not cause it to burst??
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby OtisT » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:57 pm

Pikey wrote:I did mine with salt - much smaller pipe and much tighter radius. IWhen I do another, I WILL dry the salt thoroughly in a pan and dry the pipe with my torch before I fill it ! :roll:


Been there with wet packed salt. :-(. Not fun.

One fix for this is attaching one end to a water source and wait. For most, I have found that home water pressure is enough. I did have one nasty 1/4" copper reflux coil full of packed salt that that I got tired of waiting for, and I pressurized my water input with my compressor and it blew right out.
Cranky's spoonfeeding:
viewtopic.php?t=52975
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby Truckinbutch » Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:35 pm

SRD and I are planning to fill with water and then crimp and solder the ends . Some good YouTube video on that .
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby corene1 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:33 pm

Kareltje wrote:
corene1 wrote:If you are wanting to make a coil , the easiest way I have found is to use annealed tubing and fill it with water. Then crimp the ends and freeze it solid , do your coil and let it thaw.

Freeze it solid? You mean the whole pipe or only the ends?
Does freezing the whole pipe not cause it to burst??

That is why you only crimp it . The excess water can escape as it expands. Just keep the crimps on the high side with a towel underneath so they don't drain into your freezer.
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby Bushman » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:55 am

The only problem I found with water is if you have any air in the line it can crimp at that point. Salt is tough to remove but with just a little effort with an air hose I did not find fine grit silica sand not that difficult to work with.
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby gsugg » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:01 am

Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I did the hydro-forming with water and soldering the ends ad it does work. But let me tell you, it's tough work bending it with all the back pressure. But it does work like a dream. You just have to be quick to dry the end of the pipe and solder it without boiling H2O. And definitely don't look at the end of the pipe or you will possibly get sprayed with hot solder!
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Re: Bending Copper

Postby zed255 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:28 pm

I used water but chose to solder inexpensive valves to each end. That way I could fill the tube from the tap, driving out all the air, and close the far end first then the supply end. Worked a treat and could reuse the valves after just cleaning them up with a drill bit.

I have done the freezing thing on bent motorcycle forks, using water with a little dish soap. The soap makes the ice less brittle while still supporting the tube. This would likely work well with condenser coils too.
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