How to Bend Rigid Copper Pipes

copper pipes
What You'll Need
Copper pipe
Propane torch
Clamp for the table
Heavy gloves that are heat resistant
Clean rags
Copper cleaner

Around the home there is nothing more resilient than copper pipes. Copper pipes can be found in refrigerators, air conditioners, and plumbing. Any of these applications may require the copper pipes to be bent as they are sold straight because bending the pipes is specific to the job you are using it for. Craftsmen like plumbers will often bend copper pipes on the job to fit whatever they need at that particular time. You can bend the pipe yourself with some tools and time and the article that follows will show you how that is done.

Step 1 - Rub Down the Copper Pipe

Copper pipes can tarnish by just sitting around as the moisture in the air interacts with the copper. The tarnish is a form of moisture and oil. There is no reason to get frantic if this happens but you should correct it as soon as possible. Tarnish can interfere with the process as bending copper requires even heating, and tarnish can redirect heat. Even the slightest difference can cause a problem. The copper can be cleaned with a good cleaner meant for copper. Shake the bottle to make sure none of the chemicals are separated. Pour the copper cleaner on to a clean rag and vigorously wipe down the copper pipes. Use a clean rag to buff the copper pipe.

Step 2 - Preparation

When bending copper pipes always be aware of the extreme heat that you will be generating. Fumes are not an issue so do not worry about wearing face protection. You will be working with copper that is hot and with a torch so always wear the heat resistant work gloves. Before you begin bending the copper pipes, place the clamp along the edge of a sturdy table. A stainless steel table is preferred. Determine where the bend should be and place the copper pipe you are working on in the clamp so that the area where the bend begins is visible. Do not crush the pipe with the clamp.

Step 3 - Bending Copper Pipes

A bend consists of 3 sections, and you will need to section off the pipe you are working on. Use the pencil to mark the beginning and the end of the bend. Place another mark in the center of the bend. To get the bends accurate you may need to open the clamp and move the pipe several times. The molecules in the copper have to change in order for you to be able to bend stiff copper pipes. The torch is used to do this as you will want to heat the copper at this point. Once the copper is hot, allow it to cool slightly and bend it with your gloved hands. For extreme bends you can fill the pipe with salt to prevent kinks in the copper pipes. This is a slow process so take your time and you will soon have the bend you need.