How to Bend Soft Copper Pipe

What You'll Need
Copper pipe
Propane torch
Table clamp
Fireproof and heat resistant heavy gloves
Clean rags
Copper cleaner

Copper pipe can be used all over the home for a myriad of things but is most commonly used for plumbing applications. The copper pipe for plumbing is often found behind the wall. Copper pipe will also be found in air conditioners and refrigerators. Copper pipe can also be used for crafting and art projects. Some of these projects will require copper pipe that is curved but many companies do not sell it due to the added labor costs and the specifics of the job required. Plumbers and handymen usually bend the copper pipe as they need it but it is not difficult do and the following information will explain how it is done and how you can do it.

Step 1 – Cleaning the Copper Pipe

Copper has a tendency to tarnish when it is left out; this is alright for the most part but tarnish is caused by oil and dirt. Either of these can cause the copper pipe to not bend easily or correctly. The only way to get rid of this tarnish to ensure a good bend is to clean the copper pipe. Use a good copper cleaner and spray a little on to a clean rag until it is wet. Wipe the copper pipe with the rag to remove these impurities.

Step 2 – Setting Up

Ventilation is not an issue with bending copper pipe but heat is a concern so you need to make sure you are protected from burning yourself. Always wear gloves when working with the copper pipe. Determine how much of a bend you need in the copper and where the bend should occur. Place the clamp on the side of a table (metal table is preferred). Open the clamp and place the copper pipe inside and close it to secure it. Do not tighten the clamp too much or you risk squeezing the copper pipe and ruining it. It needs to be tight enough to secure the copper pipe and offer resistance when you are bending it.

Step 3 – Bend the Copper Pipe

In order to get a perfect bend you will need to break down the bend into three sections. Each mark you make will indicate the position of the bend. You will need to open the clamp and slide the copper pipe forward or backward, settling on these marks in order to get the best result. Use the pencil to make these marks for the beginning, middle and the end. Do this for each bend that is required. In order to bend the copper pipe you have to change the molecular structure of the pipe. Use the propane torch to super heat the copper. Allow the copper pipe to cool down slightly and bend it a little at a time using your hands. If you are creating tight curves pack the copper pipe with salt prior to bending and this will prevent the pipe from kinking up.