Copper products are often used in the construction of heating and plumbing communications. Strong, flexible copper products are popular for their resistance to corrosion. When organizing a pipeline, it often becomes necessary to bend a copper pipe: to do this correctly, you need to familiarize yourself with the basic bending methods.
Features of the use of copper
When it comes to organizing a heating or plumbing system, you can hardly think of anything better than a copper tube. This material is in excellent contact with liquids of different temperatures, so it can be used equally well for both plumbing and heating. Features of copper products include:
- versatility: in addition to the listed areas of application, the arrangement of underfloor heating, as well as ventilation systems, are distinguished;
- copper products are used wherever liquid is used;
- resistance to rotting, corrosion: water is not exposed to the reproduction of the fungus and does not bloom;
- plasticity: subject to certain temperatures, the copper pipe lends itself perfectly to bending;
- wide temperature range: liquid temperatures from ‑100 to +250 degrees can be used inside the water pipe.
If you install copper products on the water supply, then the water from it will not have a metallic taste. This is another feature of the material, which is complemented by pleasant decorative qualities: a copper pipeline can be designed in a retro style.
What properties should a pipe have when bending
The ability to bend is determined by the physical properties of a given material. Due to its plasticity, the workpiece can easily be deformed, as well as break at the bend, so when bending yourself, you should adhere to the established temperatures and do everything gradually.
The main condition for bending is heating. Some thin-walled copper tubing can often be bent without the use of a gas torch or soldering station. A large number of copper products have thick walls, so heating is indispensable here. Several conditions for bending products:
- temperature — copper cannot be heated above 1083 degrees: at such indicators, the material begins to melt, this deforms the product;
- the presence of a compensating element — sand, a spring, other substances and objects can be used as a compensator;
- gradual process.
In the absence of a compensator, the chances of deformation increase dramatically. Sand or spring inside a small diameter product will prevent it from becoming irregular or corrugated.
The need to bend pipes during repair work: advantages
Bent pipes are common in the implementation of installation and repair work of plumbing, heating systems. Craftsmen often choose the bending method themselves, preferring it to standard welding. The need to bend metal arises when you need to bypass a small area on a wall or floor with obstacles. In order not to use fittings, not to wind the threads for connections, and also not to leave welds, bending can be used.
Before you bend your own copper tube, it is better to learn about the benefits of their use:
- reduction in labor intensity;
- increase in hydroaerodynamic characteristics of pipe passages;
- reduction in the amount of additional material;
- better sealing;
- attractive appearance.
Pipework with bent copper is free from the risk of breakage and leakage, as happens if connectors were used instead of bending. The bending point is not subjected to friction, loads and other influences, so the chances of integrity damage are minimized.
We bend a copper pipe at home: a selection of methods
You can bend a copper pipe without involving plumbers. There are proven, effective methods for this. Masters use metal springs, river sand, bend pipes into a spiral, and also use a pipe bender.
The first thing to do is pick up the spring. For bending large diameter copper pipe, you should choose a strong metal spring made of thick wire with frequent turns. Several features of bending with a spring:
- a metal spring is inserted inside;
- it is better that the length of the spring matches the length of the pipe;
- if the spring is shorter, a wire must be inserted into it so that it can be easily removed later;
- as a tool for heating, you can use a blowtorch or a gas burner;
- the heating element is substituted for the bend, as soon as the pipe changes color, it means that it can be bent.
The compensator in the form of a spring will not allow the product to deform. If you need to bend a thin tube, the spring is selected with a diameter larger than the product itself. The pipe is inserted inside the spring, then the procedure is repeated.
For manual bending, you can use river sand, it will be a good compensator. It is better to work in a spacious room or on the street, as it will take a lot of space. Of the materials, a metal cork is useful — it will serve as a plug at one end of the product. A piece of wood with the right diameter will act as a bending circle. The procedure looks like this:
- The pipe is closed on one side with a plug.
- Sand is poured inside the product.
- Copper is heated with a lamp or burner.
- The product becomes plastic, therefore, in order not to deform it, rounded wood is used and a bend is made on it.
Using such a simple, but effective method, you can bend a copper tube yourself without a pipe bender.
Self bending of the spiral causes difficulties. Here it is no longer possible to limit ourselves to the use of sand or a metal spring: another technique comes to the rescue. In order to bend the spiral you will need:
- rubber mallet;
- two supports;
- bulk material, such as sand: ice can also be used in the cold season;
- heating tool.
The cavity is covered with sand or filled with ice. You can also pre-pour water inside and freeze it. Then the ends are placed on supports and the bends are heated. While copper becomes ductile, it is given the desired shape with a mallet.
Pipe bending with pipe bender
A special tool helps in situations where folk methods are powerless. A pipe bender is a tool that fixes one end of a pipe by bending it to a predetermined diameter. There are no deformations during such work, everything goes quickly and clearly. Pipe benders can be steel, lever and electric. To bend a copper tube with a hand tool, follow these steps:
- The required bending angle is selected: the parameters are indicated on the surface of the levers.
- One end of the workpiece is fixed.
- Bending is in progress.
This method is suitable for bending thin copper pipes, so if you have to work with a large diameter, it is better to use a hydraulic pipe bender. For large-scale and industrial work, electric tools are used.
Recommendations of the masters and possible difficulties
Faced with flexible copper for the first time, any person at home can have difficulties. Masters advise to adhere to the rules:
- use springs for bending copper thin pipes 6 mm of foreign production;
- if the coil is bent by hand, it is worthwhile to exercise special care and smoothness of movements: sharp maneuvers will lead to severe deformation of the heated product;
- if the pipe being bent is made of annealed copper, it will take less time to bend it;
- reheating of the product is allowed in case of the initial incorrect execution of the turn;
- it is impossible to bend large-sized elements at home: an industrial tool is needed here.
Some craftsmen recommend using a lubricant when bending. This option is not suitable for beginners, as there is a risk of heating at high temperatures. To avoid difficulties, it is worth exercising extreme care and caution when working.
The technique of bending copper pipes is useful for self-arrangement of communications. Graceful turns and bends will prevent the loss of integrity of products, as well as protect against leaks. The application of the proposed methods will help in a short time to make a smooth and beautiful bend.