The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.


Bending copper pipe

Rather than using a connector every time the pipe needs to turn, try bending the pipe to suit the angle required.

Again, this is a skill which is quickly mastered with a little practice.

The simplest equipment for this job is a bending spring. Professionals use a pipe bender and these are readily available from hire shops.

How to measure and mark for bends

bend and trim pipesMeasuring a length of pipe and marking multiple bends can be a little tricky. Take your time and make one bend at a time. After each one has been carried out, offer the pipe into position and mark the next. If, as is sometimes the case, you simply can’t get the pipe into position for marking, you have two options. You can make several shorter pieces of pipe with less bends on each section, and join each length with a straight connection. Alternatively, carefully mark out the pipe run against the wall and measure each individual bend, taking note of the angle and its position before transferring the measurements to the pipe.

Use an old piece of lining paper cut to the profile of the wall angle to serve as a template.

Using a spring to bend pipe

Tie a piece of cord to the end of the spring (to save losing it inside the pipe).

bending pipe using a pipe springInsert the spring into the pipe so that it spans evenly through the area to be bent. If necessary, lubricate the spring with a little petroleum jelly if it proves a bit tight. If it’s still too tight, are you sure you’ve got the right spring? A spring for the old 1/2" pipes will simply not fit the metric 15mm equivalent, no matter how hard you try.

With the spring in place, bend the pipe to the appropriate angle by pulling both ends around your knee. Do so gently though and avoid bending it too far. Even with a spring inside, excessive bending will cause the pipe wall to collapse.

Using the cord, pull the spring back out.

A neat trick here is to bend the pipe slightly more than the desired angle first, then to reduce it to the right amount. Doing this actually releases the grip between pipe and spring making it easier to retrieve.

Pipe bender

using a pipe benderThese make life a lot easier on your knees and are essential when bending pipes larger than 15mm.

Place the pipe in the appropriate size rounded channel. Fit the grooved straight block on the outer edge. Use the lever handles to apply pressure against the straight block. Now continue levering so that it gradually draws the pipe around the circular block, bending the pipe as it goes. Bend to the desired angle, then release the handles to remove the pipe.

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