Monday, October 13, 2014

How to Bend & Shape PVC Pipe

The man of the house has been wanting to expand his work shop area for some time. I am happy to have him do it because the small enclosure he uses as a shop really is too small to hold all his tools. When ever he has a project he needs to pull everything out onto the patio to make room for working. Since he only has scraps of time, his "stuff" lives on the patio indefinitely till he finishes his project and DRIVES ME CRAZY!  annoys me. 

But there has been something preventing him from expanding the shop; me.....uh I mean a water faucet; the only one available to the back yard. It was all the way in the far back corner and required me to pick my way over and through his stuff, squeeze by some over grown oleanders to get to it all the while looking out for scorpions and black widows with each step back there!  The faucet first, then the shop I insisted. 

Not anymore though! Nope, today he finally ran a new water line for me, and now he has my blessing to expand his shop. I win on both deals, because now his stuff can stay in his shop ;) 

So anyway on to the PVC bending. You see we live on a little hill. The new water line would travel a level section then need to make an upturn then almost level out again and repeat. The fittings at Home Depot were not the right angles at all. So I came to the rescue; I wanted that water line finished asap! I informed my husband that I knew how he could bend that PVC to the right angle and would not require yet another Home Depot run. 

This is not my original idea. I have seen it done on YouTube, actually a couple different versions. Basically what you do is cut a piece of pipe a little longer than you need for your curve or angle. Close off one end of the pipe. Now heat up some sand, enough to fill the pipe past the place you need it to bend. We put our sand in a gallon can on put it on the BBQ grill with the lid closed. YouTube versions used a torch I think. 

Use a funnel and pour sand into the pipe. You should be wearing gloves, heat prof ones would be best. 

Test the pipe as it heats up by flexing it. My hubby lay it on the ground and applied pressure where the pipe needed to bend up hill to get the angles he needed. You could use a home made jig, wrap it around a bucket, tree, etc. 

Once the pipe is bent as needed, hold it in position for a bit then pour out the sand and let the pipe cool. Sometimes you need to reheat the sand and repeat to get the correct curve. 

I missed the whole process but it worked so well that I asked him to recreate it for me so I could photograph it and post it. The pics here are of the recreation.  Here's a few notes to keep in mind if you try this. 

  • We were using 3/4 inch pipe. We tried it on 1/2 and it didn't work so well. We think it was because the smaller opening didn't hold enough hot sand to work. You can have more hot sand on stand by; pour out cooling sand and pour in new and continue. 
  • The funnel we used melted a little so it is best to use a metal on if you have it.
  • In the recreation, we poured the sand out too soon after bending the pipe and when the pipe was forced back into place it crimped a little. Keep the sand in there until it cools and hardens some. 
  • You could probably also cover the pipe with hot sand as well as filling it to help with bending it. We will have to try that one day too.

 I am very happy with the new water line that leads to a new faucet; one that's convenient and exactly where I wanted it.  I can just imagine all the craft possibilities using this bending technique too! Starting with those Scarecrows we make at Family Harvest Day. Now we can make wavy arms and legs!

I link at these parties.

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  1. I love PVC pipes for making big toys for grandkids (tents, carnival booths) but had no idea they could be bent like this! I'm impressed with the person who first figured this out!
    I'm glad you have your convenient water line and hubby is happy with his "convenient" array of tools!

  2. THANKS for this post. I can now do some projects with PVC that require shaping. God bless you for sharing.

  3. I bet this made your life so much easier! You are lucky to have a handy man around the house.

  4. This could be super useful! For crafting and for home repair stuff! Thanks for sharing! Pinning!
    -Michelle @ The Gracious Wife

  5. This is very informational! Thanks so much for sharing with SYC.

  6. This is the coolest thing ever! I will show my hubby this amazing trick. Thanks for sharing at WW Blog Hop and please come back again next week. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

  7. Congratulations! This post is going to be featured over at Diana Rambles tomorrow and has been pinned in the Featured at Diana Rambles board at Pinterest, Tweeted, and Recommended on G+. Please grab a featured button off my sidebar or via the link under the features. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!

  8. Who knew? I surely didn't. That's a great technique! Thanks for linking up to Show Me Saturday. Hope to see you there again this week!

  9. Hello gorgeous! This is a great tutorial. Thank you for sharing! Pinned. We hope to see you at our party tonight at 7 pm. It is so fun to party with you!
    Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

  10. I tried this simple but effective way to bend those pvc pipes. At first, I was hesitant to apply this, but luckily, it worked.

  11. I use an internal bend spring never had any problems, over bend initially and then pull out the spring.

  12. You can pour in sand and then heat the pipe carefully with a heat gun. the sand keeps the pipe from kinking and the heat gun gives you more control over the heating process.

  13. Great Info, I bend my pipe all the time.

  14. Why not just use PEX. So much easier.

  15. Squirt cold water on it and it will set almost instantly!


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