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Old 05-12-2010, 01:01 AM   #1
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Default Tips for bending 1/2" copper pipe?

Just tried bending 18" of 1/2" OD copper pipe into a semi circle and quickly found how easily it will crimp. I bought a tube bending spring set to help prevent crimping next time. Does anyone have any tips on bending copper without it crimping? I tried looking for other tools, but none worked with 1/2" OD pipe. Also I need to drill some holes into the pipe, are there any precautions or steps I should be aware of? I'm building a sparge arm, and expected the soldering to be the hardest part, but turns out the bending is (definitely being the most expensive).



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Old 05-12-2010, 01:04 AM   #2
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I don't think you can bend thick-walled copper pipe. You need copper tubing for bending.



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Old 05-12-2010, 01:11 AM   #3
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It is soft copper, and was in a coil before I purchased it. They straightened it out easily to measure so seems to bend ok, just getting it to bend into a 12" diameter semi circle is difficult.

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:16 AM   #4
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Oh, I see, you have tubing and not pipe. I bent mine around a corny keg, nice and slow. The bending springs work too, again nice and slow. I've even heard of filling the tubing with sand to prevent kinking. 12 inches might be the diameter of a 5 gallon bucket. Check out www.mrmalty.com, there is an article on a homemade IC that the guy bent freehand.

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for you reply, especially about reminding me that I have some 5 gallon buckets in my closet someplace. I had been looking around trying to find something to bend it around, but no luck, and using my knee was a bad idea. I thought I had gotten lucky finding someplace that sells tubing by the foot, but so far it has cost more than the 10' boxes at Lowe's or Home Depot.

Do any problems arise when drilling 1/8" or smaller holes into copper tubing? Or is it pretty straight forward?

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:31 AM   #6
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I've never drilled the tubing, just the pipe. I think the operative term here, as in the bending, is go slow and take your time. Shouldn't be too difficult.
Good luck.

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:32 AM   #7
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a propane torch makes copper real soft. you just need a good pair of thick leather gloves and something to bend against.

as for the holes, you'll want to use something to strike against the tubing first. a nail/ball point hammer, just something to create a dent so your drill doesn't flop around.

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:36 AM   #8
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i assume you are making a manifold? in that case, i would rather saw a few slots in the tube rather than drill them. The slots allow more liquid through, while limiting the diameter of the hole, which would block more solids from passing through.

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:48 AM   #9
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I'm making something similar to this: http://onebeer.net/recirc_howto.shtml

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Old 05-12-2010, 01:56 AM   #10
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I do constant recirculation, no-sparge brewing. I just direct a silicone hose into a corner of my mash tun on top of the grain bed. Works just fine. I really don't see the need for a sparge arm for recirculating wort. But then again, I'm not against anything that works for anyone else. Brew on!



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