If you are redoing some of the copper pipes in your house you may not want to add another joint to get around a corner. Luckily for you one of the great qualities of copper is that it is malleable and can be bent with a simple hand tool.
When you are going to bend copper you need to find the right tool. For most work that you will be doing you won’t need a machine or pressure bender but can rent a bending tool at a local parts store. Make sure that you know the size of pipe you will be bending as you will need the right size tool. The three main types of hand benders that you will find include: spring benders, latchet benders, and lever types hand benders. We’ll go into how to use the lever type bender.
Step 1 Place the Pipe
Take your lever bender and extend the arms so they are laying 180 degrees on a flat table top. Lift the holding clip found on the head of the larger arm up and out of the way. Lay down your pipe in the forming wheeled groove. Slide the pipe to the appropriate portion you wish to bend.
Step 2 Lock in the Pipe
Slide the larger arm of the bender to a 90 degree angle and bring the holding clip back down clipping it into place. Pull the forming handle back to 180 degrees so the clip falls into position at a 90 degree angle with the forming handle.
Step 3 Bend the Pipe
Now that the pipe has been placed and locked in you can rotate the whole bender 90 degrees so it is facing upwards. You then take the forming handle and pull it upwards toward the other handle. Make sure to pull on the handle with steady pressure in one continuous motion. If you think that it will be difficult to bend the pipe slide a steel pipe over the forming handle to give yourself extra leverage to bend the copper. If you still cannot bend the pipe you probably will need a pneumatic bender to do the job.
The angle of the bend will be indicated by the calibration on the forming wheel. After you have bent the pipe release the forming handle and draw it back to the table so that the two handles are again 180 degrees. Remove the holding clip and slide the pipe out of the holding shoe. Remember these are general instructions and you should follow the manual that was provided with your tool.
Step 4 Check the Pipe
After you have removed the pipe check to make sure the stretched copper has not collapsed. Look for any holes in the bend and if you plan on running liquid through the pipe you may want to run water down the pipe to double check before you solder it into the rest of the plumbing. Generally you should not have to worry as copper is amazingly malleable and you should be able to bend it to a little past ninety degrees without any problem.
If the pipe you wish to bend is to thick or wide for a conventional hand bender contact a general contractor or have the pipe bent for you at a tool store or warehouse rather than purchasing or renting an expensive bending machine you will probably only use a few times.