Bending Copper Tubing

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Bending Copper Tubing

Post by MochetVelo » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:41 pm

Here is a tip for bending copper tubing such as you would use for fuel lines. The copper you buy at the hardware store will work for this purpose. Remember, however, that the copper must be soft before being shaped. If you work with it for a while, you should anneal it just as you would sheet copper or brass before shaping. This involves heating the metal cherry red and letting it cool or dunking it in water. Copper tubing will bend easily, but tends to collapse. There are various tools for bending tubing, and some are helpful. I suggest you first cut off the tubing length you need, seal one end with duct tape and fill the tube with table salt. Make a little funnel from paper for this job. Once filled, tape off the other end of the tube. It can now be flexed quite well without collapsing. When done, just let the salt run out.

Below, you see a fuel line I bent. I first made a pattern of the shape I needed with soft iron wire. I then duplicated the shape with salt-filled 5/16" copper tube. I'm using a steel pipe in my vise as a template, plus a piece of scrap wood to hold the end in position as I bend around the pipe. You may find your tube assumes an oval shape as you bend. You can tap it with a mallet to keep it even. My twist in the fuel line here is to allow some "flex" as the car bounces around. A straight line might work-harden (become brittle from repeated flexing) and fail more easily.

Copper Tube Bending
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