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The goal of this ible is to show you how to PROPERLY crimp pex using those inexpensive vise-crimpers. That's right, the instructions they come with are not entirely correct....

Step 1: Intro

This is specifically for crimping those copper pex rings without the pro tool. If you use the tool daily, then this is not for how. However, if like me you redid your house, and want to be able to keep up the maintenance, save yourself some money. With the money you save, you can instead invest in having the essential tools needed for all sorts of projects.

But wait, is there not a pro tool that goes for about 30$? You mean this guy here. The problem with this is that the crimping rings end up costing 10x the cost of the copper rings. It is very short term savings for long term losses; especially since the vise-style crimper for the copper rings is cheaper.

Step 2: Material

You will need:

  1. a vise style crimper. I have actually linked to two types
    1. this one needs your own vise
    2. this one has a vise included
  2. Crimping rings of whatever size you are using
  3. Pex
  4. Fittings

Step 3: What You Should Do

What you should do (and that the instructions don't mention):

Clamp down until the tip of the ends are touching only (this should be no harder than tightening a mason jar lid). Then release a bit, rotate the pipe 90 degrees, and re-clamp (this time it will be even easier than the first, I have had juice bottles tougher than this).

Step 4: What Not to Do

Clamping it down until the end of the device is flush. Don't do this.

This is important because to be able to properly crimp the ring in one go, you do have to apply enough force to have the whole thing touching and then yes you do need a vice and a hammer, and you will need superhuman strength and hurt your hands.

Step 5: Checking Your Work

Once done, check the results with the go no-go plate, you will see that you have a perfect crimp with relatively little effort with the rotation method. The ring will fit in the Go without issues and turn in it. Meanwhile, it won't fit in the No-Go, which means we did not damage it.

On the other hand, if you followed the instructions on the packaging, you will be stuck in the Go testing when you rotate it. This means two things.

1- It is too loose and you risk having a leak at some point, especially if you have many of them.

2- It means the ring is probably at least 0.006" out of round, which goes against the standards required (see here, page 10).

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