DIY Copper Cup From 3/4" Pipe

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Introduction: DIY Copper Cup From 3/4" Pipe

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All the cool kids are drinking Moscow Mules. Traditionally, they're served in copper cups, but those can get pricey. We can make our own copper cups with nothing more than 3/4" copper pipe that you can find in any hardware store, or even scrap yard.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

This project is pretty simple. I've never done any copper soldering or metal work before. I was able to use my 3rd and 4th cup I made at home. Here's what you'll need to get started:

  • Propane Torch
  • No. 5 Flux
  • Solder (Lead free for copper pipes)
  • Hacksaw or Sawzall
  • 2 pairs of pliers
  • Hammer
  • Large hose clamp
  • Screwdriver
  • Tin snips

It would also help to have a bench vise and a grinder, but they are not necessary.

Step 2: Split the Pipe

Start by slicing your copper pipe down the middle with your hacksaw or sawzall. This cut needs to be extremely straight so take your time. I cut my pipe down to one 11" long piece and two 4" pieces.

Step 3: Pound Flat

Split the pieces open with pliers and then pound it flat.

IMPORTANT: Fold over one long edge of the 11" piece to protect your lips from getting cut. See my YouTube video for more instruction.

Step 4: Wrap Copper Around a Form

Find some sort of cup sized object you can use to wrap your copper around. Preferably steel. I used the wheel off of a floor jack. Use a large hose clamp to force the copper into shape.

Step 5: Bend Over the Bottom

Bend over a small lip on the bottom of your cup to make a nice seam.

Step 6: Solder the Joint

Leaving the hose clamp in place, solder the joint together with the torch.

Step 7: Remove the Form

Use a hammer to remove your cup shell from the form. It should look like this. Notice the top edge has been completely folded over and the bottom edge has a small lip.

Step 8: Solder Bottom Together

3/4" pipe does not open up wide enough to cover the whole bottom. You'll need to solder a seam between two pieces to make one large enough to cover the hole.

ALTERNATIVELY: You could use 1" copper pipe or find copper sheet metal. Neither were available locally in my area.

Step 9: Cut Out the Bottom Shape

Mark and cut the bottom of your cup. I used tin snips to cut to the outside of my line, and then used the grinder to form a perfect circle.

Step 10: Solder Bottom

Heat the outside of the cup while soldering the inside to attach the bottom to the shell. See my video for more instruction.

Step 11: Make a Handle

I used a 3" piece of pipe folded over on itself for the handle. Shape with the hammer.

Step 12: Attach the Handle

Attach the handle to the cup at the seam. Put the hose clamp back on the cup for this step in case you were to loosen the solder holding the shell together.

Step 13: Polish, Clean, and Enjoy!

Use a wire brush to clean all of the flux, dirt and grime off of the cup. I used one that attached to my drill. Overall, I'm happy with these cups. They aren't perfect, but I learned a lot and they do their job. See my video for more instruction.

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71 Comments

To those who may not be aware, copper is used extensively in North America for all house hold [potable] water, both hot and cold, and essentially all solder and flux sold, is lead free.

In house hold plumbing, the pipes are cleaned, at the joint, with a wire brush or sand paper, then fluxed and soldered. Typically, no further cleaning is done for domestic potable hot and cold water. There are tens of millions of houses with this type of plumbing.

Many plumbers continue to deride any use of any form of plastics in domestic water supply.

I want to emphasize the use of lead free solder, but would disagree with you, mcysr. Unfortunately, not all the solder is lead free.

Those buying, please double and triple check that the solder you buy is lead free.

I've seen leaded and lead free solder by the same manufacturer (similar packaging) on the same shelf in Home Depot, so read read read...

Absolutely correct (IMHO).

Lead free solder is well established as the only solder to be used for potable water.

Thank you! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Bare copper handrails will kill 98% of bacteria on them in 2 hours.

There are exposure issues with using copper that can include liver damage, heart disease and alzheimers disease. Please read this before drinking from copper cups, especially acidic or hot liquids. It's the very reason they say you shouldn't drink from the hot water tap in your home.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_toxicity

I always heard lead and aluminum were the ones that cause Alzheimer's . I'm sure the poo t is mute after applying a food grade coating or baking a glaze onto it.

You also want to make sure that you don't use acid core solder.

I don't know a lot about soldiering, but my brother does. He has lead solder. that would be bad to is if I were to try this out, right? I'm probably not going to make this; I just want to know.

You're making a cup that you will presumably be drinking from. Lead from the solder can leach into the liquid you are drinking. That is why you do NOT want to use solder that contains lead.