Introduction: How to Bend PVC & Make Incredible Shapes
Second Prize in the
PVC Contest 2017
I was recently working on a project where I needed to bend pvc pipes into smooth, round shapes. After some trial and error I found an easy way to get great results.
Step 1: Testing
First of all, cut your pipe to size, I used a variation of different sized pipes for this test. I found that if you heat up the pipe only with a heat gun from the outside it's hard to get a smooth curve, and you easily get kinks. Plus, you can only heat up a small section at a time. What I needed to do was find a way to heat up the pipe from the inside out.
Step 2: Tape the End
Duck tape on the end makes a nice block and then I measured out how much sand fit inside the pipe. I used regular sand that I had on hand and then I heat it up in a pot until it was pretty hot.
Step 3: Filling the Pipe
I filled the pipe almost to the top, maybe with two inch empty space, and taped it shut.
Let the pipe rest for a few minutes to heat up thoroughly. Then with gloved hands you can start bending and manipulating the pipes. You can either do this freehand, or bend around something, like a jig or something round to get a precise shape.
Step 4: Different Pipes
Once I held the shape for a little while, I poured out the sand, and there you go!
I tried this technique with a couple of different sized pipes. The larger pipes took longer to heat up and were a little harder to bend, however it's still possible to get slight curves. The thinner pipes however become very maluable and easy to bend into all sorts of crazy shapes!
Step 5: Conclusion - Watch the Video
For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video that goes over the steps, and to see how easily the different pipes bend.
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Rather than hold the final shape for awhile until it sets, dip the pvc in a bucket of cold water, maybe the 5 gallon size. A bigger project might need cold water from a spray bottle or a garden hose.
On the larger pipe, you can use a heat gun on the outside of the pipe while the sand heats the inside. You should be able to get a better bend out of it. Careful of the fumes. Do it in a well ventilated area.
Would this work using sea sand. I have a bag I bought for use in a sandpit.