Author Options:

What could I put into copper/pvc tubing/pipe to make it stronger,please? Answered

I know there is a difference between tubing and pipe, but I don;t know what it is but the product I'm thinking of is the stuff you use for central heating/water etc about 13mm diameter.

Along with the question/idea for a gaming chair/console elsewhere in 'Answers' I was wondering how to strengthen the piping - could I squeeze something in there like foam expander to make it *much* stronger, do you know please?

Many thanks for stopping by ; I really do appreciate it ;-)



Best Answer 8 years ago

Plastic electrical conduit is cheap, and garbage for anything structural. I build a halloween 'tunnel' covered in black poly to the front steps of my parents house for a haunted house. It's quite flexible, and barely holds up its own weight.

Steel tubing is very easy to cut and weld, strong but heavy.
Aluminium tubing is very very easy to cut, much harder to weld, but great weight.
PVC tubing is easily strong enough with support struts - cheap and easy to join with connectors and glue. Easy to prototype before you glue is a plus.

Filling any of the above with 'something' is only temporary. As soon as there is any breakdown in the core material it will wear out quickly.

Copper pipe is expensive and not nearly structural enough (imo) for the weight and cost considerations.

***WOOD*** not yet brought up is cheap, easy to work with, strong, and easy to make pretty (upholster, paint, stain, varnish, etc).

thanks for your extended replies, frollard and steveastrouk. I'm going to do a 'pilot' project and test the weight at a rate of 250% to ensure safety. I'll let you knwo how I get on. Using wood is a mint suggestion - I'm going to see how I can make that look 'futuristic'. I'm giving everyone the best answer badge! Thanks guys!

You're welcome - and thanks too :D wood can look futuristic - plywood cut to various shapes with a jigsaw with nice finished edges from a router can be intricate, strong, and cool lookin.

You're totally right - wood is amazingly versatile. I thought with you that wood can look futuristic but retro as well; one of my other thoughts was a 1960s Star Trekky style in wood! Keep well, frollard!

I live a 40 minute drive from the town of Vulcan, - So I am obligated to reply, "build well, and prosper!"

MAJOR PITA doing it that way though, a kick bender works on copper, and for really nasty shapes you use a bending spring. We make a very tiny, double layered "pancake" coil for our old style Peltier chiller. We fill 8 feet of copper pipe with Wood's Metal and bend it, before steaming the Wood's out afterwards

Thanks for your tip, steveastrouk, that's a nice one! Can you re-use the filler after you've steamed it out?

I just watched 'how to make trombones'... They fill the pipe with water, freeze it, then bend. Cheap, easy, and mostly free - so long as it doesn't make your metal brittle.

What's wrong with steel ?

prob nothing - I just didn't think of it! I'm going to do a quick check with my local metal merchants to see what there is. I wonder how tough that's going to be to bend? Thanks for sdropping by; I'm actually quite embarrassed that steelnever entered my peanut brain. sheeesh!

Thin steel can be readily brazed or welded. Round tube is a bit of a bugger to join neatly without a notching tool, if you can, use square tube - at least the joints are straight cuts. Steve

Round tube rules though, eh? TBH the way I use round tubing is the same as square; I avoid compound cuts unless I can't avoid it and then it's like just the same but neater looking IMHO.

btw I'm still interested for a filling for the 13mm pipe because I think I may prefer the slimmer lines..so if you have any idea's please let me know -thanks!

use metal conduit its like what 1/2 inch 3/4 max and fill with plaster and let harden might work with plastic pipe but if it bends slightly the plaster will break

and did i mention really cheap if you go with plastic get the electrical grey stuff its like $1.30 for 10'

Yes, you lucky, lucky Americans get things a wholelot cheaper than we Brits - we pay in £STG what you pay in US$ - for example you get a gallon of gas for the same price that we pay for 2 litres. Americans complain and your govt is worried, we Brits queue up tosay howlucky we are and our govt shafts us more. In short, yes, I appreciate the tubing is cheap foryou,but sadly not for us. I can't tell you how much I'd love to have my Green Card.

I'd like to say a genuine and honest thanks to the answers so far, the tubing/conduit suggestions are fantastic but I have still yet to resolve the filling but I do appreciate the suggestions so far.

i would just use the stuff that they use on chainlink fences with the right bender its not that tough to bend and its plenty strong looks almost like the pic as far as dia. goes

thanks for the input/re-assurance, ecknight, I'll be sure to remember your thoughts -thanks!

Hi seandogue! It's as my q alluded to; it's my thinking aloud for a gaming chair. I don't anticipate any probs mating one end of the tube to the other as there are buts that you can buy to join the two together, but thanks for the heads-up there ;-) it's nice/reassuring to know you're thinking ahead as well - I appreciate that. I suppose in the absence of anything else I could bend the tube/pipe and then fill it with concrete. I need to 'upgrade' my work, much of what I do works well, but looks like Micheal Jackson's nose. So the sand idea was great but I'm going to hire/buy a pipe/tube bender which will allow me to mirror duplicate parts. I owe you a big beer, seandogue, thanks!