How to Bend PVC & Make Incredible Shapes

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Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction an...

Intro: How to Bend PVC & Make Incredible Shapes

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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110 Discussions

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rdölz

11 months ago

Anyone attempting this should be aware that, when heated, PVC may release CARCINOGENIC VAPORS. So always be in a well ventelated area and always wear suitable breathing protection

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skylanerdölz

Reply 10 months ago

When it burns, it's toxic.

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trixnpix

4 months ago

Love this. just would like a better estimate on temp of the sand rather 'pretty hot'. If someone thought 'surely it's hot enough', and then it's not, have to start over.

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ashtangakashatrixnpix

Reply 5 days ago

170 degrees is where most PVC pipe begins to bend. Around 200 it's pretty soft. Much above 220 it begins to risk melting. So boiling water is a pretty safe gauge of "pretty hot" for PVC.

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saskruss

5 months ago

I LOVE this idea!! SO clever. But it made me think: would this work with maybe better using boiling water instead (especially with the bigger pipe?) I don't know if I would trust duct tape with it, but maybe a cap glued on at least the bottom end. I know you would have to cut the cap off after, but that might solve the bigger pipe issue? But seriously - hats off!!

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Photomancersaskruss

Reply 7 days ago

Biggest fear I would have is scalding hot water slooshing out while bending. sand/BB's, etc. much more likely to stay inside with tape.

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rraazzPhotomancer

Reply 6 days ago

In the sand vs water discussion, keep in mind you need a "solid" volume to help reduce the tendency to KinK.

Thanks for sharing!

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trixnpixsaskruss

Reply 4 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. But what about trying the boiling water with sand, like a mud. Since it will be thicker, it would stay hotter longer. But then you would have the excess weight, probably making it harder to handle. Nevermind,lol

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sedmayne

6 days ago

Back when I was younger and poorer, I couldn't afford to buy all the elbow joints when replumbing our old swimming pool. I used the tape and sand technique on two inch poly pipe with a heat (hot air) gun. Worked a treat. Trying to manipulate four inch pipe full of sand would be difficult because of the weight, I would think.

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GTO3x2

11 months ago

Duct tape - It came from using it on furnace ductwork.

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MillerIGTO3x2

Reply 11 months ago

Seconded! Also, malleable: a term meaning the ability to change shapes with ease.

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unclmikeMillerI

Reply 7 days ago

Correct, but there is now a tape brand called Duck Tape so her use is ok.

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MillerIunclmike

Reply 7 days ago

I did some research a while back based on another forum and it turns out that it was originally duck tape. Based on regional "accents" or usage, duct tape became a common usage (the way I grew up saying it) and so now it's a war of words like whether or not Porsche is one or two syllables. It's two BTW ;-).

Duck brand came around many years later. Cheers!

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Joseph J.M

7 days ago on Step 5

so simple but highly impressive! well-done!

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KenM17

11 months ago

Fill the pipe with BBs if sand residue is a proble,

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ImAtechKenM17

Reply 7 days ago

Then you have BB reidue!

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trixnpixKenM17

Reply 4 months ago

I think I have more sand around than I do BBs. You can buy play sand at Lowe's for $4-5/80lbs. Play sand has already been filtered of rocks,pebbles, and the like. Very clean. Heats up fast.

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Eric_MethvenKenM17

Reply 9 months ago

Sand residue can usually be blown out with a compressor, or a hair dryer.