How to Bend PVC & Make Incredible Shapes

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About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @ http://darbinorvar.com

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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124 Discussions

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GTO3x2

1 year ago

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

4 replies
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MillerIGTO3x2

Reply 1 year ago

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

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M.J2MillerI

Reply 9 days ago

An ironic note, standard duct tape is lousy for duct work.
What's best is the "aluminum foil/HVAC" tape, much more ductile and a better adhesive that lasts longer and doesn't peel over time like duct tape.

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unclmikeMillerI

Reply 9 months ago

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

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MillerIunclmike

Reply 9 months 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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Microbe

Tip 15 days ago

It is "duct" tape, not duck tape ;o)

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M.J2Microbe

Reply 9 days ago

There's a Duck brand duct tape.

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elguapoeg

Tip 1 year ago

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.

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lorenkinzel

15 days ago

The sand prevents kinks (depending on who's driving). Cold sand & heat gun does the job. However, with any kind of form involved, getting uniform heating with a heat gun is difficult. I like your hot sand method as it will heat uniformly. Very nice development.

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SusanH75

15 days ago on Step 5

This is Genius. Thank you for sharing. This would be perfect for when my husband and I have to make our next pond protector.

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AnitaH25

Question 1 year ago

Would this work using sea sand. I have a bag I bought for use in a sandpit.

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sedmayne

9 months 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.

1 reply
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Rae1929sedmayne

Reply 16 days ago

You weren’t to poor if you had a pool! Lol!!

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DavidBCameron

Tip 16 days ago on Step 3

Hook up most any length of pvc pipe to the exhaust pipe of a running car and the whole tube will get soft. You can then bend it all however you need. This uses fuel of course but probably no more than using a heat gun's electricity for an extended period. Also it saves time but be ready to do all the bending in one step.

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kwhit190211

1 year ago

that's really neat! I was a Pipefitter for 39 years and during that time I installed miles upon miles of pipe. This was one product that we never bent,(plastic). God knows how much steel pipe & tubing I've bent. And, this goes on the same principal in bending steel pipe. You have to fill it up with packed sand before you bend a tight radius.

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MikeM241kwhit190211

Reply 1 year ago

Well Mr. kwhit, baybe you can tell me why all steel pipe is 21 feet long and PVC is 20 feet long? Something I have never been able to find out.-mike

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pgs070947MikeM241

Reply 16 days ago

It's a lot easier in metric. Half of one metre is 0.5-metre, half of one yard in feet and inches?
Most straight pipe/tube available off the shelf is 3-metres. Why? I don't know. Maybe because it's a handy van/roofrack length. Almost all UK plumbing supplies are metric, give or take the odd BSP etc. Rainwater goods can be longer. Again probably comes down to van size.
Same with boards. Some are still 8' x 4', most are 2.4 x 1.2 metres.
Daft thing is roads are miles and speeds are MPH. Changing those was a step too far. Milk is in litres, but beer in litres, no way.