How to Bend PVC & Make Incredible Shapes

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Introduction: How to Bend PVC & Make Incredible Shapes

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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1 Person Made This Project!

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126 Discussions

0
3pspets
3pspets

Tip 3 months ago

Use rubber stoppers instead of duct tape .... thanks so much for sharing - am using this method to cut out some fittings now...

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Microbe
Microbe

Tip 1 year ago

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

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M.J2
M.J2

Reply 1 year ago

There's a Duck brand duct tape.

0
GTO3x2
GTO3x2

2 years ago

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

0
MillerI
MillerI

Reply 2 years ago

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

0
M.J2
M.J2

Reply 1 year 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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unclmike
unclmike

Reply 1 year ago

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

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MillerI
MillerI

Reply 1 year 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!

1
elguapoeg
elguapoeg

Tip 2 years 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
lorenkinzel

1 year 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
SusanH75

1 year 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
AnitaH25

Question 2 years ago

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

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Rae1929
Rae1929

Answer 1 year ago

Of course.

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sedmayne
sedmayne

1 year 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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Rae1929
Rae1929

Reply 1 year ago

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

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DavidBCameron
DavidBCameron

Tip 1 year 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
kwhit190211

2 years 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.