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bending copper for preheat tube
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Mark Edgren
(mackgren) - F
bending copper for preheat tube on 01/27/2009 22:12:55 MST Print View

Hello All,
I'm making my own canister stove, and am currently having problems with the preheating tube. I am trying to bend either 3/32" or 1/8" copper tube into a semi tight radius without it collapsing on itself. As of right now, I am heating the tube with a torch and then bending it with some pliers. This isn't working so good and it collapses on even moderate attempts. All the wire and tube benders I found so far are too big..Any clever suggestions without spending much money? Thanks! Mark

Greg Lewis
(gpl916) - F

Locale: PNW
re; bending copper on 01/27/2009 22:21:47 MST Print View

Have you tried the spring type? It is basically a spring you insert the tube into and then bend it. I don't know if they make one that small but you may be able to find a random spring that fits.

Many hardware stores have a drawer of small, long springs. It is usually located with the nuts and bolts, in the small drawers you pull out.

They do make a small tubing bender. It is located with the copper roll in plumbing, but agin, I am not sure how small.


Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: bending copper for preheat tube on 01/27/2009 22:23:59 MST Print View

Try threading a cable through the tube before bending.

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: bending copper for preheat tube on 01/27/2009 22:31:45 MST Print View

Hi Mark,

With small tubes I most all of my bending of small diameter pre-heat tubes cold and use my fingers, it takes some practice. If I need to bend a tight radius I make a jig. Doing the bending while hot the tube is often too soft.

Filling with sand sometimes works.


Mark Edgren
(mackgren) - F
Thanks! on 01/28/2009 00:09:55 MST Print View

Hey guys,
All great suggestions! I will try those first thing tommorow. Cheers! Mark

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: bending copper for preheat tube on 01/28/2009 00:40:48 MST Print View

Filling with sand sometimes works.

Yep, this was my technique years ago - and still is. Works very well. Tap the tube to get the reminisce of sand out after bending.

Edited by Steve_Evans on 01/28/2009 00:41:20 MST.

Daren Neufeld
(DarenN) - F
re:"bending copper for preheat tube" on 01/28/2009 06:17:56 MST Print View

the copper tubing that i've used for preheat tubes was very hard and needed to be annealled before i could bend it. to do this, heat the copper red hot and let it cool down. after annealling i could bend very tight radii using just my fingers. it's a lot easier to polish the copper (after annealling) before bending it.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Tubing benders on 02/01/2009 12:47:12 MST Print View

The Imperial Eastman 368-FH tubing bender is great for this. I used to sell auto parts and sold dozens of this tool over they years. I used to demo it by bending a steel brake line into an overhand knot.

If you have a one-off project requiring a fancy tool, rent it.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: bending copper for preheat tube on 02/01/2009 13:22:36 MST Print View

Hi Mark

There are two secrets to bending tubing without it collapsing.

The first one is to fill it up with sand or springs or whatever, so it can't collapse on itself. This works, but can be a shade tricky with small tubing.

The second way can be understood if you watch what happens when you bend a tube and it collapses. You will see that as it starts to collapse the tube first starts to spread outwards. Bend a straw and you will see this very clearly.
Now take a look at the tube benders mentioned in the previous posting. You will see that they feature a semi-circular groove right around the bend. This groove matches the size of the tube. When you press the tube into this groove it cannot collapse outwards: there is no room at the sides. If it can't collapse outwards it can't flatten (up to a point of course!).

So what you need to do is to make (or buy) a bender with a groove matched to your tubing. If you have access to a lathe this is easy. If not - more difficult. Try mounting a round bit of aluminium rod in a drill press and using a file from the side as it spins. Make the groove a full semi-circle: nothing less.

Using this technique I can not only bend SS tubing into suitable tight curves for a preheat tube, I can also bend Easton tent poles into circles of about 1.5' diameter (several passes, using rollers). I kid you not!


Yukio Yamakawa

Locale: Tokyo,JAPAN
Re: bending copper for preheat tube on 02/04/2009 06:44:19 MST Print View



Nesdo Lynxrat
(Lynxrat) - F
What he meant! on 08/23/2009 09:00:11 MDT Print View

Yukio, above, kindly points out that:

To start first, to soften and restore processing can burn the copper pipe.
And slightly bent, soon, the phenomenon of work hardening occurs.
Brittle broken easier.
The re-tempering.

Grilled back: it is simply roasted in the fire of gas. Is easy.
I have repeated many times while the bending
We repeated the experiment the stove.
About three times is possible!

Edited by Lynxrat on 08/23/2009 09:01:28 MDT.

Andrey Revyakin
(runcyclexcski) - F
you tube on 08/28/2009 15:00:36 MDT Print View

There is a youtube video on this. You preheat the tube with a flame and while hot wrap it around a pipe of the diameter you need. The "template" pipe is clamped in a vise.

I use this method to bend 1/4 ... 3/8 copper pipes into ~1.5 diameter circles for plumbing.