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Bending type L copper?

bobbob Member Posts: 306
watch bend radius, especialy when bending hard drawn tube.


  • Dave FaustDave Faust Member Posts: 51
    Bending type L copper

    Is it a good idea to bend type L "hard" copper? It is 3/4" id.
    One four foot radius bend about 6ft long would enable me to clear a steel support beam with out using a bunch of sweated fittings. My first thought would be to make many small bends with a 3/4 " EMT condutit bender. Any thoughts?
  • EmpireEmpire Member Posts: 2,343
    Hard Drawn?

    Since your pipe is hard drawn copper it is very difficult to bend wothout a kink. Just when you think you are ok with the start of the bend,.It Kinks. Why not use soft copper and use a bender to make things look nice?... Then add a coupling on either end to join your pieces. I have a yellow Jacket bender but have never tried it on hard drawn copper though. Give it a try.
  • jeffjeff Member Posts: 545

    it is soft tempered. It used to be used quite a bit in the 50's, but havent't seen it sold, only installed on older jobs. you will never bend type L or M without kinking it..I have annealed it to bend it and that can work well, but you do have to take your time. It beats buying a coil of soft and have it sitting around for ever
  • jeffjeff Member Posts: 545

    come to think of it, we did try to bend L once, but it thinned it out so much we ended up with pin holes. Gosh, that was twnety years ago. I was still an apprentence. Had forgotten about that
  • hrhr Member Posts: 6,106
    I bend

    Hard drawn type L all the time. You really need a mandrel bender that tightly fits around the tube to prevent kinking. I don't believe an electrical bender will fit tightly enough. Try a small piece.

    I use the REMS Curvo, they make a hand powered bender also. Maybe a rental place or tube fab shop could bend, or lend you the bender.

    Soft copper would work, but it tends to be a bit egg shaped and harder to solder fittings to. Perhaps a flare connection.

    This job shows some 3/4 and 1-1/4" type L we bent.

    hot rod

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  • tlstls Member Posts: 89
    Bending Temper

    There is a copper called bending temper. It is not "soft" copper as we know it. It is hard type "L" and will bend nicely if you use the correct bender. Conduet benders should never be used on copper. Pnmatic tubing, that is, the small tubing that was used with pnumatic control systems, is an example of Bending temper copper. We bought our benders from the controls companies as typical plumbing benders (for supply tubes etc) were not correct.

    One or two years ago I thought I was going to do a copper stale up and my supplier said I could still get it.

    Having said all that, I wonder if the benders that Hot Rod uses will complete the demise of bending temper tube.

    Nice looking work 'Rod.

  • Tony ConnerTony Conner Member Posts: 443
    I've Used...

    ... Ridgid ratchet benders to bend 1/2" and 3/4" Type L copper. (1/2" copper pipe is 5/8" OD, and 3/4" copper is 7/8" OD - very important to get the right size tool.) I don't do very much of this though, and while the ratchet benders are serious overkill for copper, they were on hand for another job. The ratchet benders are $$$ new, but they drift through eBay periodically, so I picked them up cheap. They've got a few miles on them, but I don't bend enough stainless steel or steel tubing to to justify buying new. For a little job, I'd see about renting or borrowing.
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 1,995
    lbt,mbt bendable tubing

    I remenber when i was younger you could get lbt and mbt tubing it came in 21 ft straight drawn lengths and i can only remenber it be avable in 1/2 and 3/4 we used to use it for heat loops and water lines never saw it any larger pipe sizes and we used a gear wheel bender with as hot rod said with mandables it usually bent quite nice .On smaller refregerant lines i usually use acr tubing and either a wheel bender or a spring bender when needed thats on the rolls of soft acr otherwisw it's brazing and long radius ells peace clammy
  • blackoakbobblackoakbob Member Posts: 240
    use an ACR...

    line set, the suction line part. It can be worked with a spring type bender or if the offset is long enough you can make long, sweeping bends. I use my leftover line set lenghts to make offsets that eliminate difficult or awkward pipe fitting requirements. With a little care and practice you can save time and money. Why sell the leftovers for scrap when you can sell it for new! Best Regards.
  • Eugene SilbersteinEugene Silberstein Member Posts: 1,380
    Old Timers

    I know of a couple of "old school" heating guys who still do it the old fashioned way. They fill the pipe with sand, heat the hard drawn pipe and then are able to bend the pipe without kinking.

    Anthony Sicuranza is one of these gentlemen and works here on the Island of Long.

    Although it may seem like a pain in the neck to do it this way, Anthony's work is something that must be seen to be appreciated. Kudos.
  • hrhr Member Posts: 6,106
    From what I hear

    REMS will have a larger version of the Curvo available to bend up to 2" type L copper. Mine will handle 1-1/4. It growls a bit when I feed it 1-1/4 type K.

    I'm probably 50-50% work and play projects, with the Curvo :)

    Here are a few "works in progress", for up coming fund raiser donations.

    The Holohan inspired hydronic ferris wheel, and a Taco V-twin copper chopper. Possibly a Lowe Rider ;)

    hot rod

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  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 1,995
    AWESOME Hot Rod

    Besides that out standing bending on the boiler that hydronic powered bike is awesome .I think if i had a curvo my wife would file for divorce for sure .I've started to try to locate where to get one and pricing but haven't heard any thing yet i really do think thats a true show a craftmanship with those beautiful long radius 90 a hydronic mans dream .Keep up the excellent work peace clammy
  • jeffjeff Member Posts: 545
    never a day goes by

    that I don't learn something new. Just goes to show that if you couldn't do it twnety years ago. it doesn't mean ya can't do it today
  • bobbob Member Posts: 306
    You need to

    watch bend radius, especialy when bending hard drawn tube.
  • bobbob Member Posts: 306

    Recommended minimum radius from Copper Development Assoc.
  • billygoat22billygoat22 Member Posts: 124

    I've bent 1 1/2" type l before. annealed it to bend offsets into it to move against a wall where it came outside to the ht pumps. I annealed a wedge shaped area-larger on the inside of bend and only a small bit on the outside- and bent toward the soft area so the copper wasn't "streched" out thinner.
    In my case it was for refrigerant piping so bled nitrogen through while heating.
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