(1) Copper tubes of types M and DWV must not be bent. (2) Bends in soft or bending temper copper tubing must be created with equipment designed and sized for the purpose. (3) Bent copper piping should be allowed to cool off completely before handling, because it will be more difficult to work with when hot.
There are several methods used by plumbers to connect pipes together. They include soldering, welding, brazing, and coupling. The type of joint that is made between two lengths of pipe depends on what method is used by painters to paint houses. If the pipes are to be soldered together, then a solder fitting is used. This fitting has a hollow center filled with solder during installation. A wicked solder tail is also attached to each side of the fitting for removal after flow has been stopped. If anti-siphon valves are required, then they are usually installed by cutting holes in the sides of the solder fitting near the ground. Water entering the fitting through one hole will siphon through the other and into the neighboring pipe. This prevents water from entering the neighbor's home through an adjacent pipe that may be disconnected at some point.
If instead of using solder, the pipes are to be welded together, then a union connection is needed. These are available in threaded and unthreaded varieties.
Copper can be molded as requested on the job site because to its remarkable formability. A correctly bent copper tube will not buckle on the inside of the curve and will not collapse on the outside of the bend. With the proper hand benders, both annealed and hard-drawn tubes may be bent.... Rigid copper piping is commonly used for underground service lines because it does not get damaged when exposed to sunlight like plastic pipes do. Also unlike plastic, it will not break down over time.
Annealed copper has a soft, white color and will gradually turn black with age. It is recommended for use where aesthetic quality is not important, such as in outdoor applications where it will not need to withstand intense heat or extreme cold. Because of its low resistance to corrosion, it should never be placed in water that contains high levels of acid or alkaline substances. Copper tubing that has been galvanized provides permanent protection against oxidation and corrosion if you keep the zinc coating thick enough. Galvanizing also makes the tubing more flexible at lower temperatures.
Hard-drawn copper has a bright gold color and is much harder than annealed copper. It is recommended for use in situations where aesthetics are important, such as in indoor plumbing systems where it will need to withstand heat from lights and appliances. The hardness of hard-drawn copper means it can handle higher pressure than annealed copper without breaking. It is also less likely to kink while still maintaining its shape under stress.
With the proper hand benders, both annealed and hard-drawn tubes may be bent. Each size of tube must be bent with the appropriate size bender. Annealed copper can be straightened out again without losing its shape, while hardened copper cannot be restored to its original shape.
When bending copper, it is important to heat it only enough to make it pliable enough to work with, but not so much that it starts to burn. The flame should be very hot, but not so hot that you risk burning yourself. If you do get burned, wash the area immediately with soap and water to prevent further damage. Copper burns easily and quickly if not treated properly after it has been exposed to heat.
Hard-drawn copper has a natural spring in it when it's new, but over time this natural spring action becomes less strong, so it needs to be re-strengthened periodically by heating it up and letting it cool down before bending it again. Once it has been drawn into tubing, it cannot be softened back to its original state. Rather, it stays as shaped copper that can be used for other purposes or melted down and recast.
Copper has many useful applications in modern technology and architecture. It can be used for piping, heating systems, electrical wiring, and more.
Copper, while soft, is not supple enough to bend smoothly and properly on its own. Bending copper pipe without the use of appropriate equipment or processes frequently ends in the pipe collapsing. Rather than a continuous curve, the pipe will pinch and fold at the appropriate bend point. It's usually not the appearance you desire for crafts.
However, if you are going to force it then you should probably wear protective gear. The metal can be very sharp when it is still warm from being inside the body. Even with protection you should avoid bending any copper pipe that has electrical power running through it. If you do so then you may get a shock. That could be painful if you touch another part of the pipe at the same time.
The best way to bend copper pipe is with a copper bender. These tools look like large pliers but instead of having hard, fixed jaws, one side is a roll-bar that bends around the other piece as you pull it toward you.
You can also bend pipe by hand but it is difficult and time-consuming. There are special techniques that can make things easier such as first heating the pipe and then bending it.
Copper plumbing pipe may be bent appropriately using a bending spring or a special plumber's pipe bender, reducing the number of fittings required. This is one of the reasons plumbers bend pipes instead of just cutting the pipe and inserting a bend fitting such as an elbow into the run to change direction. The other reason is so that they can use standard size fittings on the end of the pipe. If all they had was a bend fitting, they would need a special sized fitting for every angle they wanted to turn the water to.
Bending doesn't damage the metal piping. In fact, it helps prevent corrosion since there are less sharp edges exposed to the water. But do not force a pipe to take a curve that it isn't designed to handle or you could cause stress marks in the wall or floor when the pipe expands or contracts with changes in temperature.
Corrosion is the main problem with copper plumbing. Because it is such a reactive material, it will react with acids and allow them to drain away from the tank into the ground. This is especially important if you have a septic system. If you don't remove the acidity from your sewer system, it will destroy the bacteria that break down sewage matter in your home's wastewater treatment facility.
The best way to avoid having to bend your copper plumbing is to replace it with plastic pipe.