Bending PVC for intake and output lines
I got sick of the standard Fluval output on my cansiter filter and decided to make my own by bending PVC. Now this takes some practice and you will ruin a few sections of pvc learning. I used 3/4" pipe because my filter uses 5/8" tube and bending the pipe will slightly reduce its inner diameter and could restrict flow. It's also easy to stretch 5/8" ID tube over a 3/4" barb fitting with some hot water. Also 3/4" fittings and pipe are very common. Here's what you need:
1. PVC pipe
2. Cheap heat gun or powerful hair dryer
3. A spring that is fairly floppy but is compressed so that each loop is touching the next (see in picture). It needs to be about as long as the piece you want to bend and it needs to be slightly smaller in diameter than the pipe you are bending.
4. Something with about a 1.5" -2" diameter to assist in bending the pipe. I just used a larger piece of pvc, but something like a can would work.
5. Leather gloves for safety
1. Cut the PVC tube to roughly the length of spring you have. Insert the spring into the pipe and get those gloves on.
2. Heat the pipe with the heat gun evenly around the pipe and across the entire area that will be bent (6" or more depending on what you're working with). This step requires that you work somewhat slowly because it is going to take a couple minutes or more to get the pipe soft for bending.
3. Test the readiness of the pipe by lightly pushing one end of it against the ground or table you are working on. When it is ready to bend it will still have some light resistance, but be flexible. If it bends like butter, or burns, you have added too much heat.
4. Once there is enough heat put the heat gun down and go to the object you will bend it around (you can just bend it by "eye," but it's harder and can look ugly). Grab both ends of the pipe and gently bend it over your forming object. Once the desired bend is made take the pipe to the sink and run cold water over it while forcing its shape. As soon as it holds its shape on its own pull the spring out so that it does not get stuck.
I can generally get the pipe bent to almost 180 degrees without getting the spring stuck.
Glue on whatever fittings need/want and you have a nice sturdy intake or output. You can also use a paint like Krylon fusion and paint it black or whatever color you like. If you use a 90 degree elbow on the output I recommend not gluing it so that you can change flow direction if needed. Anyways, you can take this and run with it!