Bending PVC for intake and output lines - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Bending PVC for intake and output lines

Hey People!

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

Steps:
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!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 11:34 PM
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I opened this thread thinking you were asking. But you got it. Looks good. This makes adding a pvc spray bar very easy also.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 12:55 AM
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Maximum diameter you'd feel comfortable attempting this with? I'm imagining it would be fairly limited.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 01:20 AM
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I work at a pipe plant we bend pvc on most of the machines here. Your technique is very close to what we do here Springs and all. We bend 1/2 pvc all the way to 12"

The only thing I would add the this is if you want to bend close to the pipe ends to dip the ends in water so that you won't distort the pipe ends while heating. Or dip some couplings in water and put them on the pipe ends.

We bend pvc pipe up to 4" using this technique (sch40) but we use ovens to heat the pipe not hairdryers lol.

Nice post man.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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Ahhh that's good to know!!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 03:10 AM
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Nice job!!! I use a similar method but use fine sand to fill the pipe, cap both ends and heat the PVC with a heat gun and use a metal can to bend the pipe around.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post
Nice job!!! I use a similar method but use fine sand to fill the pipe, cap both ends and heat the PVC with a heat gun and use a metal can to bend the pipe around.
Necessity is the mother of all inventions
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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I made another one to hook up to a little overflow. Don't mind the tank, I didn't maintenance it all last summer/fall lol. The pipes are kind of ugly but super durable and functional which is awesome!

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