Bending copper pipe

I’ve finished the preparations for bending the ring of 15mm copper pipe I need for my coat stand.

First, I used a 90° router bit to cut a V in the edge of the MDF former.

V groove in edge of former disc

Then I designed and 3D-printed a roller with a profile to match the copper pipe, and attached it to a pivot bolt in the centre of the former using Dexion-type angled steel strips. The roller can rotate around this pivot, leaving space for the pipe running around the edge of the former in the V groove.

I need something to hold the end of the pipe in a fixed position against the former while the roller is rotated to press the pipe into the V. I’ve used a wooden block with a hole drilled down the middle and then cut into two pieces. The larger piece, with a half-pipe void running down it, is screwed onto the edge of the former with triangular plates I found in the garage – I think we used them to make a long-dismantled futon base in the 80s. I then made the smaller piece of wood wedge-shaped, so it can be pushed into place as far as is necessary to hold the end of the pipe tangentially against the edge of the former.

The final step has been whittling a couple of wine corks down to fit the ends of the copper pipe, and drying out a few litres of builders’ sand in the sun before sieving it to get the lumps out. I’ll fill a generous length of pipe with sand and cork the ends to stop it escaping. This may not be necessary – when a pipe is bent into a fairly large radius with its walls well supported externally, it shouldn’t buckle, but I don’t want to take any chances. Supporting the walls internally with sand seems like an easy, cheap precaution.

I have no idea whether this will work, but it’ll be fun finding out.

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About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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