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This guide is designed to be friendly, knowledgable and to provide options for different people from all settings and backgrounds. Whether you're a first time PVC builder, who has never picked up any type of tool, or a seasoned PVC enthusiast or maker who uses PVC in everyday ideas and activities, this guide should provide a general manual to bending PVC pipe products.
First, we'll cover all the basics, like general safety instructions. Then we'll discuss the principle behind how bending PVC works and how to bend using the most common method. Finally, we'll talk about some additional PVC manipulation methods for finishing up the bending process.
If your questions are not addressed here, feel free to contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be glad to help.
We previously put all of our PVC tips online, in a basic HTML Web page format, however, we found that many of our users needed a printable copy that could by taken to the garage, workshop or a location where the cutting, assembling or pipe painting was being performed, away from a PC. This latest edition solves that problem, giving our end-users a printable 'field manual' that can be taken along with them to wherever they choose to construct their creations.
Additionally, we address some additional questions that have been raised about PVC pipe bending since the development of our original online-only tips.
PVC is a thermoplastic and bends well to create different shapes and angles which can be used for a variety of projects and purposes. Bending PVC requires some time to learn the skill of bending PVC and often takes some trial and error.
PVC bends easily under heat, however, it is not solid and has no interior support structure, therefore certain steps need to be performed to keep the pipe structure stable while bending. If steps are not taken to keep the PVC solid, the pipe will collapse in on itself and leave an undesirable fold in the pipe.
Consideration for safety is also important when bending PVC pipe. When heated, the molecular structure of certain elements of PVC change, releasing some of its chemicals into the air, and with long term exposure, could be harmful.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided within this manual is for informational purposes only. FORMUFIT accepts no responsibility, and is excluded from all liability for damage and/or loss which may be suffered by any other party as a result of using or in connection with such use or loss of use of this information, including but not limited to loss of profit, loss of opportunity, loss of business, indirect damages, incidental damages, special or consequential loss, injury or loss of life.
As with any manual that involves PVC, especially involving heating and bending, safety needs to be discussed.
When bending PVC with any tool, safety needs to be monitored. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your hand or power tools. Failure to do so could cause bodily harm. In addition, the following precautions should be followed:
Always be aware of where your hands are when heating PVC pipe with a heat gun or torch. Heat guns and torches can severely burn skin and other parts of your body.
Wear safety glasses, goggles or other eye protection when bending PVC pipe, as PVC pipe, when soft can spring back into the eyes or face during the physical bending process.
Always wear a mask or respirator when heating PVC pipe. PVC, when heated to its melting point, can also emit chlorine gas, which over repeated exposure, can be dangerous. Heat and bend PVC outside.
While FORMUFIT Furniture Grade PVC is nontoxic and completely safe for adults, kids and pets, Plumbing-Grade PVC pipe from your hardware store or home center does carry additional warnings.
All PVC contains chlorine (Cl), including FORMUFIT products. At ambient temperatures the chlorine is a solid, is stable, and is not released from the PVC pipe. When PVC is heated however, the chlorine can turn from a solid into a gas and be released from the pipe.
Limited exposure is not harmful, but it is recommend that a high-quality breathing mask or respirator be used, or that work be performed outdoors. This is especially true when using plumbing-grade PVC pipe.
PVC bends very well to create different shapes and angles which can be used for a variety of projects and purposes. It's ability to bend in practically any angle or shape using only heat gives it just that much more diversity over other materials like wood and metal.
There are some basic requirements to understand before bending PVC pipe:
Currently, for bending PVC pipe, we only recommend one method at this time:
Bending PVC using a PVC bending jig is the easiest and most secure way to bend PVC pipe. It does however, require some creative abilities to build the jig itself.
Bending the pipe is easiest to do when you leave a specific amount of excess on each end. This will allow you to make your bend, and then cut the ends appropriate to your applications needs.
You can download an Adobe PDF document which has the measurements and materials required to build the PVC Bending Jig used in this guide from the FORMUFIT website.
CAUTION: Be sure to perform these steps outdoors, or use a respirator. Also, be sure to keep a good hold on the PVC until it has cooled to avoid it springing back and causing injury.
Place an end cap over one end of the PVC pipe segment to be bent, or use duct tape to wrap and secure the end.
Pour sand or cat litter into the opposite end of the pipe until it is completely full.
Shake to distribute and top off if necessary. Fill the entire pipe.
Place an additional end cap over the remaining open end of the PVC pipe segment, or wrap and secure the open end with duct tape.
Begin heating the PVC pipe with a heat gun or propane torch along the area to be bent, in a sweeping motion to avoid scorching the pipe.
Apply heat until the area becomes pliable to the touch of a finger.
Once the desired softness of the PVC pipe is achieved, place the softened area into the joint position on the PVC bending jig.
Work quickly as PVC can cool very fast.
Using the force of your hand, move the top part of the jig to the desired angle and hold in this position for one (1) minute or longer, or until cooled. You can use a pin or bolt to keep the pipe in this position.
Allow the PVC pipe to cool completely before releasing.
Remove the end caps or duct tape and sand from the pipe. Clean the interior of the pipe if necessary.
Perform the cuts on each end of the angle, according to your project's needs.
Always make the cuts you need after you bend the PVC into the desired angle. This will make sure that any changes in the pipe shape, as well as the proper positioning of the angle, do not affect the overall needs of your pipe segment lengths for your project.
If you've read through this guide and still have questions, feel free to contact us. We are constantly revising our documents and website with information provided from users just like you.
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