Because of its strength, resistance to wetness and electricity and low cost, PVC piping is a commonly used material with many applications. Home uses include installing plumbing, internal cable wiring and gardening. It’s also great for DIY projects like making a custom storage unit or lawn furniture, or building a makeshift gazebo tent.
PVC is very rigid in its structure and comes preformed in only so many varieties. There are many adaptors and other attachments used to route multiple pieces together in different formations, diversifying the possible shapes of the overall PVC structure or passage system, in the case of moving fluids. However, the more connections and pieces there are, the higher the chances of leaks and attachments becoming disconnected. Not only that, but sometimes it’s impossible to achieve ideal shapes for the project at hand using only the piping and attachments available at local hardware stores and the like.
This is where bending the PVC yourself is hugely beneficial. Shaping the piping into the perfect contour for the job can save you time, frustration and money.
The process is as simple as applying heat to the pipe, bending it into the desired shape and letting it cool so it hardens and remains in the contour permanently.
It is ideal to test the process one or two times on scrap PVC before working with material you actually need for your project. To bend the PVC, you will need to use a heat gun to soften the material enough to shape it.
Master Appliance’s HG Heat Gun works perfectly due to its high airflow and robust heat.
In a well-ventilated area, plug in the heat gun, prepare your PVC and put on a pair of heavy-duty, heat-resistant gloves.
Hold the heat gun 3 to 4 inches above the PVC and move it side to side along the pipe, about 12 inches depending on the size of the bend you hope to achieve. After a few passes, rotate the pipe so a different side of the same section is heated.
Repeat this process until the material has softened to an acceptable level. The pipe will begin to visibly sag under the heat. Once you notice this happen along much of the surface intended to be bent, you can stop.
It’s possible for the gun to create burn spots if the heat is too intense. In the majority of the cases, the spots are merely cosmetic and do not affect the strength or solidity of the pipe once cooled. They can generally be painted over if need be or left altogether if they will not be seen.
With the gloves still on, grab the PVC near the edges of the softened portion. Slowly bend the pipe in the desired shape.
Note: During this portion of the process, it is possible to kink the PVC, even when using careful and deliberate movements. If this occurs, using sand could be the solution. At the beginning of the process, fill the entire length of the pipe compactly with sand and cap both ends. Heat the pipe in the normal manner and continue through the next steps. The sand creates a tight filament that prevents the PVC from kinking during the bend.
Once you have formed the pipe into the ideal shape, hold the pipe in your hands for a short time to prevent it from trying to bend out of shape.
Once you have achieved your desired configuration, you must let it cool down. Hose the pipe down with cool water, place wet rags over the heated bend or simply let it sit in a well-ventilated area to cool on its own.
Contact the experts at Master Appliance today for the latest heat gun technology. With plenty of options to choose from, there’s a heat gun that’s perfect for your application.