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Bending brass tubing


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  #1  
Old 07-01-2008, 08:26 PM
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John Davis John Davis is offline
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Default Bending brass tubing

I have some 1/4 inch 330 alloy brass tubing with a wall thickness of .065 that I would like to bend. I did a search here on the forum about bending brass tubing and found a little information. I still have not decided if I'm going to anneal the tubing first or just try to bend it with out annealing it. I would like the tubing to be easy to bend. I do have to make some 90 degree bends. Can I anneal one whole section of tubing at one time? maybe like a two foot long piece. Can the brass tubing be annealed in a oven? What temperature? How long?

Any input or suggestions on this matter would be appreciated.
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:57 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

Heat brass to a dull red to aneal. Cooling is optional and usually done for handling purposes. If worked a lot you may have to aneal again. Try to make a bend without stopping if possible.
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:29 PM
Mac Leod Mac Leod is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

I have heard of filling tubing with water and freezing then bending in order to prevent kinks. Sand is also supposed to work.

hope this helps

Mac Leod
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:42 PM
SteveK SteveK is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

I know that some musical instruments made of brass have tubing that was bent after being filled with water and frozen. I dont think they cap the tubing to hold the water in as this would blow the tube apart when it froze maybe you could cap or pinch one end and place it on an incline it the freezer to hold water but allow expansion.
Steve
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:55 PM
Don C. Wiley Don C. Wiley is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

John;

Right up front, I want to say I've not done this so don't blame me if it doesn't work. I have bent copper tubing with good results, but you don't need to anneal copper, if you use the soft type.

Check this site and it gives some good advice on bending brass tubing.
http://www.rcboataholic.com/faq/bending_tubing.htm

A tubing bender is almost a must to make neat professional bends. I got mine from good "ole" Harbor Freight.

"DELCO DON" Southern Illinois
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:26 AM
Christian Berlin Christian Berlin is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

heat it up i bend my brass without heating i just put it in my house and get it to room temp
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:50 AM
CODY K CODY K is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

i use a ridgid 1/4 inch tubing bender, i got it of ebay for $15 makes great little bends and does not kink cody
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:06 AM
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Rob Skinner Rob Skinner is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

Cody's idea sounds good.

If you're in a hurry, try what I've used for bending iron pipe around a tight radius. Make a mandrel by first turning a piece of round stock to the desired diameter of your bend. Then make a cutting tool with a semi-circular edge, just a little larger than the diameter of the pipe to bend. Plunge the tool into your mandrel until the depth of the groove is a little more than the radius of the pipe.

Heating the iron pipe helps to control the bending to exactly where you want it. You'll have to experiment with the brass to get the best effect.
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Old 07-02-2008, 06:32 PM
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Gene O. Carpenter Gene O. Carpenter is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

John,
Check this link out..I've got 2 of the one in the center and although I've never used it to bend brass I have used it numerous times to bend copper refrigeration tubing and steel tubing for fuel lines and break lines..It works great! I tell you what, I've got some thin wall brass tbng that I used for cartridge tubes for one of my tubular mag 22 cal rifles..If I can lay my hands on both the tbng and the bender I'll try to put a bend in a length..Will post results later..

http://www.northerntool.com enter Tubing Bender--I had the page and all but it won't appear hereon...


ADDEM!!
Didn't work!! I tried it twice at ambient temp and it flattens out and kinks.. Then I heated it cherry red, let it cool to about 150* and quickly inserted in the bender and the same thing happened!
I don't know if a long coil spring, like a screen door spring, would work or not but the plumbers had a set of specially made springs just for bending copper tubing/pipe..It had a flare on one end to aid in removing the spring after the bend was made. The trick was to remember to have that flare toward the shortest end of the tube..
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Last edited by Gene O. Carpenter; 07-02-2008 at 07:09 PM. Reason: Added results of bending experiment...
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  #10  
Old 07-02-2008, 06:38 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

I've bent brake lines close to the nut by putting fittings on each end and pumping it full of grease, bleed the air out and pressure it up. The grease prevents a kink.
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:37 PM
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

I have used the ice method with copper 1/4.

Its a matter of working quickly if the ice starts to melt it will slide inthe tube and kink.

My best bends were done on the front step in sub zero temperature. That way I could take my time and work at it.

Managed to do some at room temperature but your working time is very limited.
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:51 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Bending brass tubing

If OD size is critical, do not freeze - it will expand the pipe slightly. Use a tubing bender, such as the above mentioned Rigid, it will not flatten the pipe on the radius, as it will do on a mandril. The Rigid is marked as for 22.5, 45, 60, 90, 112.5, 135, and 150 degree bends, and can do 180 degree return bends with a 1.25" radius, for the 1/4" diameter tubing. They also make a 3/8" bender with the same degree marking, and it has a 1.5"radius return bend. If you anneal the brass, be careful not to overheat, as you will vaporize the zinc in the brass and make the tubing porous.
Andrew
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:05 AM
Keith Keith is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

John,
I am not familiar with 330 Brass, so I have no idea whether it is a hard or soft alloy. One thing I have done in the past, when bending a tight radius in stainless tubing, was to fill the area of the bend with solder. After bending, I melted the solder out. It kept the tubing from flattening and kinking. Attached is a picture of a T Fairbanks Hot Tube.
Keith,
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:31 AM
Nick Lingg Nick Lingg is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

There are only 3 things to know about bending brass:

1 - aneal

2 - Aneal

3 - ANEAL
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:24 PM
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John Davis John Davis is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

Thanks for the info everyone.

I was hoping that I could anneal full lengths of brass tubing like two or three foot long using a oven but I guess most ovens will not get hot enough. Annealing temperatures are (800 to 1100 degrees) melting temperature is (1650 degrees). Guess I would have to use a furnace of some type. Not sure if I want to get that envolved. I have four oil lines to make with multiple bends. Probably just use a torch and a tubing bender maybe some lead filler.
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:56 PM
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Gene O. Carpenter Gene O. Carpenter is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

Is there any reason you can't switch to copper? It's much easier to work!
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:17 PM
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Walt Beeman Walt Beeman is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

This might be a dumb question, but, can you make your lines out of copper, which is much easier to work with, and then get them brass plated, is that possible?

Keep Enjoying Old Iron,
Walt Beeman
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Old 07-04-2008, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Mackey View Post
If OD size is critical, do not freeze - it will expand the pipe slightly. Use a tubing bender, such as the above mentioned Rigid, it will not flatten the pipe on the radius, as it will do on a mandril. The Rigid is marked as for 22.5, 45, 60, 90, 112.5, 135, and 150 degree bends, and can do 180 degree return bends with a 1.25" radius, for the 1/4" diameter tubing. They also make a 3/8" bender with the same degree marking, and it has a 1.5"radius return bend. If you anneal the brass, be careful not to overheat, as you will vaporize the zinc in the brass and make the tubing porous.
Andrew
Not sure about the expansion rate after freezing but ice does slide out the ends of the pipe.
I start with a U shape full of water and let that freeze usualy I get 1/2 of ice out of of the pipe ends combined for a foot or two of pipe.
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Old 07-04-2008, 09:43 AM
Daniel Dorece Daniel Dorece is offline
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Default Re: Bending brass tubing

What you want is a low melting point alloy called Cerobend. It is available from McMaster Carr for about $30.00 a lb. It melts in boiling water and can be used over and over. I have about 2 lbs. of it that I have used for fixturing odd shaped parts for milling and it has been melted thousands of times and is still useable. I poured some in a piece of 1/4 in. copper tube once and actually tied it in a knot without kinking ir flattening it. After you are done shaping the tube just drop it in a pot of boiling water and the metal will melt right out.
Iron Wolf
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Old 07-05-2008, 06:17 PM
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John Davis John Davis is offline
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Photo Re: Bending brass tubing

The reason I did not want to use copper. Brass looks so much better.

The engine I'm restoring has a lot of brass on it already or more so then most engines. This engine is a ground up restoration and should be a very nice show piece. All the brass will be polished.

Daniel, we use some stuff at work called Ostaloy which is pretty close to what you are talking about. However it is a little on the brittle side not sure if it would work or not.

I bent all the brass today and it worked great! Here is what me and my Dad did.

First I did a 90 degree test bend on the 1/4 inch tubing just as it came from the factory. You could bend it with a tubing bender but it was tough and very hard.

Then we heated the tubing with the torch till it was cherry red and then let it cool to room temperature. What a difference when we did another test bend very easy to bend and work with.

Discovered that you only need to heat the tubing to where it just starts to turn red. It's almost like a straw color with just a very slight red tent to it.

We annealed sections that were two and three foot long just work your way down the length with the torch and then let it cool to room temperature. You can actually do slight bends with you hands. I did 9/16 radius bends with no problem.

We were using 330 alloy brass tubing 1/4 inch OD with .065 wall thickness (annealed). I plan on getting some .032 wall thickness and trying it also. I don't think it will be any problem as long as it has been annealed.


Last edited by John Davis; 07-05-2008 at 06:23 PM.
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