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Machine Shop and Tool Talk

Copper Line Repair

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Old 11-01-2017, 07:43:43 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Copper Line Repair

I wish I had taken a before picture. I bought this IR compressor for 1/2 price, it had been knocked over and mashed a line shut and broke the control box. I removed the line, cut the fins away from the damaged area, heated it dull red to anneal it. I screwed a pipe cap on one end, fittings on the other end to reduce it to 1/8" pipe. I filled it with water and installed a grease zerk, pumped it with grease and the dent came right out, wasn't worried about cosmetics but with a little more time it could have been near perfect.
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:30:18 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Copper Line Repair

That's a nice looking repair. I've had luck in the past getting dents out of copper tubing by forcing some bearing balls similar in size to the pipe's ID through the pipe. I suppose if I got lucky and the balls were an exact fit I could use grease to push the balls but as a general rule I do not get lucky.

You say you heated the tube to anneal it, but you do not mention quenching the hot metal. I've reused copper head gaskets on British motorcycles and the instruction was always to heat then quench, just the opposite of what you'd do with ferrous metals. I've always gotten a good seal using this approach so I know it works. But once I tried to bend some thin wall copper plumbing pipe and didn't manage to get it to work. I annealed the same way, heat/quench, then to add to it I filled the pipe with sand and plugged the ends. I used a properly sized bender but still the pipe kinked every time.

p.s. Pay close attention to the fittings at the end of the pipe. If it took a big wallop those might be distorted and so leaky. In the past I have had occasional success in restoring the damaged ends by driving a close fitting mandrel with a slight taper into the end of the pipe.
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Old 11-02-2017, 04:55:21 AM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Copper Line Repair

A friend used the ball bearing method to straighten a brass pipe manifold on a marine engine. He made a push pipe with a matching flange on one end, a nut on the other. A piece of all thread pushed the proper sized greased balls through, next smaller balls were pushed through. I thought of that for this pipe but it was fairly long with the bend 1/3 of the way. The fittings were used to hold the water and grease, I think they will be OK. Annealing non ferrous metals happens when the temperature is reached, cooling is only for convenience and doesn't affect the results. Ammo re-loaders use a setup with the casings passing a torch and then knocked into water, the water just makes it possible to pick the shells up quickly. Look up annealing non ferrous metals.
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