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How do you bend PVC pipe?

Thorondor

Active member
#1
Not actually an RC question, but I thought this community would have some answers regardless. I want to make one of those foam and PVC pipe swords for casual backyard sparring, but I wanna be different and give it a curved hilt Count Dooku style. Is there a good way to bend PVC pipe without weakening it?
 

Tench745

Well-known member
#3
hot/nearly boiling water will soften the pipe up enough to bend. Obviously be careful with the hot water.
Boiling water works well. If you need to do a bunch of bends you'll have to have a way to keep the water warm as you work. A heat gun works well too, but you have to be a little more careful not to scorch or deform the PVC.

Edit: My wife wanted to cosplay as Bo-Peep, so I bent up some 3/4" PVC for her shepherd's crook. I tried the boiling water trick at first, but it softened too large of an area to manipulate it nicely. And after the first or second bend the water had cooled off too much. I ended up just using a heat gun. Be aware that the heat gun will release more plastic fumes than the water method.
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Paracodespoder

Well-known member
#4
Heat gun for sure, I have made several pvc recurve and reflex bows with the heat gun, I would think it would be very hard to heat a large area with water. If you don’t have a heat gun I have seen people use a stove-top burner. Just my two cents, experiment and decide what works best for you.
 

Merv

Well-known member
#5
I've seen people use hot sand. Heat the sand, pour it into the pipe, if necessary use a heat gun to finish heating.
The sand keeps the pipe round.

 
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Keno

Well-known member
#7
If you check with Loews or Home Depot you find that it is normally done with heated pad rapped around the place that you want to bend. But probably the cost will make you think of buying. I use a heat gun but you have to be careful as it is difficult to heat the area that you need to bend. Like all of sudden it bends only in one place It need a bit of practice but it does work.
 

Thorondor

Active member
#8
I think I'm just gonna use a heat gun. There's only going to be on curve because I'm following the proportions from a legit sparring lightsaber (specifically the Bane from Saberforge). Also, I'm not cosplaying or anything, I just wanna have some casual duels in the backyard with a nifty curved hilt.
 

Thorondor

Active member
#10
be careful with the bending as you can weaken the pipe doing this which could cause unexpected pipe failures.
That's why I'm trying to find a way to do it without weakening it. Perhaps a lower temperature and slower bending would keep it stronger?
 

Thorondor

Active member
#12
The curved hilt lightsaber actually came out pretty good. The grip feels nice and ergonomic and it doesn't feel any weaker than the other sections of the pipe. That being said, I have come to the conclusion that either lightsaber blades are weightless or Count Dooku has the strongest wrists in the galaxy.
 

Thorondor

Active member
#19