Copper Tube Bending Tools and Methods

There are four methods for bending soft copper tubing. Copper tubing can be bent to the correct measurement using a lever type bending tool, a ratcheting type tubing bender, a spring tube bender, or by manually bending the tubing by hand. Step-by-step instructions for tube bending are listed below. Small Lever Type Tube Bender 1. Small Lever Type Tube Bender: This type of tube bending tool is designed to bend soft copper tubing with an OD of ¼”, 5/16”, or 3/8”. The copper tube is placed into the tool to the desired length, the lever is swung over the tubing to be bent, and then the bend is made by pushing the two handles toward eachother. • Mark the tubing to the desired length using a ruler/tape measure. • Keep the arm for stabilizing the tool pointed downward. The rounded part of the tool with the degree markings can face to the right. The bending lever is disengaged at the top and should be loose. • Insert the tubing into the tool from the left. The left hand side is where the tubing is installed on the unit. The right hand side is where you would like to bend the tubing. The sharpie mark on the tube should be at the distance you want the center of the tube to be at after the tube is turned 90 degrees. • Line up the mark on the tube with the rounded edge of the tool on the right hand side. This should also line up with the L mark on the bending handle. • Slowly push the bending lever downward toward the other handle. • Continue pushing on the tube until it is bent to the desired angle. To bend a 90° angle, line up the 0° on the bending handle with the 90° on the rounded part of the tool. • Lift the bending lever up out of the way and remove the tubing from the tool. • The measurement from the end of the tube on the left to the center of the bent tube on the right should be the same as marked beforehand. In our example that distance is 8”. Large Lever Type Tube Bender 2. Large Lever Type Tube Bender: The ¾” copper tubing is placed into the tool to the desired length, the lever is placed where the tubing will be bent, and then the bend is made. • The arm to stabilize the tool can be pointed downward, the rounded part of the tool with the degree markings can face to the right, and the bending lever should be swung upward, out of the way. • Measure the desired length from the center of the existing lefthand bend to the right where the bend will be made. Mark the tube on the right at a distance where you want the center of the new bend to be. • Insert the tubing into the tool and and swing the bending arm over to hold the tube in place. • Line up the mark on the tube (where the bend will be) with the rounded edge of the tool that is farthest to the right of the tool. • Slowly pull the bending lever downward toward the stationary handle. • Continue pulling down on the tubing until it is bent to the desired angle. To bend a 90° angle, pull the bending lever downward until the mark on the bending lever lines up with the 90° mark on the rounded section of the tool. • Swing the bending lever back to its original position pointing to the left, and remove the tubing from the tool. • Measure from the center of the vertical section on the left to the center of the downward section on the right to confirm the tubing is bent at the correct distance. In our example, that distance is 12”. Ratcheting Tube Bender 3. Ratcheting Tube Bender: This tool is capable of bending soft copper tubing with an OD range from 3/8” up to 1 1/8”. • Select the correct sized mandrel and cross section that correspond to the OD of the tubing to be bent. For example, ¾” OD copper tubing necessitates using a ¾" mandrel and a 3/4" cross-section mounted to the tool. • Put the mandrel securely in place so it moves smoothly while ratcheting. • Place the cross-section onto the bolt and tighten the wing nut. • Measure and mark where the bend in the tubing is to be. In this case, it is 9” from the left. • The direction from which the tubing is placed in the tool, determines which line on the mandrel is used to align to the marking on the tubing. In the picture below, the mark lines up with the line on the right. It may be hard to see but there are two lines on the black mandrel. One line is on the left of the mandrel's white numbers and the other line is on the right of these numbers. • The mark on the tube should always be aligned with the line on the mandrel that is farthest from the existing end of the tube. • Once the marking is aligned with the line, ratchet up the mandrel until the tubing is bent to the desired angle. • Use a right angle measuring tool to confirm that the bend is 90 degrees and that the center of the tube on the right is the required distance. In this case, it is 9"from the exisitng left hand side. Spring Tube Bender 4. Spring Tube Bender: This tool is used to ensure that kinking in the tubing does not occur when manually bending the tubing. • Insert the tube into the spring tube bender. • Use one hand to put downward pressure on the spring tube bender. • Simultaneously use the other hand to bend the tube upwards to the desired angle. • Constantly move the downward pressure hand along the spring bending tool from one end to the other, until the tube is bent to the desired angle. • To remove the spring tool from the pipe, hold one end of the spring tool while turning the other end of the spring to uncoil it slightly. This takes the pressure off of the spring so the spring can slide off of the tube. NOTE: Soft copper tubing can be bent manually without using a spring tube bender. The same technique as described above is used. However, there is a greater chance that a kink in the tubing will occur when only hands are used. Tubing that has been bent manually without using a spring bending tool is usually a tad wider than tubing that has been bent using a spring bending. Hand Bending Looking for a video based example of Copper Bending Tools and Methods? Check out our "Copper Bending Tools and Methods!" Video below! If you want to learn about refrigerants and how they work in a system, check out our “Refrigerant Charging and Service Procedures for Air Conditioning” book . Test your knowledge with our 1,000 question workbook along with the answer key! We also have quick reference cards for use out in the field! Bundle Packs are a great way to save and get faster shipping! Check out www.acservicetech.com/store Check out our free Quizzes to test your knowledge here! Check out our Free Calculators here! Tools that we use: www.amazon.com/shop/acservicetech Follow us on Facebook for Quick Tips and Updates here! Follow us on Instagram! Published: 06/08/2022 Author: Craig Migliaccio About the Author: Craig is the owner of AC Service Tech LLC and the Author of the book “Refrigerant Charging and Service Procedures for Air Conditioning”. Craig is a licensed Teacher of HVACR, Sheet Metal, and Building Maintenance in the State of New Jersey of the USA. He is also an HVACR Contracting Business owner of 16 years and holds an NJ HVACR Master License. Craig creates educational HVACR articles and videos which are posted at https://www.acservicetech.com & https://www.youtube.com/acservicetechchannel & https://www.facebook.com/acservicetech/

Copper Tube Bending Tools and Methods