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Discuss Anyone got any idea how this weird Italian bender works? in the Plumbing Tools area at PlumbersForums.net

Ric2013

Plumber
Messages
2,461
Hi everyday peeps,

I need to correct a mistake in the heating system in my dad's flat which has two radiators connected with flow in at bottom and return from the same end at the top. Nothing wrong with TBSE in the right setting, but best not to have the flow and reversed messed up!

Easiest, if not the best, way to correct seems to be to cross two two parallel pipes that bring the flow and return around the room over one another, so I thought I'd pull an offset and an offet bridge and solder them into the straight runs and that would do. Wouldn't be any worse than the rest of the pipework.

A retired plumber has kindly lent me a 16mm pipe bender (at first glance it looks like the Monument bender) and some offcuts of 16mm tube and I thought I'd pull the bends today.

Then I looked at the bender and realised it was a design that is actually somewhat different to the UK type. I wonder if it's a really poor Italian design or if I'm just being a stick-in-the-mud and need to open my mind a bit. I've tried resting the bottom of the former on the floor and pressing down on the handles, but, while the bend has started slightly, I'm not heavy enough to bend the pipe that way. Tube is 16mm x 1mm. Those handles are about 12" long. Ideas appreciated.
SAM_6042.JPG
 

Ric2013

Plumber
Messages
2,461
Is their copper tube suitable for bending? You could try annealing it to get it softer.
That's what I'm wondering. Whether the idea is that you don't need a strong bender because you'd work with fully annealed pipe. One plumber said he annealed it always, but the bender he used was more like the one I used at college for steel pipe, so didn't support the pipe like this one does.

It's looking like I'm going to have to ask the chap who lent me this in the first place, though I'd be surprised if you need toi anneal, as he's the kind of person that would have lent me a blowtorch as well had he thought I'd need it. I'm just thinking it's a very odd design.
 
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Messages
1,785
Annealing would be my first guess too. Have you tried a bit of lubricant between the pipe and the bender? If the bender hasn't been used for a while, maybe the saddle (or whatever that bit that slides is called) is slightly rough from corrosion. Try some vegetable oil perhaps?

Not usually needed for copper I'll grant you, but the guys that bend steel pipes are pretty fussy about their lube...

Maybe you're supposed to make the bend in multiple small stages, i.e. apply pressure, relax, pressure again, etc.?
 
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Ric2013

Plumber
Messages
2,461
Annealing would be my first guess too. Have you tried a bit of lubricant between the pipe and the bender? If the bender hasn't been used for a while, maybe the saddle (or whatever that bit that slides is called) is slightly rough from corrosion. Try some vegetable oil perhaps?

Not usually needed for copper I'll grant you, but the guys that bend steel pipes are pretty fussy about their lube...

Maybe you're supposed to make the bend in multiple small stages, i.e. apply pressure, relax, pressure again, etc.?
Yes, definitely need to lube steel to get a nice bend. I did oil it before use.

I miss my BIN scissor bender. I used to look after it. Beeswax on the formers and guides. Scrap that: I miss all my decent tools! Now I know why the original installer tried to avoid bending:


SAM_6043.JPGI suppose it's a new alternative to skirting boards!
 

gmartine

Gas Engineer
Messages
1,474
Isn't that similar in style to the Bahco bender that allow you to pull a U bend?

316jmOmtn1L._AC_.jpg


Do you have access to a bench vice to hold one end and a bit of tubing for extra purchase at the other?
 

Ric2013

Plumber
Messages
2,461
That was my thought. But, as you can see, the Bahco (I meant Bahco when I wrote Monument!) has handles that close, so you can put one handle on the floor and pusho down on the other, whereas 'mine' has the other handle on the left, so you can't do that. Plus, the handles are short.

I don't have a workbench (though my plumber friend would let me use his). Reluctant to involve him too much though as he didn't really get British pipe bending and suggested I use elbows.

I did consider tommy bars, but don't want to break the bender as it's not mine.
 

Ben-gee

Esteemed
Plumber
Messages
1,702
Do you think he suggested elbows because they use hard copper tube.
Heat to cherry red and quench the bit you want to bend then it’ll be easy. Then heat again and leave to cool slowly. Did this to bend a slight kink in 28 as I didn’t have a bender.
 

Ric2013

Plumber
Messages
2,461
All those who suggested annealing were correct.

Plumber friend popped over while buying newspaper today. I showed him the problem. He looked at the pipe offcuts, and said, 'try that one - it's soft copper'. I pulled a 27mm offset there and then by the kitchen table (which I think impressed him somewhat - it certainly impressed me - first bend I've pulled in a year!). He asked if I wanted to swage the joints. I think it sounds like fun!

They do bend harder copper in Italy, but use a kind of hydraulic press, not dissimilar to what we use for bending steel.
 

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