Different Methods of Bending PVC Pipe without Tools

Bending PVC pipe is becoming more common for projects around the house. Before we tell you how to bend your piping, we want to be clear that you should not use bent PVC pipes for fluid conveyance. If you bend PVC, it should not be used in any plumbing application. As an alternative, you can find flexible PVC pipe here.

It's important to be careful when taking on this project because heat is required to bend PVC. If done incorrectly, this can damage the pipe and make it no longer suitable for its intended purposes.

Preparing to Bend PVC Pipe

Before you start the process, you’ll need some common tools for protection. Get a pair of heat-proof gloves. This will allow you to handle the pipe safely while bending. Wear properly fitted safety glasses correctly. You should always wear safety glasses when working with PVC. You’ll want to work in a well-ventilated area. An open garage or the outdoors are both great options.

Methods for Bending PVC Pipe

Bending PVC can be a lengthy, time-consuming process. You need to heat up the pipe, but you don’t want to apply too much heat leaving the pipe damaged.

1. Hair Dryer: One method that you can use to bend PVC, which is found in most homes, is a hair dryer. Identify the area of the pipe that you’re going to heat up and bend. Turn on the heat setting on your hair dryer and hold it within 1-2 inches of the desired section of PVC pipe. As the spot heats up, slowly add pressure to the area you want to bend and manipulate it how you would like. If the surface area that needs to be bent covers a longer section, you’ll need to move the hair dryer back and forth to heat the entire section. You can also heat up the 2 sections separately and bend them at different times. A heat gun would work in place of a hair dryer for this process.

2. Gas Stove: Another method for bending PVC pipe is to heat the pipe up over a gas stove. In order to do this, light the stove like you’re going to place a pot on the burner. Instead of using a pot, hold a piece of PVC pipe over the open flame instead (do not put the pipe directly in the flame). Keep the pipe a reasonable distance away as the heat penetrates the plastic slowly. Don’t try to heat the PVC too quickly. Patience is your friend when working to bend PVC pipe.

3. Heated Sand: Another method of bending pvc pipe, is by using heated sand. You typically heat up sand to between 300 - 400 degrees. Use a typical kitchen skillet and stove. It helps to pre measure the amount of sand you'll need based on pipe size. Heat the sand on the stove to between 300 - 400 degrees if possible. This temperature range provides the perfect amount of flex for the pipe. While the sand is warming, use a cap to cap one end of the pipe. Also, grab a funnel that fits into the pipe. Once heated, pour the proper amount of sand into the pipe. Within roughly half a minute the pipe will be flexible. Note, it will only make the pipe flexible where the sand is located. Bend the pipe as needed. With the pipe in the position needed, pour the sand out to begin the cooling process.

Some Final Tips

Sand or any other type of material that fits inside the pipe that is non flammable will prevent the pipe from kinking. While not required, this step can really help form the pipe in a better manor.

Get To Bending

Bending PVC pipe can be extremely useful for building special projects, as long as you’re not relying on the pipe to retain its structural integrity. A lot of people use bent PVC to help create a frame or support for other materials during a build. Others use bent PVC as a template to avoid creating templates using other methods that are too costly.