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Hi everyone. I've been checking out this site for years but finally joined in 2013, however I am new at posting. I've enjoyed this site so much! I need some advice on bending pvc for an arch that goes over my cemetery pillars that will also hold letters. I've checked out the sand technique but not really wanting to go that way. I do not have a heat gun ..yet. I recently saw a pvc spring pipe bender and thinking of getting one. Has anyone tried one? Does it really work?
 

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Metal conduit, in the electrical section of your hardware store.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Republic-Conduit-1-2-in-x-10-ft-Electric-Metallic-Tube-EMT-Conduit-046623/204760155

Easy to bend with a bender:

http://www.homedepot.com/s/conduit%20bender?NCNI-5

But you don't NEED one of those either, just a couple blocks or clamps to hold the pipe while you bend it a bit and a jig.

In your case, I'd make a jig out of plywood for how you want the arch, then just clamp it down to a table, and bend the conduit to that shape.


1/2" emt should do the job fine.
 

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I had a youtube video saved in which a guy was making arches using PVC and a heat gun. It may take me a day or so to find it, but I'll post a link when I do.

I used 3/4" PVC to construct arches of a homemade greenhouse several years ago and though the greenhouse is long gone, the PVC is still holding the shape and has been used for a couple of other projects. :) And no, no heat gun was used. Just used those metal clamps that you would use to attach the pipes to the walls in a house.
 

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Thanks UnOrthordOx! I went and checked it out at HD. Saw a video on bending it with a card tabletype jig. It looked easy to bend by hand on the video. Is it really that easy? Thinking off going with that.
 

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Also, and I wish I had checked while at the store, since my columns will be reinforced with 3/4 " pvc fittings, would the same fittings fit both conduit and pvc?
 

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Thanks!..That's the type of arch I want only I need iit to fit into my columsn. I'll be experimenting with the rebar method too!
 

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I saw a video using pvc for greenhouse on youtube. Maybe it was yours!!! I may have to go the heat gun way with the plywood and nail jig. Goind to experiment a little. The hot sand idea just doesn't look like it would work well for long pieces of pvc, I saw that video too. Aww so confused lol.
 

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I don't know about using hot sand but if you fill the pipe with sand before you heat it with the heat gun it will prevent the pipe from collapsing when you bend it. Get a couple of pvc caps, cap one end, fill the pipe with sand, cap the other end, then just heat and bend.
 

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Thanks UnOrthordOx! I went and checked it out at HD. Saw a video on bending it with a card tabletype jig. It looked easy to bend by hand on the video. Is it really that easy? Thinking off going with that.
1/2 " isn't hard at all. 3/4 can get tough.

Also, and I wish I had checked while at the store, since my columns will be reinforced with 3/4 " pvc fittings, would the same fittings fit both conduit and pvc?
Pipe is measured by INSIDE diameter, and since PVC is thicker, the connector pieces will be too big to fit snuggly on EMT.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't know about using hot sand but if you fill the pipe with sand before you heat it with the heat gun it will prevent the pipe from collapsing when you bend it. Get a couple of pvc caps, cap one end, fill the pipe with sand, cap the other end, then just heat and bend.
Thanks Chewbacca. I'm getting a heat gun and some sand. Best way to go I think...thanks much!!! You unconfused me!
 

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UnOrthoDox, if you want to use 3/4" PVC and think it is a little too hard to bend without heat or another tool why not try the grey plastic pipe. You will find this in the electrical section of Lowes or other hardware stores. I don't know what it is called but it is not PVC but it is plastic and bends very easily. It has a bell fitting on one end and plain on the other. the plain end of one section fits into the bell fitting on the next section. Comes in 10' and 20' sections. I have used it for some projects and it works well. Once you bend it into place had hold it with whatever fitting you are attaching it o it will stay put.
 

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That's a great help,,thanks for sharing it. I like the way it ends up with both arches going into one post as opposed to what I was going to do. I was going to have each arch going into its own post and then down each side of the inside of the column
 

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Sorry. I forgot about looking for this until this morning. This video is more about making circles, but you can use the same technique to shape an arch as well. I'm 99% sure he is/was a forum member since I believe this is where I found this. Hope it helps!

 

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I experimented with several techniques in the past. I got the best results using a nail/screw jig and a heat gun. I didn't fill my pvc with sand and didn't have a problem with it holding its shape. As long as you take your time and bend slowly the pvc will holds its shape and not collapse on itself. If you heat the pvc too long it will get very soft and start to collapse on itself. But it doesn't sound like a bad idea to use sand as an interior support while heating with a heat gun.
 
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