Bending 1/4" copper tubing

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by megagnome, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. megagnome

    megagnome New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Golden, Colorado
    Hello all,
    First, let me thank you for all of the help I have received here throughout my recent kitchen remodel. It has been extremely beneficial.
    I had a question about bending 1/4" copper tubing. While I know that there are tools which will aid in this task, I am specifically needing help with the installation of a Thermador refrigerator. Because the fridge gets mounted securely to the surrounding cabinets, it cannot be pulled out. So the water line for the ice maker comes through a protective tube from the back of the unit to the front of the refrigerator, then makes a sharp loop to connect to the icemaker.
    Capture.JPG
    Since I don't feel comfortable making this sharp turn using copper, and I am not sure the tool would even fit in this tight space, I would like to use an alternate supply line. Because the fridge is counter depth, it pushes all the way against the wall in the back, so the line has to go along the floor behind the fridge, then make a 90 deg. turn to enter the tube and come through the front. So then the question is, how sharp of a corner can one make using other materials such as braided stainless or nylon to get through the back or would you even recommend the use of these alternate supplies for water?
    I am not using Reverse Osmosis filters.

    Capture 2.JPG
    Thank you in advance for any information that could help me out with this.
    -Nate
  2. DougB

    DougB Member

    Soft copper comes in a coil. What you want to do is have a coil (maybe three turns) - go to the hardware store where they can measure what you need - without uncoiling the copper.

    This coil acts like a spring so you can pull the fridge away / push against the wall. Then you would uncoil enough copper to feed through the protective tube. There are inexpensive 'bending springs' that go over the copper to allow you to bend it.

    However that bend looks so acute?? Is it really more than 90? Most tubing will kink if bent that much. Have you asked the mfgr what kind of tubing they reccomend?

    The coil allows the unit to be pushed back against the wall.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,362
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I would use a flexible line for this. Copper is easily kinked, especially when moving the fridge out and back for cleaning. There are ready made lines in various lengths for ice makers. After twice kinking my copper tubing, I replaced it with one of these and got it long enough so the fridge will pull way out without stressing the line.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,183
    Location:
    New England
    Since yours is designed to connect the water at the front of the unit, and likely sits flush with the wall in the back, you don't want a big coil behind it! But, that's the way I have mine installed...about a 3' diameter coil, almost two turns means I can pull the frig out without issues.

    If you do go with soft copper, probably the easier thing to buy with the least cash outlay is a spring tube bender. You'd need to bend the pipe before you install the fitting, but that allows nice, smooth bends in soft copper.

    [h=1]Superior Tool 61600 Spring Tube Bender 4-pc. Set[/h]
    There are other tools, but they can get spendy. Or, buy a flexible supply line. But, in the space you have, those can also kink. Copper should work forever, a flexible line, maybe not.

    If you have a Harbor Freight around you, you can pick one up cheap.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2014
  5. DougB

    DougB Member

    Well do you have a make, model, type.... duh..........
  6. DougB

    DougB Member

    Christ, you can get a 1/4" spring bender at HD!
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,183
    Location:
    New England
    My point was, a more expensive tool like one of these can get a lot more expensive (some really nice ones are several hundred dollars), a spring bender works, and aren't all that hard to find. This particular one is still 4x more than a set of spring benders.

    Attached Files:

  8. DougB

    DougB Member

    Why do we care about that monstrosity of a tubing bender? He's not going to get that under his fridge. Why confuse the issue - TMI - for no good reason.

    Broadcast just to broadcast.
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,362
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Ice maker flex supply hoses with standard sized connectors. Aint' rocket science.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,183
    Location:
    New England
    First, the OP apparently didn't know about spring tubing benders, so I pointed him at a picture of one that is universally available to him and anyone in the country...not everyone is near a HD, or Lowes, or *******, or Ace, or any hardware store that carries the things. For a tool that is going to be used maybe once, unless it is a high precision, risky operation, I do not like to spend a lot of money on it, so also suggested maybe a Harbor Freight, which has lots of less expensive tools that are easily equal to the task of one use. THen, I mentioned that this sort of this is probably the better choice verses the much more expensive tool also designed to do this (but, maybe useful, if it is going to be used a lot). So, as the first responder - I showed him a tool that would work, where it could be purchased, and a reference on what it costs. For this, I get slammed...not sure how your mind works, but it is not like mine.
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