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Neat trick for tube bending

Hi guys,

Insomnia and cable are a bad combo. I’ve grown fond of a show called
"How It’s Made". It’s a bunch of short segments about how various
products are made. (shockingly.) Oddly hypnotic.

They did a bit about making trumpets, and therein lay a really neat
trick for bending tube without letting the walls collapse. We all
know the old trick about packing the tube with sand. Which is a real
pain in the tail to keep it from leaking out. I go back far enough
to have seen the same thing done by way of pouring the tube full of
lead, and then melting it back out once the bend was done. Getting it
in was easy. Getting it back out without frying your silver or gold
was all sorts of fun.

The trumpet guys had us beat all hollow: soapy water. Fill the tube
with water loaded up with so much dish soap that it was blue, then
freeze it. (It looked like it was at least 50/50 blue dawn
soap/water.) Once frozen, proceed to bend. The soap keeps the ice
from shattering, and being ice, it doesn’t want to come out of the
tube on its own. When done, just let it thaw. No muss, no fuss, no
toxic waste.

Way too slick. Wish I’d thought of it. Thought I’d share.

Thanks, Brian. These are the kind of tricks I love to read about

that’s serendipity, brian!

thanx, thanx, thanx for being insomnia damned and for sharing, i was
just ready to face myfirst tube bending ever, knowi will do it



Brian for sharing! that is so interesting. I’ve seen that show too,
love to see how things are made.

hi brian,

just one question. did you ever find even a nice & smart way to "cap"
the tube avoiding all the water+soap to go out before freezing?!?!


Thanks for sharing that. Certainly worth trying!

long ago when the dinosaurs walked the earth and I was just a child,
I used to make tin can lanterns - and to tap the holes in with a nail
bent them out of shape - I filled them with water, froze them and
voila! Barbara on a cold night on the island where the fox is curled
up in the snow under the cedar tree

Hi Micaela,

just one question. did you ever find even a nice & smart way to
"cap" the tube avoiding all the water+soap to go out before

Looked like they just stopped up the end of the tube with a wad of
plasticine, and then took it out once the water/soap mix froze. One
thing they did do was freeze it standing on end, in a rack. Looked
like they dumped it into a bath of ?salt water?, standing on end.
(Salt water has a lower freezing point.)


If you can get a piece of small die cable thru the tubbing, and use
this cable to “and” the tubing around the mandrel, you should get an
"un collapsed" tubbing bend. This method is often used in the woods
to bend heavy all pipe without collapsing it. I have used it many
times on the farm, when I was a farmer. Worked GREAT and MUCH easier
than water, ice and capping…

john dach

You also can use a spring

I’ve had some success with using salt instead of sand. The coils
were kind of a pain.

When I wanted to coil tube this was the best method. (Thanks David)

And I just found this crazy thing on youtube. It would be to big for
jewelry. But WOW.

Check this thing out.