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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109

    tubing bending and brazing !

    I have been working at a local HVAC company for a little over a month now. I am in the replacement/install dept. I only have about 6 months of schooling and I got this job as a kind of "on the job training" opportunity.

    I appreciate the opportunity the company has given me, but I am not getting a whole lot of training per se. So, whatever, I have got to figure this stuff out some way.

    My question has to do with bending copper tubing (using a yellow jacket tubing bender). I was given the task of bending a 7/8" suction line on Friday and, well, it didn't go as well as I planned. I ended up getting a kink in the line, and having to have my experienced partner bail me out Does anyone here have any suggestions, links or wisdom on the fine art of copper tubing bending ? I really am getting tired of having to get bailed out all the time.

    Thanks !

    Oh, and any brazing tips or links would be nice to !

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    124
    The big mistake when I see people solder is that they don't get the copper hot enough, especially when soldering 7/8 or 1 1/8. Don't be afraid to heat the copper up, get it red hot then the solder will flow with ease. Justmtakesmsome practice. After a few,times it should come to you with ease. If not you are in the wrong field. I have only used a tubing bender a few times. Just practice with that too the copper usually has to be pretty straight to use the yellow jacket ratchet bender.. Me and the guy I work with just bend it with hands. Take some old copper and practice bending with your hands it's not as hard as you think

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    459
    I love my YJ tubing bender!

    Just go real slow when your bending it, make sure you have the right "attatchment" on the bender and dont go over 90*.

    But honestly just practice with some scrap copper. Measure, mark it up, use a workbench corner or w/e and try and make a bend down it or something.

    Practice, practice, practice thats how I learned.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    131
    Like everyone said, with some repetition you will develope the feel. That's why they call it on the job training.

    And expect to make F**k Ups, just learn from them

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    1,159
    Also helps to bend the copper the same way it came off the roll if possible.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109
    Thanks guys ! I appreciate the input. I will try bending some scrap copper in my down time on the job. (as I don't have my own tubing bender, I use the company supplied one.)

    Part of my problem (when soldering) is that real world soldering and "school" soldering are two different things. I am finding out soldering on your knees or on your back, pressed against a wall is the norm, rather than the exception.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    3,491
    Practice is all. I'm still in the very same boat.

    And when you start to get it down they will still complain that you are too slow.

    Whatever...you are not supposed to be fast when new. As long as you aren't goofing off, that is...

    Make sure you have plenty of slack on both ends of the bender (I use the YJ). The only time I kinked one was when I didn't allow enough pipe on one end going into the house and it could not move with the bend enough. I try to measure correctly so as not to waste copper - but I don't sweat it too much and usually end up cutting off a couple of inches.

    If you kink one and don't have enough copper left you can always cut off the ends and use a 90 or 45. You can also swedge with a pair of needle nose, slip one size pipe into another and crush the larger one with channel locks if necessary and various others tricks you will pick up to use in a pinch. But only a few years experience will give you the ability to know which way to turn and when - no way around it and I know it's very frustrating.

    From what I read, most simple installs are done with a senior installer and a helper/apprentice. I am mostly service and only catch an install maybe once in a week or two. Our installers are spoiled in that they usually work with only likewise higly experienced installers. So they are already a little bit grumpy when they draw me. I can understand...it's harder for them to dictate and control how fast the job will go when I'm there.

    The fact that you are working and going to school at the same time is a huge plus. An ideal training situation IMO.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    325
    Quote Originally Posted by drkglass01 View Post

    Part of my problem (when soldering) is that real world soldering and "school" soldering are two different things. I am finding out soldering on your knees or on your back, pressed against a wall is the norm, rather than the exception.

    Wait until you get to the upside down, backwards, and sideways with a mirror brazing and send them off to be cut up for med-gas certification

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109
    One guy I was working with told me, " you won't need a tubing bender for that" and then I proceeded to kink the suction line (damn it). Maybe with a little finesse, I can do it !

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    35
    Like others have stated practice is the best, but it's like going to the driving range and then trying to hit a tee shot with a dozen people watching...a way different experience. My advice is to stay calm, get as comfortable as possible, and go slow until you get the "feel". Temperature makes a big difference and so does the way your body is situated. You're on the right track in asking for advice from guys that have experience. You'll do fine, just give it time, you'll find the method that is best for you!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109
    Quote Originally Posted by hurtinhvac View Post
    Practice is all. I'm still in the very same boat.

    And when you start to get it down they will still complain that you are too slow.

    Whatever...you are not supposed to be fast when new. As long as you aren't goofing off, that is...

    Make sure you have plenty of slack on both ends of the bender (I use the YJ). The only time I kinked one was when I didn't allow enough pipe on one end going into the house and it could not move with the bend enough. I try to measure correctly so as not to waste copper - but I don't sweat it too much and usually end up cutting off a couple of inches.

    If you kink one and don't have enough copper left you can always cut off the ends and use a 90 or 45. You can also swedge with a pair of needle nose, slip one size pipe into another and crush the larger one with channel locks if necessary and various others tricks you will pick up to use in a pinch. But only a few years experience will give you the ability to know which way to turn and when - no way around it and I know it's very frustrating.

    From what I read, most simple installs are done with a senior installer and a helper/apprentice. I am mostly service and only catch an install maybe once in a week or two. Our installers are spoiled in that they usually work with only likewise higly experienced installers. So they are already a little bit grumpy when they draw me. I can understand...it's harder for them to dictate and control how fast the job will go when I'm there.

    The fact that you are working and going to school at the same time is a huge plus. An ideal training situation IMO.
    Wow, you hit the nail on the head !

    Some of the senior techs I work with have more patience than others. On my first day, I was trying to help a guy hang a piece of duct (trying to push it into the S drive) and I pushed the duct the wrong way and smacked the guy with it. (Not hard) and he told me "go stand over there", basically, go stand in the corner. On the upside, I learned what an S drive is, and its function in holding a duct together!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    109
    Quote Originally Posted by Newtech72 View Post
    Like others have stated practice is the best, but it's like going to the driving range and then trying to hit a tee shot with a dozen people watching...a way different experience. My advice is to stay calm, get as comfortable as possible, and go slow until you get the "feel". Temperature makes a big difference and so does the way your body is situated. You're on the right track in asking for advice from guys that have experience. You'll do fine, just give it time, you'll find the method that is best for you!
    Thanks for the advice and encouragement !

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    3,491
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete838 View Post
    Wait until you get to the upside down, backwards, and sideways with a mirror brazing and send them off to be cut up for med-gas certification
    What do they do? Pressure test the joint? Cut it up and see how far and in what quantity the silver flowed into the joint?

    I noticed propane everywhere in Florida - do you guys do more brazing with copper for gas lines than hard pipe? Hence the strict certs?

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