How tight a bend in soft copper?

How tight a bend can I make in 3/8" soft copper? I picked up a set of the coiled things for bending it at a garage sale, so hopefully I can avoid kinks.
I did find 3/8" sweat elbows and Ts at the store today. Are they commonly used with soft copper?
Thanks.
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toller wrote:

Packing the tube with fine sand before you bend can help prevent kinks.

Dave
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I am a retired plumber. Those springs are a joke. I never had any luck with them. Filling the tube with sand is more effective. Personally, I never used anything. I could make perfect bends using my knee cap as a bender. Yes, that sounds weird, but I know by feel and sight just how and when to stop the bend. I am not suggesting this for you. It takes lots of practice. Also to consider is the grade of tubing. That real cheap (thin) stuff kinks like crazy. It's junk. Do not buy it, unless you do not plan to bend it, and have non-corrosive water.
The bottom line, if you want a sharp bend, such as a 90 deg. sweat on an elbow or use a compression elbow. The only way to properly bend a 90, is to use up almost a full foot of pipe to make a large arc. You can not bend a 90 in two inches of pipe. So, buy the fittings. Only bend minor curves and always spread the bend out over a large length of the tube.
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Well, I'm glad a pro said those springs are a joke. I tried them years ago & they sucked.
I use a lever style hydraulic tube bender.
http://www.northstate.com/ridgid/en-us/dept_23.html
kinda like the
RG36097
They make really nice bends in soft copper, stainless or brass
Sometimes I use the bender to make soft cooper connector lines for the shutoff valves to a fixture (when I don't feel like using the braided stainless lines)
cheer Bob
Bob
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I agree Bob, that is the type of bender for tight bends. I have a cheaper version from an auto parts store (brake line bender) and I managed to make a coil from 3/8" that fit in a 2" pipe. How the hell did I know ethanol would be coming out That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;-)
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ive heard it said that you should use a bend radius that is 3 times the size of the copper pipe. and as was mentioned, fill it with sand when you bend it.
randy

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