Hi All, First, a big "thank you" to all of the people who contacted me
about making the 5/32" brass elbows. Special thanks to Wade Newton for
sending me the plans to build Bob Humes' tubing bender tool, and an
extra special "thank you" to Bob, who is letting me borrow his creation.
Secondly, I've received quite an education in the last two days, and
I ran a couple of quick tests. What I learned is that all small brass
tubing is not created equal. Typically, brass tubing for elbows is
much softer than the same size tubing that's used for straight nipples.
To make the tubing for elbows less brittle, it's put through a process
called annealing. While there are various opinions about exactly how
hot you have to get the brass (I found numbers from 500-1000 degrees),
the fact remains that you must get the metal hot. Then, the brass is
quenched in cold water.
Considering the number of elbows I'm going to make, the prospect of
dealing with this phase of the project was not a pleasant one. So,
I did a quick test. Even though I didn't have a bending tool on hand,
I did find two drill bits that fit perfectly into the ends of the
tubing. Then, placing my thumbs in the center of the piece, I started
trying to bend it as evenly as possible.
To my surprise, it bent rather easily, and I was able to impart a
70-degree bend before the tubing started to kink (or collapse) in the
center. Then I took one of the 7/8" straight nipples that I sell, and
ran the same test. It didn't want to bend at all. In fact, it broke
into two pieces before it bent 10 degrees.
So, I concluded that the 1-1/2" pieces that I have were annealed
during the manufacturing process, which makes me very happy. By the
way, I also cut one of the 1-1/2" pieces down to 7/8" just to see if
it would still bend easily, and it did.
Lastly, once again I want to thank the MMDigest for providing us such
a valuable service. If you haven't already done so this year, please
consider making a donation.
John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA