There's a handy trick that I quite like living by that I've coined the 'One Bend Rule'. In essence you have what amounts to a single bend in any given length of tube. You can then use angled fittings to make up for the remaining bends you may need, but you'd be surprised how often you can get away with just a single bend and a single angled fitting.
Is this the superior method? Of course not; it's just another way to do things. I like it because it makes installing a loop very quick, and as the runs are straightforward, you often end up with a "clean" looking system. Big bendy runs can be a lot of fun, but they can also munch through all your tubing very quickly if you're picky about them looking just right and you're not that experienced yet.
Why is this method just so quick? Well, for starters, doing just one bend (or two if they're, say, 45° bends) is pretty simple, and you can even freehand them without too much difficulty. Secondly, you can make the tubes oversized and then trim them back. I like to give the tube a healthy amount of excess (maybe 2-4cm extra) and then just trim away until the tubes line up properly. You can quite easily remove just 1-3mm at a time if you wish using either a manual tool or something like a belt sander or jigsaw/scroll saw, which means you can stop when things line up how you want them to.
This method works particularly well for tubes like glass or thick brass where doing multiple bends isn't an option. As shown in the previous articles, you can buy materials like that with pre-bent sections which can look great.
Hopefully that helps you on your way to planning your first hardline loop, or has given you ideas for your next one. Be sure to share any projects you have in our project log forums, where you'll be able to get plenty more advice and support too.
June 18 2021 | 12:30