Some tips for working with PVC pipe

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#16 purplevix on 14 years ago

well, the main ball part could be styrofoam or wood, painted of course, and some of the other added on parts could be various bits of funfoam (or foamies, same thing, diff name) cardboard, whatever. Once you have your head assembled, if you leave a hole as far across as the [i]outside[/i] diameter of your pipe, you can ooze some epoxy or some sort of glue in there and stick them together.

Just experiment and see what you end up with.

Good luck!

#17 sailormoontm on 14 years ago

ok! humm sounds a bit tricky buti think i can swing it that was very informative though i may try to combine that with some other tips i've gotten, thank you very much for the help

#18 Ecristy85 on 13 years ago

I plan to make an extendable zigzag-ed weapon with four joints and four modified pvc pipes. Is there any possibility they will bend? should I use sturdier (and thus heavier) pipes nearer the base and leave the most lightweight on the tip? I'm just asking because this weapon will be horizontal and I assume the pipes will bend like crazy. I don't know whether to order 40 or 80 PVC, does this mean one is thicker than the other? @[email protected]

Will the most lightweight bend over some pressure? is there any other pipe that's totally inflexible AND very lightweight?

#19 astillar on 13 years ago

Do you have any reference pics of the prop? Whether the pipe bends or not depends on how long it is and what kind of weight it has on the end. If the pipe is only supporting it's own weight then it shouldn't bend noticeably. There is a way to get the bending to disappear, but it's a bit of a bother to do.

#20 kabuki_ikenie on 13 years ago

thanks for the tips! i have been working with PVC for a while now, mainly cos it has a load of little components that make prop creation a little bit easier...

i have some tips to share:

-if you can't get that krylon paint, you can always use regular spray paint. the only secret here for not waisting cans and cans is that you sand the pipes and pieces very well... and that you don't go trigger happy with the spray paint, just do some liberal applications, wait it to dry and then spray some more... just be patient with it

-for shaping and bending i use boiling water... be careful with your hands! i always have some towels to protect my hands and i always use the bath tub for this work... for bending, close one end of the PVC tube and fill it with boiling water, wait a little bit and then start bending slowly... repeat if necesary... for other shapes, you should dip the PVC on the boiling water until it gets maleable...

-for cutting i use a dremmel tool or, if the job can't be done by that, hot knife. again, be careful with your hands!! you'll need an old kitchen knife (a small one - you don't need a butcher's knife for this job XD), heat it up on the stove and cut away!! be careful with the fumes, though...

-use PVC glue!! it's fast and it holds everything amazingly well... i have even glued fun foam to the PVC with it... and it works... WONDERS!!

hope this helps... gotta love the hardware store XDDD

#21 Nara Shikamaru on 13 years ago

One tip to add is when you're bending PVC pipe (or any pipe for that matter) if you fill it with sand first it will prevent the pipe from denting in at the bend.

Also schedual 40 vs schedual 80 pipe refers to the wall thickness. Larger schedual pipe has a larger wall thickness but the outer diameter will be the same.

#22 PrincessYuni on 13 years ago

You've been added!!! ... to the Tutorial List!

Great Information from everyone.

#23 Ecristy85 on 13 years ago

[QUOTE=astillar]Do you have any reference pics of the prop? Whether the pipe bends or not depends on how long it is and what kind of weight it has on the end. If the pipe is only supporting it's own weight then it shouldn't bend noticeably. There is a way to get the bending to disappear, but it's a bit of a bother to do.[/QUOTE]

Here it is:

Of course I plan to make the pipes thicker and shorter than the actual picture, same goes for the scythes on the end.

#24 astillar on 13 years ago

Phew. I was about to say, "They don't make pvc that thin." I've got fiberglass shock-corded rods (the same that are used for tent poles) that I think would work good in this instance, but that doesn't help you any. I think you could use 1/4" wooden dowels instead and make the spikes out of paper or something. I dunno, that prop looks pretty hard. If you made the blades out of foam that would solve the weight problem, but it looks like it'd be a nightmare to try and move around a con with four of those things attached to your legs. I wouldn't touch that prop with a ten foot pole.

#25 Ecristy85 on 13 years ago

Thank you for your comments, I'm aware this will be hell on earth to do, but I really wanna suffe-- I mean try it XD I'll get some 80 something pipes and experiment with them.

Are wooden dowels sturdy as yet lighter than PVC pipes? if so I would like to give them a try.

#26 astillar on 13 years ago

Well the smallest size I've seen pvc in is half an inch, which still looks a little thick for that prop. If you used them, I don't think they would bend, since you'd be using such short lengths. As long as the blades weren't too heavy, 1/2" pvc would work and wouldn't bend.
The dowels I have (also 1/2") feel a little lighter than 1/2" pvc and they are stiffer. If I were you, I'd go for the dowels instead.
I just think the hardest part of this prop would be to make those round joints sturdy enough to support the weight of the blades. Even if the blades are foam, those joints will still be the weakest parts of the prop. And there's a lot of them.

#27 Ecristy85 on 13 years ago

Thank you, I'll look up for both PVC pipes and wooden dowels and try them both. I have some ideas for the joints so I'm not very worried about them, only about the weight (and its consequences).

This is my first time buying stuff like this so I'm not sure where to find it, but home depot will be ok?

#28 Hee-Hee on 13 years ago

Whoo! Thank you so much for this thread~! I was looking for a good paint, and now I'll definately give the options suggested on here a shot!

#29 Amethyst Angel on 13 years ago

I know I'm a little late to the game, but if you want to make a staff that can be disassembled (and don't need to worry about there being a visible seam---as in some of Yuna's staffs where there are gold decorative "couplings" on many of the sections,) then here's a trick I've learned. Cut your PVC staff so that it's in two pieces. Then get a section of dowel about 8" long. (Make sure the dowel is significantly smaller than the interior of the pipe.) Next, take some thin craft foam and hotglue it around the dowel. (Do it so that the dowel and foam just fit into the pvc pipe. Hotglue the foam covered dowel into one of the pipe sections (sink it in around 4") and then voila--you have a PVC pipe in two sections, which are connectable by the foam covered dowel. (The foam helps keep the pipe from slipping off, as it provides friction.)

I hope that made sense....

#30 souzousei_kaish on 12 years ago

Any idea what I can do to make Robin's staff? I mean the Teen Titans american anime, btw. I need a staff that can retract like Daredevil's cane.