How do I straighten a length of plastic tubing?
June 20, 2008 8:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm building an automatic misting system for my tortoise's tank. The plastic tubing I bought to transport the water is too difficult to work with since it's sold all coiled up. How can I straighten out a 20-foot length of it?

It's 1/4" (outer diameter) landscaping-type plastic tubing, if that matters.
I've heard of inserting a dowel inside the tubing then heating it in the oven, but that limits the length of tubing I can cut and I'd prefer not to have to tape together a bunch of segments. I can't hang it from something and attach a weight to the bottom either, since my ceilings are only eight feet high. Metal tubing is not really a good option here, since I'd like to thread the tubing around decorations/obstacles in his tank and possibly re-use the tubing if and when I buy a bigger tank for him.

Any thoughts?

thanks in advance!
posted by xbonesgt to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
If you have a yard you could stretch it out in the sun for a day or two. No yard? Roof access in building?
What about a heat gun used on shrink tubing? Attach tube to door knob and heat with heat gun as you walk down the length of the tube. You could try with a hair dryer, but I don't think you will get sufficient heat from it.
posted by a3matrix at 8:37 AM on June 20, 2008

Response by poster: fantastic, thanks - I'll pick up a heat gun and give it a shot.
posted by xbonesgt at 9:08 AM on June 20, 2008

You can also just fill it with hot water (not boiling, but close) and stretch it out. Save you the trip and the $$ for the gun....
posted by nevercalm at 9:24 AM on June 20, 2008

Seconding nevercalm. Soak it in a tub of hot water.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:10 AM on June 20, 2008

Thirding hot water, but please use tongs. Also, a blow dryer will get plenty hot, I think.
posted by muddgirl at 10:26 AM on June 20, 2008

Fourthing hot water, but depending on the weather in your area, sitting it out in the sun on a hot day for an hour or two might even be enough -- works even better if you can find a patch of asphalt or other dark surface.
posted by nonliteral at 10:01 AM on June 21, 2008

duh, on re-reading more carefully -- what a3matrix said.
posted by nonliteral at 10:02 AM on June 21, 2008

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