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I'm trying to build an exposed copper (think steampunk) kitchen faucet. Everything is easy except the ability to rotate the faucet side to side, like to reach the left sink or right sink.

See the image below. This one does not rotate left and right. How could one make it rotate (and not leak of course)?

Ordinary "swivel" fittings/couplings only swivel until they are tight. Once tight they cannot be rotated easily by hand. And if they're not tight, they leak.

Thanks!

enter image description here

  • You may need to go farther afield than your local hardware store. I'm thinking McMaster-Carr or Grainger. I should warn you that some of their stuff may look fairly industrial. Also, don't overlook the importance of anti-scald features, make sure your code doesn't require it, or make sure you are feeding from a tankless with safe output temp. (tanked heaters must be at scalding, if they are too cool, they promote growth of toxic bacteria, specifically legionella.) – Harper Jan 15 '18 at 15:50
  • In a sealed system, the water is under pressure and it is easy to get leaks. On a faucet, the water has a place to go and isn't under pressure. Any leakage would be just capillary action and gravity. So the water-tightness isn't especially demanding. You could probably get away with the style of rotating connection used for a garden hose. Another approach would be a flexible hose to get the water from the valves to a head or nozzle, with that outlet fastened to a movable arm that doesn't need to carry water. – fixer1234 Jan 15 '18 at 21:24
  • That's a great idea @fixer1234, going to see if I get wife's approval for that. Happen to know if there's any flexible hoses prettier than the standard braided stainless out there? Braided copper? I've never seen it. – Noland Jan 16 '18 at 1:50
  • @Noland, there's a big range of hoses for hand-held shower wands, with flexible covers to match the metal finish of the rest of the shower hardware. – fixer1234 Jan 16 '18 at 1:55
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I would try to use a push to connect fittings such as shark bite . You could have a male threaded connection coming out of the Copper tee and a shark bite fitting with the female threads on one side attached to that which would allow you to rotate the outlet pipe back-and-forth.

I don’t know what the long-term affects would be on the rubber o ring inside The fitting by having it swivel back-and-forth. It’s worth a shot as the water supply would not be constant inside the fitting because the faucet handles will be off most of the time and if it develops leak you can replace it with another one easily.

EDIT: After poking around on the world wide inter-tubes i found these rotary unions i think they would work great.

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    Given the water pressure and the property damage that would result from a blow-out I could not recommend shark bite. It is just not designed for the abuse this joint is going to sustain. There are a number of swivel joint fittings on the market complete with permanently lubricated O rings. They can be found under 'swivel water fittings' Don't settle for anything that is not designed specifically for this type of heavy usage and constant movement. – Paul Logan Jan 15 '18 at 3:48
  • @PaulLogan, maybe I'm confused but aren't "swivel fittings" just a way to rotate the piece to any desired angle before tightening it? As opposed to just threads without swivel that are difficult if not impossible to line up so that the final angle is predicatable? Like if you want to thread on a 90 elbow and need it to end up at an exact angle you're much better off using a swivel. But once the swivel is tight, you can't move it can you? Unless you loosen it but then it usually leaks, no? – Noland Jan 15 '18 at 5:05
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    Also, this is downstream of both taps so no worries about property damage. There will only be water at this fitting when someone has the taps on. And only 60psi max. – Noland Jan 15 '18 at 5:06
  • @Noland I think you understand what I’m describing. It’s just an idea and I have never tried it. You may want to use a slip joint coupler instead as this would allow the copper pipe to extend farther into the fitting adding rigidity to the set up. You could do a mock up and give it some vigorous swivel action testing. You could possibly deconstruct /MacGyver a faucet with a swivel spout function and solder a copper pipe coming out of it to make your connections to. – Alaska Man Jan 15 '18 at 8:36
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If you want it "in that style" I think you'll be faced with making it.

Generically, you typically want something that's either sealed with an o-ring captured in a groove, or with packing captured by a nut.

There are many swivel fittings in the marketplace that swivel without leaking, though they are are probably more common in compressed air service than in water, where the typical thing that swivels is a kitchen sink faucet and most folks simply purchase one of those.

Probably the most common "water" swivel in most hardware stores would the quick-disconnect fittings typically used for portable dishwashers or washing machines. A garden-hose swivel might also be found, with or without a quick-disconnect feature. Those are typically designed to thread onto standard faucet and/or hose threads, so you'll have to modify them to use on copper tubing. You may be able to find plain brass rather than chrome-plated parts, if you search.

  • I don't think swivel fittings will work, see my comment below. I think they're designed to be rigid once tightened and only leak proof when tightened. I will try out a quick connect fitting though... – Noland Jan 15 '18 at 5:07
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Use an anti-twist brass swivel joint like you would use in a pressure washer hose to handle connection. There are also swivel connections available for flare gas connections too, so that is another possibility. Quick-connects would work too. You'll probably be able to find one to work that is intended for pneumatic, water, or hydraulics uses. swivel joint

  • Good idea. I'll see if I can find one safe for drinking water, lead free and such. – Noland Jan 16 '18 at 1:51

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