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I have a plumbing situation where I need to split a water feed into two. I can use a normal equal-tee for this followed by an elbow, but the exact arrangement of pipeworks means that I would much prefer a 3-way elbow ... but these don't exist. Is there any technical reason why not, or is it just lack of demand.

In case it's not clear what I mean - think this but for pipe fitting (image credit Home Depot): Fitting

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Putting a street 90 on a tee is trivial, so I'd say it's lack of demand. There's no technical reason why that configuration is bad.

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Depending on exactly what pipe you are working with, "side outlet elbows" do exist, to some extent. But demand is probably quite limited, and they are not common in all piping materials. But there are some available in "plumbing" type fixtures, as well as those only in "structural" format.

Here's a schedule 40 1.5" PVC version. Site I grabbed from will only give a thumbnail.

image from pvcfittingsonline.com, sch 40 side outlet elbow

That's a 413-015 - 413-010 is one inch, 413-007 is 3/4 inch, 413-005 is 1/2 inch, you can web search the part number and ignore non-pipe fitting results. I don't see any in copper sweat fittings, but you didn't mention your pipe size or material.

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