Guide to Stainless Steel Tubing for PC Water Cooling
This is my step by step guide to using stainless steel for your hard line tubing when PC water cooling. I chose this type of tubing because it's evocative of the fuel and brake lines used in street performance and racing cars. I really like the look and challenge of using something different than mainstream tubing like flexible or PETG.
Advantages of Stainless Steel Hard Line:
Bright metallic finish is aesthetically pleasing. It doesn't absorb dirt, smudges, fingerprints or scuffs, making maintenance very easy. The biggest advantage to using stainless for PC water cooling is it's corrosion resistant properties, so you can use distilled water in your water cooling loop. It also resists bacteria and germs making it ideal choice for hygiene-conscious environments, hospitals and medical care centers.
Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Hard Line:
Costs more than traditional flexible tubing for PC water cooling which covers Acrylic, PETG, and flexible tubing. Stainless steel requires specialized tools that include a hacksaw with bi-metal cutting blade, hand files and deburr tool. You must deburr the edges of the tubing to avoid slicing into rubber o-rings for your compression fittings. It also requires a specialty bending tool, like a hand pipe or mandrel bender. The tightest radius bend you can get with 1/2" OD in 0.035" wall thickness is 1-1/2" which isn't small enough for PC liquid cooling, so you have to get inventive with your bends or type of fittings.
Type of stainless tubing I'm using for PC water cooling is T-304/304L, Seamless Tube in 0.5" x 0.035" x 0.43"
Tools & Supplies Used in this Guide:
*RIGID 600 Series Tubing Bender
*Table Vise with Terry Cloth towel, to avoid scratching tubing.
*Micro Hand File
*Hacksaw with Bi-Metal Cutting Blade
*Table top grinder
*50 grit sand paper