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Building conduit trellis

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Building conduit trellis

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/3/2010, 9:03 am

I've a bit stymied right now on trying to build a trellis out of 1/2" conduit. I can't find a conduit bender for under $40.00, and I am not going to spend that price for something I will only use occasionally. I can't find 90 degree connectors for the conduit either -- just the regular straight ones. On the old forum I notice a couple of folks seemed to use something different than standard conduit connectors. Any idea what folks are using that is cheap? I thought of perhaps pvc and using a screw to hold them together, but can't find the right size. Any and all ideas are most welcome. Thanks.

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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  boffer on 3/3/2010, 11:03 am

Hi,

Here's 2 old school methods I've used with some success to bend EMT.

Jam pack the tube with sand-put some in then tap tap tap, repeat until full, seal ends and bend. The sand keeps the tube from collapsing.

Make a wood jig with the desired radius and bend around that. If you have a router to concave the edge where the tube bends against, even better. A bigger pipe that fits over the tube will give more leverage and control.

The bigger the radius, the easier the bend.
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bending pipe

Post  choksaw on 3/3/2010, 1:40 pm

whith a mechanics backround i have found that this method works great for bending pipe/tubeing fill the pipe with sand then find something that is already round (a metal 55 gal drum or concrete base) have 1 friend hold 1 end and slowly bend it around the object the sand keeps the pipe from collapsing and the drum or base make the bend easier to shape. i ve used this method on countless home projects after adpating it from my regular job as a mechanic. another way to find the elbows in question would be to go to your local home depot or lowes (or whatever store is available to you) and go into the plumbing section with the piece of conduit it hand you should be able to find soemthing in that dept. that should do the trick just make sure you drill and bolt the connectors together so they cant accidently slip off. hope this helps
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Have the store bend it.

Post  jbarrus on 3/3/2010, 2:41 pm

My local home store will bend it and cut it for me for free. If yours won't, tell them you will buy it somewhere else. I have an example drawing with dimensions. Not sure exactly how to post it. It is a pdf file.

Cut it with a hacksaw. That way you don't crimp the ends down like you do with a pipe cutter.

Here is the trellis.

I have this in a pdf file that is much easier to read, if anyone wants it. Just let me know and I will send it to you. Is there any way to upload a pdf file to the forum?

Here is the butt connector. A bag of 5 goes for a few dollars.


I hope this helps!
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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/4/2010, 4:41 am

Thanks. I found the butt (straight) connectors, just couldn't figure out the 90 degree elbow. The sand/ jig is a good idea -- might try that. Or just stick to t-posts and cattle panels I've used in the past. They are just not as classy looking as the ones made from conduit (and not as tall).

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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  happyfrog on 3/5/2010, 8:43 am

i used elbows last year. this year, i think i want to add into the budget a conduit bender thingy. those elbows add up cost wise! 'sides, i want to make a walkway trellis thing on my front yard and i like the looks of rounded curves instead of elbows. and making it 10' tall at curve will be good, too - i just think seeing morning glories all around would make me smile.

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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  scotch827 on 3/5/2010, 12:10 pm

I found these at HD and Lowes. They cost more than the conduit. That made me mad.

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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  boffer on 3/5/2010, 12:27 pm

I should know better, but I still pick up a 10 foot stick of pipe or tubing (plumbing or electrical type) at the store, and I think to myself 'this is cheap, cool'. Then I start picking out the necessary fittings (expensive) and end up spending a lot more money on the project than I initially thought, and getting bummed out. I should know better!

Here's a long shot: EMT is weldable, if you happen to know somebody who will weld for beer!
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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  happyfrog on 3/5/2010, 1:50 pm

@scotch827 wrote:I found these at HD and Lowes. They cost more than the conduit. That made me mad.

that's EXACTLY what we bought! and why i want a bender thingy now! esp with my expanded garden plans, i want more trellis' and the cost of the thingy could end up breaking even for me on cost of elbows this year. . . and just a fun gadget to use thereafter. . :grin:

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Just one connector

Post  jbarrus on 3/5/2010, 3:14 pm

That is why the way I show above is better. Uses just 1 butt connector and they are way cheaper than the 90s.

I still say don't buy a bender. They should do it for you!
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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  rds1955 on 3/5/2010, 8:16 pm

Here's an "Instructables" link that can give you an idea of how someone built a homemade jig on bending heavy wire and thin pipe...Maybe a little bit of re-enforcement re-engineering someone can build it to their needs..

http://www.instructables.com/id/Quick-and-Easy-tube-or-wire-bender/Quick & Easy Bender

And here's a Home made device presented in Mother Earth News:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1980-09-01/Homemade-Tubing-Roller.aspxTubing Roller
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Never underestimate the power of a small town!

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/6/2010, 8:42 am

I couldn't find the elbows either at our local True Value or Home Depot in the next town. I asked at Bible Study last Tuesday if anyone had a bender -- nope. But on Thursday I answered a knock at the door to find a perfect stranger standing there with two benders -- 1/2 and 3/4. Turns out my need for a bender was the topic of the morning at the local coffee shop! I'm off today to buy the conduit and connectors. People really are incredibly kind.

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What on Earth?

Post  greneteam on 3/6/2010, 9:20 am

What a great forum.Seems there are more engineers than I originally thought. I'm heading to teach the homeschoolers in Zephyerhills on tuesday and I will be printing this valuable info..to add to my knowledge base. Thanks everyone!
PS...I charge for these classes.The plan is to be worth more than I charge and this is a big help.

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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  boffer on 3/6/2010, 9:33 am

How neat is that! Ya never know till you ask..
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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  jerzyjen on 3/6/2010, 9:38 am

Hey JB - Is this store that bends your EMT a "mom and pop" electrical supply house? Hardware store? Lowes or home depot? Just trying to get a feel for where I can get away with getting them to do the work I just don't see this flying at the big box chains, but please correct me if im wrong.
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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  Retired Member 1 on 3/6/2010, 2:02 pm

I'm not Boffer, but here in Central Texas none of the stores would bend it for me -- Home Depot, ACE, True Value or McCoys. Various reasons why they wouldn't. That's why I am so grateful to have one loaned to me.

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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  MidTNJasonF on 3/6/2010, 8:00 pm

Be careful if you decide to weld this pipe together. Pretty much all conduit I have seen is galvanized metal which will produce harmful fumes when welded. It can be welded if prepared properly but the connectors are the safer way to go.

Just wanted to throw that out there in case someone had a neighbor with a hobby welder that had a "hold my beer and watch this moment".

Google "Galvanized fumes" or "welders flu" for more info.
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Re: Building conduit trellis

Post  jbarrus on 3/6/2010, 9:40 pm

@jerzyjen wrote:Hey JB - Is this store that bends your EMT a "mom and pop" electrical supply house? Hardware store? Lowes or home depot?

Home Depot. I'm sure a mom and pop place would be even more likely.
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Re: Building conduit trellis

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