How to bend EMT conduit
Electrical metallic tubing (EMT) is so versatile that it’s used to build home furniture, storage shelves or decorative accessories. Or at least, the smartest people use it for that. An EMT conduit is flexible so that it can be handled, assembled, sawed and… bent! Bending EMT conduit is the main subject of this article!
STEP 1: Choose The Right Tools
What will you need to bend EMT? First, an aluminum pipe bender, also known as an aluminum conduit bender. This tool will be essential to you while building your project. You can also create your own jig to bend the tube if you are an avid DIYer!
You can get a bender at the same place as an EMT conduit, that is to say in any hardware store.
Be sure to choose a bender that is suitable for the diameter of EMT conduit you have chosen. It is suggested that you choose a ¾-inch conduit for a home project. In fact, the smaller your conduit, the easier it’ll be to bend.
STEP 2: Understand How to Use The Bender
A bender has a handle, a series of numbers, symbols, and an aluminum head…but still?
How to use a pipe bender
- Measure the length of the conduit you wish to use.
- Mark it with a pencil.
- Insert the conduit into the bender (the mark must be opposite the arrow).
- Put one foot on the bender to maintain pressure on the ground.
- Apply pressure until you reach the number corresponding to the desired angle.
For more explanations, you can consult these references:
There’s a good chance that you’ll need to make several curves on the same conduit. For this reason, draw a longitudinal line, which will be used as a reference. When maneuvering, make sure the line stays in the opposite direction from the curve you’re making with the bender.
STEP 3: Adjust the Curve
Unless you get lucky and get it right the first time (which is what you want!), you may have to pull yourself together a few times before you can successfully bend the EMT conduit to perfection. Not to worry!
Here are some general tips for adjusting the curve:
- It is always helpful to practice on a piece of scrap conduit before embarking on a new construction project.
- Be aware that the bender’s handle was designed for real life (that is, for those who make mistakes). As the handle is slightly wider than the tube itself, it is possible to insert it inside to adjust the curve manually.
- Be aware that some conduit will bend back slightly even after curving it with a bender. This is normal. Apply a second pressure to correct this imbalance.
- Understand that if the curve is still not to your liking, the problem may not be you, but the difference in the level of your floor…it just took some pressure off you, right?
Bending EMT conduit: True stories
Ryan’s DIY greenhouse project
Ryan, a DIYer from the community, built a structure to start seedlings, and since he used a bending technique to bend our tubes, we believe his project is noteworthy!
Here is how he went about his project: “To bend the tubes, I built a jig out of plywood. I cut two equal semicircles of 1/2” plywood slightly smaller than the radius of bend I needed, and two more semicircles with a radius an inch larger. I sandwiched the two smaller semicircles between the two larger ones.
In this way, there is a 1″x1″ groove that the tinktube can sit in. I then fixed the tube at one end using clamps and bent it around the semicircle by hand.” And the results are impressive!
Michelle’ s project : How to make a round trellis for a raised garden bed
On her blog, Michelle shares how she was able to bend the tubes to create a round trellis for her raised garden bed. She used a hoop bender from Bootstrap Farmer. The hoop bender created a 48″ hoop which was easy to fix to the vertical tubes and to the garden structure.
To learn more about Michelle’s project, see the plan she sketched for the trellis and which tinktube parts she used to create her project, check out her blog!
A guide to build any project with EMT conduit and tinktube connectors
If you want to dig further and learn more about the ways to build with EMT conduit and tinktube, we’ve put together a complete guide that’s going to help you get started on your build!