How to Use EMT Conduit to Build Stuff

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EMT conduit's intended purpose is to protect electrical wires.
EMT conduit's intended purpose is to protect electrical wires. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Electrical metallic tubing (EMT) conduit is normally used to protect electrical wires from mechanical damage. This thin-walled metal pipe is easily bent and cut. Because of its easy of use, homeowners commonly use this type of conduit to build items such as awning frames, tent frames and works of art. You must bend EMT conduit with a specialized manual tool called an EMT bender and cut it using a hacksaw.

Things You'll Need

  • Hacksaw
  • EMT bender
  • EMT coupler
  • Screwdriver

Draw out the design of the object you want to build. Include the measurements and the angles of each bend. Remember you are limited to joining two sections of conduit with a straight coupler. No "T" connections exist for EMT conduit.

Transfer these measurements onto the EMT conduit, and mark the center of each bend with a marker. Write the degrees of each bend on the pipe. If a cut is necessary, mark it with a straight line with an "X" on the side of the pipe you plan to remove.

Cut the EMT pipe to the required lengths with a hacksaw. Hold the pipe just over the edge of a workbench, and cut as straight as possible.

Place the EMT conduit into the grooves of an EMT bender. Align the marked bend line with the handle of the bender, and lay the pipe on the ground. Position the bender's handle facing upward, and bend the pipe by pressing on the handle with both hands until you have bent the pipe to your desired angle. Repeat this process to make all of the bends in the pipe, checking your work periodically.

Assemble the object using the bent pipes and the drawing as a guide. Join two sections of pipe by pushing one into each end of an EMT coupler. Tighten the two screws on the coupler with a screwdriver to secure the pipe in place. Repeat the cutting, bending and joining process to build the object you have designed.

Tips & Warnings

  • EMT conduit is not capable of carrying any significant load. Do not use this type of pipe to build anything structural or that may support people.

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