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Conduit Trellis bending measurements?

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Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Empty Conduit Trellis bending measurements?

Post  jplee3 on 6/23/2013, 1:21 am

Hi all,

I just stopped by Home Depot to eyeball everything and measure out what I want for two trellises. Unfortunately, two of my nearest HDs won't cut or bend metal... Sad 

I'm going for that natural-bend look (as well as cheaper and I think sturdier). I would just use join the top piece to the vertical conduits with a straight coupler on each side.


Here's what I'm thinking: 

Three 10' lengths of 1/2" metal conduit. 
One 10' length cut in half (two 5' lengths). 
The other two 10' lenghts would be cut to 5'5"/4'5" - I'd have two 5'5" lengths (this will be for the top piece on each trellis, and accounts for a 9" bend to get the 90-degree elbow) and two 4'5" lengths (so one trellis will be slightly shorter than the other).

I was just estimating that I'd need 9" to bend on each side of the 5'5" lengths to effectively get a 4" long piece factoring in the bend. I'm not sure if that's accurate - anyone know? What stinks is that I'd have to figure out how I'd bend the elbows too if I don't want to spend $40 on a bender.

Or I could just scrap this idea entirely, suck it up, and buy the more expensive 90-degree connectors. Then all I'd have to worry about is making straight cuts with a hacksaw. I really don't like the idea of transporting 10ft lengths of metal conduit in our Rav4 though but I guess I'll just have to get the towels out Razz


Just for a visual, it would look very similar to this, just not as long and with no coupler on the top piece:

Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Climbing-peas

And another similar picture showing what I'd want (but instead of the conduit on the top piece, again, I'd have it joining the pieces on the side, vertically:
Conduit Trellis bending measurements? DSCN3622


Last edited by jplee3 on 6/23/2013, 1:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  RoOsTeR on 6/23/2013, 1:31 am


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Post  jplee3 on 6/23/2013, 1:38 am


Thanks Rooster! The "Back to Back bend" is what I'm looking for, I think. Trying to visualize the instructions but I'm having a hard time with understanding the measurements... it's getting late
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Post  jplee3 on 6/23/2013, 1:49 am

I'm reading through the 90-degree stub-up bend instructions. It says to subtract 5" from the measurement. If that's the case, wouldn't I be able to slide by just using 5' lengths, marking 1" on the ends for a 1" free end height, and bending those to 90-degrees (effectively 6" on each side or 1' total)? That way the top length would end up being 4'

Is there a "minimum" amount of pipe (for example, a minimum of 2") that needs to be passed through those pipe benders before they can be bent properly? I'm assuming you can't go for a 0" free end height.
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Post  sanderson on 6/23/2013, 2:11 am

The metal conduit is strong but I don't know about a 10 foot horizontal span, especially with the curved corners.  It would be okay for beans and peas, maybe cucumbers and of course vertical tomatoes.  I think it would bend if cantelope or any other heavy vine fruit was trellised.  Maybe okay at the two ends.  Just a consideration.

If you want to add a vertical support half way across, you will have to improvise.  There are no tee-connectors for electrical conduit, but I saw a photo of a pvc Tee used.  The person drilled holes in the tee for the set screws.
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Post  mrwes40 on 6/23/2013, 7:47 am

@jplee3 wrote:Hi all,
Or I could just scrap this idea entirely, suck it up, and buy the more expensive 90-degree connectors. Then all I'd have to worry about is making straight cuts with a hacksaw. I really don't like the idea of transporting 10ft lengths of metal conduit in our Rav4 though but I guess I'll just have to get the towels out Razz


Just for a visual, it would look very similar to this, just not as long and with no coupler on the top piece:

Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Climbing-peas

And another similar picture showing what I'd want (but instead of the conduit on the top piece, again, I'd have it joining the pieces on the side, vertically:
Conduit Trellis bending measurements? DSCN3622

I had the same consideration. I didn't have a neighbor that had a bender to borrow one from, and I hate purchasing a tool that I might use once or twice; so I just purchased the 90 degree elbow connectors. Made it easy.

Bill
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Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Empty buying a pipe bender for conduit

Post  efnjim on 6/23/2013, 9:43 am

I  made some conduit trellises, and found it was cheaper to buy the pipe bender for $ 35.00 dollars. the elbows cost about 3.00 dollars each. I have four trellises for myself and two for my kids plus I bent them in a half circle to hold up some of my flowers still experimenting
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Post  lyndeeloo on 6/23/2013, 11:46 am

After pricing it out I bought an inexpensive bender instead of the elbows because in the long run it was cheaper. I'm having so much fun with it, I'm looking for things to trellis. The EMT is so cheap and really strong, its great to work with. I'm planning on some creative projects later, after I've finished what I need for what's growing now. Then I will have all winter to play with it for some really great trellis work for next year. I'm thinking functional garden art! I am having some trouble with the measurements and calculating the bend, but I have an electrician friend I will try to bribe with some veggies to give a quick tutorial.
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Post  jplee3 on 6/23/2013, 12:51 pm

@sanderson wrote:The metal conduit is strong but I don't know about a 10 foot horizontal span, especially with the curved corners.  It would be okay for beans and peas, maybe cucumbers and of course vertical tomatoes.  I think it would bend if cantelope or any other heavy vine fruit was trellised.  Maybe okay at the two ends.  Just a consideration.

If you want to add a vertical support half way across, you will have to improvise.  There are no tee-connectors for electrical conduit, but I saw a photo of a pvc Tee used.  The person drilled holes in the tee for the set screws.

Hi Sanderson! I wasn't actually planning on doing a 10ft horizontal span like in the picture below. I should have mentioned that I wanted it to be 4' in length across the top with the couplers joining the pipes vertically on the sides. The first pic I used isn't the best example, now that I think about it.
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Post  jplee3 on 6/23/2013, 12:52 pm

@lyndeeloo wrote:After pricing it out I bought an inexpensive bender instead of the elbows because in the long run it was cheaper. I'm having so much fun with it, I'm looking for things to trellis. The EMT is so cheap and really strong, its great to work with. I'm planning on some creative projects later, after I've finished what I need for what's growing now. Then I will have all winter to play with it for some really great trellis work for next year. I'm thinking functional garden art! I am having some trouble with the measurements and calculating the bend, but I have an electrician friend I will try to bribe with some veggies to give a quick tutorial.

Thanks lyndeeloo! Where did you buy this "inexpensive" bender? And for how much? I really don't envision myself using it many more times beyond for these trellises... I don't have a big yard, so I'm definitely not going to be adding any more gardens.
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Post  lyndeeloo on 6/23/2013, 2:57 pm

Big Ben 1/2" conduit bender $23.99 at Rocky's Ace Hardware. You can see it and/or order it at AceHardware.com. Probably have it shipped to your local Ace Hardware store for free. I work at Rocky's Ace Hardware here in MA. and we offer that service. Our store stocks them so I just grabbed it of the shelf. I didn't want to spend the money to buy the extension handle to make it easier to use, so I found an old long handled shovel that was broken and cut the handle off that for free.
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Post  lyndeeloo on 6/23/2013, 3:43 pm

Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Img_1519
Here are some I built for four squares, 1 full 10' section of emt conduit
and 1/3 of another and 1 coupler for each trellis.
Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Img_1520
These are made from 1- 10' section each and work for 2 squares side by side.
Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Img_1521
This is a free form trellis from some left over conduit, I'll use it for flowers.
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Post  jplee3 on 6/23/2013, 10:36 pm

Thanks everyone! So can anyone answer my question about the minimum end height required for a 90-degree bend? Would I be able to do such a bend with 1" marked from the end of the pipe?
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Post  grownsunshine on 7/17/2013, 6:08 pm

jplee3 - would love to see what you ended up with. Can you post a pic? I'm about to work on a trellis and am looking to see what people have done.
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Post  southern gardener on 7/17/2013, 7:47 pm

would love to see what you ended up with. Can you post a pic? I'm about to work on a trellis and am looking to see what people have done.[/quote]

My hubby made this for me out of concrete reinforcement wire at Home Depot. We couldn't get cattle panels in our area. This worked pretty good. He just overlapped the two panels to make the arch high enough so we can reach without a ladder. The plants are about 3/4 of the way up on the arch so far. It hasn't filled in as much as we'd like, but better than last year, the season's not over tho!!


Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Archga10
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Post  lyndeeloo on 7/17/2013, 8:07 pm

Southerngardener, I love the way your trellis worked out. It gives me ideas for next year. Much of what I'm growing on the trellises seems to have gone over them already. Upward, ever upward! I did not plan for that much height. How much were the concrete reinforcement panels at HD?
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Post  southern gardener on 7/17/2013, 10:45 pm

@lyndeeloo wrote:Southerngardener, I love the way your trellis worked out. It gives me ideas for next year. Much of what I'm growing on the trellises seems to have gone over them already. Upward, ever upward! I did not plan for that much height. How much were the concrete reinforcement panels at HD?

Man, I was hoping to have mine covered in beans, beans, beans, cucumbers. I messed up on one part...I planted Dragon's tongue...they only grow 18" dummy me! I thought they'd vine up the trellis!!
The panels were cheap! $7 per panel~They aren't galvanized, so they rust unlike the cattle panels. No cattle panels around here, so the rusty ones work fine Smile
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Post  gwennifer on 7/18/2013, 12:18 am

I guess this is too late to help jplee3 with their question, but if anyone else is in this same situation maybe my method would help. I too did conduit bends instead of paying for expensive 90 degree connectors.  But instead of trying to end up with the exact length across the top with one piece of conduit bent in two places, I used two pieces of conduit each bent once in an L shape.  Then I laid them out flat and placed them so that the legs were the correct distance apart for my bed and marked where the two pieces across the top overlapped.  I cut them there with a hacksaw and joined them with an in-line connector.  I had a shorter trellis, so my legs ended up being one solid piece, but I figured I could always add height with in-line connectors and extra conduit.Conduit Trellis bending measurements? Trelli10
Kinda hard to see in the pic, from the angle of the picture the in-line connector is right in front of a fence post. And you can probably see I used concrete reinforcing mesh as well instead of nylon trellising.
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Post  Sam Dawson on 8/9/2013, 7:31 pm

You could also go and ask an Electrician working somewhere, I know if someone asked me to do it for them it would be no problem most likely cost you a tomato a couple of fresh ears of corn.
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Post  toledobend on 8/10/2013, 9:12 am

I saw this topic and after reading the posts, I had an idea.  1/2" conduit will slide into 3/4" conduit.  So if you use 3/4" as the top (horizontal) piece and bend it, you can slide it over the 1/2" side (vertical) pieces  or bend the 1/2" conduit and slide it inside 3/4" side pieces.  This way you can eliminate the need for any connectors.
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Post  lyndeeloo on 8/10/2013, 9:20 am

@toledobend wrote:I saw this topic and after reading the posts, I had an idea.  1/2" conduit will slide into 3/4" conduit.  So if you use 3/4" as the top (horizontal) piece and bend it, you can slide it over the 1/2" side (vertical) pieces  or bend the 1/2" conduit and slide it inside 3/4" side pieces.  This way you can eliminate the need for any connectors.
 OMG why didn't I think of that. I work at a hardware store and should know that! Thanks toledobend, that solves my problem for next years trellis. My plants have grown way up over the top and I was scheming/planning how to salvage/adapt what I have already. Awesome!
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