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T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit

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T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Empty T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit

Post  ander217 5/8/2010, 8:39 am

My DH put up our trellises yesterday. We made a 16-foot trellis and one 8-ft. using 1/2" thinwall electrical conduit. The electrical conduit cost $3.26 for 10-ft. lengths, and we had already cut them into 6-ft. and 4-ft. lengths intending to connect them with elbows and t-connectors.

Our local lumber yard was out of the T-connectors needed to connect the conduit pipes across the top, so it was either drive 30 miles to Lowe's, or come up with a substitute. After thinking about several options, my husband purchased metal electrical outlet boxes for $1.22 apiece. He knocked out the holes in the bottom and one on each side, and fastened the pipes to them with box connectors which cost 29 cents each. Three were required, so the total cost was $2.09 per connection.

The lumber yard had the corner elbows in stock, but they were $4.55 each, and the two couplings required were 35 cents each, for a cost of $5.25. Using the electrical boxes instead, along with two box connectors reduced that total cost to $1.80 each. If he'd wanted to take the time he could probably have scrounged some old electrical boxes from contractor friends. We already had some rebar scraps, and we scrounged some electric fenceposts for the rest of the rebar.

The frame looks a little unusual, but it was the best we could do at the time and we think it will work just fine. Does anyone foresee a problem?
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Post  Retired Member 1 5/8/2010, 9:13 am

I can't forsee a problem, but would love to look at a pic of what you did. I borrowed a conduit bender, but don't know if I can do that in the future. And I will not pay the $$ for the elbows -- I can't believe they are so expensive when a pak of 5 straight connecters was less than $2.00.
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Post  camprn 5/8/2010, 9:51 am

Ander, you have a smart handy fella there! Very Happy
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T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Empty Connectors substitute

Post  ander217 5/8/2010, 5:18 pm

It's a good thing, too. I'm completely techno-challenged - or is it engineering-challenged? Anyway, I'm totally stooopid in whatever department that is.
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T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Empty Photo

Post  ander217 5/8/2010, 5:33 pm

Belfry bat, here is a photo of the corner connection. The center ones are the same, they just have another piece of conduit coming in from the other side.

T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Sfg_bo11
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Post  clarker 5/8/2010, 8:54 pm

That is a really good idea! I didn't know what I was going to do about this same problem when I came to that step. I spent forever at Lowes searching for a cheap option to attach the top to the sides. The corner pieces sold for this purpose are large curved 90 degree corners, at about 4 bucks each! It would cost $25 just for corners for my 3 beds! When I told my Dad, he told me to return them, and offered to weld the pipes together permanently at work on his lunch break.
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Post  boffer 5/9/2010, 1:46 am

Great idea good idea

But now, what should be done with the box? Put on a blank cover and paint it? Use it for seed storage? Put an old switch and cover on and pretend it does something?

Put on your thinking hats-what can be done with that box?!
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T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Empty Connector substitutes

Post  ander217 5/9/2010, 4:23 am

Boffer, I love the way your mind works. T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Lol
I can just see your fake outlets with pole bean runners plugged into them.

Maybe we could knock out additional discs in the tops and sides and attach windmills and whirl-a-gigs. We could tell people we're producing our own power.

We have five boxes on the 16-ft. trellis. We could add doors and paint them to be penthouse suites for ladybugs or toads.

BTW, Dear Husband said that if we hadn't already had our conduit cut to 6-ft and 4-ft. lengths, the top bars would have fit better if they'd been cut a little shorter to make up for the extra width of the boxes. He made ours fit, but the top flares outward just a bit. He thought cutting the longer pieces to 73 or 74 inches would take care of the problem, but you could measure half of the box width and figure from there if you want to be exact.
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Post  Megan 5/9/2010, 5:53 am

Whirl-a-gigs sound like a great idea. Would they scare birds off?
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Post  timwardell 5/9/2010, 10:50 am

I'm with you boffer, I can't help but wonder what those boxes might be used for. Hmmmm.... :scratch:
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Post  titans01 5/9/2010, 7:12 pm

Neat idea. Wish I would of read this before I bought all my conduit and pipe bender. Although with 14 trellises to make it might be just as cheap to buy the bender.
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Post  Ha-v-v 5/26/2010, 11:11 pm

The empty box could hold a tiny tea light Smile the perfect candle holder Smile I love it !!!
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Post  Megan 5/26/2010, 11:14 pm

Actually I've been wondering if whirl-a-gigs are any good at scaring off birds. Does anyone have any info on that?
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T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Empty Another thought on fastening corners

Post  Wyldflower 5/27/2010, 12:37 am

My trellis is still under construction, but I used a combination of the electrical EMT Conduit (1/2") and PVC plumbing fittings.... What I'm using is called "Barb to Barb 90 degree elbow coupling." I found them at Home Depot for under $2 each, though I would have liked to spend less (HD doesn't have them pictured on the website).

They fit very tightly into the conduit - I'm using a hammer to get it to fit all the way in, and it's important to be careful to have the elbows facing in the right direction - you can shift it a little, but not too much. Here's a picture of one of these connectors and one that's driven into the conduit.

T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Condui10

I've fastened the connectors to my uprights, and will attach them to my cross piece after I've finished doing my 'macrame' trellis net that I'm knotting from Mason's Line. It may be awkward to try to hammer the uprights to the cross piece, but with a little help from my grandson, and bracing the piece against the foundation of the house where it meets the patio, I think I can get this done. I'm hoping to have the trellis up in the garden tomorrow.
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T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Empty Great idea

Post  ander217 5/27/2010, 6:38 am

Neat idea, Wyldflower. Instead of hammering the uprights into the crosspieces, would it be easier to hammer the elbows into the crosspieces first, and then hammer the crosspieces into the uprights?
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T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Empty pulling elbow

Post  ralitaco 5/27/2010, 8:23 am

I used a 90 degree "pulling" elbow on mine.
It was $2.50 at hd.

T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Pullin10
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Post  ralitaco 5/27/2010, 8:28 am

Wyldflower,
I would be concerned about the plastic drying out under the sun.
If I am thinking correctly, those are used for underground plastic piping for irrigation systems.
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Post  ralitaco 5/27/2010, 8:35 am

Here's a thought for the outlet box.
You could knock out the hole on both sides of the box,
then slide the top conduit all the way thru.
If you are making a line of trellis' you may not have to cut the top crossbar at all.
If you have a 4' box and 5' conduit, then the end that extends out could be used to hang tools, hose, a planter, etc
In able to secure the pipe to the box, I am thinking you could just insert the pipe through the connector inside of the box. Tighten the screw and it should be fine.

I will try to put one together and get a picture up.

Jim
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Post  Megan 5/27/2010, 1:42 pm

@ralitaco wrote:I used a 90 degree "pulling" elbow on mine.
It was $2.50 at hd.

T-connector and elbow substitute for conduit Pullin10

I just looked at these at HD this afternoon. Because they are threaded, you will also need two 1/2" set screw connectors for each elbow to convert from screw to set screw. They are 5 for $1.91 here. Which is still cheaper than the inside corner elbow! Smile
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Post  Megan 5/27/2010, 3:10 pm

Finished doing the math after my research at HD on these connectors. The only conduit bender I found cost a whopping $75, so I didn't even consider bending my own conduit. (There must be a cheaper one, right??)

All costs are from my local HD for 1/2" material and do not include tax.

Option 1: Pull elbow and 2 set screw connectors
Elbow is $2.56, connector pack (5 pcs) $1.91.
Cost per 90-degree angle: $3.32
Cost to make bends for 4 trellises (including extra materials): $24.30

Option 2: Inside corner pull elbow
$4.38 each.
Cost to make bends for 4 trellises: $35.04

Option 3: Elbow pipe (short section of 1/2 conduit bent to a 90-deg angle) plus 2 set screw couplers
Elbow pipe is $3.14 each, connector pack (5 pcs) $1.53.
Cost per 90-degree angle: $3.75
Cost to make bends for 4 trellises (including extra materials): $28.18

So, option 1 seems to be the best option for me, unless I can find someone who does welding for cheap.
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Post  ralitaco 5/27/2010, 4:55 pm

@Megan wrote:I just looked at these at HD this afternoon. Because they are threaded, you will also need two 1/2" set screw connectors for each elbow to convert from screw to set screw.

Megan,
I used these and the conduit just slipped right in.
I dry fit the conduit into the pull at the store.
I tightened the attached screw and that was it.
don't know if that is how it is supposed to work, but it worked for me.
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Post  Megan 5/27/2010, 5:00 pm

It held tight? The person helping me said you needed the other pieces, even though I stressed to him that it was for a garden trellis, not for anything electrical. I'm all for trying to cut cost, I just don't want it to slip when there are watermelons hanging from it.... Very Happy
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Post  Wyldflower 5/27/2010, 5:14 pm

@ralitaco wrote:Wyldflower,
I would be concerned about the plastic drying out under the sun.
If I am thinking correctly, those are used for underground plastic piping for irrigation systems.


Hmmm.... that didn't occur to me. I'll still be using these - hopefully, they will last a few years before they give out. Do you think it would help if they were covered with something? I have plenty of fabric, and maybe I can just wrap the corners with a few layers of fabric and let 'streamers' fly to keep some of the birds away.
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Post  Retired Member 1 5/27/2010, 5:43 pm

@Wyldflower wrote:
@ralitaco wrote:Wyldflower,
I would be concerned about the plastic drying out under the sun.
If I am thinking correctly, those are used for underground plastic piping for irrigation systems.


Hmmm.... that didn't occur to me. I'll still be using these - hopefully, they will last a few years before they give out. Do you think it would help if they were covered with something? I have plenty of fabric, and maybe I can just wrap the corners with a few layers of fabric and let 'streamers' fly to keep some of the birds away.

Just paint them to protect from UV light -- that is what I did when I erected a hoop house of pvc pipe and fittings. 5 years later when I moved it was still strong. To be safe in case the elbows shrink a bit, I'd use a self-tapping screw or two to make sure they are well anchored.

Although the fabric and streamers would be pretty....
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Post  ralitaco 5/27/2010, 9:04 pm

@Megan wrote:I just don't want it to slip when there are watermelons hanging from it....

In the words of Wyldflower, HMMM...That didn't occur to me.
I'm using my trellis for cukes and lima beans.
I guess you could do as belfrybat suggested and put in a self tapping screw.
Jim
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