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How To Use An EMT Bender.

jammar9082_'s picture

I have an "electrician's hickey" but can't determine the correct index markings on the mandrel to use in making the bends at the right locations. Would someone be kind enough to explain the proper placement of the EMT? Thanks

(post #160547, reply #1 of 6)

Depending on the size of the bender you have, remember the greater the diameter of the pipe the greater the radius required.

Regardless of the size you have, put a pencil mark 2 inches from one end of the proper size pipe, line up the front outside edge of the bender with the line, bend a full 90 or rotation, lay it on the floor,with the bent end straight up and measure the end result. Subtract the 2" and you have the template measure for all future bends.


(post #160547, reply #2 of 6)

There are four major manufacturers of conduit benders that I know of - Klein (Benfield), Ideal, Greenlee and GardnerBender. If you search their sites, one of them may be able to help. I know Ideal has a phamphlet [$1.00] on the subject. Usually some instructions are included with whatever you buy.
I am not sure as to whether you have a hicky or a proper bender. Also you did not mention what you are trying to do. The phamphlet is 16 pages long and I am not going to re=create it from memory for you. You have to be more specific.
I have never heard of Gabe's 2" technique but is sounds like a preliminary test run.
There are three or four basic manuvers [hell with French spelling]: the stub up, the offset and the kick.
For the stub, it depends on the diameter of the EMT. For 1/2" conduit, if you want a 12" stub up, you measure 12" from the end and then make your mark 5" less than that and bend 90º. But for 3/4" conduit you subtract 6" and for 1" the number is 8" [I think]. But it's stamped on the bender so you don't really have to memorize it.
As for the offsets, the formula is basic trig. - that is you use the hypotenuse for the distance between your marks. 30º is easy because the answer is two. Thus if, say, you need a 6" offset, you multiply 6" by 2 and get 12". So you place your marks 12" apart and bend 30º at the first mark and 30º the other way at the 12" mark. And there is a certain amount of take-up allowance involved - if you want to get picky.
The kicks are a crap shoot. There is no set distance for the point of the bend altho' I recommend that the further away, the shallower the angle and thus the easier the wire pulling. What I do is lock my tape measure to the distance I need to clear and set it on the floor next to the bent part (stub) and bend until it just matches.

(post #160547, reply #3 of 6)

Thanks for the replies. The booklet sounds like a necessary item and I will look for one.

I am not an electrician but have a tube bender and I thought it was called an "electricians Hickey". The head is marked Henderson and EMCO-EL1, the handle has a decal with a brand of Gadney hickey handle on it. I have both the 1/2 inch and the 3/4 inch heads.

I am not bending for electrical use but for repair and replacement of handles on garden carts, welders, etc. The handles are "U" shaped and the legs need to fit the equipment for attachment. My current task is a handle for a welder(buz box) that has a cabinet width of 15 inches. In my limited experience I could not get the "bend" in the right place to make the handle 14 inches wide to fit the cabinet thus the question to the forum.

Peter, I think I understand you comments and based on that I think I should consider each bend in the handle as a stub and make two of them. I need to take both responses and practice each to see if I truly understand the concepts. Thanks to both of you, Gabe and Peter.

P.S. I was a subscriber to Fine Home Building from the beginning and continued through Issue 121 when I decided I was too old to keep up with all of the good information. I researched my copies' index and the web site index and could not find one article that described the use of a "hickey" I was surprised that there was no info. on the subject.


(post #160547, reply #4 of 6)

I am not familiar with the brand you mention. There are both EMT benders and hickeys. The benders have a 90º arc and the hickeys have a very short arc or even just two bending points.
Assuming you have a bender and are using 3/4" EMT and you want say 4' legs and 14" outside measurement--
Treat the first leg as a 4' stub. That is make your mark at 48" - 6" = 42". Bend it 90º. Then, using the outside measurment [use a straight-edge to bypass the bend] of the first bend make a mark 14" away along the tube and again subtract the 6". Make the second 90º bend.
There is a second method using the Star mark on the bender. The booklet should explain it. Diagrams help.
Note: a 3/4" bender will bend 1/2" rigid electrical conduit and a 1" bender will bend 3/4" rigid conduit. Rigid electrical conduit, while similar in appearance to plumbing pipe - threads and all - is made of a softer metal designed to be bendable.

(post #160547, reply #5 of 6)

Jammar---I always thought that the conduit hickey was only to be used for Heavy wall conduit with pipe threads on each end. If you are want to bend EMT Electrical Metallic Tubing you use a EMT bender. EMT is also called thinwall and has no threads on the ends. Hope this helps. Larry

(post #160547, reply #6 of 6)

I have an "electrician's hickey" but can't determine the correct index markings on the mandrel to use in making the bends at the right locations. Would someone be kind enough to explain the proper placement of the EMT? Thanks