Hey, handy folks - Lamp-post question

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Hey, handy folks - Lamp-post question

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:49 pm

So I'm making lampposts to hang lanterns from at the local regional event. My original idea was to make a crude shepard's hook out of 8' of metal conduit with a 90 degree curved L PVC piece on the end. I'd screw an eye hook through the horizontal part of the PVC, secure it with a nut and washer, and then hang the lantern from the eye hook. The whole schebang would go over a piece of 4' rebar halfway in the ground. Two questions:

1) How heat resistant is schedule 40 PVC? The lantern hangs by a handle so there'll be a gap of air of about six inches from the top of the lantern to the PVC, but still the lanterns heat up and weigh about five pounds so I'm worried about the PVC getting soft and sagging with the heat+weight combination.

2) How can I partially cut the PVC tube corner pieces? I'm thinking I can cut the expense of the nuts, washers, and eye hooks by cutting a notch into the horizontal, top side of the L-shaped PVC and just resting the lantern handle in the notch. This would of course put the heat source somewhat closer to the PVC...

Thanks in advance
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby lbhat » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:51 pm

Metal conduit (EMT) comes in 10' sticks... I would suggest 3/4" EMT, 1/2" is a little to flexible.
Then use a conduit bender, pull a 6" or 8" stub up. I would then notch a "V" to hold your lantern handle.
I would also suggest filing or grinding the "V" to remove any burrs. Easy to set up as a production line.
How many are you looking to make...?

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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby MikeGyver » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:14 pm

I gotta ask, why do you need the PVC?

Bend your conduit, drill a hole through it and put your eye bolt through there.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby GreyCoyote » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:23 pm

BSG: PVC goes soft at a very low temperature. I've bent a bunch of it for projects just by blowing a heatgun through it set on low. After a minute, you grab it and bend it and it's like over-cooked spaghetti. Hit it with ice water, and it sets-up again.

I would seriously look at a different design before you use this stuff near heat.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:27 pm

Thanks for the responses, guys. I thought the PVC would be my best bet considering my almost total lack of appropriate tools, but PVC looks ugly and isn't the best product for the environment, so I'm happy to get away from it. Especially to avoid the spaghetti consistency.

I was planning on 3/4" EMT rather than 1/2" for strength. Also, I had a plan for the 2' I was going to have the box depot lop off to make an even 8', but I like the idea of bending the conduit much better. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that there are hand tools for bending conduit, considering its intended purpose. lbhat, would a conduit bender be able to make a V like you're describing? Ideally the bend wouldn't take more than 2' of the total 10' length; I don't know how tightly 3/4" EMT will bend.

Is there a way to make a stable T-junction at the end of 3/4" EMT so I can hang two lanterns opposite each other? I've got 24 lanterns, so I was thinking 8 single-lantern lampposts on either side of the road leading up to the Temple (16 lanterns total), and then 4 double-lantern lamposts around the temple. I saw some junction boxes at home despot that are made for conduit but they look bit bulky and I'm worried about twisting. Maybe I should just go for 8 single-lantern lampposts around the temple as well...
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:33 pm

http://www.ysbw.com/Canopy-Fitting-3-4-Tee-p/2025.htm

Use a hack saw to notch the EMT to hang your lamps. 8)
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby GreyCoyote » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:37 pm

How about taking a stock 10 foot length of EMT and bending the upper end into a shepherds crook? Hang the lamp from the end of the crook or notch the tubing end with a chopsaw to accept the bail on the lantern. This would put the lantern about 7 feet off the ground and would be inherently stable, and you could setup a jig to crank these out in a hurry and make them the same.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:47 pm

FIGJAM, I like those T's but are the ends far enough from the pole to accommodate the width of a lantern easily? At the base, they're about 6" in diameter.

greycoyote wrote:How about taking a stock 10 foot length of EMT and bending the upper end into a shepherds crook? Hang the lamp from the end of the crook or notch the tubing end with a chopsaw to accept the bail on the lantern. This would put the lantern about 7 feet off the ground and would be inherently stable, and you could setup a jig to crank these out in a hurry and make them the same.


I like this idea a lot! It's simple and I think the aesthetic could be good. Next question: is it more stable to curl the crook in or out?

ImageImage
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby GreyCoyote » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:53 pm

You won't be able to bend the end of conduit into such a tight curl. Better just to make it like a question-mark, and put a small hook (pre-formed, store-bought) in the end to hold the lantern. :mrgreen:
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:13 pm

Okay, I think I have a plan for going to boxmart tomorrow. Thank you for your input, everyone!
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When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby Elliot » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:29 pm

Hey, I just got here! EMT yes. Surprisingly inexpensive; maybe $3 per 10' length. It even resists rust quite well, since it is galvanized. You may be able to rent the tool at the store. There is a ton of information on the interweb about how to use the tool. I would probably buy a few extra lengths to practice on, until you have an agreeable prototype, with marks where you started and stopped each bend. Make the same marks on all the other lengths, and start the production line. The trickiest part may be to make the bends in the same plane. I'm an amateur at this myself, but it is definitely doable. :D
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby lbhat » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:30 pm

here is a quick photo of 3/4" EMT bent into a 90 degree 8" stub. the floor tiles are 1 foot by 1 foot for reference.
the stub can be any length you want, as it is a repeatable measurement. a shepherd's crook is a 180 degree bend & is subject to kinking.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby BBadger » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:40 pm

You can attach those junction-boxes to the ends of the conduit. May not be as stylish as you'd want, but they connect to the ends just fine and can connect to other conduits -- or lanterns.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:42 pm

Does kinking reduce the structural integrity of the conduit?

Also, I may still go back to junction boxes, but considering the price and the fact that I'll need somewhere between 20 and 24 of them, bending the conduct is more appealing to me at this point.
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When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby lbhat » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:01 pm

BoyScoutGirl wrote:Does kinking reduce the structural integrity of the conduit?

the fact that I'll need somewhere between 20 and 24 of them, bending the conduct is more appealing to me at this point.


Kinked conduit looks like your finger joint tightly bent in the middle of a smooth curve. Bending conduit requires bending all sides of a hollow tube at the same time. It can be done easily, just takes practice :shock: :wink: :D
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby Elliot » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:29 pm

lbhat wrote:here is a quick photo of 3/4" EMT bent...

Why am I not seeing a photo?
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby lbhat » Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:40 am

not sure why your not seeing a image... probably a collision of online & PM messages. She's ok with it, I guess, as we are meeting
tomorrow to prototype & build ....

I guess I could link to a image of 3/4" EMT bent at a 90 degree 8" atub if you need the visual... :?
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby GreyCoyote » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:13 am

lbhat wrote:...we are meeting tomorrow to prototype & build ....


Pictures or it didn't happen! Would like to see the finished product as we might do something similar here too.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby Elliot » Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:59 am

lbhat wrote:...

I guess I could link to a image of 3/4" EMT bent at a 90 degree 8" atub if you need the visual... :?

Thanks, but no need. As with most things, Google Images instantly provides hundreds of pictures.

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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:53 am

Elliot wrote:You will find BoyScoutGirl a fabulous co-conspirator. She helped me with bicycle repair on Playa this year.

:oops: :D Thanks, elliot.


GreyCoyote wrote: Would like to see the finished product as we might do something similar here too.


I'll definitely be uploading photographs, including of the final installation at YOUtopia. Just gotta get things made first!

Are you a lamplighter? I know we a Silver Fox, but I haven't heard of a Grey Coyote... Though, it's a big camp and I'm still fairly new around here. Regardless, if you've got lantern-related questions, I can probably track down somebody to help you out. We have lamplighters in all the weirdest places :)
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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby trilobyte » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:06 pm

I'm giving this a nudge over to the Q&A board, since that's a better fit for general project questions and discussions.

I'll also echo others' sentiments about recommending EMT conduit instead of PVC. As a rule, I'd never use PVC for anything intended to support a load...of any weight. I'll also +1 the request to see pics of how it comes out, sounds like a fun project!
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The final product

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:34 pm

I believe I owe you wonderful folks an update.

It's actually incredibly easy to do a full circle bending on the 3/4" conduit using a pipe-bender. As several people anticipated in this thread, once you get past a ninety-degree bend, the bender starts to want to take the same space as the stem of the EMT. The simple solution is to rotate the bender around the pipe just a little bit as you bend, so that the curled end misses the stem to one side or the other. It won't be a tight circle, but you can continue bending pretty much as far as you want.

I didn't get many photos of the final product, but here you can see we were successful in getting a complete, simple shepard's crook:
Image

Using the shepard's hook meant no need for any other hardware to keep the lanterns from sliding, which meant cheap, fast and easy assembly! We got 25 done in under two hours, including cutting two-foot sections of 1/2" EMT to slip over the rebar. Plus, I really like the simple, smooth shape.

Another nice part about the final design was that the circle used enough length at the end of the pipe that we didn't have to trim it from 10'. The bottom of the loop is high enough to (mostly) keep the lantern out of face-height but still be low enough that we didn't have to use lifting poles to get the lanterns on them.

Lastly, it was pointed out to me that the circular space would be a perfect home for more art! So, with less that 24 hours to go before they were installed, I added wire and bead dreamcatchers to five of the lampposts, making them the special spires to go by the temple:

Image

Each lamppost was secured in the ground using one four-foot piece of 1/2" rebar and a two-foot sleeve of 1/2" conduit. The rebar went into the ground about halfway (make sure it's plumb!), the sleeve went over the rebar, then the lamppost went over both. It was a little wobbly, but even with the lanterns it was secure enough at a site like ours where there wasn't too much wind and where the lampposts were well out of the way of foot- and vehicle traffic.

Thanks in particular to lbhat for lending me his tools and expertise in making a prototype and to Victor, a local burner who let me into his workspace last-minute to do the actual production.
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby Elliot » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:45 pm

.
Approval granted.
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Re: The final product

Postby ygmir » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:55 pm

BoyScoutGirl wrote:I believe I owe you wonderful folks an update.

It's actually incredibly easy to do a full circle bending on the 3/4" conduit using a pipe-bender. As several people anticipated in this thread, once you get past a ninety-degree bend, the bender starts to want to take the same space as the stem of the EMT. The simple solution is to rotate the bender around the pipe just a little bit as you bend, so that the curled end misses the stem to one side or the other. It won't be a tight circle, but you can continue bending pretty much as far as you want.

I didn't get many photos of the final product, but here you can see we were successful in getting a complete, simple shepard's crook:
Image

Using the shepard's hook meant no need for any other hardware to keep the lanterns from sliding, which meant cheap, fast and easy assembly! We got 25 done in under two hours, including cutting two-foot sections of 1/2" EMT to slip over the rebar. Plus, I really like the simple, smooth shape.

Another nice part about the final design was that the circle used enough length at the end of the pipe that we didn't have to trim it from 10'. The bottom of the loop is high enough to (mostly) keep the lantern out of face-height but still be low enough that we didn't have to use lifting poles to get the lanterns on them.

Lastly, it was pointed out to me that the circular space would be a perfect home for more art! So, with less that 24 hours to go before they were installed, I added wire and bead dreamcatchers to five of the lampposts, making them the special spires to go by the temple:

Image

Each lamppost was secured in the ground using one four-foot piece of 1/2" rebar and a two-foot sleeve of 1/2" conduit. The rebar went into the ground about halfway (make sure it's plumb!), the sleeve went over the rebar, then the lamppost went over both. It was a little wobbly, but even with the lanterns it was secure enough at a site like ours where there wasn't too much wind and where the lampposts were well out of the way of foot- and vehicle traffic.

Thanks in particular to lbhat for lending me his tools and expertise in making a prototype and to Victor, a local burner who let me into his workspace last-minute to do the actual production.



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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:56 pm

Thanks, boys. Seeing all the beautiful work posted by productive, handy eplayans is what gave me the courage to take this on, you two among them.

I also ought to mention that I had a great deal of on-the-ground support from Lamplighters Magic Man, Shiba, Willing, and vino. Even though we only had 25 lanterns, having dedicated "staff" volunteers you know you can count on makes a big difference in how smoothly the operation runs... and how much hair the lead Lamplighter has pulled from her head by the end of the weekend!

Lastly, I learned that while making art is a lot of fun, the art has to go somewhere in the end. I didn't have a storage plan for 25x 8' EMT poles after the event and that nearly backfired on me. The day was, thankfully, saved, but it was a real oops! moment :oops:
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby Elliot » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:11 pm

.
Storage? Just build one of these, like I did. Nuttin to it. :mrgreen:

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Re: Hey, handy folks - PVC cutting question

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:20 pm

Haha - Elliot, I saw the trailer peaking into the bottom left of the image and, for a split second, my brain thought you'd managed to built that lovely barn on wheels! What a massive kinetic sculpture that'd be!

The real problem with storage is that I'll be relocating at least twice between now and this time next year (spending some time overseas - woohoo!), so it would have been a big hassle to store the posts, even though they're really not that big.
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When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
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Re: Hey, handy folks - Lamp-post question

Postby Eric » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:23 pm

Thread title changed to match the discussion better, at the OP's request (and reading the thread, it makes sense)
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Re: Hey, handy folks - Lamp-post question

Postby Savannah » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:49 pm

Beautiful work, BoyScoutGirl! :o
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Re: Hey, handy folks - Lamp-post question

Postby Ratty » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:56 pm

Very excellent solution. They are lovely.
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