Southwire Conduit Bending Review: What Is A Conduit Bender?
A conduit bender is a device which allows you to connect two or more wires together without having to use soldering or other dangerous methods. You can then run electricity through them. There are many types of conduits available but they all have one thing in common – they’re made from metal and these metals can be very heavy and expensive. They do not come cheap!
So what’s the solution?
Well, there are several ways to accomplish this task. One way is with a conduit bender. These devices allow you to join two or more wires together using nothing but your hands and some heat (or hot glue).
Another method is to buy a commercial grade conduit bender. Commercial grade conduit benders are usually made of plastic and cost much less than their metal counterparts. However, they may not be as strong as the ones made from steel or even aluminum.
The third option is to make your own conduit bender. All you need is a pair of pliers, a small screwdriver, and some wire. You’ll also need some heat-shrink tubing to wrap around the ends of the wires so that they don’t get too short when joined together. If you want to go down this route, please read our tutorial on how to build your own conduit bender first!
Southwire Conduit Bending
Metal conduits are very strong and durable; however, they are also heavy. They’re mostly used in industrial settings where strength and sturdiness matter most. They’re not really practical for residential use since they can easily cause serious back pain when carrying around longer distances!
Most electrical wires come with a protective covering on the outside known as the “jacket.” The jacket helps to protect the delicate copper wires inside from being damaged. The jacket is usually made from either plastic or rubber. On some of the cheaper electrical wire sets, the jacket is not colored; it’s simply gray. Even though it may not be visible, please remember that the jacket is still there even if you can’t see it.
In order to strip away this layer, you will need to use a tool known as a wire stripper. A typical wire stripper looks like a pair of pliers with rows of thin teeth. You can find a wire stripper at any hardware store for less than $10.
Stripping the wires: The jacket on electrical wires is designed to be removed, however, you need to do so very carefully. If you were to simply pull the wires out with your hands, you would damage the fragile copper wiring inside. This would prevent the wire from functioning properly and might even cause a short in the circuit. Always remember to use a wire stripper or nail clippers instead!
Bending the wires: The next step is to tightly bend the exposed copper wires at a 90 degree angle. You may find it helpful to look at a picture of a wire in a book or online if you’ve never done this before. Take your time and make sure that all of your bends are uniform. If not, the finished product won’t fit inside the conduit and you’ll have to start over again. If you find that the bends are difficult to make, run a drop of candle wax along the copper wiring first.
The heat from your fingers will soften the wax and allow the wires to form nice clean angles.
Wires sticking out: Even after you’ve made all of your tight bends, you may notice that little bits of copper are still visible along the wire. This is because electrical wires are meant to go into holes, not over long spans of open space. You can solve this problem by simply wrapping the exposed wiring in a thick piece of paper or card stock. This is called “taping up” the wires and can easily be removed when the time comes. Electrical tape works even better at sealing up any potential gaps, but it is more expensive to purchase.
Most hardware stores sell it in small rolls for less than $2.
Protection: Even after all of your hard work, the wiring may still be exposed to harm along the way. If you need to lay the wires across a long stretch of open space, you may need to take additional steps to protect them. Electrical tape is not very thick and will not provide much cushion if you were to accidentally drop something on it. An easy solution is to create an “air tight” protective tube around the wiring. All you need to do is slip a piece of paper (or card stock) between the wires and tightly wrap tape around them in a spiraling pattern.
Make sure that you leave no gaps, or else the wiring could still be exposed.
Wires making a turn: Sometimes the copper wires may not be quite long enough to reach their destination. Instead of cutting them and exposing the bare metal, you can easily buy “wire nuts” at any hardware store for less than $1. These are specially designed caps that will fit tightly over each end of the wiring. All you’ll have to do is strip away about an inch of the wiring and slip the nut over each end. Then all you have to do is twist the wires around each other (clockwise) several times.
This will create an effective, air tight seal and prevent the wires from making contact with each other.
Making the connections: After all of the wiring has been run and connected to its destination, you’ll need to make the final connection from the junction box. Before doing so, you’ll need to decide which two or three wires you’ll be using to power the LED strips on your costume. Most strips will come with an instruction manual that will tell you which colors to use, or you can simply test the different wires and see which ones work. Make sure to leave yourself a long tail of extra wire to work with once you’ve made the final connection.
Use your wire cutters to clip as much of the plastic sheathing off of the wires as you can. Then strip away about an inch of the rubber shielding. You should now be able to see the individual wires inside. Most LED strips have green and red wires (though some have blue and yellow). The exact colors may vary, so make sure you pay attention to which colors you chose!
Take the green and red wires from your LED strip and twist the green one with the green wire from your extension cord. Tape them together using electrical tape. Do the same with the red wires. Tape all of the connections securely and cover your work with more tape for protection. Congratulations!
You’ve now created a closed circuit that will power your costume!
Step 3: Using and testing your wiring system
Once you’ve made all of your connections, test to see if everything works. Plug in the extension cord and if all goes well you should be able to see the lights in their full glory. Try moving around while plugged in; the lights shouldn’t flicker or change at all–they should remain steady no matter what. This is a good indication that your wiring is working properly.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Best Electrical Fish Tape: Our Top 4 Picks of 2020 (E Mentor – 2017 – electricianmentor.com)
- Developing and Validating a New Product for Gripping and Pulling Cable (T Miller – 2018 – scholar.rose-hulman.edu)
- Real-time power line rating (M Lancaster – US Patent 8,744,790, 2014 – Google Patents)
- 2018 FIELD HOUSE LOBBY LIGHTING IMPROVEMENTS (T Girmscheid – 2018 – waukeganparks.org)
- Method of heat shielding an inner tube (H Stastny, E Lim – US Patent 7,451,541, 2008 – Google Patents)
- BID DOCUMENTS/PROJECT MANUAL: 2017 FIELD HOUSE AT HINKSTON PARK LED LIGHTING (FHATH PARK, CJRA CENTER, WP DISTRICT – 2017 – waukeganparks.org)