Bolted Joints
Ok, Maker Pipe Community, I have another tip for you. I am calling it Bolted Joints. It is not the first example of this. Mario I. Arguello had the idea first, and frankly, his solution is a bit more elegant than mine. There are also examples recently shared with drilled connectors, compression pins, or self-tapping screws. These are fine too, but I wanted a solution without modifying the connector that does not require me to make a die like Mario, or use a 2-ton press (which I don’t have).

So, here’s the challenge: You need a way to securely capture the end of the conduit so it does not pull out of the Maker Pipe connector. In my case, I am mounting a flange on the ceiling, and a heavy build will hang from this flange. I can backup the pipe in the flange with the threaded insert bolt and washer hack, but a connector could slip off the other end because it is only holding with friction.

My solution is similar to Mario’s. Use the Maker Pipe bolt itself to capture the conduit through a hole you drill in the conduit. The only problem is that there is a constriction in the connector which prevents the conduit from going past the bolt. Mario’s solution is to prep the conduit by cutting some slits and compressing it with a die so it fits the geometry inside the connector. It’s a great solution, but I wanted to simplify it. If you just compress the conduit, it will expand. With 1/2 inch EMT this is not a problem, but with 3/4 it will expand and won’t fit in the connector. I realized that if you cut 1/2 inch sides out of the pipe first, you can compress it without expansion. That is what I did.

1. Make a hexagon template with intersecting lines.
2. Put the end of the conduit on the center of the template and mark the pipe on both sides of two adjacent intersections.
3. Cut one inch down the end of the conduit, straight across the middle, from mark to mark, then again at the adjacent marks.
4. Cut a scoreline one inch down, between the end cuts and bend/remove the small sections.
5. Drill a hole through the remaining tabs, centered, 3/8” from the end.
6. Hammer a tab to start them bending together. Flip the pipe around and hammer the other tab so they bend together symmetrically.
7. Test fit in a connector with the bolt through the hole and tighten it down. This will complete the bends above.

The resulting flange I have now is backed up with the washer and threaded insert bolt hack. You are stuck with one orientation, but you can drop a couple bolts into the flange mounting holes and loosely set it over a gap (vice jaws work) and rotate connector a little using a pipe as a lever arm to line up the screw holes if you need to. This is a super secure flange that I will use in my next build (and again on the build after that). Finally, it is not just for a flange. For any connector that features conduit butting up to the bolt, the conduit could be modified in this simple way to push it past the constriction and capture it with the bolt. Anyone using a pipe grid for ceiling mounted cameras or lighting could use this method to secure verticals into Maker Pipe connectors.