How to bend and install electrical conduit

Brendan Lamothe

Key Takeaways

  • Mount all electrical boxes first.
  • Use proper connectors and ensure they are tightly installed.
  • Visualize the pipe routing path before drilling holes.

Site Build and Inspection Requirements

Building on-site requires compliance with various city inspections, including both framing and electrical inspections. In some towns, metal conduit and steel boxes are mandatory for electrical installations. As a former electrician, I know these can be challenging if you're new to them, but I'll guide you through the process.

To start, you need a 1900 bracket box. Use deck screws, not roofing nails or drywall screws, to avoid corrosion due to electrolysis. Mount all your boxes before starting other tasks to streamline the process.

Key Components and Tools

  • 1900 Bracket Box: Includes a bracket for easy stud mounting.
  • Deck Screws: Exterior grade screws to avoid rust.
  • Cordless Drill: For drilling through plates and joists.
  • Conduit and Steel Boxes
  • Connectors: Zinc connector set screw for half-inch conduit.

Steps for Electrical Installation

  1. Mounting Boxes: Use the bracket on the box to align it with your line. Anchor with deck screws.
  2. Layout Planning: Lay out the electrical flow, imagining it as water flow.
  3. Installing Connectors: Install zinc connectors on the boxes, ensuring they are tight.
  4. Drilling Holes: Visualize pipe paths, then drill holes using an inch-and-a-half bit.
  5. Running Conduit: Measure and cut conduit, then bend it as needed.


  • Avoid mounting boxes corner to corner to prevent lock ring collisions.
  • Steer clear of the center knockout when installing outlets to prevent screws from damaging wires.
  • Use a marker for clear hole placements.
  • Keep outlet heights at 16 inches from the ground and adjust drill height to at least 24 inches to accommodate conduit bends.

By following these steps and tips, you can successfully meet site build and inspection requirements, ensuring a smooth and efficient installation process.

Introduction to Metal Conduit and Steel Boxes

In this town, metal conduit and steel boxes are mandatory for electrical installations. For this build, you'll use what is known as a 1900 bracket box. This box has a bracket for easy mounting on studs. When mounting these boxes, it's necessary to use deck screws instead of roofing nails. Roofing nails are not code-compliant for this type of work.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • 1900 bracket boxes
  • Exterior-grade deck screws
  • Cordless drill
  • Zinc connector set screws for half-inch conduit
  • Conduit reamer
  • Channel locks (e.g., 430 channel locks without blue grips)
  • Milwaukee ink saw marker for marking outlets, switches, and holes

Steps for Installation

  1. Mounting the Boxes: Use the little tabs on the 1900 boxes to align them with the studs. Mount your switches at a standard height of 50 inches off the ground. Secure the box with deck screws at the top and bottom.

  2. Orchestrate Your Workflow: Mount all your boxes before moving to the next step. This will streamline the process and enhance efficiency.

  3. Install Connectors: Use zinc connectors for attaching conduits to the boxes. Make sure to tighten these connectors securely because the conduit acts as the ground.

  4. Drill the Holes: Plan the pipe routes in advance. Use a proper drill bit (preferably not larger than needed) and avoid placing conduits in the center knockouts to prevent interference with outlet screws.

Key Heights for Marking

  • Switches: 50 inches off the ground
  • Outlets: 16 inches off the ground
  • Drill holes: 24-30 inches off the ground to accommodate bends and offsets

Use ink saw markers to ensure precision in your markings. Proper planning and execution will make your electric work smooth and efficient.

Mounting the 1900 Bracket Box

You need to begin by understanding the importance of using the appropriate materials for mounting the 1900 bracket box. Ensure you have deck screws for mounting, as required by code—roofing nails are not permissible. Choose exterior-grade screws to prevent rusting and electrolysis.

Materials Needed:

  • 1900 Bracket Box
  • Exterior-grade deck screws
  • Cordless drill


  1. Positioning the Box: Hold the 1900 bracket box against the stud at the desired height. Standard height for switches is 50 inches from the ground. Use the tabs on the box to align it with the stud.

  2. Marking and Securing:

    • Line up the box with your height mark.
    • Press the box so the little spikes hold it in place.
    • Ensure the box is level.
  3. Inserting Screws:

    • Drive a deck screw through the top hole.
    • Drive another screw through the bottom hole, ensuring both are secure.
  4. Continuing the Process: Install all your outlet boxes in the same manner before moving to the next steps like drilling and conduit installation.


  • Do not use drywall screws. They can cause rusting and lead to failure.
  • Pre-assemble materials like connectors to save time.
  • Use tools like Klein Tools wire strippers and conduit reamers for efficiency.

By carefully following these steps, you can effectively and securely mount 1900 bracket boxes, readying the space for the next stages of your electrical installation.

Material Selection for Installation

When installing electrical components in this shed, it's crucial to ensure compliance with local regulations and codes. The town mandates the use of metal conduit and steel boxes. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with the material selection and the initial setup:

  1. 1900 Bracket Box:

    • Features a side bracket for easy stud mounting.
    • Equipped with tabs and set markers for precise alignment.
  2. Deck Screws:

    • Must be used instead of roofing nails.
    • Should be exterior grade to prevent rusting and electrolysis with the galvanized box.
  3. Zinc Connector Set Screw for Half Inch Conduit:

    • Ensure these connectors are tightly secured as the conduit acts as the ground.

Tools and Accessories

  • Cordless Drill:
    • Essential for drilling holes through plates and joists.
  • Klein Tools Pouch:
    • Useful for carrying wire strippers, conduit reamer, and tapered pump nose pliers.
  • Channel Locks (430):
    • Ideal for tightening connections.

Installation Tips

  • Mount All Boxes First:
    • Complete this task before moving on to drilling and bending conduit for efficiency.
  • Proper Strapping:
    • Ensure pipes are strapped securely to prevent movement.
  • Marker for Outlets and Switches:
    • Use a Milwaukee Inkzall marker for precise hole marking.


  • Switch Height:
    • Standard at 50 inches from the ground.
  • Outlet Height:
    • Typically 16 inches from the ground to the top of the box.
  • Drill Holes:
    • Position at about 24 inches off the ground for appropriate conduit installation.


  • Wafer Lights:
    • Thin, easy to install, LED lights with adjustable color temperature.

Planning Electrical Workflow

Before beginning any electrical work, mounting all the boxes is crucial. Using exterior grade screws, not drywall screws, ensures durability and compliance with code. Mount the switch boxes first at a standard height of 50 inches from the ground. The bracket boxes have features like tabs that hug the face of the stud and set markers to ensure accurate placement.

Next, prepare the connectors. Use a zinc connector set with a set screw for half-inch conduit. Your toolbox should include tools like wire strippers, conduit reamers, and channel locks. Load up your tool pouch to avoid repeatedly moving around.

Drill the holes according to the layout plan. Mark the points where the pipes will run, ensuring that no locks clash. Typically, outlets are positioned 16 inches off the ground to the top of the box. For drilling, ensure the center knockout isn't used to avoid potential conflicts with screws during outlet installation.

Visualize the pipe paths before you start bending the conduit. Consider the flow of electricity and plan pipes' vertical and horizontal runs accordingly. Use a Milwaukee Inkzall marker for precise markings. Ensure that holes for the conduit have some extra height to accommodate bends, typically drilling 24 to 30 inches off the ground. Remember to use nail straps to keep your pipes secure.

Box Mounting Strategy

When installing the steel boxes, use the 1900 bracket box. This box has a convenient bracket on the side, which helps secure it to the studs effectively.

Steps to Mount the Box:

  1. Positioning the Box:

    • Align the box with the line marked at 50 inches off the ground.
    • Use the tabs and set markers on the box to ensure correct alignment.
  2. Securing the Box:

    • Tap the spikes into place to hold the box temporarily.
    • Use deck screws, not roofing nails, to secure the box. Screws should be exterior grade to prevent rusting.
  3. Sequence of Tasks:

    • Mount all boxes before starting with conduit or drilling. This approach makes the process faster by focusing on one task at a time.

Using this strategy makes the rough-in process more efficient and ensures that the boxes are securely mounted before proceeding to the next steps in the electrical installation process.

Electrical Flow Concept

When installing electrical systems, you should imagine the flow of electricity similar to water: it starts at one point and ends at another. There's no need for a loop, just a clear start and finish. For this shed, your main source of power is the exterior electrical panel, connected via a conduit.

Steps to ensure smooth electrical flow:

  1. Mount all steel boxes onto studs using exterior-grade deck screws. This makes the process faster as individual tasks are grouped.
  2. Plan your conduit paths carefully:
    • Visualize where the pipes need to go.
    • Avoid collisions by not placing connectors corner to corner.

Essential tools for the job:

  • Conduit bender: To shape your conduits precisely.
  • Cordless drill: For drilling through plates and joists.
  • Channel locks: Useful for tightening conduit connectors.

Example Electrical Configuration

Circuit Type


Baseboard Heat

Heating specific areas


General electric supply


LED wafer lights with adjustable settings

Key Points:

  • Pipe connections: Ensure tight connectors as the grounding relies on the conduit.
  • Drill Holes: Recommend drilling at least six inches taller than outlet boxes to allow room for any conduit adjustments.
  • Marker Tools: Use reliable tools like the Milwaukee ink saw for precise measurements.

By focusing on these steps, you can efficiently manage the electrical flow in your projects, ensuring safety and functionality.

Laying Out the Electrical Plan

Start by mounting all of your boxes before beginning any drilling or piping. Using a 1900 bracket box will simplify the process as it comes with features that make mounting easier. These include small tabs to ensure proper alignment with studs and markers to help position the box at the standard height of 50 inches off the ground. Secure the boxes to the studs using exterior-grade deck screws to avoid rust and deterioration.

To streamline the process, complete the installation of all boxes before switching tasks. This approach allows for a smooth workflow and prevents unnecessary back-and-forth between tools and materials. Once the boxes are in place, proceed to organize and prepare the layout of the conduit.

Visualize the flow of electricity like a flow of water; it needs a starting point and an endpoint. The power supply for the shed will come from an exterior electrical panel connected by conduit to the various circuits inside the shed. These circuits will include one for the baseboard heater, one for outlets, and one for lighting.

Insert zinc connectors into your boxes to connect the conduit. Tighten these connectors securely because the conduit itself serves as the grounding path. Plan your runs carefully to avoid conflicts with other components and ensure proper spacing.

Drill holes to run the conduit. Position the holes at least 24 inches off the ground and ensure they are slightly larger than the conduit diameter. This will allow for easy insertion and accommodate any adjustments. Use high-quality tools for drilling and additional support, such as nail straps, to secure the conduit in place once it is laid out.

Ensuring proper alignment and secure connections will facilitate a safer and more efficient electrical setup. Use the Milwaukee Inkzall marker for creating clear, accurate markings on boxes and studs. This will guide you in drilling and connecting conduit, maintaining a clean and organized installation.

Installing Connectors and Preparing Tools

First things first, load up your pouch so you don't have to keep walking around to grab a bunch of stuff. Klein tools offer a convenient setup including wire strippers, a conduit reamer, and a tapered pump nose to knock out rings. Alternatively, use the 430 channel locks with the blue grips removed for a better hold.

To start installing connectors, let's talk about the zinc connector set screw for half-inch conduit. It includes a little ring which you need to attach properly. Here's the process:

  1. Take the top part of the connector and put it through the hole in the box.
  2. Attach the ring on the bottom side.
  3. Hold the ring and spin the fitting to tighten it.
  4. Use your channel locks to give it a good twist; you'll feel it bite down when it’s tight enough.

Drilling Process

Begin by visualizing where the pipes will go. Marking the spots is crucial.

  • Use a Milwaukee ink saw marker for accuracy.
  • For outlets and switches, ensure outlets are 16 inches off the ground to the top of the box.
  • Drill holes around 24 inches off the ground, making sure they are at least six inches taller than the outlet height for adequate room to work.

When drilling through plates or joists, use an inch-and-a-half bit if possible. If that's too big, secure the pipe with nail straps to ensure tightness. Properly mark and center the holes based on your layout, ensuring smooth and accurate installation.

Drilling and Preparing for Conduit

Start by gathering all the necessary tools and materials. You'll need a cordless drill, an inch and a half bit, zinc connectors, deck screws, and some basic Klein tools such as wire strippers, conduit reamer, and channel locks.

  1. Visualize the Path: Before drilling, visualize where the pipes need to go. Consider the layout and placement of your switches, outlets, and lights.

  2. Mark Your Holes: Use a marker, like the Milwaukee Inkzall, to mark where you need to drill the holes. Switches are typically mounted at 50 inches off the ground, while outlets are at 16 inches. For the conduit, aim for about 24-30 inches from the ground to ensure you have enough clearance for bends and offsets.

  3. Drill the Holes: Center your drill on the marks you've made and drill clean holes through the plates and joists. Although a 1.5-inch bit might be a bit large, it can still work if you use nail straps to hold the conduit tightly in place.

Here's a simple table to keep track of your measurements:

| Component | Height (inches) | |----------- | Switches | 50 | | Outlets | 16 | | Conduit | 24-30 |

  1. Install the Connectors: Attach the zinc connectors to your boxes. This involves inserting the top connector part into the box and securing it with the supplied ring. Use your channel locks to tighten them firmly. Tight connections are essential because the conduit itself serves as the grounding path.

By following these steps, you'll ensure a smooth and efficient process for drilling and preparing for conduit in your installation.

Strategies for Effective Pipe Routing

Mount all your boxes before starting the pipe routing. This will streamline your workflow and prevent frequent tool changes. For instance, using a 1900 bracket box makes mounting easier thanks to its attached bracket, which aligns with the studs.

When installing boxes, make sure to use deck screws, not roofing nails or drywall screws. This prevents rust caused by electrolysis. Temporary mount your boxes before routing pipes—this avoids obstacles while working.

For routing pipes, visualize the path they will take. Pipes should flow smoothly from the power source to various outlets and switches. This includes laying out where pipes need to run vertically and horizontally.

Use appropriate connectors like zinc connector set screws for half-inch conduit. Tighten these connectors firmly using channel locks to ensure a secure connection, as the conduit itself serves as the ground.

Drill holes for pipes with consideration. Aim for about 24 inches off the ground for most runs, leaving enough space for bends. Use a marker to clearly indicate your drilling points. Avoid placing holes too close to the center knockout to prevent screw interference when outlets are mounted.

Strap and secure all pipes after routing to avoid movement. Nail straps or conduit clamps keep everything in place, ensuring a neat and compliant installation.

Marking Positions for Outlets and Switches

Tools and Materials

  • Deck screws: Exterior grade screws are required to prevent rusting and ensure a secure hold.
  • 1900 bracket boxes: Standard in the electrical world, featuring brackets for mounting on studs.
  • Milwaukee Inkzall marker: Useful for marking out positions.

Steps for Marking Positions

  1. Switches: Mount at 50 inches off the ground. Align the box on the stud using the built-in tabs and set markers. Hammer the spikes in to hold the box in place, then secure with screws.
  2. Outlets: Typically positioned 16 inches from the ground to the top of the box. Center the box on the stud and fasten it using screws.

Pro Tips

  • Mount all boxes before starting any drilling or conduit installation. This helps streamline the workflow.
  • For outlets, avoid using the center knockout on the side of the box to prevent screws from hitting wires.
  • When marking holes, aim for about 24 to 30 inches off the ground to provide enough room for bending conduit and placement.


  • Height and Spacing: Ensure the height and spacing comply with local building codes to pass inspections.
  • Types of Screws: Use appropriate screws to avoid rust and ensure longevity of the installation.
  • Efficiency: Completing one task at a time (mounting, drilling, bending) helps maintain an efficient workflow.


  • Think of the electrical flow like water: it starts at one point (the panel) and ends at another (the device) without needing to loop back.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your electric rough-in using metal conduit tubing and steel boxes is efficient and meets all necessary codes.

Drilling Procedures and Tips

Proper drilling is crucial for effective electrical installations. Before you start, gather all necessary tools and materials.

Tools and Materials

  • Cordless drill: Ensure it's fully charged.
  • Drill bits: Various sizes to accommodate different hole requirements.
  • Marker: For precise markings.
  • Nail straps: To secure pipes.
  • Half-inch conduit and connectors: For running wiring.

Step-by-Step Drilling Process

  1. Plan the Pipe Routes: Visualize where the pipes will go. Mark all necessary holes.

  2. Choose the Right Drill Bit: Ideally, use a bit slightly larger than the conduit. For instance, an inch-and-a-half bit works but can be too large, so adjust accordingly.

  3. Mark the Drilling Points: Use a marker to mark locations. Typically, mark 24 to 30 inches off the ground, ensuring at least six inches above outlet boxes for maneuverability.

  4. Drill the Holes: Center the bit on your mark and drill clean, straight holes. Ensure precision to avoid misalignment.

Drilling Tips

  • Avoid Center Knockouts: When drilling for outlets, avoid the center knockout as it can interfere with screws.
  • Secure the Pipes Properly: Use nail straps to hold pipes tightly.
  • Use Exterior Grade Screws: Opt for deck screws over drywall screws to prevent rust.

These steps ensure efficient and safe electrical installations, minimizing errors and optimizing workflow.