I work a lot in EMT conduit. I have a 1/2" conduit bender that bends to a 5" radius, and a 3/4" conduit bender that gives a 6" radius. I also find bent pieces of conduit around the lodge that have a somewhat larger radius than that.

Suppose I want a larger radius, say because a 12" or 18" radius will suffice in my application, and would make pulling easier. Or in one case I need a larger radius (ceiling line to ceiling line in a corner) to avoid blocking a conduit body (wall corner to ceiling line) that will be effectively under the radius. Is that possible and how can I do it?

4 Answers 4


Using the same hand-bending tools you already have, you can approximate a larger bend radius by leaving short sections of straight conduit in between multiple bends. Below is a picture showing the minimum radius bend you currently achieve with your hand tool (picture on top) and then using three segments of bending coupled with two straight lengths to approximate a larger radius (picture on bottom).

enter image description here

My example in the second picture only shows 5 segments since the picture was made relatively quickly in paint, but the more interspersed bent/straight segments you have, the closer you will get to approximating a true circular radius. However, maybe you don't truly need a semicircle in all cases and just a few segments would do the trick.

Other alternatives I can think of include:

  1. Trying to create your own hand tool for achieving common bends (if you're bending the same larger radius often -- perhaps something like an 18" car rim would work)

  2. Investing thousands in a pipe bender that can handle conduit and do very smooth arbitrary bends.


I need a larger radius... how can I do it?

  • Find a robust sacrificial round object of suitable diameter to achieve your desired bend radius, you can call it a form post
  • fill the conduit with sand, I use masking tape to contain the sand whilst bending
  • secure the conduit (how you secure it will depend on where you want the bend and what you are using as the form post)
  • bend the conduit by hand around the form post; look ma, no kinks
  • 1
    As well as sand and other powders, there is metal sold as Bendalloy brand, for that purpose.
    – JDługosz
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 4:53

You will have to do multiple bends. Say 3, 30° bends or 30, 3° bends. There is a formula to figure out how much space to put between them. It goes as follows;

1.57 • radius ÷ #of bends

So 1.57 x 12 ÷ 30=.628

Therefore if you mark out a piece of pipe with 30 marks that are spaced 5/8" apart and bend on those marks to 3° each you will achieve a 90° bend with a 12 "radius.


You can also freehand it. just bend a little bit and work your way down bending a little bit just not all the way to the 90 degree stopping point on the Bender! I did these free hand with the Bender handle resting against the groundenter image description here

  • NICE! Looks like art to me. Now pipe propane through that baby, drill holes all along the pipes, put restriction orifices out on the ends, and LIGHT IT UP!!! Commented May 4, 2017 at 2:25

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