Well I just bent a bunch of 1-1/4 today with a hand bender, offsets and 90's. I must say that it is a real feeling of satisfaction when pipe that big comes out looking so good with a hand bender. However I also must say I am beat. That was a real workout, even tho I am 6'3" and weigh 236 lbs.
Do many of you bend 1-1/4 by hand? If so, any tricks or suggestions? I don't do enough big pipe work to warrant a hydraulic, maybe someday.
When I use a 1 1/4 emt hand bender I put the tail of the piece against a wall and get the whole thing up close and parallel to a wall so I can keep my balance. And I still have to wear all my tools to have enough weight to do a proper job. I really try to avoid the whole thing.
Here I will speak of the unspeakable, and suggest non-approved methods, in violation of the manufacturers' instructions!
I have had great success bending 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 EMT with the $75 "hydraulic pipe bender" sold by Harbor Freight. This device is little more than a frame with a bottle jack inside. The instructions make it plain that it is NOT for bending electrical conduit. Lets see...$$$$$$$$ for Greenlee, or $75 for HF.....I think I'll try HF anyway.
The "secret" is to limit this thing to very small bends....even a 15 degree bend is best done in multiple steps, moving the pipe a little each time. Thus, you are able to make nice, gentle offsets and saddles. For the right angle bends, store-bought sweeps are the answer. Don't even dream of exceeding a 20 degree bend! The shoe provided for 2" is way over size for EMT, and my experience with it has been very poor.
As President and chief executive secretary of the Intergalactic Oganization Opposed to 1 1/4" EMT, I should be entitled to a few comments. Bravo to you for your success but I should point out that not all electricians are "6'3" and weigh 236 lbs". The evil abomination 1 1/4" EMT lies is a no-man's land between what is hand bendable [1"] and what is plainly not [1 1/2"]. Since hand benders are made for this size [purchased by the electrician employee], the EC owner doesn't bother to buy a mechanical bender with a shoe of this size. If you need a larger size tube than 1", then why not use 1 1/2"? ~Peter note: our organiztion has been rather sucessful: have you seen any 3 1/2" EMT or its fittings at Home Depot lately?