I have started This thread so we can all share some tips, tricks and pet peeves. Like a friend once told me "theres a sly way to do everything” Here are a few of my observations. Its getting late so I will add more latter.
There are many books written on the subject but here are a few tips for the forum members who may be just starting out and would like to learn conduit. Be careful with this knowledge. Once you get good at it and the supervisors find out you will get plenty of chances to use your skills. Don’t get in a rut always try to learn everything about the job. How to read prints, control work ect.
Tip 1. Think things through and use what you have available. Such things as the lines in concrete slabs, grating ect can make very handy straight edges and squares. Just make sure they are straight and square before relying on them.
Tip 2. Such things as onehole straps, couplings, or short pieces of conduit make excellent spacers for laying out racks of conduit on the floor. Sometimes they are just right for proper clamp space ect.
Tip 3/Peeve. Try to match couplings when practical. This may seem like a lot of trouble but is much more efficient and worth the effort when building racks. One end can be bent to match and then straight edge the other end to the shortest pipe and cut all conduits even. Many jobs require it.
Tip 4/Peeve. Always do as much as possible on the ground. Put the couplings on the pipe, connectors in boxes ect.
Tip5 Measuring is the key. A fine art which can only be developed with experience. Don’t always try to decide what the pipe measurements need to be. Sometimes it is easier to measure the distance to obstacles and the recreate the grid on the floor instead of trying to do all the math in the air. When building racks always keep up with previous measurements.
Tip 6. When working on the floor stretch your tape out, lock it and turn it loose. (laying beside the pipe). Don’t try to hold your tape while marking the pipe.
Tip 7. Make reference marks on the floor. These marks can be handy now and later. With some imagination different color markers, carpenter crayons, etc can be useful
Tip 8. When installing a pipe and using a level or tape to get it square level or plumb, make a reference mark so if the pipe moves you can put it back where you had it without having to get your tape or level back out. This also will free up your hands. As soon as you get it where you like it , MARK IT. Then you can put away your level or tape and grab the next tool.
Tip 9. Remember, every thing is built in a square. Simple.
Tip 10. Pull a string to keep racks straight and check clearances down the line. Don’t pull the string where you want your pipe pull it to the side out of your way and reference from the string.
Tip 11. Learn to bend. Try to use whole sticks of conduit when possible. Its much more efficient.This is a bit harder to do with screw pipe than emt.Any thing less than three foot looks like a mistake. If screw pipe use as few three part couplings as possible.
Tip 12.Use standard angles when possible. 15, 30, 45 degree.It looks better and is easier for the next guy to match."which may be you".
[This message has been edited by kdal (edited 04-22-2006).]
Pulling down is always easiest, feeding can go either way, but feeding up IS a little easier (especially when working alone). When running PVC outdoors or in unconditioned areas, remember the expansion and contraction is tremendous. In most areas, hot days to cold days exceed 100 degrees, and an expansion fitting is required for a 10 foot or longer run when solidly connected between boxes. To avoid using expansion fittings, I use 90 degree bends on the ends of runs and two foot long risers to allow for the movement of the pipe. Also, use only PVC straps, which are designed to allow the conduit to move.
I could careless if there is marker marks on the pipe. Carb clean would take it off. I can't see a pencil mark good enough. End up having to remeasure because I lost my line.
My peeves is people that bid out pipe homes for less then $4/SF, cut every corner and hack it in. Just seen a house today full of basement j-boxes 4x4x1.5 with at least 6 pipes in them. Or 2 days ago a new big $$ home with 7 pipes in a standard 3 gang. Yes we found they pinched and shorted wires to fit the dimmers.
When are these same people going to learn not to use the side knock outs on most switch boxes especially the 1.5" ones. Works great till the next person tries to put in a dimmer. One of my guys just said he just shorted out a dimmer in his home tring to fit in in with a side pipe. I said "Ya, it's about time you started to learn on your time." I remember when he just started he could not understand why I did not want him to pipe in the side of a switch.
Also hate lip wrist people that can't tighten a conector lock nut.