Hunters have found EMT Conduit and Maker Pipe to be incredibly useful for creating no weld, modular, cost effective, and custom boat blinds. In this blog, we will be taking a look at 12 examples from the community to give you ideas and inspiration for creating boat blinds that will meet your needs and elevate your hunting experiences this season.
Several custom blinds in this blog, including this one from Elijah, prioritize adjustability. The blind folds down flat for easy transportation and storage. You’ll notice one piece of conduit runs from one boat rail to the other. We don’t see how this crossbar is attached, but a later blind that we'll discuss shows an example of accomplishing this.
From there, Elijah used Maker Pipe Adjustable Angle Connectors to create a two stage folding design. This blind also incorporates some bends in the corners which can be done easily with a handheld conduit bender. Elijah finished off the blind by zip-tying grass to the frame.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to see Matt’s finished blind with grass and all, but we do get a good look at the skeleton of the frame which is very helpful. The design is fairly simple and utilizes two specific Maker Pipe fittings. Matt used T Connectors anywhere that he needed to create an elbow with two pieces of conduit. Look closely at the two front corners for an example of this connection.
The next rung is very similar except this time you’ll notice an additional crossbar from one side to the other. To join the vertical support, horizontal side rail pipe, and the additional crossbar, Matt used the Maker Pipe 90 Degree Connector. The rest of the frame utilizes these same two connectors in various other ways to create cross supports and windows in the frame.
The number one question we receive from hunters who want to tackle their custom blind is, “How do I attach a conduit blind to my boat?”. It’s a good question and has varying answers depending on your specific needs. We will talk about some ways that other builders have achieved mounts but in Matt’s case, he was okay with drilling holes in the boat so he used inexpensive electrical conduit hanger straps to secure the blind in place. Look closely at the bottom of each vertical support and you’ll see this simple solution at work.
The freedom to keep it simple or go all out is a part of the beauty of DIYing your custom boat blind. As you can see, Matthew exercised this freedom and made an impressive blind that he labeled as “extensive”. I have to agree simply because of the sheer amount of conduit bends, connectors, and hidden features of this blind. It’s easy to get intimidated by a blind of this magnitude, but it’s important to remember that these finished blinds started from an empty boat.
When making anything with pipes and connectors, I always recommend that builders think about their finished design, sketch it on paper, and start with simple shapes. Don’t go into it blind (pun intended) and get overwhelmed. Because EMT Conduit and Maker Pipe Connectors can be changed and updated easily, you have the ability to start simple and build out the frame over time.Instead of attempting to explain every technique and connection, I want to highlight a few key solutions that you can incorporate into your designs.
First, I think the way the blind is secured makes a lot of sense for both elaborate and simple frames. There’s no doubt that this blind is extremely top heavy which could be a problem for mounting solutions like the previously mentioned conduit hanger straps. Instead, Matthew’s frame starts at the bottom of the boat and supports itself in various key locations. When you look closer, you’ll notice that the skeleton of the frame is technically inside the boat rather than mounted to it or on top of it. Thinking of your frame in this way will help you tackle stability and rigidity in your design.
Next, I want to highlight Matthew’s use of two different electrical conduit sizes. A large majority of the frame is made with ¾” EMT Conduit. This isn’t much of a surprise to me as most builders opt for ¾” EMT thanks to its balance of cost and strength. However, Matthew also used ½” EMT Conduit in his frame. In some places, it is being used to cut down on cost but it’s also being used as a clever hinging solution as well. If you watch the video that Matthew shared, you will see that the individual roof access panels can hinge independently. He achieved this with ¾” Maker Pipe fittings and the standard shim. By leaving the connection slightly loose, he can hinge the ½” EMT Conduit panels.
Lastly, I wanted to highlight Matthew’s use of lights. Most “universal” light bar lights have clamps that fit a variety of diameters. You can use this to your advantage to mount lights directly to the conduit in your custom no weld boat blind.
As mentioned in the very beginning, this folding design is fairly common among hunters in the Maker Pipe community. It’s hard to beat the simplicity and adjustability that you can achieve with just a few connections. Here you can see Steve’s take on this boat blind idea. There’s one crossbar with Adjustable Angle Connectors being used to create the folding effect. The main difference between Steve and Elijah’s blind is the different camouflage materials that they each chose. As we saw earlier, Elijah used grass and now we can see that Steve used brown fabric on his frame.
Diver Dev Outdoors shared a great video that showcases the speed and efficiency that this folding technique allows. Also as I teased earlier, we can see how he went about mounting his crossbar. He lifts the grass to reveal a Maker Pipe Adjustable Angle Flange that is bolted to a flat mount on his boat. We can also briefly see that the middle of the crossbar is joined together with a Maker Pipe Coupling. I imagine this was used to make the off season tear down easier. He can essentially split the frame into two halves when the time comes.
We don’t get a close look at the framework in Charles’ custom duck blind, but from what I can see, he used T Connectors to create window frames and hinging panels that are independent of each other. These individual frames seem to be attached with conduit hanger straps. It’s hard to tell, but I think they are upside down which results in the flat edge and bolt squeezing the boat rail and conduit simultaneously.
He also shared two other valuable solutions that I want to highlight. Number one, you’ll notice the use of PVC snap-on hinges. These are typically used for greenhouses but find a new purpose here. He attached them to the window frames and they allow the hunters to easily open and close the windows from inside.
Secondly, you’ll notice that he secured welded wire to the framework which creates a metal grid for mounting grass and materials. This of course will add some weight to the frame, but the ease of material mounting that it creates is worth it in my opinion. You could also potentially use chicken wire as an alternative to shed some weight.
I say that Brian combined techniques because the roof has a similar function to the folding duck blinds that we’ve seen a few examples of. He used brackets that resemble the Maker Pipe Adjustable Angle Connector to create hinging roof panels that fold up and lock together with a simple strap and buckle.
We can also see the great solution that Keith used to secure his boat blind to the boat rails. Galvanized panel clamps are made for chain link fencing applications, but Keith cleverly used them in his build. One side is clamping onto the boat rail and the other clamps around the blind. This is an ingenious use of readily available hardware and looks like it’s working out great.
Jeff shared some in progress photos of his boat blind last year and highlighted the mounting solution that he found. He has an all aluminum Xpress boat which has a readily available mounting bracket kit that came in handy. The brackets slot into the boat rails and add a flat plate for mounting things. As you can see, Jeff built off of these plates with Maker Pipe Flanges. This is fantastic for hunters who want to make a custom blind or other steel frames for their Xpress boat.
If you’re a visual learner like me then you’ll appreciate these two videos. Leaky Jon Boat Co. and DIY Easy Crafts shared two videos showcasing two wildly different but awesome boat blinds made with EMT Conduit and Maker Pipe Connectors. I recommend checking them out if you have the time.