Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with a community member named Matt, who built an impressive storage shed using electrical conduit and a few other materials. I learned a lot from our conversation and wanted to highlight a few things that stood out to me.
One of the materials that Matt used for his storage shed was marine shrink wrap. This was a new material to me, and I was surprised to learn about its versatility. Marine shrink wrap is typically used to cover and protect boats, but Matt used it to create a protective skin on the outside of his shed. He mentioned that it's a forgiving material and explained how it works. You simply take one sheet, heat it up, and glue it to the other sheet. It’s such a cool material and I believe it's a great option for various builds, both indoors and outdoors. It comes in various thicknesses, which makes it a versatile option for your DIY conduit builds.
The second thing I learned from Matt was the importance of bracing. When I first saw his shed, I assumed it was built with three-quarter or even one-inch EMT conduit due to its sheer size. However, Matt used a lot of half-inch EMT Conduit for the walls and the roof. This taught me not to underestimate the strength of half-inch EMT conduit because it's all about how you brace it. By adding supports, cross braces, and beams, and employing different designs, you can reinforce it and achieve the support your project needs. Interestingly, this might even be more cost-effective than using larger conduit with less bracing.
The third takeaway from my conversation with Matt was the importance of not getting bogged down in planning. Matt mentioned that within three weeks, he went from his initial sketch to starting the build. This is incredibly fast, especially considering the size of the shed he was building. For someone like me, who tends to procrastinate on big projects, this was an eye-opener. Matt made his original plan, started building, and made adjustments on the fly. He even changed connectors during the build process. He initially used electrical boxes and then switched to Maker Pipe connectors.
It’s important to understand that the connectors are designed to be modular and reusable. You don’t have to worry about planning every detail. You can start working on your project and make adjustments as you go. Because you’re not welding anything together, you can easily make changes.
The fourth insight I gained from Matt was the concept of using your build to strengthen your build. It might sound a bit confusing, but let me explain. The shrink wrap, when tightly wrapped around the frame and shrunk down, adds rigidity and sturdiness to the overall structure. This principle can be applied to almost any build. For example, when working on a shelf unit, adding wood to each shelf and securing it can reinforce your build. Similarly, incorporating features into your frame that act as bracing and support can be beneficial. In Matt’s shed, he talked about building a shelving system and a workbench in the corners using 45-degree connectors. This would not only support the structure but also serve as a workbench or shelf.
The fifth and final thing I learned from Matt is the importance of trusses. Trusses have been a standard building practice for years, regardless of the material used. Matt, who has a background in construction and truss building with wood, applied some of these principles to his conduit structure. The key is to think about triangles and trusses.
You can look up common truss designs and see how they are normally made in buildings and structures, and apply that same logic to your conduit structures. Essentially, you’re making a lot of triangles. In Matt’s shed, he used the peak of the roof as the outer edge of the triangle and added cross bracing from the sides and vertical supports. He even modified his truss design as he was building, adding different pipes at different angles and wooden bracing.
There’s a lot more that could be said about the insights gained from Matt’s build as it was packed with information. I highly recommend checking out the full interview for more details and helpful techniques that can be applied to any project. Thanks to Matt for sharing his knowledge and experience.
Thank you for reading, and happy building!