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-   -   Home depot galvanized steel pipe price? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/jibs-cranes-booms/13358-home-depot-galvanized-steel-pipe-price.html)

Alex Knappenberger August 17th, 2003 12:31 AM

Home depot galvanized steel pipe price?
Hey, I was in the homedepot a couple weeks ago, and I saw some of this galvanized steel pipe (1 inch round, 2ft long) with threads on the ends, and now I think that would be perfect to build a little 8ft crane out of or something, but I didn't look at any prices, and they don't have it listed on their website. So I was wondering if anyone knows what that stuff goes for before I make the trip all the way out to home depot, I don't see it being that expensive?

Or does anyone know of any other good INEXPENSIVE material to make a little 8ft or so crane out of...that can break down into 2-3ft peices?


(opps, I could always call them tomorrow, I suppose. :D)

Mike Rehmus August 17th, 2003 01:13 AM

Not a good building block for a boom. Too heavy, not very stiff and too weak.

An 8 foot boom is not a trivial construct. If you don't mind bulky, think about something on the order of 3" ABS (in black, please) as the main boom spar. Maybe 4" but I think that will really have a wind problem. 8 foot is probably too long without thinking through the statics and dynamics of the boom.

Do a search on the subject, there are free plans out there for booms.

Don't hang a large camera on it, BTW.

Truth is, they take a long time to build one properly. One that isn't built correctly and isn't stable is a real pain.

Jeff Donald August 17th, 2003 07:31 AM

Very risky using the wrong material. I once saw a crane collapse during a rehearsal. No one was hurt, although a $50,000 Beta SP camera bit the dust. If it had happened a few hours later I'm sure people would have been killed.

Alex Knappenberger August 17th, 2003 12:54 PM

Thanks guys, but it's just for my (non heavy) little consumer camera, probably weighing in under 3LBS, with the big battery on it. You don't think that galvanized steel pipe would do the job? When I say 8ft, i'm really talking 8ft total, so that the boom end will only be about 6.5ft.....


Mike Rehmus August 17th, 2003 01:24 PM

No, I do not. Try it if you want but I think you are wasting your time for any serious work over any length of time. Think of the work you have to do to build any type of boom. Then ask yourself why you would use inferior materials instead of something that would perform better, be more convenient, and wouldn't look, as my grandchildren would say, "pretty doofus?"

It is not meant for that purpose and a lot of other products would do much better. Like the rigid conduit that is used for wiring.

Brian Huey August 17th, 2003 02:16 PM

Check out the crane section of the homebuiltstabilizers.com forum

The have some good info there.


Ken Tanaka August 17th, 2003 08:07 PM

I'll join others in recommending that your consider this project carefully before spending time and money on it.

But when I was 15 I undertook many goofy projects of similar natures, so I can hardly criticize you if you move ahead with it.

Since you are in high school, this project represents a pretty good basic problem in physics and basic mechanics. For example, how fast would your 3lb camera be traveling when it disconnects from the boom and hits the ground from an elevation of, say, 7 ft? Or how much counter-force will be needed to provide balance to the boom with the camera mounted at its end if the boom is supported at 2 ft? 3 ft?

Alex Knappenberger August 17th, 2003 09:54 PM

Jeez, alright, I get the point, heh. Thanks though guys.

Mike, someone else recommended "rigid conduit" also? What is it? Can you explain it a little more?

Ken Tanaka August 17th, 2003 10:05 PM

"Rigid conduit" probably refers to electrical cable piping designed to provide a channel for electric cables within buildings. This would really not work at all, since it has a ribbed structure enabling it to be easily bent to fit through walls.

Mike Rehmus August 17th, 2003 11:38 PM

Ken, rigid means just that. It is a welded sheetmetal tube and you need a special bender and some muscle to bend it. You are thinking of the flex stuff for taking wires to a piece of machinery that might vibrate a bit. You cannot put the flex stuff in walls.

Rigid tube comes in 1\2" to about 4" diameter and is quite inexpensive in the smaller sizes. I'd guess a 1" tube would do quite nicely.

Having said that, Alex. Understand that this is galvenized tubing that comes in 20 foot lengths. It can be welded as long as you don't breathe in the fumes from the hot zinc. Do that and you will get zinc poisoning which feels like you have the flue. Done that and been there.

But it is marvelously cheap steel tube for all of that. I'd make my boom pole of the 1 or 1.5" stuff and use wood for all the other parts. Wood is quite strong enough to use with a short boom. Clamp two pieces of 2 by 4 or 4 by 4 together, bore a hole for the tube right where the two pieces join and you have a clamp for the pipe. So you don't have to weld the pipe to put in pulleys and clamp it to your tripod or whatever you are going to use to hold the boom. You can even make a special tripod out of wood and this tubing.

The proper name for the tubing is PMT. I don't know what the initials stand for.

I've built shelving, specialized racks and a lot of stuff with this tubing. But I have learned to weld it with a good breeze between me and the welding smoke.

You could do the same thing with aluminum tubing from your local hardware store. It would just be more expensive if lighter.

Ken Tanaka August 17th, 2003 11:55 PM

I'm sure I was thinking of the steel conduit required by the Chicago Electrical Code, rather than the solid electrical piping. Mea culpa. Here in Chicago all concealed electrical wiring must pass through this semi-flexible conduit, or rigid electrical piping, in walls and ceilings. The joke is that it turns electricians into plumbers.

Alex Knappenberger August 18th, 2003 12:28 AM

Thanks guys, i'll check that out.

The thing is, if this 8ft light stand will hold my camera at the end horizontally without even bowing, I don't see how that galvanized steel pipe wouldn't be strong enough.

Bryan Beasleigh August 18th, 2003 08:04 AM

It's Electrical Metalic Tubing or EMT also known as thinwall. And yes it takes a fairly large bending tool and a fair bit of horsepower to put a kink in it.

While flexible conduit is necessary some of the time it's considered amatuerish in most applications. It's sure easy to run though.

Dylan Couper August 18th, 2003 09:57 AM

Alex, while you are at Home Depot next, check out the painter's poles. They are cheap, and collapsable. The lightweight aluminum ones should be strong enough to hold your 3lb camera.

Alex Knappenberger August 18th, 2003 11:59 AM

Cool, thanks guys, I'll be making a trip out to the home depot soon. My camera isn't even 3lbs, I have a 2.5LB weight here, and it's lighter then that for sure, even with the big battery on it, so I say its about 2LBs with the big battery. :D

Alex Knappenberger August 18th, 2003 01:50 PM

Wow, I have this floor lamp sitting here that I was going to throw away, and I just took the top reflector off of it, and the wire out and all that, and it's PERFECT. It's already counter balanced too, it has a weight at the bottom so that the lamp doesnt tip over when it's on the floor. It's pretty beefy, but most of that is because of the weight at the bottom, the tubing it uses is 1.5" and it's not too thick, but its more then strong enough to support my 2LB camera horizontally, and the best part is that it breaks down into 3 peices. It's total length is about 5'6 though, which isn't that bad, when I layed it on my tripod, but if I could find another peice of that pipe that it uses, or 2 (i see these lamps at garage sales all the time) and then I could make it about 7ft, which would be perfect.

Brian Huey August 18th, 2003 04:02 PM

Good luck Alex! I would think that that should support you camera fine the thing I'd watch out for is the material isn't really rigid you may get some bouncing up and down at the end when you move it to a position and stop due to the pole flexing.

Let us know how it all turns out.


Mike Butler November 18th, 2003 07:55 PM

That conduit is a lot stronger than it looks, I have seen it used for some amazing things, like building a frame to support winter covers (of heavy canvas) on boats.

I have used it myself, once when I was too cheap to buy table saw stock support stands (to hold up the long pices of wood when ripsawing them), I welded them up out of this stuff. Dittos on the fumes, go outside and burn the galv coating off the ends with an oxacetylene torch first. Been there too (sick feeling).

I also used it to construct a portable stand for a disco ball when I couldn't find anything I liked in the DJ store.

Right, the iron threaded pipe is too heavy, you'll need an awful lot of barbell weights to balalnce it, probably crush the tripod it rides on.

If I were building something like this, though, my first choice would be square steel tubing, it is remarkable strong and rigid for its weight, and much easier to attach all the fasteners and fittings you'll need than round tubing. Any steel supply store will sell it, plus Home Depot has some sizes. I have used the bigger sizes to build a truck rack that carried monster loads.

Robert Martens December 31st, 2003 07:07 PM

Okay, perhaps I'm being too knee-jerk defensive here, what with my looking at a career in the plumbing industry (with any luck), so let me apologize to everyone for this. I have a tendency to get furious over stupid, stupid things, but could someone please explain just how in the hell electrical conduit, or--worse yet--PLASTIC, is stronger than STEEL?

Is it because of the size he mentioned? One inch? I certainly can't imagine what other reason there would be.

We've worked with galvanized steel before, and do so on a regular basis; the stuff is strong enough to hold a good two hundred pounds of human being, how is conduit (rigid or not) any better?

Not to be a dink, or anything...I just loves me my steel pipe, is all. Prefer cast iron, but steel is cool, dammit! :P

Mike Butler January 1st, 2004 09:33 PM

Actually Robert, the conduit I was referring to IS steel! (see my comments about welding) It's the thinwall EMT type, which although it's thin is very strong, and yes, MUCH stronger than plastic! In fact, I have used it to reinforce plastic at stress points. But I do much prefer the square steel tubing which can be found at steel supply houses and many handyman supply centers (like Home Depot). It is more rigid than the round stuff and infiinitely easier to fit up when fabricating, so you get a much neater weld. And cast iron, while good, is less ideally suited, first because the walls need to be thicker, which results in excessive weight, plus I have never seen it in square tubing configuration like steel. Unlike plumbing, where we are concerned about a system's ability to convey fluids, this exercise seems to be about structures to carry and move weight--different requirements, like the fact that we don't have to worry about being able to screw a flare fitting on the end of one of these sticks.

Plastics have two advantages generally: lighter weight and better resistance to corrosion. Sometimes these factors offset the stength disadvantage when engineers are designing something. Like when the people at Glock were looking to design a pistol with lighter carry weight and lower maintenance (although they stayed with steel for those critical components that required it). BTW, for what it's worth, if I were building a house, I'd never contemplate using plastic water pipe instead of copper.

Robert Martens January 1st, 2004 10:44 PM

Whew! Had me scared there for a second! :) Honestly, I find myself sometimes pining for the days of brass water piping, but never having had to deal with its installation, I'm probably just being idealistic.

And for drainage? Cast iron all the way, baby! ;)

But plastic...yech! Aside from being a fire hazard, that crap is flimsy and noisy, to boot. I get the strongest impression most guys--typically the younger ones who are also dealing with residential work--only use plastic so they can sniff the glue. :D

Now that I see where you're coming from, my mind is at ease; sorry if I seemed an assbag.

Mike Butler January 7th, 2004 05:36 PM

I hear ya man. Frankly people don't want to use cast iron soilpipe these days unless required by code, it is so expensive and heavy to handle. It's much easier to deal with PVC, being lightweight and easy to cut, requires less support, etc. Of course, Schedule 40 is one thing, that's pretty thick-walled stuff and it can take a beating, but this stupid thinwall stuff they have now is REALLY noisy plus delicate.

I really wouldn't want to see anyone using plastic to fashion camera supports, they are not saving any money to speak of and their time (and camera) is more valuable.

Robert Martens January 7th, 2004 06:12 PM

Yeah, we do most of our work in New York City, and it's required by the plumbing code; with good reason! PVC (or ABS) + fire = chlorine gas. Not good.

As far as "easy to deal with", well, they're just lazy. The industry has gotten a bad reputation of late, and deservedly so, considering some of the horrid work we see (and are called in to fix). And God forbid a plumber has to carry anything HEAVY, that's just uncalled for. :)

Not to mention the "as little labor, as much profit as possible" attitude so many people seem to have these days. If given the choice between some sort of space-age plastic that was perfectly safe, easy to install, quiet, lightweight, and durable, yet required only one individual to set up, and good old cast iron, copper, steel, or brass, I'd go with the traditional method every time. Why? Work doesn't create itself. The standard materials reach the same goal--usually at higher quality--and create jobs in the process.

But what can one do? Not an issue to worry myself about, I suppose; most of the building maintenance people we deal with regularly understand the need for quality work, even if it costs more.

Que sera, sera. ;)

Bill Ravens January 8th, 2004 08:23 AM

you won't like the galvanized pipe. it won't hardly support its own weight. if you're serious about building something, I'd recommend going to your local metal jobber and buying some thin-walled aluminum tubing. You get strength by increasing the tube diameter, so get the biggest diameter you can manage. Don't worry about wall thickness.

Robert Martens January 9th, 2004 12:31 AM

Actually, Bill, I wasn't really building one of these devices, I was just curious; and I believe the original poster has long since solved his problem. I was just browsing through old topics, and had to ask.

But your post makes me realize, I still can't wrap my tiny little brain around this issue; how is galvanized steel pipe so much weaker than that electrical conduit, if they're both the same material, same diameter, and the pipe is thicker? Different grades of steel? Different manufacturing processes?

Rob Belics January 9th, 2004 08:46 AM

One thing that might be readily available is any pipe left over or thrown out from "Festivus" celebrations. You might be able to get it cheap or free!

Bill Ravens January 9th, 2004 09:49 AM


not sure what you mean. electrical conduit is really a poor material. it's like pot metal. I was refering to high quality aluminum tubing, preferably with a T6 temper, and a much larger diameter than 1 inch.

Mike Butler January 9th, 2004 01:02 PM

Actually, not to sound pedantic, but... pot metal (which is a die-cast alloy made up of mostly zinc, known for low cost and ease of molding into complex shapes and not for strength) has basically nothing in common with EMT ("thinwall") conduit which is rolled out of mild steel.

I have used EMT for a lotta different things, from repairing tractor handles to making brackets by squashing the ends flat and drilling them. Even used a stick of it to replace a broken aluminum dolly leg on a Welt Rol-O-Pod (tripod with permanently attached wheels), worked like a charm. It can be sawn, ground, sanded, painted, welded, brazed, drilled--it's too thin to tap threads into but you can weld a nut onto it. And with a proper tool (like a "Hickey") the smaller sizes can be bent into a variety of curves.

I use a variety of materials, depending on the job and sometimes on what I have on hand.

Aluminum is good for its exceptionally light weight (they build airplanes out of it) and its ease of cutting, drilling and machining, but is difficult (unless you're a specialist) to weld. It's also very good at resisting corrosion, especially if given an anodized finish.

The bottom line is that someone building a project is going to use the material they are most comfortable (familiar) with.

Robert Martens January 9th, 2004 01:21 PM

*sigh* I feel like an ass again. Par for the course with me, it seems.

I honestly had no idea we were talking about this type of material, and thought the stuff being discussed was that really small tubing you run electrical wires through. My mistake.

And I think I see the larger, more important point people are trying to make. Based on the galvanized steel I'VE become familiar with, I can say the stuff is most certainly strong enough to support its own weight, and the weight of a camera. It's heavy duty, can take a beating, and does not bow. However, I imagine the point I'm having such a hard time grasping is that it's harder to work with, heavier, and more expensive than other types of construction products, correct?

That is to say, it's not the raw strength of the material that's the problem, it's the process of working with it? And its lack of versatility for these applications?

Mike Butler January 9th, 2004 01:48 PM

Hmmm....define small.

The stuff I'm talking about IS what electricians run wires through, mostly in commercial buildings, less so in residential use. And I usually use approx. 1 inch actual diameter, which I guess is pretty small. But it's big enough for the purposes I listed above, plus as a pole for a bird feeder, a support for a revolving disco ball, legs on a lumber rack, a support for a Tiki torch, rungs on a loft ladder, rollers on a lumber stand, braces for a garden gate, handle for a toolbox, etc.

Robert Martens January 9th, 2004 02:22 PM

Well, I was thinking half or three-quarter inch stuff. Don't believe I've run across any full inch versions just yet.

Mike Butler January 11th, 2004 03:27 PM

OK, now bear in mind the stuff I am describing has an actual O.D. of a little over an inch, which is what I think they call 3/4, and the stuff that's just under an inch must be what they call 1/2. But I could be wrong. When constructing things, I only think about the physical dimensions as I measure them, not nominal pipe gauges.

Robert Martens January 11th, 2004 05:25 PM

Oh...okay. My terminology needs work; when I said "three quarter", I was referring to the OUTSIDE diameter that I merely PERCEIVED the tube as having. I'm not really positive how big the stuff is, I only estimated.

Jeff Patnaude January 12th, 2004 10:26 AM

I built mine out of square aluminum and hardware for around $70. Go to any hardware store and look around. You can find a lot of interesting stuff there.
Oh yeah- it wasn't home Depot either. It was one of the True Value places. The one piece that cost me was the tripod mounting plate which I had to have welded ($30). Was able to find pulleys and everything else okay.

It's very sturdy, but I need to move the weight in back - back another foot and a half to lose some of the counter weight I need to pile on right now (50 lbs!). There's several places mentioned earlier that have good plans. Need a sturdy tripod for sure.

Good luck.

Jeff Patnaude

Mike Butler January 14th, 2004 11:18 AM

Good idea using square, Jeff. I like it better than round for its bend-resistance, plus easier to get a precise fit-up when welding.

Robert, just for the record, here's what my trusty dial caliper tells me about the two sizes of this EMT: actual OD of .93" and 1.16" respectively, with a wall thickness of .06" on each. I'll leave it to the electricians to tell us what the official sizes are called. I just happened to use it cuz I had so much laying around and it was handy to work with for the above-described projects.

Robert Martens January 14th, 2004 02:26 PM

Yes, I see how that stuff would be desirable over the gas pipe; easier to work with, lighter, but still strong. I would most certainly use that if I were building a crane.

Though I have to be honest, I just designed and built (well, truthfully, my father designed and built it--he's better with these things than I am) a camera support system out of inch and a half PVC. I may not like the stuff for drainage piping, but for camera supports, it seems to work quite well.

And it's good for instruments, too.

Mike Butler January 14th, 2004 03:25 PM

Instruments? You must be in Blue Man Group!

Have fun and stay warm!

Robert Martens January 14th, 2004 04:07 PM

Heh, no, not IN it, but a big fan. Keep telling myself I'm gonna build one of those things....

Ken Tanaka January 14th, 2004 05:17 PM

This may be a fascinating discussion but it has really wandered far from the original topic of the thread, started months ago. Consequently I'm closing it to new entries.

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