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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody used this stuff to make a frame or anything else? I'd never heard of it before stumbling on it today and while I'm not sure I'd trust it for a rowing frame w/o some testimonials, I'm thinking of taking a chance on it for a simple rectangular cargo frame to hold a second cooler suspended in a drop bag.

https://makerpipe.com/

They're fittings designed for EMT conduit with a hex head to lock it in. Kind of like Steeltek or similar, but I've never found one that would pair with conduit before.

Thoughts?
 

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Unless I'm missing something, they're only available for 3\4 conduit?

Can't build much of a frame with tubing that small. Maybe for a liiiittttttle catboat...

Ben
 

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Yea, my brain went immediately to the shredder /culebra /phatcat /sabertooth paddle cats. When the wife let's me expand out fleet, that's the next addition, and a little frame for 1-2 people would be perfect.

Mounting oar stands to 3/4 conduit might be interesting tho.
 

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I'd rather use speed rail fittings personally. I believe Hollaender makes them in 3/4" size if you are set on the smaller diameter stuff.

The MakerPipe stuff seems allright...but I'm not a big fan of two piece design that this uses....just seems like a good way to stress things to a breaking point. Probably fine for a table or other household stuff but maybe not for rugged outdoor use.

Maybe look at Whitewater Machineworks...they make some super nice small diameter fittings for their cat frames. I have a buddy with one of their cat frames and its super light weight. I have their Double Barrel fittings on my raft frame and they are super nice and well made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input all. Good idea on the table- thought their selection is so limited relative to steeltek, hollaender, kee, etc. They need to get some elbows and flanges going.

So is the general consensus that 3/4 EMT is too weak for even a cargo frame? Talking one cooler here. I have one (simple double rail rectangle) that I want to make longer, for a wider boat, but it is made from steeltek and it is just so darn heavy. So if I am lengthening the crossbars anyway I figured I'd try to go lighter. I tried to find thinner wall steel pipe or tube or conduit to match the steeltek fittings so I could keep those but I cannot find anything. Steeltek fittings want 1.05" O.D. 1" EMT is too big I think (1.16")...3/4" rigid conduit matches but then I am back to a pretty heavy material, right?

I figured the 3/4 EMT would be strong enough but perhaps with people standing and sitting on it, maybe not...
 

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Hollaender speedrail fittings are aluminum...and while its certainly not as cheap as conduit...if you find the right place to buy it...6061 aluminum tubing isn't horribly expensive. Moving to that will definitely be MUCH lighter.

I don't have much experience with EMT but I know people use it and it works fine. I've heard of people using chain link fence tube/pipe as well. Unless you get into more exotic alloys, anything steel is gonna be on the heavy side but it seems to work for many. Nice thing about it is you can get away with a basic MIG welding setup if you want to weld your frame instead of using fittings everywhere.
 

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I have built 4 raft frames with 1 1/4" EMT and a MIG welder. Use 1/2" black steel pipe for the oarlock sockets and drill them out to 5/8". I had $150 into my last 3 frames (4-bay double rail frame, 2-bay single rail day frame, and a stern frame) inc. paint. They're still going strong 8 years later.

It's not heavier than an NRS frame--those cast/forged Lopros have a lot of weight.
It is heavier than a similar custom welded aluminum frame.




For a trailer frame to hold a single cooler or drybox, seems that 1" would be about right.

3/4" is pretty light. I do have a table frame made of 3/4", but wouldn't use it for a raft frame.


The interesting thing about chain link components is that they're measured by ID..conduit stuff is OD...so chain link parts will typically sleeve together with conduit parts. I used short sections of chain link top rail for my inner sleeves where my crossbars pin to my side rails.


Oh, and chain link top rails are easier to bend than conduit..must be softer steel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks. Looks like 6061 is sold in 1/4" O.D. increments and then each O.D. has various wall thicknesses? Hollaender fittings say their 3/4 size fits 1.05" O.D. tubing so does that mean you use a 3/4" fitting with 1" 6061 and get a tight fit despite that 0.05" discrepancy?

Also, I assume it would be a bad idea to use a steeltek fitting (stainless set screws) with aluminum tube? Wouldn't the set screw just dig into the tube? Maybe that would still work?

How about vice versa? A fitting with aluminum set screws into steel pipe or conduit?
 

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I'd like to use something like this to frame my tower bay. I'd like to be able to do a drop bag and hatch...

Run two pieces longway to support a drop bag and then build a hatch to open to the outside.

their connections would be super useful if they'd do standard tubing size on one joint and smaller tubing for the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They may not exist except in my uneducated imagination. I now realize that aluminum Hollaender fittings have steel set screws and they say they work fine on any pipe- aluminum or steel.

I stripped an oil pan on my wife's Jetta once because the pan was aluminum and the drain plug was steel. I'm sure I overtightened a bit but still, that seems like a terrible design choice.
 

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Thanks. Looks like 6061 is sold in 1/4" O.D. increments and then each O.D. has various wall thicknesses? Hollaender fittings say their 3/4 size fits 1.05" O.D. tubing so does that mean you use a 3/4" fitting with 1" 6061 and get a tight fit despite that 0.05" discrepancy?

Also, I assume it would be a bad idea to use a steeltek fitting (stainless set screws) with aluminum tube? Wouldn't the set screw just dig into the tube? Maybe that would still work?

How about vice versa? A fitting with aluminum set screws into steel pipe or conduit?
Hollaender fittings use pipe sizing. You should be able to find aluminum pipe... so just get 3/4" Schedule 40 Aluminum pipe.

I'd generally stay away from mixing materials but I'm pretty sure that the Hollaender fittings use 304 stainless steel set screws (https://www.buyrailings.com/product/set-screws/3722 ) so it could be assumed that that an aluminum set screw would be fine with that...but that sounds expensive. If you were gonna use a more common steel and aluminum together, I'd at least try to paint the parts that touch so you don't have to worry about galvanic corrosion. Probably not a big deal as long as you keep an eye on it and take it apart and clean it occasionally...but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

Last year I made a frame with 1.25" 6061 tubing and Hollaender fittings and it was light enough to toss around pretty easily and did a great job.



I sold it when I sold the mini-max it went with. I think ideally I would use bends at the corners instead of fittings...but it did the job. Probably lighter to just bend a frame up and weld it...but there is something to be said for modularity and the ability to break it down. I used those fittings and tubing to make a trailer frame for my cat this spring too...and regularly moved the bars around to fit different coolers and dryboxes too.

I imagine 3/4" might be kinda skinny for rafting use...might consider 1". I know the 1.25" stuff didn't feel overly bulky and it works with all the NRS accesories and many from DRE and others.
 
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