Articles ~ How to - Make a Light Stand with Electrical Conduit

Electrical Conduit Light StandWhen it comes to my planted aquariums, I prefer the look of pendant lighting to canopy lighting. They provide extra flexibility for adjusting their height above the tank. One of the challenges of pendant lighting is how best to hang them.  An inexpensive, yet effective and somewhat elegant way to hang a pendant is from a light stand made of electrical conduit.  Electrical conduit is super cheap, easy to work with, can be painted and is quite sturdy. Note: If the aquarium is less than 30" wide, you may want to consider an ADA style stainless steel light stand

For this particular project, I am building a light stand for a 178 gallon Oceanic aquarium.  The tank is about 60” wide and measures about 60” tall on its stand.  I build my conduit light stands in three pieces: two pieces that attach to the sides of the aquarium stand and a top piece that has bent corners.  The top piece will be attached to the side pieces using conduit couplers. I like to position the couplers at the lip along the top of the tank so they do not draw too much attention.  They can be seen clearly in the final pictures below.

 

Materials
-½” electrical conduit
-Black spray paint

Tools
-½” conduit bender (They are about $30 and work great.)
-Hacksaw

Total Cost (not including tools): $10-15

 

½” Conduit Bender

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

I start with the top piece and position the conduit in the tool carefully. You may need to make a few practice bends to get a feel for how the tool works.  I usually buy an extra piece of conduit just for this reason.  They are only $3-5 each, so it’s well worth it to have the extra piece.

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

I then slowly make my bend as shown in this picture.

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

I double-check the bent corners to make sure they are even and create 90 degree angles. 

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

I then determine how high above the top of the tank I want the top of the light stand, taking into consideration the pendant size and how much light I want to provide for the tank. I trimmed the top piece to be 18", leaving room for the pendants and future pendant height adjustments.

Now that I have finished the top, it is time to complete the two side pieces.  I measure the height of the tank (60”) and add an inch for the coupler.  Then, I cut two pieces of conduit at 61”.  Once mounted on the aquarium stand, the couplers will be just above the rim of the tank and the top part will fit right into the couplers.

 

Conduit is easily painted.  For this application, I chose to paint the conduit black after a good coat of primer.

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

Because this aquarium stand has a lip at the top that the stand needs to clear, I had to create a spacer. I cut a strip of oak and stained it to match the aquarium stand.  Then I used ½” conduit brackets (painted black) to fasten the stand to the top.

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

Here are two photos of the finished light stand.  Notice the couplers I referred to above, and observe how they are right above the lip of the tank.

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

Here is another example of some creative EMT bending. It took a couple attempts to get this one right.

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

Electrical Conduit Light Stand

 

 

If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to Help me continue helping everyone.



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