How to hide a conduit? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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How to hide a conduit?

I would like to get some ideas of ways to improve the appearance of a 1/2 inch conduit that supports a light over the tank. Not wanting to change the mounting but just some way to improve the metal look?
Paint seems like it would always be scratched, but I've not come up with a better idea to cover it. Any thoughts on a wire wrap or cover that might fit for this? Other ideas?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 10:41 PM
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A pic would help.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 10:49 PM
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Corrugated cable wrap looks a bit more "finished".


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 10:50 PM
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http://www.amazon.com/GRIP-Long-Heat-Shrink-Tubing/dp/B003MBJANWGoogle the part number+ heatshrink I think this set is one eack of 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, 1 inch. So you might need 2.

Just a possibility.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 11:12 PM
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LineX is what I have done in the past with exposed conduit. Strong, durable and doesn't scratch and only costs like $5 to get done for such a small piece.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 12:08 AM
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You could also tried the rubberized coating used for tool handles. I see it now comes in a spray can and multiple colors.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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Okay , I think we got some good ideas. First for the pics of what I'm dealing. Keep in mind that it won't always be in the garage. Excuse the scenery, please.
Some lighting problem makes the light off color. It is silver in real life.
Front


side


What I have in mind is a color, silver or black preferred, just so it doesn't look like a bare conduit. My group of friends would spot that in a minute and you know about friends? They're the guys who can say most anything ---and do!
Once we get past the color question, I want to notch the conduit and add a longer cord for the light so that I can run it inside the conduit rather than exposed for the full length. No way to avoid a short exposed piece from the light to the conduit but I can hide the rest. This will also let me fasten the cord so that the light hangs square with the tank.

For ideas, I had thought of wraps and heat shrink but they would still be open on comments. I had thought of tool dip but I was not aware it came in spray cans. That's one to keep in mind but the bed liner spray in silver or grey is sounding good for a first check.

How about the rest of you folks? This may wind up in my fish room or it may wind up sold. What appeals to you most? Leave it as is, covered in silver/grey or black?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 02:27 AM
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I personally like the conduit, but there are a couple ways to hide it. I used my pothos plant that's been growing for a while and wrapped it around the pipe.

Here's how I mount the light:






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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 11:08 AM
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recommend painting with flat black - old theater trick to make something disappear. If you are worried about scratches, etc, go to an auto parts store and get some high heat paint. A few coats of that will be quite durable. Be sure to properly prepare the surface of the conduit first - sand with fine paper say 600 grit, then wipe with appropriate solvent before painting.

Letting a plant grow around it would help make it disappear as well.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 12:14 PM
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Use a coarse grit sandpaper and rotate the conduit while gripping it tightly with the sandpaper in hand. This creates heavy scores around the pipe and gives it a brushed look. To finish it, I clearcoated mine with some Rustoleum clear spray paint so it wouldn't get dirty/rust.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 12:54 PM
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If you want a paint that won't chip, crack or peel look into POR-15. It's generally for painting over rust but works on any metal. You can beat it with a hammer and it won't chip off.

They have a starter kit for like $21.00.

I don't think it adheres well to smooth surfaces so you would have to scuff up the conduit pretty well. It comes in gloss black. My friend used it on the frame of his 50 ford pick-up 10+ years ago and it's still shiny.


I love Plasti-dip, the rubber coating for tool handles. Yes, it comes in a spray can now and they have it in diferent colors but you can peel it off. ($8-$10 a can).
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronados View Post
Use a coarse grit sandpaper and rotate the conduit while gripping it tightly with the sandpaper in hand. This creates heavy scores around the pipe and gives it a brushed look. To finish it, I clearcoated mine with some Rustoleum clear spray paint so it wouldn't get dirty/rust.
I'm getting several ideas that sound interesting. Thanks for that.
But this one item really fits with me-- maybe!
I've got some conduit scraps so I will do a trial run on this method. This seems like it might give some texture which is something I might like. I like the hammered metal look on things and scoring might give some of the same qualities.

I'm also needing some grommets to fit around the wire to protect it when it enters/leaves the conduit but those I can mange. I think a plug in the end of the pipe will look better, too. Just really looking for some things to keep it from being conduit.
I now have several ideas to work on. Thanks.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-04-2013, 02:19 AM
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If you are up to it, I'd consider either opening up the light and disconnecting the cord where it attaches, or cutting off the plug and getting a new one, and just thread the cord through the conduit without altering the conduit.

I think just spraypainting the conduit (with proper prep work) would look fine. sure, it's vulnerable to scratches (clear coat, or even maybe varnish or something might help...), but in it's position at the back of the tank, it's going to be somewhat sheltered from most activity, and the tank will draw attention away from the pole holding up the light.

Otherwise, something like shrinkwrap, cable organizers, or maybe spary-on plasti-dip (haven't used the spray-on myself) is probably the best intersection of durable and inexpensive.

As to the cable, you might op for vinyl-coated. (or just use grommets). check the random hardware bins in the hardware stores, sometimes you can find little rubber or plastic grommets for various things. Also have tube-ends that might work for the conduit. If nothing else, you might be able to just cut a plug out of wood/plastic/foam/cardboard/whatever, and paint it

Last edited by lochaber; 12-04-2013 at 02:22 AM. Reason: I swear I'm not illiterate...
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-04-2013, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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I've got the plug cut out of wood all but some finish sanding but I did some checking on some of the other ideas and came up with a mixed bag of results. The bedliner at Lowe's seemed a little pricey at $24 considering I don't know how that might work so I was still thinking when I got to a paint section and noticed a "ripple" type paint that sounded like it might fit the bill of making it look like almost anything but conduit. I moved on from there to look for wire to replace the cord and make it longer. What I had in mind and what I found were not the same. When I found the type and color of cord, there were no nice looking plugs.
I wound up at Fry's as my fallback electronics place but mired in even further. I couldn't find the nice little 18-2 cord that i wanted so asked a clerk. He appears to have never heard of 18-2 and took me to the coax shelf!
I just thanked him and came home empty handed. Some days it just doesn't pay to make a plan until you can find the parts. I forgot to even look for the grommets!
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