Homemade/DIY Telescoping Pole From EMT (Electrical) Conduit

Introduction: Homemade/DIY Telescoping Pole From EMT (Electrical) Conduit

About: Hi, we are Elation Sports Technologies! Located in Los Angeles CA, we specialize in designing innovative sporting and recreational goods!

Making your own telescoping pole out of electrical metallic tubing (EMT) conduit is easy using Cinch: The Telescoping Coupling for Prototyping! Telescoping poles are useful for all kinds of projects:

  • Outdoor lighting
  • Indoor lighting
  • Home maintenance
  • Outdoor sports
  • Decorations
  • Crafts
  • Photo, video, and sound equipment
  • Banners and signs
  • Curtains
  • Entry/exit barriers
  • Security system mounts
  • Tents and outdoor shelters
  • Stage props
  • Bird and bat houses
  • Flagpoles
  • Boating push poles
  • Screens for display or privacy
  • And more!

To make your own telescoping pole:

  1. Prepare EMT Conduit
  2. Assemble Pole with Telescoping Couplings
  3. Add Extra Attachments

And that's it!


  1. Cinch telescoping couplings for EMT conduit
  2. 1/2" EMT conduit
  3. 3/4" EMT conduit
  4. 1" EMT conduit
  5. Tape measure
  6. Marker
  7. Rotary tube cutting tool
  8. Deburring tool

Step 1: Prepare EMT Conduit

Collect the pieces of EMT conduit that you want to make into a telescoping pole. EMT conduit is made of galvanized steel and comes in standard sizes. For this Instructable, we used three pieces of 1/2", 3/4", and 1" conduit. A 5-foot length of 1/2" EMT conduit can be purchased from your local hardware store for about $2.50, and a 10-foot length costs about $3.50, with zero shipping cost if you pick it up yourself!

EMT conduit standard sizes have the following diameters. The Cinch telescoping coupling system is specifically designed to work with these sizes:

1/2" EMT conduit: 0.706" outside diameter, 0.622" inside diameter

3/4" EMT conduit: 0.922" outside diameter, 0.824" inside diameter

1" EMT conduit: 1.163" outside diameter, 1.049" inside diameter

Use a tape measure and a marker to mark the length of each piece of EMT conduit. Wear protective equipment (including safety goggles) before cutting the conduit! Use a rotary tube cutting tool (around $10) to cut each piece of conduit by tightening the tool on the conduit, rotating the tool, and continuing to tighten and then rotate the tool, until the conduit is cut.

On both the inner and outer edges of the cut ends of the conduit, remove the sharp edge using any one of the following tools:

  • Flat file
  • Round file
  • Sandpaper
  • Reamer
  • Deburring tool

If desired, paint or coat the cut pieces of conduit. Now we are ready to assemble the telescoping pole!

Step 2: Assemble Telescoping Pole

To assemble the telescoping pole, for each pair of telescoping EMT conduit pieces:

  1. Install outer coupling onto the smaller (inner) conduit.
  2. Install inner sleeve onto the end of the smaller (inner) conduit.
  3. Insert the smaller (inner) conduit inside the larger (outer) conduit.
  4. Tighten the screw to attach the coupling to the larger (outer) conduit using a Phillips head screwdriver.
  5. Loosen the hand knob to adjust the smaller (inner) conduit, and tighten it to lock its position.

Done! Whenever you want to adjust the pole, simply loosen the hand knob, and re-tighten it to set the new pole position.

Step 3: Add Extra Attachments

To make your telescoping pole usable for your specific project, you may need to add other attachments to your pole. These can include:

  • Clips and caps
  • String/twine
  • Wires, LEDs and other electrical components
  • Custom wooden, metal, and plastic pieces
  • A base or stand
  • Camera mount

To attach any of these items to the pole, in a pinch, you can use:

  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Epoxy
  • Rubber bands
  • String

Extra attachments can also be added to your telescoping pole by hand-drilling a hole in the pole and using machine screws and nuts. Remember to remove the rough edges from any holes you drill in EMT conduit, and wear protective equipment (safety glasses at a minimum) while doing so! Handle the telescoping pole you've made with care to minimize the chance of injuring yourself or others, and be responsible!

For more information about the Cinch telescoping coupling system for EMT conduit, visit:


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    Question 8 months ago on Step 3

    Aren't those split collar locks rather than cinch locks? They seem to be made only by Testrite, and that what they call them: https://www.testriteoem.com/shop/catalog/shop-standard-telescopic-tubing/shop-standard-telescopic-tubing/tbryb-s/ Cinch locks are a different type. These are stronger though. One other question, Testrite says the connectors have a 14-20 thread connector for the tubing? Did you need to thread the EMT? Thanks.


    Answer 8 months ago

    Hi randalosgood, that's correct, these are split collar locks. The brand name of this product is Cinch, but they are not cinch locks per se. No threads are required on the EMT.


    Reply 8 months ago

    They would also be MUCH cheaper ordering directly from Testrite: https://www.testriteoem.com/shop/catalog/shop-standard-telescopic-tubing/shop-standard-telescopic-tubing/block1375-1500-1-1-2-to-1-3-8/ I gather than the stated dimensions are for both the inner and the outer tubing, but those are for the OD of the tubing. So a little experimentation may be needed to get a proper fit for a larger trip of tubing, like 1-1/4"/1"/3/4". Thanks again for the Instructable, I'd never seen this sort of connector before. Oh, BTW, Testrite has a whole raft of different types of connectors: https://www.testriteoem.com/products/round-telescoping-aluminum-tubing-locks/ but the split collar ones you used make the strongest connection.


    10 months ago

    Do you have the cinch system clips available anywhere, or is this just pre-release marketing for a Kickstarter campaign?


    Reply 10 months ago

    Hi HeinrichS, we are currently offering Free Shipping vouchers for interested customers on our website. We are preparing to offer this product in the near future.

    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    10 months ago

    Nice job! Thanks for sharing :)


    Reply 10 months ago

    Thanks for your comment, Penelopy!