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Iam having a hard time unwinding and winding up a fish tape, and I have to install pull strings on 1/2 inch emt conduit that runs for about 20 feet, with couple of stub 90 bends in them. Would a battery powered vacuum work well?
 

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Arsholeprentice
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It's 20' of fish tape, that's like 5 seconds to wind and unwind. If this isn't finished space, I am not even winding it, just heading to the next conduit.

Not sure if the vac would work, but pretty sure it would take longer.
 

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Hackenschmidt
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You should be able to do that with a drinking straw, I am sure a battery vac will work. A 25' scrap of solid wire would work, just about anything would work.

Why are you having trouble with the fish tape?
 

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Iam having a hard time unwinding and winding up a fish tape, and I have to install pull strings on 1/2 inch emt conduit that runs for about 20 feet, with couple of stub 90 bends in them. Would a battery powered vacuum work well?
If you pull on a fish tape by holding the reel the steel tape will bind up. If you have done that just throw it away... trying to get it untangled will take you forever. Remember to only pull on the steel tape itself using an ideal hand puller or linemen’s pliers that have a tape puller built into them. With a good working FT what you are doing shouldn’t take long at all.
 

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Hackenschmidt
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I have never scrapped a fish tape. I have lost them I have given them away I have had them stolen I have occasionally spent way more time on them than they are worth, but I have never given up on a fish tape. I wouldn't allow someone to give up on a fish tape in my presence. They are always fixable.

Sometimes you just have to pull, sometimes you have to push it into the reel to get it to pull, sometimes you have to turn the handle, sometimes you have to whack it sideways.

Like with most things in life, my advice to you is lubricate. Use some WD-40, get it on the plastic seam, and the part of the handle that goes in the seam, and the tape inside the reel. Silicone would work better but it stains a lot of things permanently so don't use that.

I have tried the zig zag / slalom nails method @zac posted and it definitely works if you have nails on hand, but I usually straighten the kinks by tying one end of the tape to a fixed object and walking it out, and just straighten the kinks somewhat by hand as I go. Then wipe it with a rag (with some solvent or soapy water if possible) from end to end and double check there's no bad kinks. It doesn't need to come out perfectly straight.

Then reel it up, wiping it down with a rag wet with WD40 as you go, keeping light tension on it as you reel. It will be better than factory when you're done.

Last resort you can always take it apart, but beware, that is a SPRING in there :) Comedy can ensue. But if there's anything live around like an open panel or etc. it won't be funny at all for you, only for the less empathetic Youtube viewers later.
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
GOV/MIL contracting
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When you say a 'couple 90s', is that as in 2 or maybe more than 4?
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
GOV/MIL contracting
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I have never scrapped a fish tape. I have lost them I have given them away I have had them stolen I have occasionally spent way more time on them than they are worth, but I have never given up on a fish tape. I wouldn't allow someone to give up on a fish tape in my presence. They are always fixable.

Sometimes you just have to pull, sometimes you have to push it into the reel to get it to pull, sometimes you have to turn the handle, sometimes you have to whack it sideways.

Like with most things in life, my advice to you is lubricate. Use some WD-40, get it on the plastic seam, and the part of the handle that goes in the seam, and the tape inside the reel. Silicone would work better but it stains a lot of things permanently so don't use that.

I have tried the zig zag / slalom nails method @zac posted and it definitely works if you have nails on hand, but I usually straighten the kinks by tying one end of the tape to a fixed object and walking it out, and just straighten the kinks somewhat by hand as I go. Then wipe it with a rag (with some solvent or soapy water if possible) from end to end and double check there's no bad kinks. It doesn't need to come out perfectly straight.

Then reel it up, wiping it down with a rag wet with WD40 as you go, keeping light tension on it as you reel. It will be better than factory when you're done.

Last resort you can always take it apart, but beware, that is a SPRING in there :) Comedy can ensue. But if there's anything live around like an open panel or etc. it won't be funny at all for you, only for the less empathetic Youtube viewers later.

I have never tossed one either. I have cut a lazy 'w' pattern in a block of 2x4 and used that to pull the tape through with decent results for straightening.
 
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I haven't either but I have chopped my share into 10' lengths :)

A fish tape will last a long damn time unless you do stupid **** with it. If you absolutely MUST pull it with a tool like sidecutters, don't freaking bend it.
I messed up my BIL's fish tape. He bought it at Lowes or Depot and it looked like stainless but lighter. Not like Ideal fish tapes. Bright metal of some sort.

Anyway I tried to suck a jet line through an underground run without success.
I told him to go get one. He did.
Once it stopped I started twisting the reel. Instead of the tip spinning, the tape twisted.
Oops.

Turns out his contractor hit it doing some excavating.
 

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Old Grumpy Bastard
GOV/MIL contracting
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That reminds me of a guy that used to work for me who had 30 hammers. I feel guilty now that I only have 3. My career has been a failure! :vs_sad:
I may have more than 30 hammers if you add them up, ball pien, dead blow, claw, sledge, auto body, scaling, sheetmetal, yup maybe 40....or more.
 
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