Updated: Sep 19
I needed to pick some apples for the upcoming fall season, so I built a homemade extending fruit picker pole out of EMT conduit, and so can you! EMT (electrical metallic tubing) conduit is a type of affordable steel tubing which is available for purchase from most hardware stores, which lends itself well to home projects due to its availability, low cost, and strength. Gathering fruit from tall trees can be a challenging task, typically requiring the use of ladders or other climbing equipment, so this pole is a great DIY solution for harvesting fruit without needing to climb anything.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
(For extra-long pole) 1 x 3/4" to 1" EMT conduit telescoping coupling
(For extra-long pole) 1 x 5-foot long section of 3/4" EMT conduit (cut to length)
1 x Metal file
(Optional) 1 x Cordless drill
Step 1: Measure and Cut
Determine the desired size of your fruit picker pole, and cut equal length pieces of EMT conduit (the three sizes you can use are standard 1/2", 3/4" and 1" EMT conduit.) For example, for a 10-foot long, 2-section pole, the 2 x conduit lengths of 3/4" and 1/2" conduit size could each be 5 to 6 feet. For a 15-foot long, 3-section pole, the 3 x conduit pieces could be 1/2", 3/4", and 1" conduit, each piece a length of 5 to 6 feet. Measure that length on each piece of conduit using the tape measure, and mark it. Wearing appropriate safety gear (e.g. safety glasses), cut your conduit pieces at the marked points using a rotary tube cutter. Remove any sharp edges or burrs using a rotary deburring tool, metal file, or Dremel tool where needed.
Step 2: Assemble the Telescoping Portion of the Pole
These injection-molded, UV-resistant EMT conduit telescoping couplings/clamps make it easy to create a telescoping pole out of EMT conduit! Assemble the telescoping coupling and sleeve onto each pair of 2 x conduit pieces as shown below. Optionally, you can add one or more layers of spray paint + primer to give your fruit picker pole a unique look! In that case, allow the paint to completely dry before assembly.
At this stage, you can add 1-2 hand grips to make the pole easier to grasp. This particular hand grip has a nice feel to it, and is easily installed on to the bottom piece of conduit.
Step 3: Add the Male Threaded Adapter to the Pole Tip
The fruit picker basket I selected for this project has a 3/4" ACME female thread, which assembles nicely with this male threaded adapter. First, add electrical tape to the end of the pole until the male threaded adapter fits snugly and is centered on the pole. For extra strength of attachment, the adapter has a thru hole which can be used to guide a drill bit, to drill a hole in the pole and secure the adapter using the screw + nut that comes packaged with the adapter.
Step 4: Add the Basket
To install the fruit basket onto the pole, simply twist to mate it with the male threaded adapter. This basket additionally comes with two metal ribbon/hose clamps that be tightened with a screwdriver to further improve the fit as needed.
Step 5: Harvest!
Your DIY fruit picker pole is now ready for use! Extend the pole to reach the fruit you want to grab, and using a backward sweeping motion, pluck the fruit from the tree to dislodge it into the soft foam in the basket. Loosen the telescoping clamp to collapse the pole, and enjoy your fresh fruit!
In this article, I shared an easy way to build your own extendable fruit picker pole using EMT conduit! The telescoping couplings used for this project are available for purchase from Elation Sports Technologies:
Check out our other blog posts! To subscribe to our free newsletter, click the Log In button in the top right corner of this page so you never miss a post:
Elation Sports Technologies LLC offers mechanical and electrical engineering design consulting. I'd be happy to discuss your project's needs to see how we may assist you - simply reach out to schedule a chat.
Thanks for reading!
Founder and Owner
Elation Sports Technologies LLC