As soon as the steel framing was finished, it was time to punch 1/2” holes through the studs I needed to route plumbing and electrical cabling through.

The tiny hacker house has a total of 8 outlets situated mostly along the left side of the house, and a shower, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and toilet that need water lines. Oh and 10 light receptacles and 4 switch boxes that need electricity as well.

Overview
It's alive!

This meant I needed to punch over 50 1/2” holes through 12-gauge steel… not a simple task. It’s these kinds of one-off difficulties that make working with steel studs much more tricky than wood.

Stud punch
Requires a pilot hole to make the punch... that's what I came to you for!

I ended up buying a 6-ton hydraulic steel stud punch tool to make the holes. Ironically, however, it needs a 3/8” hole already drilled in the stud in order to function. And it doesn’t work through double studs. For that I used a bi-metal hole saw. It took a whole week to place fixtures, measure, and cut all the holes.

fridge outlet
Dedicated fridge outlet

Plastic bushings are required in metal studs so the sharp edges don’t cut the water lines or short your electricity to the frame, turning your tiny house into a giant electrocution device.

TV outlet
TV outlet

After everything was cut, painted with galvanizing spray, and bushings inserted, I could route the piping and cabling. I found it easier to first attach the electrical boxes to a 6” 2x4 backing block and then screw the whole piece into the stud.

Shower valve
detail
Shower rough in

For the plumbing I used PEX. It seems to be all the rage these days. It’s pretty simple to work with – if you have a good crimper and do it carefully, you shouldn’t have any leaks for years to come.

Hose pressure
Hose pressure is zero because the shower valve prevents backflow.

After I finished the plumbing rough-in, I plugged all the fixtures and pressure-tested it first with air to 100 PSI, then overnight with a garden hose attached. I guess this first-timer got lucky – no leaks!

Next I’ll be putting up the sheathing and making final preparations for the insulation installation!

Here are all the pics for your viewing pleasure:

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