Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Think it’s tall enough?

Sorry for the lack of pictures with it going up, I tried all night the night before in coaching Voo on how to take pictures with the Iphone, but lack of thumbs and a true lack of interest on his part, lead to no pictures during the process.

I would have taken some myself, but I was running around like a three headed monkey trying to get things in order, even with the 4 persons helping, and I seriously didn’t even think about a danged camera until well after it was upright.

Lessons learned: Pipe needs to be either a heavier gauge, or, the more likely future endeavor, TRUSS! While the schedule 40 is rigid enough once its in the upright position, it was flexing enough to make us have to get rather creative with a couple of trees to act as props to keep it from folding in half. Pulling it upright was no issue once we were able to keep the bow out of it. Once in the upright position, it was just a matter of tightening cables to square it with gravity. Luckily, the wind was down (not luck, I was watching the weather patterns, but even a slight breeze would have meant disaster if it hit when the cables were slack. Yes, the pipe flexed that much.)

Ok, what is this thing, you may be asking. 2” heavy gauge conduit, also called rigid conduit, in 12′ sections. I then hammered and welded a 1′ section of 1 1/2” rigid conduit into one end of two pieces. I then cleaned up the exposed end so that they would slip into the opposing end of each piece. The top section is the same stuff, but instead of a telescoped nipple, I welded two 3/8” couplers on lateral to the center line about 5” apart and 2” from the end. I then used my cut-off wheel and slit the pipe through those two couplers, and about 8” into the length of the pipe. I then drilled out one side of the coupler and installed the 3/8” bolts and that was now able to be tightened up on the actual 1 1/2” upright that makes up the pivot head.

Just below that point (the couplers) I then welded on some 1/8” strapping 120 degrees apart and drilled it to accept a 3/8” shackle. This is the upper tie off for the guidelines. I did not add one lower down and that became another lesson learned: I am getting to that though.

The bottom section was drilled to accept 1/2” x6” (4” shoulder) shouldered grade 8 bolts. The base, already installed and prepared was drilled to accept a sleeve where those bolts would go so that I could fill it with concrete and not have to worry about screwing up the bolts. One of the bolts is the lower pivot point, the other is the lock. Pretty simple and straight forward, and it matters not which is which so long as they fit snugly together when the two pipes are bolted up (in other words, do the fitting BEFORE you go getting everything into place and while you can easily handle them.) I chose a 3/4” sleeve for the base pipe as I wanted some slop to make adjustments ‘just in case’. Glad I did to.

So, the tower is up, guidelines attached and the whole assembly is vertical. Time for some wind. LOL Wouldn’t it just figure, that I spent most of the day dickin’ around the stead waiting for wind to appear after that crazy hazy morning getting this thing hoisted up high. It felt silly waiting, but I am glad I did. The wind wasn’t much, and for only a few minutes, but it was enough to see a potentially catastrophic issue. The blades started up, and then started increasing speed. Suddenly, the center of the tower started oscillating and the blades, even though the wind hadn’t slowed, did slow. And the oscillation became worse and the blades actually came to a stop even with the wind blowing.

I jumped in the truck and made that run for more cable and hardware immediately. I didn’t run new points, I figured the points I had on the ground would suffice, but the middle of that pole needed to be made more rigid, and soon, before something came apart. I didn’t have to bust out the welder or anything, I just used a 2 1/4” muffler clamp as the point on the pole, I used a step ladder to access the height on the pole ( I went to the first connection, 12′ up.) and ran out three new lines to the old points from there. I used the thimbles at each end and a new, though smaller, trunnion to make adjustments to tension.

Guidelines after adding the second set to the mid post.

Guidelines after adding the second set to the mid post.

That tower is now quite rigid, and again, I await the wind to verify that my solution is adequate. And again, I feel silly about the waiting. We have had hellacious winds all winter long, and now that the tower is up, Doldrums. Heck, I was sitting there this evening watching things from the hillside, and the smoke from my flue is rising straight up like a weighted thread. I can’t even make a judgment on this equipment as there isn’t anything to assess if I am on the right path or need more blades or (God Forbid) more height. I have figured out that there are three trees that are definitely slated for felling. I didn’t think they were close enough to cause issue, but they are, and they had been slated for felling; the time table just moved up a bit is all. I noted that on Friday that whenever the breeze was blowing from that direction, the genset would ‘wobble’ back and forth ‘searching’. Definite turbulence issue from that point. I could probably take down the two closest ones and be fine, but my family wants to increase the size of the garden there and those trees were doomed anyway.

Well, one more day of weekend left to me, and I am hoping that the doldrums will break some in the morning. I just need to see what happens when the blade really take off, what kind of output to expect and from that I can adjust other things, like switching points in the controller and whether or not I need to add to my dumpload, or if what I have is adequate. Not much more to do around the place to occupy me while waiting for wind. I have already shuffled the woodshed around to clear space for the new wood coming in from the trees that are coming down, I re-dug my water-bars to keep my living areas drier. I took the Voo for his nightly walk, while all the while staying within sight of the mill.(Voo wasn’t too happy about that, but hey, walkies is walkies, ya take what ya can get!) I will find something, I am certain, even if its felling one of those trees, hauling it in and splitting it up. (I figure split the take with the rest of the family seein’ how my wood shed is still quite full and the winter is nearly over.)

40' of sheer terror while going up.

40′ of sheer terror while going up.



Direction change ahead!

And for other Fiat lovers out there, a quick look at the “other woman” from my last relationship, before my wakeup call to reality.IMAG0017

7 responses

  1. Very nice. 🙂

    February 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm

  2. SnakeIN

    You’ve now had another of those “blood-runs-cold/sheer terror” moments. Glad I wasn’t there to see your face when the center of the pole started doing the hula! Makes me think you haven’t put up too many improvised antenna masts. lol. And good luck on winter being nearly over.

    February 25, 2014 at 1:16 am

    • You Are right on the improv ant. Count: exactly zero. Not including this mast that is. Major learning experiance, well worth it but not one I want to repeat any time soon.

      February 25, 2014 at 9:42 am

  3. Spud

    A single pipe ? Holy sheee-it !! I foresee compression fractures in your future…
    How is it braked ? Mechanical or reversing polarity ?
    Tether for swinging it into the wind after it gets locked against the stops…

    Thanks for the pic of mine also previous X addiction, memories and mammories the things which compell a guys life.

    February 25, 2014 at 5:44 am

    • Electric brake. Not reversing polarity but by grounding output to a carbon pile. Did have an issue with that mechanical stoo day one working on that. Temp solution was a fishing pole, 1oz lead weight and a sling shot. I leave the rest to your imagination.
      Memories and mammaries. I like that,,,,,,

      February 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

  4. SnakeIN

    10-4 on the M&M’s…lol

    I still can’t believe you made a single point lift on a 40′ pipe. I think you lived a genuine miracle that day. If I had tried that my spinner would have sat in ruins at the top of a snake shaped piece of formerly straight pipe.

    And sometimes I have to wonder if all those bad things happen just because we know they can, but in your case, you plowed blindly on and saved the day.

    No matter how you score it – damned fine end of day.

    February 25, 2014 at 8:08 pm

  5. Out-fucking-standing Dio! The Great Creator was watching over you.

    February 26, 2014 at 6:21 pm

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