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Re: [TowerTalk] Interesting automatic tower

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Interesting automatic tower
From: Jim Lux <>
Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 09:07:30 -0800
List-post: <>
At 08:49 AM 1/2/2006, wrote:
>Howdy, TowerTalkians --
>     Here's an interesting automatic tower on a  trailer - just push a button
>and it extends to 80 feet! There's a video  that peeks into the inner 
>- it's a fascinating engineering job. I don't  think anyone wants to know the
>price - hi!

The mechanics on this are very clever with the three ladders that lock 
together and extend.  There's a smaller scale scheme used for extending 
masts on spacecraft that looks like two measuring tapes (with the curved 
cross section) face to face that interlock as they extend.

There's also a couple of nifty schemes that essentially "unscrew".  The 
mast made by AEC-Able on the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) works 
this way, and there are ground based equivalents.

There are really interesting extendable tensegrity towers too.

There's a lot of nifty ideas out there.

We've talked a bit at the JPL and CIT clubs about putting hydraulics or 
lead screws on the outriggers on the tower trailer (since that's one of the 
more time consuming parts of erecting the tower), and it probably wouldn't 
be all that expensive, if you have someone who can do the welding and steel 
fabrication for you.  4 ag hydraulic cylinders would probably work just 
fine.  A suitable valve block and a pump, etc.


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