[TowerTalk] Welding Rebar

Grant Saviers grants2 at pacbell.net
Sun Apr 13 13:51:17 EDT 2014

Agreeing with Roger, having just completed building for a friend a new 
cage for a Tri-Ex LM354, I welded the main #8 rods to the tower mounting 
flanges (3x3/8x20" HRS).  This is the way it comes from the factory and 
there is no alternative, so debating weld/not weld is not relevant.

The factory cage also ships from the factory with #3 & #4 rods tacked to 
the #8 to provide a strong enough cage to be shipped. This also insures 
the base flanges mate with the tower flanges with no additional and 
difficult fixturing and supports when pouring the base concrete.

Of course, weldable rebar should be specified, but the entire cost of 
all the base rebar was under $100 cut to length by the supplier. We bent 
the #3 loops around the #4 extensions to the #8, and then I tacked these 
all together.  Wire ties are very handy to fixture the assembly for welding.

This all was a superior way to build a cage when compared to the 
troubles the wire tied cages gave when installing my two HDX589s. Expect 
some climbing on the cage when it goes down 9' into a hole only slightly 
larger. (or 6' for the LM354).

My .02,

Grant KZ1W

On 4/13/2014 12:45 AM, Roger (K8RI) on TT wrote:
> On 4/13/2014 1:47 AM, Brian Amos wrote:
>> If you weld it the rod may rust which will cause the concrete to burst.
> Rusting requires an oxidation source.  Rod protruding from the 
> concrete, or flux.  I'm using Metal, Inert Gas or MIG for short. I'd 
> not want to use stick welding. These are "tack welds, not true welds. 
> They are just enough with what wiring I can do with one hand, that I'm 
> not worried about the cage changing shape before we pour the 
> concrete.  The "twist" is much like we use on aircraft nuts and bolts, 
> except we are using soft iron and not #20 or 24 SS.
> I'm used to sticking the two ends into a tool, pulling a handle that 
> reminds me of a Ty-Wrap tool.  Just about instant twist.
> The Iron wire is large enough , #14 I think, that it can be twisted 
> with regular pliers.
> Tack welds are small enough that I'm not worried about changes in 
> strength.
> There are 3 major welds. Those are ones holding the 1/2" X 3" X 25" 
> ears to the #10 rerod  The tower and raising fixture bolted directly 
> to these.
> If we could get the rerod to stay in place we wouldn't need to fasten 
> it.  The rod just serves as a reinforcement for the concrete, although 
> with the LM470 the big stuff that holds the tower is part of the cage.
> I like the idea of everything connected as it serves as a very good 
> UFER ground. Course that connects to a network of over 600 feet of 
> bare #2 that is cad welded to 32 or 33 8' ground rods.
> Speaking of grounds. I've lost 2 of the big Diamond dual band 
> (144/440) antennas. I think I've lost a system ground in the shop and 
> it went to ground through the antenna.
> 73
> Roger (K8RI)
>>   Not
>> a fun situation as usually the recommended repair is completely 
>> remove the
>> foundation and replace it. As a foundation engineer I only hear the
>> failures and what the standard of practice and code say, so maybe it has
>> worked under the right circumstances. If it has an issue and it was not
>> built to code the insurance company will not cover you.
>> Tying rebar is not fun and can be hard work but stout teenage boys will
>> learn quickly and work for a small portion of what a concrete company 
>> would
>> charge. I usually offer a favorite meal ajdand tgat is ebough. You may
>> even find some free and experienced help from your ham club. I know
>> whenever someone in my club needs help with something that falls 
>> within my
>> line of work I am more than willing to lend a hand.
>> Brian
>> On Apr 12, 2014 10:42 PM, "Edwin Karl" <edk0kl at centurytel.net> wrote:
>>> Roger,
>>> As part of my mis-spent youth I was an iron worker, worked at it for 
>>> about
>>> 6 years.
>>> We were referred to as "rod busters" by some. In any event installed 
>>> lots
>>> of iron
>>> in the new York area.
>>> Now that I'm retired, I built my own home, not with my hands, but 
>>> was the
>>> general
>>> contractor. You can do that in the country ... I did do the reinforcing
>>> myself; so my
>>> driveway, sidewalks, patio, basement walls and floor all have steel
>>> internally. The
>>> also barn has a reinforced concrete floor.
>>> The tower is an AN Wireless  90 footer with a big foundation, rear 3
>>> layers, top bottom
>>> and middle is about 12 feet deep, took 21 yards of concrete to fill the
>>> hole. There is a
>>> section of tower made to go in the foundation which splices to the 
>>> rear.
>>> Now I'm saying all this because of a decision I made years ago, if I 
>>> had
>>> the chance, this is
>>> how I would choose to build my own home, etc. It might be nit 
>>> picking but
>>> the issue with me
>>> probably pertains more to structural iron, like the tower etc. Don't do
>>> anything like welding
>>> which may change the characteristics of the iron negatively. Also 
>>> affects
>>> galvanizing etc.
>>> Probably way over thinking the issue, which I usually do.
>>> I also will confess in my day, except where cad welding 1 1/4 rear for
>>> power houses etc,
>>> never saw rear welded. Generally a splice is 20 times the diameter 
>>> side by
>>> side and double
>>> tied.Compared to structural, rear is soft, we would bend it on site for
>>> hooks and angles, so I
>>> suspect it's already not too stuff. But as I said initially the bar
>>> reinforces the concrete, which
>>> holds the bar in place.
>>> Sorry for being so lengthy ... but, if there are other issues as you
>>> mention than explain why welding
>>> might be acceptable. We would take columns and beams using wire to 
>>> kind of
>>> guy it internally,  if
>>> the item has a long way to go or was a difficult pick for the crane 
>>> etc.
>>> If you are having the job
>>> fabricated off site it probably could be done either way, if you're 
>>> alone
>>> tack welding could work.
>>> I wish you well, and would appreciate hearing from you as the project
>>> progresses.
>>> By the way, 8 or 9 inch lineman's pliers and end cutting nippers are 
>>> tools
>>> of the trade, The nippers
>>> work real well when tightening the connection, After a few mistakes, 
>>> you
>>> can get the hang of it.
>>> Very 73!
>>> ed K0KL
>>> On 4/12/2014 9:37 PM, Roger (K8RI) on TT wrote:
>>>> On 1/5/2014 12:58 AM, Roger (K8RI) on TT wrote:
>>>>> On 1/4/2014 4:01 PM, Ed K0KL wrote:
>>>>>> I can't stand it any longer ...
>>>> And the problem is?
>>>> If wired in place or near the hole they work fine. If shipped, or 
>>>> handled
>>>> a lot they seem to come already welded.
>>>> As I only have one useful hand, tack welding is faster, easier, and 
>>>> makes
>>>> for a far more secure joint than wiring one with just one hand.
>>>> I noted when at my steel supplier, they had a cage, mostly done 
>>>> that was
>>>> all welded.  The customer would put it on a trailer, haul it 10 
>>>> miles or so
>>>> and then stick it in the hole with the same dimensions as when he 
>>>> picked it
>>>> up.
>>>> 73
>>>> Roger (K8RI)
>>>>>> Wire ties are fine to keep the rebar touching from bar to band (the
>>>>>> smaller rod surrounding the
>>>>>> verticals or horizontals as it were). It has been used for years on
>>>>>> buildings, roadways, etc. Generally
>>>>>> speaking the concrete holds the connection together, the 
>>>>>> connection and
>>>>>> rod make the concrete
>>>>>> strong ...
>>>>> Order towers with the rebar cage and they likely will come welded and
>>>>> not tied.
>>>>> That's been the local experience.
>>>>> 73
>>>>> Roger (K8RI)
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