Concrete Pier for LXD55 & Atlas Mounts, The Build
Posted 23 April 2009 - 06:47 PM
For now the moist ground made for an easy half hour on the end of the post hole digger. I made the hole wider around at the bottom by a couple inches. It is well below code/frost line to prevent heave.
Posted 23 April 2009 - 06:53 PM
Posted 23 April 2009 - 06:59 PM
A clear seal around the outside of the boxes will ensure no concrete seeps out during the pour. The boxes fit very tight so I am not too worried. I cut them to pretty exact size using a drywall saw. This step is probably mostly because I had the sealer stuff laying around and can use it someway now. I will run a couple laps of duct tape around the boxes and tube/form before pouring to hold them in. I am sure the pressure of wet concrete will require some tape strapping.
In the third picture you can see the boxes and elbows from bottom inside of the tube. Once concrete is poured they will be more flush mounted now.
Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:04 PM
I have to do the same thing come June. What are you going to use for a form? And how high off the ground are you going with it?
I am using a Quik-tube type form I picked up at the local hardware store. As far as height I am not as concerned. Every inch I can get I will use in the form. I suspect it will finish at 52" to the top of the mounting plate. I am very tall and use refractors so the taller the better. I also use an adjustable chair giving me a cushion that way.
Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:10 PM
The terminal ends of the horizontal conduit at the bottom were about 12 inches long. I covered the ends with duct tape (love it) and jammed them back into the earth at the bottom of the hole. Then I covered them with dirt partially to prevent concrete from soaking/seeping into the end, rendering them plugged.
After the pier is complete, at another time, I will dig the trench back from the house that will carry power and cable. When I get to the base of the pier I will excavate these taped ends and tie into the pier that way.
Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:14 PM
Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:19 PM
Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:22 PM
Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:25 PM
Posted 24 April 2009 - 04:19 PM
I was able to get the pour done this morning before 11 a.m. and the afternoon thunder storms. Everything went without a hitch until about a half hour after I cleaned up. The thunderclap was...well...thunderous.
Can anyone tell me what happens to wet concrete after it is hit by lightning? I believe the bolt passed down the stainless steel L bolts and hopefully down the rebar into the ground. The concrete was wet enough to perhaps disipate the charge throughout the pier however.
So now I sit and wait until I can take off the form and see what happened if anything. What do you all think? Is it going to mess with my concrete's chemistry? How long do you think I should wait until I take off the form?
Posted 24 April 2009 - 07:19 PM
But lightning damage is unpredictable. So if you see any visible signs of damage, take pictures, I'd like to see it.
Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:30 AM
Posted 25 April 2009 - 01:23 AM
At first I didn't even think it was hit until I saw the top of the cardboard of the tube smoldering. I did head out after a bit to check out what happened. The concrete was still wet enough to allow my finger to go all the way in and still allow me to smooth it out. However, around the bolts and in some chunks I could feel hard spots in the concrete. It wasn't aggregate. These felt like they were larger and sharper hard, cured, concrete spots. Some were immovable. That is what got me to worrying. Had something happened to the concrete that would effect its curing or strength?
I did some googling and found out a bit. There seems to be some info available from reports of lightning strikes to roadwork as it is being done. I found reports of exloding/fractured spots mostly. Also reported were areas of heat damage. I couldn't find what they meant by heat damage. The reports spoke as if heat damage was common knowledge among concrete workers. Additionally discovered, visual strikes sometimes left no damage at all and other times required complete reworking. Basically it was unpredictable as to what happens.
I have no idea what to expect when I unveil the pier. Before leaving to work, about an hour after the strike, I went back out and the concrete was still real soft and the pier had some wobble to it. It hadn't set much yet. I had been stressing a bit about this until I came home tonight and checked it again. Now the pier seems very stout and unshakable when I pound on it or give it a hard shove. I am more optimistic now.
On a side note my wife tells me tonight the neighbors house was also struck by the same bolt. There was only one close strike in the squall. They had damage to part of their roof and down a wall. I haven't talked to them about what else may be damaged. Inside our house we lost my old 19 tube TV upstairs that was in a guest bedroom and several light bulbs. The TV just won't turn on now. However, I can't find anywhere on the house where it may have been struck so think it may be a factor of EMP or something.
Here are the pictures from this morning before the strike.
Posted 25 April 2009 - 02:05 AM
The mixer works like a wheel barrow and I was able to pour it directly into the hole or a 5 gallon bucket to hoist to the top of the pier.
Posted 25 April 2009 - 02:16 AM
I dug a spout at the top of the pier to pour into.
A concrete buddy of mine gave me this water reducer additive. Two ounces per bag of concrete made the slump go from a 2-3 to a 12-14. It works like a charm. The concrete was dry and crumbly in the mixer then you add this and bam, it gets all sloshy without having the aggregate separate. Less water means more strength too. I recommend this stuff highly. Lets see if it makes for a cleaner finished surface too. I have no idea what brand or even what is in this bottle. He uses it to make concrete counter tops in his trade and gets it from a large barrel at his shop. This mystery sauce works.
Posted 25 April 2009 - 02:29 AM
The second picture shows how I intended to install the pier plate. I wanted to nurse the tube for as many inches as I could.
Posted 25 April 2009 - 02:33 AM
Posted 25 April 2009 - 02:38 AM
Once the hole was filled I covered it with dirt and built a smallish mound around the base. I was figuring it might help keep the concrete from blowing out of the bottom of the form. You can see it covers the frame I built.
Now we wait.
Posted 25 April 2009 - 02:41 AM
Posted 25 April 2009 - 10:59 AM
Thankfully, my oldest son woke today and couldn't wait himself. He and I were chatting about the pier last night and when he woke he went out and took the cardboard off himself. I'm not wiped out since it is now drizzling and going to rain for three days or so. I am sure it will stay plenty moist.
It came off in one piece my son said and was laying next to the trash can. I snapped this pic of the tube's damage.
Posted 25 April 2009 - 11:24 AM
So, here it is. There wasn't a bubble anywhere and I attest this to the additive and vibrator/sander. Thanks Jeff. There is a separation between bags of concrete midway. The firmness of the concrete seems strong everywhere so far. Whew.
The concrete finished at 45" above ground making the top of the pier plate 51 1/2" tall. The stock LXD55 tripod (rest it's miserable soul) was 41". A gain of 10 1/2" rocks.
Posted 25 April 2009 - 11:27 AM
Posted 25 April 2009 - 11:35 AM