Tower Building Help / Info needed

Hi all,
I'm considering building a tower.
The intended purpose of the tower would be two-fold:
An observation deck just below the top, for drinking refreshing
beverages, and taking in the view...and a mounting at the top for tv
and radio antennas, a web cam, etc.
Needed features are a fairly low challenge way of ascending the
tower,(stairs with landings?)
Height of the tower at its top needs to be around 60' above grade,
with the observation deck at about 50'.
It would be good if it looks interesting or artsy so as not to offend
the neighbors (although except for the top 10 to 15 feet, it will be
obscured by the trees).
I have as resources:
several hundred feet of 3" structural steel I beam S3x5.7
around one hundred feet of 6" structural steel I beam S6x12.5
I have some good local sources of recycled steel angles and plate for
gusseting and bracing, etc.
SMAW welder and electricity to run it at the site
Oxy/Acetylene torch and the usual grinders / metal saw etc.
Water at the site.
Friend with a digger truck to dig piers
Sandy soil with a heavy rock base a few feet down (rock base is within
depth range of the digger truck).
Questions I have are:
(Just looking for some broad scope suggestions /
ideas here).
1. Legal issues - what should I consider as far as State, Federal and
/ or FAA regs? I'm in a rural county in north Texas, there is no
local building code or inspection required for building a home, for
example. If necessary to avoid regulation, I could reduce the height
of the tower, but if I come down much from my goals stated above, the
view and the reception go away, making it a pointless excercise.
Some of my neighbors houses look to be 50' or more above grade - at
their roof peaks (very steep pitches are popular around here right
now).
2. Design - any good examples or ideas come to the fertile minds of
the metal butchers here? Would something with a tapered triangle as a
cross section work well? Like a first stage with three legs of the
S6, or? Maybe a scaled down version of some historic American tower?
Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Jess
Reply to
Jess
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Hey lift one of these on a 50 ft concrete pillar, might give the neighbors something to talk about. Shucks just connect all three together with tunnels and Gunner might be your new best friend.......:')
Reply to
DE
Hey! Air conditioned Texas deer hunting stands. Way cool.
Gunner
> > > >> >>Hi all, >> >>I'm considering building a tower. >> >>The intended purpose of the tower would be two-fold: >>An observation deck just below the top, for drinking refreshing >>beverages, and taking in the view...and a mounting at the top for tv >>and radio antennas, a web cam, etc. >> >>Needed features are a fairly low challenge way of ascending the >>tower,(stairs with landings?) >>Height of the tower at its top needs to be around 60' above grade, >>with the observation deck at about 50'. >>It would be good if it looks interesting or artsy so as not to offend >>the neighbors (although except for the top 10 to 15 feet, it will be >>obscured by the trees). >> >>I have as resources: >>several hundred feet of 3" structural steel I beam S3x5.7 >>around one hundred feet of 6" structural steel I beam S6x12.5 >>I have some good local sources of recycled steel angles and plate for >>gusseting and bracing, etc. >>SMAW welder and electricity to run it at the site >>Oxy/Acetylene torch and the usual grinders / metal saw etc. >>Water at the site. >>Friend with a digger truck to dig piers >>Sandy soil with a heavy rock base a few feet down (rock base is within >>depth range of the digger truck). >> >>Questions I have are: >>(Just looking for some broad scope suggestions / ideas here). >> >>1. Legal issues - what should I consider as far as State, Federal and >>/ or FAA regs? I'm in a rural county in north Texas, there is no >>local building code or inspection required for building a home, for >>example. If necessary to avoid regulation, I could reduce the height >>of the tower, but if I come down much from my goals stated above, the >>view and the reception go away, making it a pointless excercise. >>Some of my neighbors houses look to be 50' or more above grade - at >>their roof peaks (very steep pitches are popular around here right >>now). >> >>2. Design - any good examples or ideas come to the fertile minds of >>the metal butchers here? Would something with a tapered triangle as a >>cross section work well? Like a first stage with three legs of the >>S6, or? Maybe a scaled down version of some historic American tower? >> >>Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. >> >>Thanks, >> >>Jess >> >> >> >> >> > > > >
Reply to
Gunner
And that nice green glow would make an interesting statement too :)
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> Hey lift one of these on a 50 ft concrete pillar, might give the > neighbors something to talk about. Shucks just connect all three > together with tunnels and Gunner might be your new best > friend.......:') > > > > > > >>Hi all, >> >>I'm considering building a tower. >> >>The intended purpose of the tower would be two-fold: >>An observation deck just below the top, for drinking refreshing >>beverages, and taking in the view...and a mounting at the top for tv >>and radio antennas, a web cam, etc. >> >>Needed features are a fairly low challenge way of ascending the >>tower,(stairs with landings?) >>Height of the tower at its top needs to be around 60' above grade, >>with the observation deck at about 50'. >>It would be good if it looks interesting or artsy so as not to offend >>the neighbors (although except for the top 10 to 15 feet, it will be >>obscured by the trees). >> >>I have as resources: >>several hundred feet of 3" structural steel I beam S3x5.7 >>around one hundred feet of 6" structural steel I beam S6x12.5 >>I have some good local sources of recycled steel angles and plate for >>gusseting and bracing, etc. >>SMAW welder and electricity to run it at the site >>Oxy/Acetylene torch and the usual grinders / metal saw etc. >>Water at the site. >>Friend with a digger truck to dig piers >>Sandy soil with a heavy rock base a few feet down (rock base is within >>depth range of the digger truck). >> >>Questions I have are: >>(Just looking for some broad scope suggestions / ideas here). >> >>1. Legal issues - what should I consider as far as State, Federal and >>/ or FAA regs? I'm in a rural county in north Texas, there is no >>local building code or inspection required for building a home, for >>example. If necessary to avoid regulation, I could reduce the height >>of the tower, but if I come down much from my goals stated above, the >>view and the reception go away, making it a pointless excercise. >>Some of my neighbors houses look to be 50' or more above grade - at >>their roof peaks (very steep pitches are popular around here right >>now). >> >>2. Design - any good examples or ideas come to the fertile minds of >>the metal butchers here? Would something with a tapered triangle as a >>cross section work well? Like a first stage with three legs of the >>S6, or? Maybe a scaled down version of some historic American tower? >> >>Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. >> >>Thanks, >> >>Jess >> >> >> >> >> > > > >
Reply to
Glenn
Here is a proven design made of structural steel and rivets.
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Of course your neighbors may be annoyed due to current political sentiment but you could always point out that there is one in Las Vegas too.
fred
Reply to
ff
Sounds similar to the 60' steel tower I built for my first windmill in Scarborough, Maine. I went to the planning board to see if there were any issues. The first question was, "If it falls down, will it land on anyone elses property?"
The answer was "No", and their answer was to "go ahead". It should be interesting.
I used 3" angle for the bottom, 2.5" for the next section and 2" for the top, each being 20 feet long. I used 0.75" steel strapping for cross bracing and bolted the whole thing together with 0.5" bolts. That was handy a few years later when I moved and was able to take the tower with me.
It was a great view from the top overlooking a salt water marsh on out to the ocean.
Earle Rich Mont Vernon, NH Alva, Florida
Reply to
ERich10983
Take a look at the old style high voltage power lines. something like this:
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are tpically made with 20' pieces of angle iron, predrilled, galvanized, and errected without a crane using a jib pole.
Depth and size of your footings will depend a lot on the size of the platform and other wind load issues. Weight of the tower is not really a big deal, probably less than 1000 pounds set on 4 footsings. The bigger the cross section on top, the more mass you need on the bottom.
I suspect that rigging your tower will be much more of a challenge than you would imagine. Think about standing on a platform 40' up in the air, trying to set a 20' long piece of steel straight up from where you are. If you use the 3" 'I' beam, a 20' piece will weigh 115 pounds. Cutting the stages down to 10' per each will mean setting 24 verticals of 55 pounds each. Not fun, quite dangerous if you don't do it right.
Cheers.
Jess wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
I have wondered about building a tower of concrete cylinders as is used for large culverts. I would think you could have at least 30-ft of height made of that, which could give you some volume to store things if you liked. Extend your steel up from that?
Reply to
Rex
Have you any plans for making it down the tower and into the house after having serveral cool beverages at the 50' level, or is this not a problem for Texans?
I remember seeing wooden towers such as you suggest in the Brownsville Texas area. We always assumed they were for spotting illegals. Be sure and post some pictures of your project as it developes. Paul in Redmond, Oregon
Reply to
pdrahn
Here's some links on some towers that might be what you are looking to build. I believe that many of these towers have been sold to the public in recent years. There might be some more for sale. This is a 45'er
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or a 72'er
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I've visited a few of these towers over the years. 50' is a long way up in a thunderstorm. I was impressed as a kid by how the furniture is on glass insulators, and the stories about balls of lightining that bounce around the hut on occasions.
You might consider adding a crane to your equipment list....
DE
Reply to
DE
Jess, have you visited oil well rigging and drilling outfits? For some places they prefer to leave some of the old rigs in place rather than tear it down. You might fine one in the back of a yard already ready to put together. If not, I bet someone of the older folks know what's the best way to go about putting something like this together. Nowadays they use portable rigs instead, so the pickings might be getting slim, but the yards are full of old guys yearning for the glory days...
| Hi all, | | I'm considering building a tower. | | The intended purpose of the tower would be two-fold: | An observation deck just below the top, for drinking refreshing | beverages, and taking in the view...and a mounting at the top for tv | and radio antennas, a web cam, etc. | | Needed features are a fairly low challenge way of ascending the | tower,(stairs with landings?) | Height of the tower at its top needs to be around 60' above grade, | with the observation deck at about 50'. | It would be good if it looks interesting or artsy so as not to offend | the neighbors (although except for the top 10 to 15 feet, it will be | obscured by the trees). | | I have as resources: | several hundred feet of 3" structural steel I beam S3x5.7 | around one hundred feet of 6" structural steel I beam S6x12.5 | I have some good local sources of recycled steel angles and plate for | gusseting and bracing, etc. | SMAW welder and electricity to run it at the site | Oxy/Acetylene torch and the usual grinders / metal saw etc. | Water at the site. | Friend with a digger truck to dig piers | Sandy soil with a heavy rock base a few feet down (rock base is within | depth range of the digger truck). | | Questions I have are: | (Just looking for some broad scope suggestions / ideas here). | | 1. Legal issues - what should I consider as far as State, Federal and | / or FAA regs? I'm in a rural county in north Texas, there is no | local building code or inspection required for building a home, for | example. If necessary to avoid regulation, I could reduce the height | of the tower, but if I come down much from my goals stated above, the | view and the reception go away, making it a pointless excercise. | Some of my neighbors houses look to be 50' or more above grade - at | their roof peaks (very steep pitches are popular around here right | now). | | 2. Design - any good examples or ideas come to the fertile minds of | the metal butchers here? Would something with a tapered triangle as a | cross section work well? Like a first stage with three legs of the | S6, or? Maybe a scaled down version of some historic American tower? | | Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. | | Thanks, | | Jess | | | | | |
Reply to
carl mciver
As with any tower, you need to start at the top. What is your wind load going to be? And what is the wind rating for your area. There is a web site that gives the wind rating for every county in the country. I will see if I can locate it again.
Once you engineer the top ten feet, you just design the next ten to support what is above it. Freestanding will require more structure than a guyed tower.
Reply to
Andy Asberry
HEY!! Those things are right in my back yard, sort of. Same zip code anyway, I may have to get in touch with the seller just to sneek a peak at them.
Regards, Jim
Reply to
Jim C Roberts
The FCC has a nice little JS application to check if proximity to an airfield will require FAA registration.
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Kevin Gallimore
Reply to
axolotl
If you want something that can be errected by two or three people with no heavy equipment, is a proven design, is cheap and you can claim to be "historic preservation" when the neighbors start griping, check with your state Forrestry Department or the local USFS office and see if they have a surplus lookout tower. They are all being decommissioned.
Reply to
Glenn Ashmore
What you are building is basically a windmill tower. I doubt the FAA is going to get very worried about a tower that is only a little taller than the trees.
As far as erecting it, do a Google on "Rohn," a major manufacturer of communications towers of all descriptions. A look at their on-line catalog might give you some useful ideas.
Rohn makes (or at least used to make) an erection fixture which was basically a piece of aluminum pipe with some sliding clamps on it and a pulley at the top. You clamp it to the existing tower section and use it to hoist the next section into place. Then, you slide the upper clamps up to the next section, slide up the lower clamps and finally slide up the pipe. Using it, two men could easily put up a 100 ft. tower in an afternoon...
Jerry
Reply to
<jmfoster711
Chevron was selling them for $150 each over in Kettleman Hills the last I knew. You had to take em down yourself though...
Gunner
"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosphy of sniveling brats." -- P.J. O'Rourke
Reply to
Gunner

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