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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-11-19          137142


I'm getting involved in installing 8" or 10" square posts or pilings for new homes here on the gulf coast. Some are for modular homes; some stick-built. Heights range from 3' off the ground to as much as 28' to the bottom of the first floor (FEMA requirement). Some pilings can weigh as much as 1000lb. or more. I use a bobcat with an auger to make the holes which can be 24" x 4' deep to 36" x 6' deep. I use the bobcat with a jib crane attachment and a choker chain to place them in the holes guided by two men, and a third to supervise. I've been helping other crews do the augering and lifting, but it's still taking three others to final-position them and brace. It's all day job.

I want to offer this complete service to the general contractor instead of using his laborers. But I have to do it with one man plus myself, not three plus me. I need to devise a system using an I-beam "nailed" or otherwise anchored to the ground to replace the string line and use it as a back stop to rest the post against while being braced. Adjustable stops on the beam would hold the post in line and would make the system repeatable for the typical 3 rows of piles required. Concrete pads are poured in the holes or a flat concrete unit is dropped in so moving the pile sideways is a chore but not as much as if it stuck in dirt or mud and being forced sideways. Currently it takes about 20-30 minutes cycle time per pile depending on site conditions. I'd like to cut that in half or more. After the posts are set then concrete is poured around them.

Any ideas if I'm on the right track, or should I just keep using string lines and three helpers at $15-20 an hour each plus worker comp and taxes? Any other ideas to make this job quick, easy, profitable, and injury-free?

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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Blueman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 243 Washington, PA
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2006-11-20          137153


EW,
The link below is my neighbor's business; he didn't like some of the fence post drivers out there, so he now designs, builds, and sells his own. He may be able to offer advice on your application. He may even be able to build one for your specs?
Good Luck!
Sean ....


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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-11-20          137157


EW, we do this sort of thing pretty regularly,and have come up with a good workable system.

We have long pole jacks, like the ones used side-to-side to brace cargo in transport trucks, one end has a flat steel plate with large holes, pieces of rebar driven into the ground fasten this end to the ground near the base of the pole. The upper end has another smaller plate, with a web clamp setup to secure to the post. By using 2 of these, set 90 to each other, or 4 for bigger posts, one person can set a post to exactly plumb easily.

Best of luck. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-11-20          137174


Thanks Murf---that's the bracing part. How about getting them in the hole quickly and aligned quickly too without constant repositioning? Keep in mind these are 8x8's or 10x10's up to 30 feet tall (the longest I've done so far are 22' 10x10's at about a 1000lb. or more each but 30's are coming soon). The choker chain tends to cause the pile to bias away from the chain as it finds its center. The only way I know to pick up the pile and get it to hang plumb is from the very top, but I can't reach more than 20' so it has to from the side. I'm thinking a gimbal arrangement. Any ideas? ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-11-21          137204


Jeff, you've got the jib arm part right, the problem is in your connection to the post. You are right, unless you dangle it from above you will not get it to hang plumb.

You then have two choices. Easiest would probably be to continue doing it the way are, but use something, like a collar fixed to the ground in the correct location to drop the butt of the post through, then merely plumb it and brace till the concrete dries.

The other way would be to come up with a hyd. grapple at the end of the jib arm, sort of like an articulated grapple on a log loader or truck. Something that would open and close like a fist, but have a powered wrist so that you could grasp the post and actually pivot it around in the air by hydraulic power.

This last one is not as bad as it sounds to accomplish. They make something similar already, but it's (IMHO) spendy for what it is. All you need is one fixed jaw on the boom arm, and one moving jaw to clamp down, and then a means of rotating slightly in a left/right (from the drivers seat perspective) plane, since the fore /aft rotation can be accomplished with the existing bucket curl circuit. So you only need to small cicuits, this could be accomplished with either an electric solenoid to divert an existing remote circuit, I don't know how your SSL is equipped, or if you have no remotes, by making a 3 way electric solenoid diverted cicuit from your bucket curl cicuit. This way all functions could be controlled using existing in-cab controls.

Besides, the less labour required, the more $$ there is left for the equipment, or in your case the equipment owner / operator. ;)

Best of luck.
....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-11-21          137211


Murf you described exactly what I had in mind both for the pole grabber and the method of aligning the poles to each other--I took the idea one step further and thought of using a long beam to align them in a row.

P.S. Did you get my emails about the golf courses in Miss.? ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-11-21          137212


EW; I had to think about this for a minute, make that a couple of days. The rust is growing with age.

There is a european system that uses a smaller metal pilon. After it is driven into the ground you twist the top and spikes push out to increase the surface area on the bottom. I believe there is also a leveling system for the mounts so you plumb it after it is in place.

A friend of mine in CA is developing a modular metal house design and uses these for the foundations pilars. If you are interested I many be able to find the information or put you in touch with him. He is looking to rebuild with his system in MS and LA. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-11-21          137218


By all means put him in touch with me. I have access to properties where we can do some testing. If these are helical piers I have some knowledge of them. And I have a 1700 lb-ft auger head if they have to spun into the ground. I have gotten to know the city officals here in Waveland where the eye went through. They might be instrumental in getting the word out. A lot of the homes going back in are in the 300k to over a 1M. Granted some are not but there is money here.

My direct email is earthwerks-jeff (at) hotmail (dot) com ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-11-21          137219


Will do. I will see if I can dig up the first presentation on the technology. I had it on the computor. He built the first house in Rosaretta B.Cal. and I went to see it one day.

His name is Ray Daily and he constructed automated welding and bending equipment. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2006-11-21          137232


EW,
You may find the type of set up Murf is talking about on a wrecked boom truck also. Not sure if there is one just like that used but they use one very much like that for some building materials. I can not think of where I saw the ad but there is a company who makes a device with a tree shear also. Should be easy to replace shear jaws with holding jaws. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-11-21          137247


The systems that hold and strip the limbs off would work, but like Murf said $$$. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-11-22          137270


Jeff, I haven't had an email form you in a while, certainly don't remember one about the courses.

All but one job a long way from you are still on hold, politics and $$ fighting at it's best.

I have a lead on another kind of grapple though, I will send you and email a little later today, watch for it. An acquaintance in your old neck of the woods has something for sale which might be just the ticket.

Best of luck. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2006-11-22          137273


EW,
I don't know if they can offer you want you need or not. I tried looking at the site and it was slow for me.

Take care,

....


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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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steve4300
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 71 NH
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2006-11-23          137311


if you could get someone to make you a side to side grapple instead of a up and down grapple. You could pick the post staight up drop it in the hole and use the bobcat to keep it staight. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-11-23          137312


Dropping it in the hole and holding isn't the issue so much as getting it aligned to the string line and perfectly plumb. I'm leaning (no pun intended) to a centering pin (piece of 6" x 1" rerod) imbedded in the concrete pad that would index the post to a drilled hole in the post. Even this will take some precision in getting the pin in the right spot. But I'm working on it. Any ideas on this is appreciated. Or maybe there is another avenue I haven't considered. But keep in mind all the posts which like I said are very heavy and cumbersome have to be perfectly aligned as a 2-story modular home will be sitting on them therefore the perimeter rim joist have to be aligned to suit the home when it is craned on top of them. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-11-24          137313


EW, did you get my email? ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2006-11-24          137315


Murf: I got one recently about the golf courses were all done. That one? Or the one about the grapple on a lumbering web site? ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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oneace
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1490 south central pa
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2006-11-25          137325


What about a steel welded template that has the exact size hole as the post 8x8 or 10x10. have it so it is bolted together for easy removal once the post is set. then have four long arms welded to it that would lay flat on the ground that you could run re-bar or stakes to pin it fast to the ground and eliminate movement.

What you would do is line up the template with you string line pin it down. Drop you post down through it level and brace it with what should be very little effort. Once braced pull you stakes and unbolt it and move in the the next on.

I am talking about 1" steel plate and heavy arms. The design I have in my head you woulw need to move it with the SSL. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2006-11-25          137329


Tony---you have been picking my brain long-distance I see. The template idea is one I have been thinking about which is basically the rail system I mentioned before. I thouight about pinning it to the ground too but they sometimes use sand here to build up the pad area so pinning won't work; it might work in clay though. The template could be light-weight too versus heavy (read: e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e). Somewhere someone has come up with an easy solution to this. Also the timbers can vary as much as 3/4" over or under size ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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steve4300
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 71 NH
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2006-11-29          137455


have you tried gps and helicopter, just kidding someone out there must have a simple and cheap idea. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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coldiron
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1 texas
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2007-10-16          147024


Forget the template. Buy an old digger derrick that will auger your holes and set your poles, most in addidtion to a pole setter include a cable or rope winch, "very handy".keep the bobcat and buy a concrete dumping bucket from star mfg fort worth $700 through a rental yard/dealer this speds up placement and you can tow the machine behind the rig.
after we set our corners first, we abandon our corner stakes and string every thing from the corner posts.
This take two men and I watch.
I know that you have probably already figured all this out. ....

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System for rapid installation of square posts piles

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2007-10-16          147025


I'm no longer on the Coast doing that work, but you're right: set the corners first and string from there. And two guys. ....

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