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2013-Mar-23 - Wooroloo - Steelworks #70
I was out on site at 6.30 am and left at 8.00 pm.

The first task, as usual, was to unscrew all the edge capping.

Then for each of the four uprights I first needed to grind off the galvanising at the welding position at the bottom of each column.

Up on the roof I also needed to file the paint off the mounting sockets to provide a good welding surface.

The two outside columns were heavy but I could just manage to haul them up the ladder on to the scaffolding.

The inner columns have a double cross arm and were just too heavy to lift up.

Instead I loaded them on to the utility, drove them up to the verge and carried them across the roof to their final positions.

Standing the columns upright and then locating them in to their sockets was tricky work.

The cross arms made the entire assembly very unstable to move around.

By midday I had all four uprights in their sockets and pulled in to vertical positions using truckie ratchets.

After a break I then carefully measured their height above the floor boards and using the laser level, their absolute heights.

One of the columns was 2mm too low so I lifted it up a little.

Next I wanted to brace the columns prior to welding.

I made up 4 brackets out of some chopped up z purlins that would screw on to the roof using existing roofing screw positions.

I then brought up some timbers that I had previously used for bracing the veranda columns.

These were bolted to the roof brackets at one end and clamped to the uprights at the other end.

These worked well - when I removed the truck ratchets the columns still remained in exactly the same vertical position.

In order to brace against shearing during welding I intend to temporarily bolt some 150 Z purlins across the top of the arms in the same position as the eventual PFC 150.

Of course, I do not have a 10 metre length but I do have 2 x 4 m and a 2 m length.

My intention is to finish drilling the mounting holes in the PFC 150 and then transfer their positions on to the Z purlins.

Then bolt this in position using the high tensile bolts I have purchased.

This will serve several purposes:

1) A check that the holes in the PFC are in the correct place

2) Remove any twisting in the cross arms

3)Lock all the columns together and reduce the chance of shear movements during welding.

When all this is done, I might also install two opposing diagonal braces or truckie ratchets in the shear direction.

I started drilling the PFC just as dusk fell.

I did not have a lot of luck.

The pilot holes went in easily using my small drill.

However, on the larger drill, the chuck is stiff and not holding the drill bit tightly.

Without realising what I was doing in the poor light I ended up grinding up the shafts of two of my 12 mm drill bits.

On Sunday morning I must attempt to blow any dirt and filings out of the chuck and see if I can get it working properly.

Failing this I might need to purchase a new power drill.

A bit extravagent but I really need to finish this step this weekend.


The day went pretty much as anticipated.

I tried to fix the chuck but ended going to Bunnings and buying a new drill.

I had coffee with Ian and then made it out to site at about 1.00 pm, returning home at 8.30 pm.

I must say - having a properly functioning drill made a huge difference, plus being able to sharpen the 12 mm bit quickly whenever it started losing its perfect cut.

The job took several hours (26 holes) but now it was achievable.

I set up 3 drills with bits sized 4 mm, 8 mm and 12 mm.

The newly sharpened 4 and 8 mm bits went through the steel like butter and the 12mm drills although needing extra effort were still the best drilling experience I have had so far.

The bolting on of the Z 150 purlins went well indicating that the hole positions on the PFC 150 are accurate.

The only unforseen occurrence was my realisation that I could not transfer the hole positions directly from the PFC on to the 150 purlins - I had to go through an intermediate stencil to achieve a mirror image.

I finished just as darkness fell - everything looks good.

I might try to get back for just an hour sometime on Monday to tack weld each column on to its socket and then replace the edge capping (increasing showers forecast).

Hopefully Ross can Mig weld it for me in the latter part of the week.

A good weekend's effort but now I am exhausted.

Columns in, level, vertical

Diagonal bracing in place

After bolting on temporary top bracing