Poles into playa time question

Poles into playa time question

Postby carefactornil » Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:39 am

I've got a question about how long it's going to take to get a 7' piece of 1/2" thick conduit 1' deep into the playa. I've never been to Nevada or the playa or BM so I'm a bit in the dark (from London, UK). This is part of my maze (see my other thread).

I just did a test with a piece of 7' conduit into my lawn, so earth mainly, slightly damp. I used a pole pounder / post rammer which weighs probably something like 15kg. I could lift it myself if someone's holding the pole as I'm 6'5 and get it over the pole OK. It took my 60 seconds to get it 1 foot deep into the ground, did it twice. Didn't have to exert hardly any down force, just lift and drop mainly. The efforts all in the lifting. Once in, it's stable at 1 foot deep.

My question is, is the playa going to be much harder to get through than earth? If so, by how much?

I was quite surprised that it went in in a minute. Even the 2nd time when the conduit end was full of packed earth from the 1st attempt.

If you need any other info in order to answer the question, shout.

I appreciate the heat & repetitive nature are going to be major factors, etc, just want to find out how much harder/easier the playa would be than what I did.

Cheers!
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Postby oneeyeddick » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:47 am

How are you gonna transport a 7' piece of conduit on the plane, and how many pounds is 15kg ?
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Postby sputnik » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:57 am

Even though we've been chatting via email, I'll put this out there for anyone else who might be interested. In 2006 I used a 8 lb (~4 kg) sledgehammer to drive about 100 pieces of conduit like this into the playa. At first it went well, but by the 20th piece the crew was getting tired of lifting the sledge and it took longer and longer with each successive piece. In the end it took 6 of us about 6 hours. The pole pounder may make it easier since it should take fewer strokes to do the job, of course it weighs a lot more too, so there is that.

I suggest you spend the next few weeks in weight training with that pounder
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Postby carefactornil » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:59 am

15kg (just my estimate) is about 33 pounds.

I won't be bringing any materials on the plane, I'll get the materials in the US. Lowes do 10' conduit for $1.11. In the UK we charge about $8!

Besides, it won't fit in my hand luggage. :wink:
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Postby carefactornil » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:03 am

Thanks Sputnik, good idea to post.

I think the pole pounder wins just on safety. You only need to swing a sledgehammer badly once (and at 7' high!) for someone to have a very bad festival...

If anyone else has got any past experience of poles & pole pounders on the playa, with regard to timings I'm all ears!
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Postby carefactornil » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:06 am

Oh, forgot to mention, if anyone sees a group of stuggling Brits banging in poles on the Monday/Tuesday and fancies lending a hand, even if only for a few poles, then it'll be much appreciated! I intend to have a box of beers on hand to gift for any volunteers! :)
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Postby ygmir » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:16 am

one thing to consider is the conduit is fairly "flimsy".......
be careful when pounding that it's a straight as possible, and, bring some extras, and or a way to cut the bent part off.......
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Postby sputnik » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:18 am

Let us know when you have a location picked out.
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Postby carefactornil » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:33 am

[quote="ygmir"]one thing to consider is the conduit is fairly "flimsy".......
be careful when pounding that it's a straight as possible, and, bring some extras, and or a way to cut the bent part off.......[/quote]

Is the conduit the same as what I used? I used "galvanized steel" here in the UK and was very robust - can't imagine that buckling at all with the pole pounder.

The stuff I plan to use at Lowes is called:

1/2" x 10' Rigid Schedule-40 PVC Conduit

Item #: 72808 Model: 49005


Is that a particularly different material?

But will bring a few spares anyway.
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Postby SilverOrange » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:37 am

The post setters that you can easily find in the store here are just over 7 kilos or 16 pounds. This weight will probably be much safer to set conduit. I'd guess with a couple of people helping you it wouldn't take more than a minute a pole. Be careful though, the weather will be a lot different than you're used to. The dryness leads you to not get saturated with sweat and it's easy to not hydrate like you should. Drink lots of water with your beer. I'll keep an eye out, and will give you a hand if I see you.
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Postby ygmir » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:45 am

carefactornil wrote:
ygmir wrote:one thing to consider is the conduit is fairly "flimsy".......
be careful when pounding that it's a straight as possible, and, bring some extras, and or a way to cut the bent part off.......


Is the conduit the same as what I used? I used "galvanized steel" here in the UK and was very robust - can't imagine that buckling at all with the pole pounder.

The stuff I plan to use at Lowes is called:

1/2" x 10' Rigid Schedule-40 PVC Conduit

Item #: 72808 Model: 49005


Is that a particularly different material?

But will bring a few spares anyway.


PVC conduit is plastic.....if that's what you're looking at, makes sure you understand it's not galvanized steel........

I believe steel conduit is "EMT".....I'm sure there are different "grades"......


"robust" is a subjective thing, IMHO........
Having lots of heavy construction experience, we may see things differently in that sense.
I'm not saying metal conduit won't work, but, certainly, with the force a post driver can deliver, making sure it hits straight and plumb will reduce the possibility of bending/collapsing the conduit.
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Postby Token » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:58 am

This will all end in tears.

It's a lot easier to pound in short lengths of rebar, slide conduit over it and then tack weld it.

Btw the plastic conduit will not hold up the walls and the whole thing will collapse.

Even with half inch steel conduit it will likely get bent and mangled in the first decent wind.

The orange plastic fencing you plan to use is not immune to wind and will present a significant sail factor.

I hate to be the nay sayer here cuz I love me a good maze
and your idea is fab. Just don't think you have the correct materials.

Good luck.
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Postby carefactornil » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:28 pm

[quote="Token"]Btw the plastic conduit will not hold up the walls and the whole thing will collapse.

Even with half inch steel conduit it will likely get bent and mangled in the first decent wind.
[/quote]

OK, so I've cleared up the plastic conduit issue, that was my misunderstanding and agree, not a good idea.

I plan to use the 1/2" steel stuff. Hopefully that'll work and the fence won't prove too much of a wind break. The holes are big enough to put your hand through so there's not that much material for the wind to push against between two poles. We'll see! Anyway, perhaps it'll be best to visit earlier in the week...
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Postby Bob » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:09 pm

Half-inch plastic or steel (EMT) will snap like twigs. Doubt 3/4" or 1" would perform better at holding six-foot-tall fence in 40 mph wind gusts. Neither would 2"x2" lumber by itself.

I read your other thread, and agree that steel "T-posts" would be best. Could tape 2"x2" lumber onto short 5' or 6' posts to get the height you need, as DPW does with sign posts, but you can get 7' or 7'6" T-posts, you'll just need to stand on a short stepladder to drive them. Pulling is easy with a fence post puller tool. Cost should be about $6 per post.

Anything smooth like electrical conduit would require taping or clamping the fence to the pipes. T-posts have bumps every couple inches, that allow for holding string or wire at the desired height. Additionally, it's best to run string or wire between the tops of posts to tie the fencing up and prevent sagging. That's how they put up the "trash fence" around the perimeter of the Burning Man site.

And just like the trash fence, your fence will trap blowing debris, so you should count on cleaning it up every day.

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Two other considerations

Postby jofezasa » Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:56 am

1. The Playa is, for lack of a better term, brittle--it's dry, it will hold a pole/rebar/stake though the more movement said items are subject to, the more they may tend to expand the size of the initial hole through flexing. This may make the inserted items less stable as well as kicking up loose playa which leads me to . . .

2. Remember that you shall have to do your best to replace what you disturb, removing anything you stick into the playa, replacing the playa as best you can, trying to leave it they way you found it. In general, tamping it back down (think a divot in a golf course) should be sufficient. It is a pain, though, at the end of a long week to yank up rebar or poles or whatever then, with care, replace the playa.

In the past, I have used rebar then put conduit or pvc on top of the rebar to hold things like shade cloth. The PVC flexed nicely without breaking in wind storms and I secured it with rope it did not go flying.
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T-posts

Postby adamrice » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:10 pm

I've used T-posts for a vaguely similar installation (not at Burning Man, but at a regional burn). In my case, they were 8' T-posts driven about 1' into the ground (however deep it is when the spade is sunk). For this, you really need a ladder.

Despite basically having sails rigged between them, and despite some heavy winds, the T-posts didn't wobble, although the zip-ties holding the sails to them snapped in a couple of spots.

Pro tip: if you use T-posts, spend the extra money and get a T-post lifter. You will feel incredibly smart when striking camp.
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