20 Foot Page 5 - Tower Part 1

10 inch steel tubing

I decided to build this tower from thin walled 10 inch diameter 12 gage steel tubing. The wall thickness is about .11" thick - just under 1/8". It's about all 2 guys can do to lift/move one of these sections. Each section is 20 feet long, I wound up buying 120 feet. We use 70 feet for the tower, 37 feet for the gin pole, and the rest we used for couplers as you'll see further down the page. We're not engineers and this page is not 'plans' - I would not suggest anybody copy what we do here without consulting an engineer. We do it because perhaps we're gamblers - and we live in a very remote place so if there are problems it's unlikely anyone would suffer for it. Be careful if you get into building towers.

clearing trees

I picked the highest/flattest ground on our property for the tower. Flat is fairly important for a tilt up tower that goes up and down gracefully. Unfortunately it was also a very wooded part so we had to spend a couple days clearing trees. I did get a good start on next winters firewood anyhow!

Model A Ford rear axle

This is the axle from a Model A Ford. I have a few laying around and it seems that if we put these about 5' down in the ground, and pour a yard or so of concrete over them, then bury them - they'll make nice tower anchors. So that's the plan!


This is a large old 10KW military generator. It weighs a ton, its got an old 4 cyl flat head Jeep engine on it. I figure we'll bury this in the south anchor under the winch. this - -plus a couple yards of concrete should do the job.

digging holes

Our neighbor Burt came up to dig the holes for the footers with his old John Deere backhoe. Before he came up we layed out all the locations for anchors and the tower base and carefully.

tower base

This is the tower base we built. It sits on heavy I beam. The Pivot is 4" pipe that pivots over sched 80 3" pipe. We used some of the 10" tubing and split it for the tower, and the gin pole to slip in. Then we put it in the hole (about 18" down), got it positioned and leveled.


These are two of the couplers we made from the 10 tubing that will hold the tower together. Overall we needed 4 of these. Each one can be clamped tightly around the pipe with 7 bolts, 3/8 - 16 grade 5.

top guy wire anchors

I wanted something a bit stronger at the very top guys wires. This piece is made from 10" sched 40 pipe. Its seamless (the seam doesn't stick out on the inside) and it fits perfectly (you can barely slide it) over the 10" tubing we use for the tower itself. The plan is to slide this over the top tower section,weld stops under it, and connect the top guy wires to it.


I got this winch off ebay cheap. It's rated 6000 pounds and it has a brake to lower loads safely.

finished winch

There is the winch all finished up. It has a 1hp induction motor on it with a 1:6 reduction. We used #40 chain. I mounted a reversing switch right to the motor.

gin pole

After Burt got all the holes dug with his backhoe, and dropped the heavy generator on in the hole on the South side, we built the gin pole.

mounting the winch

We put a couple boards over the top of the hole, and positioned the winch square with the gin pole and level. Then we used 6" angle iron and welded that between the generator (the big generator in the hole) and the winch, so the winch is securely welded to the generator. We also welded lots of pipe and scraps around in there to make sure things were strong. That generator I expect weighs about 1200 pounds.

model A Ford running gear

This is one of the other anchors - it's got the better part of a model A ford running gear in it, it's about 5' deep.


This fellow came by to inspect our holes about 1 hour before the concrete truck showed up.


The concrete truck showed up in the morning and we proceeded to put lots of weight in our anchor holes. We live in a remote place and I have to say we've had really good luck with 'Loveland Ready Mix' in Loveland Colorado. They're always on time - freindly and professional. This was pretty easy concrete work - all we had to do really was dump it in holes.


Shown above is the South anchor with the winch. I figure we have a 1200 pound generator in there with about 3 yards of concrete. At least 12000 pounds of stuff. This page is getting a