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Thread: Hewes fishing tower

  1. #1
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Question Hewes fishing tower

    I am thinking of building a small tower for my 18' searunner to get the rods up and out of the tiny bit of space I have in my boat.

    What size pipe should be used and what grade (1-1/2" / 1" / 1-1/4" 6061/6063 T3 Sched 40 or ??).

    I don't have a bender - so I'd probably use a hand bender - is that possible to bend by hand (I'd buy a conduit bender). My biggest dilemma is that my little 140amp mig doesn't do so well with aluminum and I have almost zero exp with welding aluminum.

    I have looked at some designs on-line and just don't want to cough up 2K to buy a pre-made one.

    Any tips would be appreciated.

    Last question - who has best prices in anchorage for anodized aluminum pipe? I know Alaska steel has it, but who are the others?

  2. #2
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    ak steel carries the 6063 T6 in 1-1/4 and it is running 75.39/20' stick with one cut included.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    I am thinking of building a small tower for my 18' searunner to get the rods up and out of the tiny bit of space I have in my boat.

    What size pipe should be used and what grade (1-1/2" / 1" / 1-1/4" 6061/6063 T3 Sched 40 or ??).

    I don't have a bender - so I'd probably use a hand bender - is that possible to bend by hand (I'd buy a conduit bender). My biggest dilemma is that my little 140amp mig doesn't do so well with aluminum and I have almost zero exp with welding aluminum.

    I have looked at some designs on-line and just don't want to cough up 2K to buy a pre-made one.

    Any tips would be appreciated.

    Last question - who has best prices in anchorage for anodized aluminum pipe? I know Alaska steel has it, but who are the others?
    You have a lot of questions......... may I suggest you post a picture of what your wanting to build that way the answers will make more sense.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    I built one for my last boat. A 20' Sportsman. I'll try to dig up a picture too. But anyway, I picked up the tubing 1 5/8" OD and had it bent at a chain link fence company in Wasilla. We laid it out on the floor and had the right angles bent in no time. The welding was pretty easy too. Not the best but hope it helps.


    Last edited by Rob B; 02-13-2015 at 15:02. Reason: Changed pipe OD
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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    That is just about what I am looking at doing Rob. Did you have any issues with rod butts hitting your canvas? Do you think the flat plat was needed on the sides for support or would tubing work? I was thinking of having two rod holders each side up high in addition to the harpoon and net holders but maybe that is bad for coming into port....

    For the price of buying pre-made I will upgrade my miller 140 to a 210 or something that will weld aluminum better. I have the spool gun for it, but even wired into 220 I can't get it to penetrate good (even after heating up the aluminum). I have been wanting something with more amperage anyway so I'll kill two birds with one stone.

    I've bent a few sticks of conduit back in the day so I'm not so worried about getting consistency in the bends. I will leave the ends a bit long and cut to fit so that I don't have to worry about the take-up as much.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    I didn't have any issues with the rod butts. But the rod tubes were one size bigger than the frame so the rod would fit. I out plates on the sides so I could eels more rod holders. That's the only reason so tubes would work just fine too. A miller 210 will be a great machine. I hope to get one someday too.


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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    looking like I'll probably go with the miller 211 autoset because it's cheaper and I can re-use my 100 model spool gun with it - wired up to 220 it should do whatever I need. I have an old stick welder that works okay too for the bigger steel that I might get into.

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    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    Buy a Miller XMT 304. Best all around welder IMO. Tig, Mig, Stick, Pulse, whatever you want. I have one and love it. I work in a welding shop doing boat fabrication and repair. We have build rocket launchers; or fishing towers as your calling them. You can't bend aluminum pipe in a conduit bender. Find a shop to bend it for you. We use pneumatic pipe benders to bend our pipe. Use 1 1/4'' sch 40 aluminum pipe for the rod holders, and use 1'' or 1 1/4'' sch. 40 6063 aluminum pipe for the arch. 6063 bends more readily than 6061 and has less spring-back when bending.

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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    check out Marinepartsdepot.com they have rocket launchers and best of all free shipping to ak.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips and links. Who bends pipe in Anchorage?

    I bent a lot of aluminum conduit in 1990 that I installed for the instrumentation on the chemical plant towers west of Cheyenne Wyoming, but I had a greenlee triple nickel.......that was a cold winter!

    Steve - I am trying to use this as a new excuse to upgrade my welder..............but I will check them out.

    Anythingalaska - 3500$ is not in my budget for this unplanned upgrade to my miller 140 setup. I can get the 211 for 1200.00 and use my existing spoolgun. I'd love to be able to tig and mig and have the power to do whatever I want, but I maybe use my welder 3 times a year........I can't justify buying a $3K+ welder.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    steve - did you mean marinepartdepot.com ?

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    I can do 1 1/4" pipe on my bender. It is air/hydraulic and a vertical bender. Pm me your info.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    steve - did you mean marinepartdepot.com ?
    Yup thats them, i've bought some rod holders, rings and other small stainless from them and have been satisfied.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Thanks for the tips and links. Who bends pipe in Anchorage?

    I bent a lot of aluminum conduit in 1990 that I installed for the instrumentation on the chemical plant towers west of Cheyenne Wyoming, but I had a greenlee triple nickel.......that was a cold winter!

    Steve - I am trying to use this as a new excuse to upgrade my welder..............but I will check them out.

    Anythingalaska - 3500$ is not in my budget for this unplanned upgrade to my miller 140 setup. I can get the 211 for 1200.00 and use my existing spoolgun. I'd love to be able to tig and mig and have the power to do whatever I want, but I maybe use my welder 3 times a year........I can't justify buying a $3K+ welder.
    Roger that, totally understand. I use my welder every week all year so I could justify buying an XMT. I got mine off of Ebay for 2,000$ shipped; was a great deal!

    Aluminum pipe is much thicker walled than aluminum conduit, so it would be extremely hard if not impossible to bend it in a conduit bender.. I'm sure any welding shop will be able to bend your pipe for you and I doubt it will cost much. If you need any welding advice or have any questions about aluminum welding; be sure to ask me and I'll help you out.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! akbronc - your PM box is full up.

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    I have the hardest time welding thin aluminum. The Miller XMT 304 is a lot of money but in the long run it not. If your not satisfied with making a poor weld on thin aluminum sooner or later you will be wanting a TIG welder. The last welder I bought was a TIG and it cost $3k.

    Welder are no difference than guns or boats you a always need another one.

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    Sorry about that. It is cleaned out now.

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    Member logman 49's Avatar
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    You could always use thin wall stainless tube, welds like steel and your welder would work fine. Just get a spool of stainless wire.

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    I'd forget about the 211, that "auto set" feature is unreliable. Go with a 252 and don't look back. I've got a 30A spool gun I will loan you if it helps your decision. Heck, for that matter, you are welcome to use my setup (252/30A) for your project if you just want to try it out.
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  20. #20
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I have heard pretty good things about the 211 - what is unreliable about it?

    The 252 was my original choice until I looked at the 2900$ cost plus the $1200 30 amp gun. That puts the total cost at about 4100.00...for something that I maybe use 6 times per year for maybe an hour each time. Can prob get it cheaper on-line (and I am keeping watch for used equipment on craigs and aklist). I am hoping to get 500$ out of my 140 (that I paid 650 for a couple years ago).

    If I was going to spend this much, which I am not, I would probably go with a Tig machine.

    I do appreciate your offer and advise. If I can't get my welder (current 140) to work then I will probably have you weld it up for me after Bronco helps me bend it up.

    randy

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