My Ebay Mega Tree- Extensive Guide

Mike

CLAP infected!
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
280
Location
Rockingham, WA
This is a how to for a Mega Tree based on the sectional Flag poles you buy on Ebay. It will give you a cheap customiseable platform for a Mega tree
that should last a long time. Also being sectional, its easy to break down and store for the following year. Just put it back in the box!

Sorry if its a bit long and in depth, I wanted to make sure I covered everything. If I left anything out let me know. Also I have made a mega tree calculator for people to use to help
work out height, string lengths, string spacing,hoop circumfrence etc. Metric and Imperial.
Download http://forums.auschristmaslighting.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=675.0;attach=673

My tree configuration:
Its 4m Tall. 3.9m to the hooks on the head (knowing this measurement is very important).
My tree consists of 2 colours of Big W LED string lights, Green and Warm White.
I have 24 sections on the tree. 12 of each colour.

Continued next post.....
The string length I am running is 8m. This means the lights run 4m up and 4m down.
I have 6 controllable sections of each colour this way. Total of 12 channels
This means 2 sections of 4m of lights are on per channel.
Strings are spaced around 25cm apart. Leaving me room for expansion later.

Ok now thats out the way heres the details.

The Flag Pole:
Most of the kits on Ebay are the same, so just go for the cheaper one. I managed to pick
mine up for $49.10 + $9 shipping. With the kit you get the 6 sectional poles, some rope, the pulley head and a sleeve to slide the pole into and a
shiny Gold ball for the top.
Oh and a flag of all things too!

This is the one I bought. http://cgi.ebay.com.au/New-Australian-Aussie-Flag-pole-Flagpole-Kit-5-35m-17ft-/250750391817?pt=AU_Flags&hash=item3a61e35609

The pulley head is made of cast steel with a nylon pulley. The top has a threaded hole in it for the ball to go in.
Its 14mm Metric from memory. You can screw a bolt into it to hold up your tree topper.
I advise using threadlocker on the bolt to stop it coming loose while on display.

The head just slides onto one of the pole ends and is attached with a grub screw. I didnt like this as the grub screw in it will not
provide enough holding power and it will eventually off. I drilled a hole all the way through the side and inserted a Nickel Plated
bolt with a nyloc nut on it to hold the head in place. Dont tighten it too much, remember its only cast and will crack if overtightened.
If you dont want to use nickel plated bolts, use galvanised (cheaper) or stainless (little more expensive) for weather resistance.

These poles are all aluminuim, cheap and easy to store as they are generally in 1m lengths.
The poles have a 100mm taper on one end to slip inside the other pole.Effective length then becomes 900mm.Tube size is 51mm OD. The sleeve in the box
is PVC pipe and 350mm long. You will need to work out the string length to determine how high your tree can be.
Eg: Big W lights have a 2m section, so you can have string lengths of around 2m, 4m ,6m, 8m, 10m etc.
Remember this measurement is to the hook head. NOT THE TOP OF THE POLE!

I will say I would have liked it to have a slightly thicker wall, But in all it seems very strong when mounted
properly. So far mine has withstood 70kmh gusts with no problem.



The Hook Head:

The hook head is made from mild steel pipe.It has a inside diameter of 52.5mm and an Outside diameter of 60mm.I made mine 220mm in length.
You should be able to pick some up at your local salvage yard. Otherwise try your local Steel suppliers and see if they have off cuts.
It has 12 10mm mild steel hooks welded onto it spaced roughly 15mm apart to aid in welding and have a good spread. They are spaced 30mm down from the top.
Hooks have a depth of 25mm and a length of 50mm.
This means I can fit a heap of strings on with no problem of bending or crowding.

You could also build a hook head similar to Phils as found here http://forums.auschristmaslighting.com/index.php/topic,393.0.html

Continued.......
 

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Mike

CLAP infected!
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
280
Location
Rockingham, WA
The Portable hole:

I mounted it in a portable hole I built based on the one found here http://www.magicchristmasnews.org/magic_christmas_news_003.htm
Only differences were that I used prebagged concrete with blue metal in, which saved me from using Rio Bar in the centre, and
under the sleeve for the pole I used some Stainless mesh before pouring concrete in. This is just to stop the pole from pushing into
the ground below. Chicken/ garden creeper wire should also work provided it only has small holes.
Although maybe do 2 or 3 layers of this instead of 1. Reason for this is that stainless mesh is very thick and the chicken wire is only thin.
All else for the base is very similar.

The base is attached to the floor by way of 4x 8mm turnbuckles, 4x 10mm snap hooks and 4x 10mm shackles. you could use 8 snap hooks, but I had 4 shackles the right size.
I then got some 20mm Rio Bar and cut it to 500mm lengths to use as the floor anchors (pegs). These are knocked in around a 35-40 degree angle to help hold
them in the ground. Once in the turnbuckles can be cranked right up and the base wont be going anywhere. Depending on soil type in your area, you might
want to go longer than 500mm pegs. But I would not go any shorter than this.


The Base hoop:

The base hoop is made of just plain old 20mm electrical conduit. Its easy to bend and strong. They come in 4m lengths.
Work out the circumfrence of your tree using the calculator to see how much conduit you will need. When you join the conduit together, use a self tapping
screw in the flared end to hold them together. The lights just get cable tied to this down the bottom. The hoop is then held down by standard tent pegs to
keep it in place.

Holding it all up:

I ran the rope from bottom to the top through the pulley and back down to the hook head. I attached the the hook head to the rope with the snap hooks
included in the flag pole kit. I can then pull up the head with no problems. My 4 year old actually pulled the lights up to the top, its that easy.

I ran 4 3mm thick guy wires attached to the hook head down to the base to anchor it.Reason for this was I didnt have to build another mount/head
just for the guys. The guys have a 6mm turnbuckle attached to them to attach to the eyebolts in the portable hole. To attach these you could use the
clamps available for wire rope, or just splice the wire into an eye and save on the cost of the clamp. All good hardware stores should have them.
Try the salvage yards first as they are generally cheaper.

The head is then pulled down onto a 6mm glavanised rod inserted through the post,just below where I want the hook head to sit.
This effectivley makes the rod the load point and have no strain on the rope or pulley head. Hence no failure to either.
If using this method I would advise to sleeve the hole with galvanised tubing and hold the sleeve in place with araldite, metal putty or
something of that description. Just to make the pin slide in and out a bit easier. I did not do this, but will be for the coming year
(didnt think of it at the time).

I can then crank up the turnbuckles to take the tension. Dont do them up too tight though as you do need some give.
You can also correct minor leans by tightening the opposite turnbuck to where its leaning.
The hook head then sits on the rod and can not drop. This also makes the pole pull down into the base so it wont be able to move up or down.
The 3mm guy wires should take about 80kg (Safe Working Load) a piece. Having the guy wires up to the top also increases the force needed to topple
the tree.


Stringing the lights up:

Mark on the base hoop your string spacing first.
Uncoil them and do 1 colour at a time.
Cable tie the string to the base first, but not too tight. Leave room for adjustment of tight/ loose strings.
Attach the lights to the hook head and secure.
Dont anchor the base hoop just yet, wait till the hook heads up the top.
Pull up the hook head and insert the pin. I used a broomstick with a fairly snug hole to put the pin into and just slid it in standing on a small step
ladder.
Once the pins in let the rope go a bit loose and tie it off out the way.
Tighten up the guy wire turnbuckles
Anchor the base hoop
Plug the lights in
Enjoy!



Price List:

Pole $58.10 including shipping
Hook Head to build $15-$20 or free if you have scrap available
Snap hooks $8 each
8mm Turnbuckles $4.50 each
6mm Turnbuckles $2.75 each
3mm Wire $15??? not sure on this, Got some from work
2m of 20mm Rio Bar $28
Supplies for Portable hole $55
Bolt for Pulley head $2
6mm Rod for pin $4 per meter
20mm electrical conduit for hoop $4.50 per length(4m)

If you need better resolution pics, message me and I can email them
I hope this helps a few of you out there that have been asking me about this

Cheers
Mike
 

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fasteddy

I have C.L.A.P
Global moderator
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
6,645
Location
Albion Park NSW
Excellent work there Mike, your details and instructions will go a long way to helping people build their own mega tree. Thanks for taking the time to post this.
 

Robbo

Full time elf
Joined
Dec 10, 2010
Messages
213
Location
Hastings-Victoria
Great detail Mike, much appreciated, I got the same pole just before christmas also for $49.90 which is half the price it usually is.....got a bit of a bargain.

I was initially gonna permanantly put the sleeve below ground and cover it up after lights down but that portable hole seems cheap enough and does the job I may incorporate that into the display.

The calculator works great too, seems i dont need as many nodes as i thought when I guessed at the length...was going to do 56 nodes 5.6 metres at 100mm spacings but calculator says i only need a string length of 5.15 so would only be 52 node strings :) money back in the pocket and 52 pixels should not need extra power injection.

Great stuff mate, surely helps a first time mega tree builder like myself ;-)
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2015
Messages
623
Location
sheidow park
Has anyone else used this type of flagpole with there mega tree?


I would like to do similar, so any opinions on how it went over time would be great to know.


cheers
 

Kitman

Full time elf
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Messages
395
Location
Munno Para
I believe that Karob uses this same style of set up and that was the tree he brought along to the mini.
 
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