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View Full Version : Pile buck and pile drivers on Discovery Channel right now.



braxx
10-25-2006, 10:20 PM
Sorry, I just saw that it is on and I never knew what it was. Maybe you guys would also be interested.
Josh

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 06:45 AM
Was that the show about the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge?

LarryL
10-26-2006, 10:19 AM
Was that the show about the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge?
Yes, the Discovery Channel program was about the rebuilding of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. I just caught the last part of it because I stumbled across it while surfing. I was impressed with the hard and dirty work that pilebucks have to do when pile driving. It's also amazing to hear of these massive steel piles being driven 300 feet down into the soil at the bottom of the SF Bay. I myself have a great deal of trouble driving a tree stake just 2 feet into the ground in my yard. :D

Did you work on this bridge job, Pilebuck?

LarryL

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 01:12 PM
Did you work on this bridge job, Pilebuck?

No I just worked on the estimate, and scheming of how to drive the piles, and weld them. Did you catch the part where Dave Nielson was explaining about driving the piles? I know Dave real well. He works for Manson Construction. Manson did the test pile program. Between the estimate and the time the job got started I retired, and around this time Kiewit & sons bought my company. Kiewit joint ventured this project with Manson, to lock up all the major floating equipment on the west coast. Not sure how the political wind would have blown if I didnít retire, but I was scheduled to drive the piles there. I worked for that project manager for years, I have him fooled, he thinks Iím the best thing since chocolate ice cream! So odds are if I hadnít retired I would have driven those piles. I must have driven every one of them 10-times on the computer tho! :D

Sberry
10-26-2006, 01:21 PM
Carl, could a weldor forman stay pretty dry on a job like that?

realitycheck
10-26-2006, 01:23 PM
I was watching this and heard them say something about pilebucks, I immediately thought of you pilebuck and this website. So I started watching more, I was confused about the welding though. When they showed it finished it looked like the weld was about at least an 1 1/2" wide and then ground flat to the pipes is that right pile buck? What did they use for that it looked like mig? Maybe you could explain that a little better too me.

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 01:34 PM
Carl, could a weldor forman stay pretty dry on a job like that?

I grew up with a couple guys who were in the welding crews. They said it was very hot in the closed environment. Almost to the point of passing out! With all the pre-heat, then the heat from welding.

When this test pile program was going on, I was just south of the Bay Bridge building a container ship dock. Another superintendent on this dock project with me was researching robotic welding of these piles. Manson Constructionís piledriving crew who drove the test pile are all from Seattle, I know everyone of them. It was funny, they stayed in a motel right behind the apartment I was living in. The motelís parking lot and where I parked my pickup only had a chain link fence dividing them, so every morning I got the low down on what they were doing. One day I was bored out of my mind watching my pile driving crew drive piles, and the bay was like a mill pond, I jumped in a skiff and drove out to Mansonís derrick, and spent the day with these guys.:D

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 01:38 PM
I was watching this and heard them say something about pilebucks, I immediately thought of you pilebuck and this website. So I started watching more, I was confused about the welding though. When they showed it finished it looked like the weld was about at least an 1 1/2" wide and then ground flat to the pipes is that right pile buck? What did they use for that it looked like mig? Maybe you could explain that a little better too me.

My understand is they could never get the robotic welders to pass Cal-Trans inspection. A guy I grew up with since the 4th grade was the union steward for the Pile Drivers Union, and was one of the weldors. He told me they ended up using dual shield.

LarryL
10-26-2006, 02:26 PM
No I just worked on the estimate, and scheming of how to drive the piles, and weld them. Did you catch the part where Dave Nielson was explaining about driving the piles? :D
I remember that part where someone narrated how the 150 ft. lengths were to be welded together to form a 300 ft. long pile. Then he went on to relate that the crew only had a few minutes to align the two sections before the collar cooled down and was too tight to allow any more adjustment. I don't, unfortunately, remember the names of the narrators.

One question in my mind while watching this was: what happens when the collar cools down and contracts before the two 150 ft. long sections are properly aligned? Do they cut the collar portion off, weld another collar to the bottom section and start alignment all over again?

LarryL

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 02:46 PM
Larry Iím a little lost with this collar, donít remember anything thing about those. Can you give more details; maybe it will knock the dust out of this old mind of mine:confused: .

Talk about timing I just got off the phone with the guy who was the project superintendent for the Bay Bridge. He is now over seeing the off loading of the road deck sections for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The ships that bring these sections in from Japan, of course only has Japanese-speaking people. He said talk about a communication gap! :D

LarryL
10-26-2006, 03:17 PM
Larry Iím a little lost with this collar, donít remember anything thing about those. Can you give more details; maybe it will knock the dust out of this old mind of mine:confused: . :D
Well, I used the word "collar" but perhaps I should have said "bell joint end" or "slip coupling." I can't recall what the narrator called it. The end of the 150 ft. long bottom section had a bell joint or slip coupling that was heated with torches to 500 deg. fahrenheit. That expanded it enough so that the 150 ft. long upper section slipped into the coupling, uniting the two sections. Then the pilebucks ran around measuring the alignment of the two sections while giving instructions to the crane operator. They had to align the sections as well as they could before the coupling cooled off and contracted. The narrator emphasized that they had to work quickly or they would end up with a misaligned, or crooked, 300 ft. long pile. He said that if misaligned there was no way that they could remove the upper section once the joint cooled down.

Hey, you didn't work on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, did you? Wasn't that the bridge that had such a spectacular collapse in the 40s. Naw, that bridge's construction must have been before your time. :rolleyes:

LarryL

realitycheck
10-26-2006, 04:31 PM
Well, I used the word "collar" but perhaps I should have said "bell joint end" or "slip coupling." I can't recall what the narrator called it. The end of the 150 ft. long bottom section had a bell joint or slip coupling that was heated with torches to 500 deg. fahrenheit. That expanded it enough so that the 150 ft. long upper section slipped into the coupling, uniting the two sections. Then the pilebucks ran around measuring the alignment of the two sections while giving instructions to the crane operator. They had to align the sections as well as they could before the coupling cooled off and contracted. The narrator emphasized that they had to work quickly or they would end up with a misaligned, or crooked, 300 ft. long pile. He said that if misaligned there was no way that they could remove the upper section once the joint cooled down.
LarryL
Yeah I saw that part too, I was thinking man thats got to be stressful. I guess if you do it everyday you get used to it. But man thats got to make it even hotter in there with your blood pumping worrying about getting it aligned right. Mine would anyway, hehe.

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 04:34 PM
Thatís interesting! I donít remember anything about a slip joint. I do remember seeing on the blue prints, and discussing in bid reviews that all the pile sections would be different thickness. The bottom section was to be 3-inches thick, next section 2 Ĺ-inches, and so on.

Tacoma narrows no again I did work on the original:D , but a good friend of mine, grand pa worked on the footing of the original. Again I did work on the estimate, and the scheme to set these boxes. (1st picture). After retiring I did some consulting work on how to drive the anchoring pile for these boxes. I understand from the day of the bid until actually start date the boxes were down sized. When I was involved they were going to be the size of a football field. You canít tell by this first picture, because this was taken later in the project. These boxes were made out of the same material as sheet pile. Real heavy corrugation, but looking down on them they would look like a bath tube, with no bottom in the middle section. Just a hollow void around the perimeter. The two boxes were barged in, picked off the barge by a derrick setting on location. Pick the box off the barge. Lower it into the water, tugs would run anchor wire to winches on the box that were attached to anchoring pile driven out in the Narrows. The derrick would then lower the box with the aid of GPS. Set the box on the bottom. Then other derricks were moved in to start filling this void with slag, and rocks for weight. Other derricks would start dredging out the center. The whole time the anchor winches are keeping the box / foundation on location with the GPS. I forget how many days to took to get the boxes to grade, couple months I think.

flukecej
10-26-2006, 05:13 PM
I watched that entire show last night, it was as cool as the first one they had when the project started. The first shown, Gordy, Pilebuck Superintendant now, was just a shift foreman. The guy who was overseeing the rebar cage building was talking about retiring and had his two boys working under him then.

That first show on this project showed a robotic welder that was controlled by a control welder/operator standing near the business end of the unit. They talked about how they had to go back and re-weld allot of spots by hand in the early stages. That show also profiled one of the few women welders on the project.

Last nights show, didn't show the gear so much, but it did indicate that since the start of the project, new tools and techniques had been devised to help move the process along quicker. It appeared that they are still using the automated welding machine to control the iron worker mig head attached to it for a consistent weld around the joint.

From what I could see, the upper pile joint appeared to be bevelled on the end. It also had an allignment collar welded to the inside of the upper joint to help allign the two joints together. The heating of the lower joint would allow for that internal collar to slide in the close tollerances of the pipe sections being joined. Once heat transfers from the heated section to the cool section, the heated end has shrunk back down and the cool end has expanded, it would be tough to get the pieces alligned or even back appart. Not impossible but very tough to do.

I am not an expert on any of this in any way. I have only seen this project from what has been shown on the Discovery Channel. To me, that kind of show is cool and educational. Having gone to college (washed out, boose and women) studying engineering and working as a tool designer for a short time, I can understand why time is critical on getting the joint allignment right, especially with a heat-slip-fit method like they showed on TV last night.

I think its really cool that Pilebuck, on this forum, was associated with the project in the early stages and can give us some insight into what they are/were doing. Did anyone catch the banner on the wall at the Mass Safety Meeting? It showed November 2004, that was two years ago. Last nights show might have been slightly dated and no one would have really caught it unless you paid attention to what was going on in the back ground. I hope they have another show on this showing more of the project progression and the finishing stages.

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 05:47 PM
Hereís a web site I just found on the building of the Bay Bridge. Click on the tab ďsuperintendentĒ I worked for Kurt for almost 20-years; we started out as partners, just hands in the crew. Then Kurt made foreman, then I made foreman, then Kurt made superintendent, then I made superintendent. He was one of two project superintendents on the Bay Bridge. The other Project superintendent is Dan Proctor.
I just talked to Kurt this morning; he is over seeing the off loading of the road deck sections coming in from Japan.



http://www.newbaybridge.org/classroom/hands.html

flukecej
10-26-2006, 06:33 PM
Thanks Pile Buck. That was a very cool and interesting site. My bridge design suvived San Andreas 8.2 and Hayward 8.0. Its also interesting seeing the people involved in the project besides engineers and just a few select workers. The crane operator was featured in the Discovery Channel show last night.

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 06:41 PM
I donít know that crane operator, but know the D.B.General very well. Itís a Clyde 52; my company bought it and a Clyde 42 in Scotland. They were whirly cranes in a graving dock doing work for the North Sea. The D.B General is rated at 7 or 800-tons full revolving. Thatís BS, sheíll pick 1000-tons and not even grunt. My buddy Jack ran the General for years. She will pick 50-tons flat boom at 280-feet from center pin. ;)

toolaholic
10-26-2006, 11:17 PM
Do you think He is refering to a chill ring between the two sections? Tool

Pile Buck
10-26-2006, 11:23 PM
Do you think He is refering to a chill ring between the two sections? Tool
I donít know. America Piledriving Equipment (APE) use to have a video on their web site showing how they welded these big cans. I should see if I can find that site again, and see what these guy are talking about. I would ask Kurt, but he hates weldors with a passion. But then again good way to ruin his Friday :D :D :D :D

LarryL
10-27-2006, 01:00 AM
It appears that the Bay Bridge program will be repeated this Saturday at 10 AM on the Discovery Channel. It is entitled the Mega Builders. :)

LarryL

prowess
10-27-2006, 08:20 AM
I caught the show in my hotel room while traveling this week.

It was phenominal. A must see in my opinion. The first thing I thought of was Pile Buck here at Weld Talk.

Pile, I didn't see any of those guys "Welding In The Rain" as I expected to :D Also, I bet there were many interesting welding stories that came out of that project, yes? :D :D

It was great seeing how some of our welding brothers earn a living driving piles. Amazing. Makes my welding jobs look like child's play.

The rebar cage construction was also interesting. That's a job I would not want to do. Way too tedious for me.

Catch that program if you missed it!

Pile Buck
10-27-2006, 08:54 AM
Well hereís some inside information that I got from the guys that I grew up with. So take it for what itís worth, Iím very skeptical of some of this. I know there was a lawsuit filed, not sure it is still pending or not. Some union members blew the whistle because they felt they were directed to weld out of procedure. The news media jumped all over it. Being such a high profile project and all. Arnold Schwarzenegger even put a stop work order on the welding until testing could be done. Ok hereís the part you should take with a grain of salt! I was told management would fire weldors who refused to weld out of spec. And would even stand above the weldors on catwalks and throw firecrackers down onto the weldors. Weldors who complained got less overtime, and sent home early with out pay.




While looking for that video, I came across this report from MAYES testing. Nothing to do with the splicing of the pile, (that I seen anyway). But very interesting about the welding and testing of the shear lugs that weld to the pile inside the footing. Some great pictures:cool: .


Dial up beware!!!!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:



http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/irsfobb/mayes_final_report_504.pdf

b-footn
10-27-2006, 09:24 AM
Welding out of Spec? Do they shoot film on the pilings?

Pile Buck
10-27-2006, 01:23 PM
All depends. In my experience Iíd say 90 % is UT. The 10-foot dia cans we drove at the Bonneville Dam were 100% X-ray. Not 100 % sure, but Iíll bet these cans on the Bay Bridge were X-rayed. The shear lugs were DPT, and UT, as I read in that link I posted

beglobal
10-27-2006, 04:49 PM
Yes, the Discovery Channel program was about the rebuilding of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. I just caught the last part of it because I stumbled across it while surfing. I was impressed with the hard and dirty work that pilebucks have to do when pile driving. It's also amazing to hear of these massive steel piles being driven 300 feet down into the soil at the bottom of the SF Bay. I myself have a great deal of trouble driving a tree stake just 2 feet into the ground in my yard. :D

Did you work on this bridge job, Pilebuck?

LarryL

Interesting...when did u saw the program???

toolaholic
10-29-2006, 11:53 AM
they sell the dvd for $21, is it worth it? :confused:

Pile Buck
10-29-2006, 02:23 PM
they sell the dvd for $21, is it worth it?

If I had your money?,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,YEAH! :p :D :D :D