|Frame and Mast Construction|
Next up was the frame to hold all the panels on. It's mostly made out of 2" square steel tubing, and a little 115v MIG welder does this stuff very nicely. Above is a picture of it going together, before all the vertical braces were on.
The only shot I have of it completed is during painting. All together, I think it weighed around 500 lbs.
We set all the panels on to see how it would look and to mark where all the mounting holes should go.
And here's one looking from the underneath.
The last main piece was the mast and mounting plate. The same machine shop drilled the 1-1/4" holes that'll mount down to the J-bolts in the foundation. They had a CNC plasma cutter as well, so I had them do the large hole in the center too. It's amazing how nice a cut that makes! I bevelled the outside of the pipe about 1/4", preheated it all, and welded the heck out of it. There was really only room for the one root weld on the bottom, so I left it at that.
On top, I put 3 welds all around and then all 8 gussets over that. Each gusset was bevelled and preheated, so that's quite a bit of welding.
Here's the mount welded to the top. This is mounted in such a way that it'll face exactly true south when everything's bolted to the foundation. On top of the mount in the center, I welded a little 3/4" steel nipple to bring the wires through and screw a junction box onto.
That completes most of the main construction. Everything was sprayed with a black laquer paint to keep things looking nice and prevent rust. Next up is the foundation and inverter installation.