View Full Version : PVC Megatree Base Idea
08-27-2011, 04:52 PM
I have this idea for a megatree base (See attached Picture) , it is simple but that is what I would like, the lights are just going out to the ring, not coming back in to the center to make the tree look like it has a "trunk". I have a bunch of sch 40 3/4'' pvc lying around and figured that this idea would be able to use it. It is similar to other designs I have seen, so hopefully it should work. Me main the reason for making it 2' off the ground even though there is no "trunk" is because I don't want it to be buried by the snow. Me main concern is about the legs which are going to be tapered and driven 1' into the ground. Just looking to get some opinions on this from others who have done this before, before I dive into it.
08-27-2011, 05:02 PM
It'll be really hard to pound the pvc into the ground evenly. Pound on one side, the other comes out, etc. and PVC can't take a lot of hits before something gives 'way... This is similar to the base of my megatree although mine is only about 12' high and 7' across and mine has only 4 posts, each about 1' tall. The vertical posts turn out to be pretty flimsy. I pound a tent stake into the ground in 8 places around the perimeter of the tree and tie the rim down to the posts with large zip ties. That seems to work pretty well.
08-27-2011, 05:30 PM
I also have a PVC base that I've used for a few years now. It is smaller than yours, but has the same general structure (feet are different though).
I experienced 2 unexpected problems with the PVC:
1. I like the light strings to be fairly straight (not sag), so I tightened them. This actually pulled up on the PVC ring, partially lifting the base off the ground. I had a horizontal bar rather than spikes like you for the feet, but if you have many strings and pull them tight then you may also have a fairly significant upward force on the base to deal with. If your spikes are smooth and do not have much friction, you may need some kind of additional anchors to hold them down firmly. My solution was to loosen the strings a little, and to put stakes in the ground at an angle and "tie down" the base so it wouldn't lift up. ymmv
2. I used the thinner-walled PVC for my ring (because I couldn't get the Sched 40 to bend like I wanted). The thinner stuff is not as strong, and slightly bent when I tightened the strings. The Sched 40 probably won't bend as much, but you have a fairly large diameter so if you have a lot of strings and pull them tight, you might see a little bending or have extra stress at the joints.
There are some pictures of my base on pages 3, 14 and 15 in this doc:
08-27-2011, 05:54 PM
thanks for all the comments
I will defiantly use some tent stakes. I didn't think of the upward pull
@djulien do you think that electrical conduit (grey pipe) would work? it seems to be mostly sch 40 as well, but from what i have heard is more flexible. Or should i go with a smaller diam. pipe??
08-27-2011, 06:41 PM
PVC is a wonderful insulator and helps prevent GFCI tripping issues. If you make the base out of metal conduit, you run the risk of some tripping in damp/wet weather a lot more than with PVC.
Anchoring the base to the ground at enough points will solve any bending problems. Of course, anchor it with non-metal stuff!!!
08-27-2011, 07:14 PM
@dirk My bad by grey pipe I meant the grey pvc pipe used for electrical conduit.11024
08-27-2011, 09:04 PM
Sure, the grey PVC for electrical work will work fine. :smile:
08-27-2011, 10:07 PM
Last year I set up 2 20' Megatrees with a similar base configuration.
I used 3 - 10' 1/2 in sch40 PVC for the ring and 12 - 1' long 3/4" PVC sch40 with 3/4" T's for the uprights.
I slid the 3/4 T's over the ring (being careful to put the right number on each 1/2" section, because 3/4 T's don't slide over 1/2" couplings ). Then hammered an approximately 3' long 1/2" rebar at each upright, slid each upright over its rebar, then staked each upright down with a strap (or cord) and a tent peg .
Best of both worlds, steel into the ground and PVC to insulate the strings from the ground. Added benefit of keeping the super strings off the ground was being able to take down my Megatrees in January when everything else was frozen to the ground until late March.
08-27-2011, 10:16 PM
Nice display! You've given me a couple really good ideas about using rebar -- I think I'lll put some out there and slide the posts of my base over them. That'll add a lot of integrity. I currently drive a 2x2 into the ground and slide the center post over that.
08-27-2011, 11:46 PM
Couple of things. As you pound the pvc it won't go into the tee. It's kinda hard to keep a circle with all those pieces. I'll suggest what I've seen many others do. Make the ring with your pvc. Get the tee with a id that will go over your pvc ring and the down side to match your pvc. Use rebar to pound into the ground and slide the pvc over it.
08-31-2011, 07:35 AM
That layout is almost exactly what I did for my tree except I had 8 vertical pieces and 16 segments. I used 22.5 degree elbows. They are hard to find, but work great.
I drilled a 3/8" hole at a downward angle in each PVC vertical and drove a large spike into the ground through the holes. The spikes were actually tent spikes.
The whole thing worked good, but this year I will have to do something different as the Mtree is probably going up on the house!
08-31-2011, 08:51 AM
That layout is almost identical to mine as well. I used three foot lengths of metal rebar driven one foot into the ground, and then slid the legs over them. The grey sch40 conduit worked really well for my ring and legs, especially since it has a "built in" connector on one end. I give full credit to kychristmas and aurbo99 for my setup, as I shamelessly copied theirs.
edit: Here's a link to kychristmas's website where he has pictures of his megatree : http://www.kentucky-christmas.com/Projects/tabid/357/AlbumID/896-41/Default.aspx
and here's a thread here at DIYC where Aurbo99 shows how he made his : http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?8991-Mega-Tree-a-different-take.&highlight=pvc+megatree
08-31-2011, 09:57 AM
I use an all PVC frame. I took the 3/4" PVC cutoffs and bend a snap hook on them using Arbo99's heating method. I also cut a point on the end of the pvc to make it more like a stake. I lay the circle on the ground centering it on the pole. I then drive the stakes untilt hey are all on the same plane (level). I then simply snap the ring into place.
This picture is from the first year. Last year I managed to get it much more even. Of course, once lights are on it, you really can't see it anyway. The first year it was easy to just push the stakes into the yard. Last year, we had a dry fall here and I had to soak the area with a sprinkler. The stakes are driven 5 to 8 inches into the ground.
11-22-2011, 10:54 PM
I have used a similar base for 2 years and I am looking to re-design it this year. When I try to hammer the PVC stakes in the ground I usually get broken pvc and that's no fun having to replace. It also creeps out once the lights are tied to the base so I am looking for a better way to anchor it to the ground. I think I will be trying the rebar method this year to see if I have any luck.
11-28-2011, 12:08 AM
I built a wooden hexadecagon as my base this year. It was cheap and if you understand your angles easy to build. Most importantly for me it is very heavy and will not move around since we have more often than not very windy great lakes originating snow and wind.
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