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Thread: Power driver for copper grounding rod.

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    Question Power driver for copper grounding rod.

    I have built a 12ft x 16ft backyard workshop. I have plans for a 30ft x 40ft garage. Both are required to have 1/2 inch x 10ft solid copper electrical grounding rods driven in the ground. 3 inches has to be left above ground for connecting to the rod. Our soil has rocks in it, but they are mostly small, between quarter and fist size. I've only driven one in the ground before. I used a post driver made from heavy tubing with rebar handles on both sides. It took two days, moving the rod to several different spots, and bending it several times, before I got it in the ground. I don't want to do that again. I'm not even sure I am physically capable.

    So here I am, inquiring about building a cheap ground rod driver. Anyone have any ideas as to how to go about building something to help drive these things into the ground?

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    Frank S's Avatar
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    No one is going to want to hear what I am about to say but one of the cheapest ways to do this would be to buy a piece of 3/4" sch 80 black pipe to be sacrificial placed over the rod, and rent a small to medium sized electric hammer usually the equivalent to a 25 lb pneumatic will do the job,cut the pipe shorter than the rod use the hammer to drive it part ways in the ground then cut off some of the pipe as needed until the rod is driven to the required depth or the pipe is no longer needed to help keep the rod from bending
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    No one is going to want to hear what I am about to say but...
    They won't? That's brilliant......but not legal or up to spec or? The peanut gallery's gotta know Frank!

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    Quote Originally Posted by C-Bag View Post
    They won't? That's brilliant......but not legal or up to spec or? The peanut gallery's gotta know Frank!
    it wouldn't exactly be homemade per-say unless you counted the sacrificial pipe
    I've used the smaller rivet buster sized percussion hammers to drive grounding rods in the ground for years and the larger pneumatic hammers to drive pipes in the ground for fence posts, When I was building boat docks and break waters I used both large drop hammers that I made as well as hydraulic hammers to drive pilings in the ground.
    Another way the man could drive his grounding rods would be to build a 15 ft tall tripod derrick with a top sheave a slide hammer to travel up and down 2 of the legs with a series of stabilizing arms that would hold the rods vertical these could be placed every couple of feet up the 2 legs that the drop hammer traveled on and be removed as the rod was driven and the hammer came near them. the hammer could be raised by as rope with a couple wraps around a spinning capstan winch Just tug on the lose end of the rope to lift the hammer and let it go slack for the hammer to fall Not terribly expensive to build but a little labor intensive to build for only a few rods
    The tripod derrick idea would also work very well to assist in holding the small electric percussion hammer as well
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    No one is going to want to hear what I am about to say but one of the cheapest ways to do this would be to buy a piece of 3/4" sch 80 black pipe to be sacrificial placed over the rod, and rent a small to medium sized electric hammer usually the equivalent to a 25 lb pneumatic will do the job,cut the pipe shorter than the rod use the hammer to drive it part ways in the ground then cut off some of the pipe as needed until the rod is driven to the required depth or the pipe is no longer needed to help keep the rod from bending

    That could defeat the purpose of the ground rod. In theory, it needs to be completely in contact with the surrounding soil, in order to bleed off electricity into the earth.Even if the pipe is removed, there could be voids left around the ground rod.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    it wouldn't exactly be homemade per-say unless you counted the sacrificial pipe
    I've used the smaller rivet buster sized percussion hammers to drive grounding rods in the ground for years and the larger pneumatic hammers to drive pipes in the ground for fence posts, When I was building boat docks and break waters I used both large drop hammers that I made as well as hydraulic hammers to drive pilings in the ground.
    Another way the man could drive his grounding rods would be to build a 15 ft tall tripod derrick with a top sheave a slide hammer to travel up and down 2 of the legs with a series of stabilizing arms that would hold the rods vertical these could be placed every couple of feet up the 2 legs that the drop hammer traveled on and be removed as the rod was driven and the hammer came near them. the hammer could be raised by as rope with a couple wraps around a spinning capstan winch Just tug on the lose end of the rope to lift the hammer and let it go slack for the hammer to fall Not terribly expensive to build but a little labor intensive to build for only a few rods
    The tripod derrick idea would also work very well to assist in holding the small electric percussion hammer as well
    I'd get in way over my head trying to build that and run costs way up.

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    Jon
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    Agreed on the electric hammer. You just need a replacement for the spendy ground rod driver bit. Some options:

    Easy Ground Rod Driver

    homemade tools/test equipment

    Not sure how to handle any potential bending. It's possible that the hammering action of the electric hammer is more controllable than that of a manual post driver, and will thus be less likely to bend the ground rod.

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    Frank S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Ctrl View Post
    That could defeat the purpose of the ground rod. In theory, it needs to be completely in contact with the surrounding soil, in order to bleed off electricity into the earth.Even if the pipe is removed, there could be voids left around the ground rod.
    You did not understand how the process of using the sacrificial pipe would be incorporated
    you do not drive the pipe in the ground along with the rod you cut off sections of it as the hammer drives the rod through it the pipe is only there to assist in keeping the rod from bending like a loose sleeve or guide and may or may not be needed with the electric hammer
    Last edited by Frank S; 12-16-2016 at 12:17 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Agreed on the electric hammer. You just need a replacement for the spendy ground rod driver bit. Some options:

    Easy Ground Rod Driver

    homemade tools/test equipment

    Not sure how to handle any potential bending. It's possible that the hammering action of the electric hammer is more controllable than that of a manual post driver, and will thus be less likely to bend the ground rod.
    I feel like a doofus. I just passed up one of those cheap HF rotary hammers similar to the one in your link. The other link has some pretty nifty stuff in there too. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
    You did not understand how the process of using the sacrificial pipe would be incorporated
    you do not drive the pipe in the ground along with the rod you cut off sections of it as the hammer drives the rod through it the pipe is only there to assist in keeping the rod from bending like a loose sleeve or guide and may or may not be needed with the electric hammer
    I figured that out after thinking on it for a while.

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