Sourcing a tapered aluminium pole in UK

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  • 28 Jul 2014 16:46
    Message # 3055881

    Following on from an earlier discussion where mention was made of Roger Taylor's use of a spun tapered lighting pole for Ming Ming 2's mast, I thought I'd report on my recent experience.

    Having sold every last piece of my Rustler 31's bermudan rig I was well and truly committed to a junk rig conversion, but lacking a suitable sheltered location to build a sheathed wood/epoxy mast, I decided to try sourcing an alloy flag or lighting pole instead. This was harder than I expected mainly because there just isn't a UK supplier who keeps suitably sized, bare, unmodified tapered poles in stock.  Roger Taylor purchased his pole from Aluminium Lighting Company (ALC) in South Wales as a stock street lighting pole with the lower part containing a large access hatch cutout and wiring inlet hole. As such he had to discard much of the lower pole but the remaining section worked fine for Ming Ming 2's mast.

    I approached ALC to see if I could buy a pole with dimensions similar to Tystie's mast section (base diameter 222mm with 5mm wall thickness) but before any of the lighting pole modifications are made. Alas the only unmodified one they had in stock was 8 metres long rather than the 11.7 metres I needed. Fortunately I was able to place a custom order with ALC for a pole to be made by Nedal in Holland. The only catch was a lengthy delay between placing my order in April and the eventual delivery in July.

    My enquiry also coincided with the company being deeply involved in tendering for a large contract to supply lighting columns. So pinning down a member of the sales staff to deal with my individual private order was a bit of a challenge, but with persistence I received a firm quote and got the process underway.

    For the record the pole is 222mm base dia, 90mm top dia, 5mm wall thickness and 11.7 metres total length. The lower part is parallel for the first 3685mm. The top 250mm is parallel with 7mm wall thickness (presumably for easy installation of a lighting unit). The pole cost £1221 plus VAT and I paid £350 for delivery to Ardrossan on the Scottish west coast. The aluminium used is 6063 T6 and was supplied unanodised with a smooth but slightly machine brushed finish. I intend to use wax applied every 6 months or so rather than paint for protection against oxidation.

    ALC's main business is supplying vast numbers of lighting poles to industry and local authorities so they are set up to deal primarily with bulk orders, however if you don't mind the long lead time they will supply ordinary mortals in search of a junk rig mast.


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