Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A Whole Lot of Nuts

This morning I was lucky enough to work on our bin some more. Now that we had the roof and top ring put together it was time to put the rest of the rings on. Yesterday my dad and uncles put together 5 rings and today we had to get the last 5 on. In the four and a half hours I put in this morning we put up 3 so there was only 2 left to do this afternoon.

You wouldn't think that it would take very long to put some big metal sheets together in a circle and bolt them together, but it does. Not so much because it's hard work, but instead because of the sheer amount of tedium that goes into putting in the millions of bolts into the rings. Let's do some math and see how many bolts actually go into this bin.

There are 11 rings, each having 12 sections. Bolting each section to the next in the top three rings, it takes 23 bolts at each seam. On every other section, it takes 46 bolts per seam. To bolt each ring together, it takes 25 bolts per sheet. Let's total up just how many bolts are in the rings.

Top three rings: 12 x 3 x (25 + 23) = 1,728
Bottom eight rings: 12 x 8 x (46 + 23) = 6,624
Subtract out 2/3's of the top rings top bolts
(you only use every third hole): 1,728 - (1/3 * (12 * 25)) = 1,629
Total for all eleven rings: 8,253

That's over 8,000 sets of nuts & bolts that have to be put into the ring seams by hand and then tightened via rattle wrench. Now this isn't even including all of the roof bolts! Since I worked on only 3 rings this morning, I only had to deal with around 2,000 nuts (I was responsible for putting most of the nuts on the bolts). That's what I call tedious. As tedious as it was, though, the help was needed. We had six guys working and each was doing something. We were all either putting in nuts & bolts, tightening them, moving metal sheets, caulking, or moving jacks.

It's quite fun, actually, to go through the process of putting up another bin. It's very gratifying to be part of the creation of one gigantic piece of circular sheet metal! I highly suggest you all run out to your local farm now and request to help construct something!

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