Welding Ground Clamp

Apr 23, 2011

Broken Basketball Goal Post?

We had an inground basketball goal in our backyard. Due to my 12 yr old nephew’s constant dunking, he broke it. When I say he broke it, he broke the metal post that comes from the ground. There’s about three ft standing in the ground. I have tried digging up the concrete to put down another one, but I haven’t managed to find the base of it. I’ve dug out about three and a half feet already. I’m thinking it was professionally installed. My idea is to just attach a piece of another pole (much smaller to fit inside where it broke off), and just clamp it and weld it together. Is this a good idea or can someone help me out?

Broke, or BENT?

The steel used for that pole, whether thin or thick-walled, should have bent under your nephew’s weight. It takes a lot of stress to shear off a steel pipe. The only way it would have broken off is if it is rusty, and that might be a problem all its own.

Your idea to insert a sleeve down the existing pole will work, but there are a few factors to consider:

- Your new insert will need to have an outside diameter that closely matches the inside diameter of the existing pole. If it does not, the stresses created by too much free play, could break your new welds.

- If your pole broke due to internal rusting, than you really need to inspect that whole area, or you risk welding together a pole that is no good to begin with, and will probably break again…just somewhere else.

- All rust should be removed from the area where you intend to weld. I used to build and repair iron fences and railings. Most often, the previous fabricator would use tubing for the main posts that were concreted into the ground. Sure enough, right where that tube came out of the concrete is where it received the most moisture, and would eventually rust through, and “break” off. The trouble was that all that was left sticking out of the concrete was a rust stump. After years of rusting, the metal was like a flakey pastry…nothing but layers of rust, and often unweldable. We could not insert a sleeve, because there was no useable metal in that “stump” that we could weld to. It required that it be dug out and replaced.

- The longer a pipe you use for your support insert, the stronger the whole unit will be, so if you can run it a couple of feet into the ground, and up your goal post a few feet, do so.

Your idea is sound, as long as you can get the right material, and good metal that you can weld. Finding a pipe that is “just right” may be the hardest part of this procedure.

A large welding shop may stock what you need, and sell you a small piece.

Good Luck.

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