The six spreader arms are made of three telescoping tubes each, with each tube 48 inches long. The thinnest tube is 1/2 inch in diameter and slips into the next size which is 3/4 inches and it, in turn, slips into the largest size which is one inch. The largest size slips under the U bolts of the base plate where it is secured. The two telescoping sections have a hose clamp installed four inches from the telescoping end to prevent it from sliding all the way in. The assembled spreader arms are bent upward by the radial support cords that extend from the outer end to the top of the center post. This tension keeps the spreader arm assembled and tight without the use of pins, glue or other fasteners. By this means, the beam can be easily disassembled if necessary by simply unhooking the radial support cords.
1. Paint the spreader arms
The fiberglass tubes should be painted to protect them from UV deterioration. Otherwise, in a few short years, you can expect flaking of the outer surface of the fiberglass tubes. Elaborate painting techniques are fine if you want to spend the time but a simple coat of exterior latex of your color choice will last years. This can also be helpful in reducing visibility of the beam. Spray it on or use a brush.
After they are dry, measure and mark the spreader arms using the lengths below. A good way to do this is to lay the six thickest size spreader sections side by side and measure them for the marks shown. Do the same for the six medium thickness spreader sections and the six thinnest sections as well. Use a felt tip marker for this; tape might pull the paint off.
Each wire attachment consist of a stainless steel hose clamp that holds a loom clamp in place. These and the stop clamps should be installed at the locations shown on the sketch below. On the thick sections, use #10 size hose clamps, on the medium spreader sections, use #6 hose clamps and on the smallest sections, use #5 hose clamps. These sizes might be found at Lowes or Home Depot but are not likely to be stainless steel.
The locations on the chart above apply to #14 ga pvc insulated wire. If bare wire is used instead, the wire sets will be longer and therefore the clip locations must be moved out further. The bare wire sets are 2% longer than the insulated wire sets so, for example, the clip for the 20 meter wire should be moved out 2% from 45 1/4 to 46 inches. Apply the same approach to the other wire P clips. Bear in mind that these are only preliminary clip locations and when the beam is installed, minor adjustments might be needed to get the wire tensioned right. This adjustment will be explained in Step 6.
Many have tried using pvc plumbing pipe for spreader arms but pvc is too heavy and not rigid enough to work well. Fiberglass is far superior.