Advice on 16' plywood Castle, stlylized like Super Mario's

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Ayaire
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Advice on 16' plywood Castle, stlylized like Super Mario's

Post by Ayaire » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:18 pm

Hello,
I'm part of a camp that is planning to create a 16' tall castle. The walls will all be plywood. I'm thinking that, with about 100 2'4'x8's and about 40 pieces of plywood, it won't need to be secured any more than with its own weight. Does anyone have some must-have advice for building a wooden structure? (Obviously I have all the pieces cut to length before I get out there).


Thank you!
-Ayaire
Ayaire, from Alaska

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MikeGyver
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Post by MikeGyver » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:19 am

Being 16' tall you probably want to put some wires/robes to hold it more stable, If a big dust storm comes up you may end out with a flat castle. From what I've heard you want either rigid as a rock or flexible but sturdy.
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Post by EspressoDude » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:05 am

it will need to be anchored to the playa!!

next time it gets windy at home, go take a sheet of plywood outside.....think.....60 mph winds..how many sheets of plywood??

steel T stake fenceposts + U-bolts to the 2 x 4's

unless you are a builder/carpenter, make a scale model first so you can see how the joints fit together. lots of sawing happens on the playa. Just do it on a carpet or tarp to collect the sawdust.
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Post by Leo » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:33 am

Try to prefabricate as much of your castle as possible at home before bringing it to Burning Man. Panelizing your structure is a great option for construction. The build time on the playa would be minimized and you would have the assurance that all of the pieces are going to fit. Mr Murphy is alive and well at Black Rock City.

For wall panels, you could get by with 1/4" plywood and 2 x 2 or 2x 3 studs to save on weight and material costs. The panels can be joined with machine bolts (pre-drilled holes at the panel edges) or lag bolts. You didn't mention if you were planning on burning your castle at the end of the week or if you were going to disassemble your castle and take it home. If you are taking the castle home with you, a pre-fab/panelized system would allow for an efficient dis-assembly and future re-use at regional event and/or a future burn.
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Ugly Dougly
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Post by Ugly Dougly » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:55 am

Right, a struture 16' tall can't be built with 8' pieces only. At least with any rigidity. There should be at least a couple of 16' members.

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Post by Leo » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:33 pm

You didn't mention if this castle is a background (like a stage set) or an actual structure that people will be climbing on. In either case, it would be "cheap insurance" to have a structural engineer do a quick review of the proposed design to make sure you have adequate fasteners, framing, and anchorage to the playa. If people can climb on it, they probably will.
Best Regards,
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Bob
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Post by Bob » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:48 pm

Skinning a structure that's already got lateral stiffness is one thing, making stud frame panels work properly is another. Don't use 1/4" ply.

Hard to give specific advice without knowing the plan configuration, whether it's meant to be climbable, has a second floor & stairs, whether you plan to burn it in place, and so on.

Shit blows over, and sideways. Generally, you should pin it in place using at least two robust stakes eg 3/4" concrete stakes per panel, and brace it with kickers or guy lines.

I like to use primer or cheap (eg recycled) paint on *both* sides of the plywood to help avoid warping. Drying time on the playa is about twenty minutes. Lumber & ply can warp in a matter of hours in the full sun out there. Keep it in tight bundles, tarp it, and build fast. A stack of ply can blow away too, so nail or screw the top sheet down to a few underlying sheets if it's going to sit for a while.

If it's just a two-dimensional facade, I've built 12' tall billboards out there using 4x4 posts sunk in 3' holes, braced with kickers secured to short 4x4 posts, using SDS screws & duplex nails.
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Post by Ugly Dougly » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:31 pm

How about a commerical scaffold covered with painted canvas tarp?

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Post by HandJamMasterC » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:48 pm

How about a commerical scaffold covered with painted canvas tarp?
Should be a lot of used scaffolding for sale with the state of construction these days.
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Bob
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Post by Bob » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:07 pm

OP indicates they're coming from Alaska, I'd assume they want to keep it simple.

That said, scaffold is easy if you pin all the legs in place and use guy lines. Making it not look like ass, maybe not so easy.
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Post by Ugly Dougly » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:58 pm

Bob wrote:Making it not look like ass, maybe not so easy.
Granted. :)
(...glances around for portable limestone blocks...)
It may have to do.

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Re: Advice on 16' plywood Castle, stlylized like Super Mario

Post by capjbadger » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:37 pm

Ayaire wrote:Hello,
I'm part of a camp that is planning to create a 16' tall castle. The walls will all be plywood. I'm thinking that, with about 100 2'4'x8's and about 40 pieces of plywood, it won't need to be secured any more than with its own weight. Does anyone have some must-have advice for building a wooden structure? (Obviously I have all the pieces cut to length before I get out there).


Thank you!
-Ayaire
Oh hell no... that's a big wooden kite my friend. Anchor the hell out of that or you'll be picking up the pieces and paying for damages by tuesday evening. :|

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:40 pm

Note: Designing it as "not climbable" doesn't mean some twit wont try and climb it. CYA.
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Playa Mario
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Post by Playa Mario » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:55 am

Some folks did the castle and warp zone flats last year. They made a simple wooden platform with a ladder on it and the facade of the castle in front.

here are some pics of it




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Bob
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Post by Bob » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:17 am

You can do plenty with 8-ft lumber, sometimes it's just way easier to use longer pieces.

LA Cacophony did this facade for "Small After All" in 1999, don't think it was more than 16 feet tall.

Image
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:34 pm

Lovely picture, Bob. Thanks.
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