Structure advice

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Sandwichman
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Structure advice

Post by Sandwichman » Fri Jul 16, 2004 6:35 pm

I am getting ready to build my shade structure for my tent one of the last things I need to do. Now here is my question. Has anyone had experiences with wooden dowels in 2 short lenghts secured by some sort of coupling? To explain better; I am thinking of using two 4 foot sections of dowel joined by a piece of metal acting as a sleeve over both dowel ends. I am going to use for of these as the main supports for my shade. Any advice or warnings?

Jason
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Bob
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Post by Bob » Fri Jul 16, 2004 6:43 pm

Put something together and try to swing a pot roast or the family dog from the other end?

What dia.?
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Sandwichman
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Post by Sandwichman » Fri Jul 16, 2004 7:23 pm

Diameter is about 1 3/4"

I did get a reccommendation for using metal or PVC but my only problems posed in this route are space. I am driving in a small car and need room to be able to pack shade in with the rest of my gear. I do not have a roof rack so strapping anything to the roof is out of the question.

Jason
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Bob
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Post by Bob » Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:13 pm

Steel conduit or cyclone fence support +/- 8 in. long with a 1/4 in. bolt to fix in place, I guess. Or maybe just fit a pair of old ski poles together.
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Mithra
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Post by Mithra » Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:14 pm

Field testing is essential. You don't want to be experimenting on the playa. Got anywhere around where you live that's windy?

PVC is probably a better bet, you can use simliar lenths and widths, it's lighter and will bend before it breaks, if it breaks at all. I use a carport/tarp kind of thing, but that won't fit in your car.

Look into aluminet shade cloth, unless you need to resist water in which case it's silver tarps.

You need to do a better job of explaining your idea. I'm not getting it.

Mithra

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Bob
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Post by Bob » Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:27 pm

Right.

Find the eplaya guy with all 12" lengths of leftover PVC.

Then duct tape half a dozen or so around the wood.

I do the same with all my fishing poles.
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unjonharley
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Post by unjonharley » Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:38 pm

The metal top rail for fence is tapered at one end. YOu can cut to size and turn to tappered end around to form a coupler Bout $8 for ten foot. I would not try wood myself.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Bob
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Post by Bob » Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:53 pm

Been a few pieces of wood I've had to wrap off with wire or tape, now that you mention it, but friends of mine do use closet rod to prop up medieval-type canvas tents.

Another option is military surplus tent poles, which come in wood, fiberglas, or aluminum, four or five feet long per section. Twin Cities in Reno has those.

Wonder what happened to that guy a year or two ago from Tahoe who posted re: using old skis to build a dome.
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Sandwichman
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Post by Sandwichman » Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:11 pm

unjonharley wrote:The metal top rail for fence is tapered at one end. YOu can cut to size and turn to tappered end around to form a coupler Bout $8 for ten foot. I would not try wood myself.
Actually I saw some of these metal fence pieces today and was wondering how it would work. I think after hearing you mention it I think it would be good. PVC just concerns me with how flimsy it can be, don't ask me why. May be it was the days of fighting my brothers with PVC swords.

As for testing I can probably find a spot easy out here in Portland. Maybe haul the structure out to Rooster rock near Hood River.

Jason
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Post by unjonharley » Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:20 pm

[quote="Sandwichman"
As for testing I can probably find a spot easy out here in Portland. Maybe haul the structure out to Rooster rock near Hood River.
Jason[/quote]

/\
Or you could make it a coast run. I'm thinking of running my new shelter over for a test. I have built a tower out of that railing stuff. Wont be able to take it to BM this year. I would like to put a six foot man on a 20 foot tower and light him like the big one.
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Sandwichman
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Post by Sandwichman » Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:36 pm

Where on the coast is good spot for gusts?

I was only thinking Hood river because the Gorge produces some mighty gusts that attract all the windsurfers. If there is a better spot to test please fill me in. I am still relatively new to the NW so I am still learning these secrets.

Jason
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Post by Selkie » Sat Jul 17, 2004 8:02 am

Pretty much anywhere on the coast will do. Just find whatever state park is closest to you on the coast and head that way. Having camped on the Oregon coast before, it should be *plenty* windy to test your structure.

[quote=Sandwichman]I am driving in a small car and need room to be able to pack shade in with the rest of my gear. I do not have a roof rack so strapping anything to the roof is out of the question. [/quote]

You can rent roof racks from places like Budget and U-Haul. They're not too expensive and they give you pretty much all the equipment you'd need. Then you'd have more space to take something else if you wanted to.
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Post by manowar » Sat Jul 17, 2004 10:22 pm

I built a very similar shade stucture last year. Worked great and will be returning with me this year. I used wood dowels joined with PVC. Here's the thread that talks about it.
http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic. ... highlight=
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Sandwichman
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Post by Sandwichman » Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:23 am

manowar wrote:I built a very similar shade stucture last year. Worked great and will be returning with me this year. I used wood dowels joined with PVC. Here's the thread that talks about it.
http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic. ... highlight=
Earlier I mentioned that I was not interested in hauling PVC but thank you for the help.

Jason
sandwichman wrote:PVC just concerns me with how flimsy it can be, don't ask me why. May be it was the days of fighting my brothers with PVC swords.
oonsa oonsa for your feets [url=http://www.djjasonphilips.com/mixes/mixes_files/La_musica_que_no_tacara_usted_quiere_que_tio_corte.mp3]click here[/url]

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Bob
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Post by Bob » Sun Jul 18, 2004 12:03 pm

http://www.twincitysurplus.com/catalog. ... 4830.10775

Image
Description: This GI issue aluminum tent pole is 4ft long with 1 and 3/4-inch diameter and is interlocking so you can add poles as needed. Strong and light, fantastic additions to any camp package.

Color: Olive Drab
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Quickener
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Post by Quickener » Thu Jul 29, 2004 11:13 pm

Hi there. Long time listener, first time caller.

I'm trying to cook up my own shade structure, to cover my tent and hang out area for a 2 virgin campsite. My current idea is to use our minivan as 1 anchor, the windy side hopefully. I'll probably just drive the wheels right onto 1 edge of the tarp, then wrap it over the minivan, leave about 3' between van & tent, then to some sort of support frame, then to rebar anchors in the ground.

The decisions I have to make are whether to choose metal conduit, which I found for $3 per uncut 1/2" x 10' piece & $10 per uncut 3/4" x 10' piece or galvanized steel pipe (for plumbing) which I found for about $5 per precut 4' piece, which is threaded on the ends. Either way, I'm looking to end up with a bunch of connectable 4' pieces so I can easily transport them there & back.

The conduit is cheap & light, but I have no idea how to go about connecting pieces. The steel pipe is easy to put together with plumbing fixtures (3 ways & elbows) but is heavy and more expensive.

Could I get a recommendation or piece of advice based on playa experience? If you recommend the conduit, how would you go about putting it together? If it would be possible to thread the ends of it, I could probably just use plumbing fixtures with this stuff. But I don't know if that'll work since the aluminum is so much thinner & flimsier.

Also, I'm trying to figure out the best way to actually set this thing up. My original idea was to only use 2 vertical legs of 8' each, slid over top of rebar stakes. Then I would connect them with an 8' horizontal support beam and add guy lines to help support the legs. However, I'm worried this would not be sturdy enough. Should I possibly use a 3way in the middle of the horizontal beam to add another 4' section perpendicular (but still horizontal) with a 3rd leg? This would create almost a tripod, which might be stronger. Obviously 4 legs connected as a square or I formation would be ideal, but would also require more supplies.

Any suggestions as to what you think would get by would really help!

Thanks.

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Post by Bob » Fri Jul 30, 2004 12:24 am

Joe from Livermore... get thee to the flea market or surplus store and get some proper connectors, the type they use on flea market awnings, if you're already plumb stuck on conduit.
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Post by LostMachine » Fri Jul 30, 2004 1:08 am

With out a roof rack you can still transport some material (a few 2x4’s some conduit etc). Lay two large towels on your roof rolled up, put your material on top so that it isn’t touching the paint then with the car doors open put a few Ratcheting Tie Down straps over the top and through the open doors. The car doors should still close after you tighten them so you can get in and out. It’s a little ghetto but it works.

http://www.arizonatools.com/catalog/detail/2776/
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Post by robotland » Fri Jul 30, 2004 5:37 am

Quickener, I was thinking of doing something similar to protect my ride! (The drive-over-it-and-wrap concept) As Bob says, get some better connectors for that conduit (TEN BUCKS A STICK!!!!!AAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!) since the ones that are designed for it will only join pieces together, not HOLD them together....If you're not fortunate enough to have a flea market near, at least slide bigger pipe over the joins, long enough to brace. (Like, two feet) Remember that conduit inside of conduit still equals bent conduit, if the force is sufficient....
Howdy From Kalamazoo

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Post by Quickener » Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:17 am

Bob wrote:Joe from Livermore... get thee to the flea market or surplus store and get some proper connectors, the type they use on flea market awnings, if you're already plumb stuck on conduit.
Not really plump stuck on it. It just seems to be the cheapest, most efficient way to do it. I have the same fears as the original poster in regards to standing PVC up - I see it compressing by day 2, resulting in a shelter that's just laying on top of the tent & my head.

The carport type structure made of long PVC ribs sounds great, but I too am lacking a way to transport them. A quick search for conduit connector in my area is telling me that I'm going to end up paying close to the same price as a decent quality prebuilt shelter though. Ugh.

So are there any comments about the stronger, heavier galvanized steel plumbing pipe that I referred to earlier? The connectors are typical, threaded plumbing 3ways and elbows. Are these the ones you guys are implying will come apart rather quickly?

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Bob
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Post by Bob » Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:52 am

Typical plumbing pipe, electrical conduit, and their fittings are designed to be supported by the building frame every couple of feet. They usually grab only an inch or so of each section. Threaded plumbing fittings snap or unthread with very little bending applied.

The flea market type connectors sleeve onto conduit about 3 - 4 inches, and secure with thumbscrews or eyebolts. I'd add a little rope in case it rattles loose in the wind.

Rule of thumb -- if you can take a tent or awning support, or a dome strut, over your knee and bend it to the point of making it useless, go for a larger size. I'd use at least 3/4", preferably at least 1", for an awning support like you're describing.

Lots of ways to do things. Bring plenty of rope and a few stakes just in case. People use everything from bamboo to mag alloys to house trusses.
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Post by damon » Sat Jul 31, 2004 5:04 pm

Image

What dou You guys think about something like this? I bought a little smoler one for 30$ long time ago, and consider it as my tiny shade structure, but I wonder if it will last a week on a playa?

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Post by Tancorix » Sat Jul 31, 2004 5:37 pm

From the Recommended Reading portion of the Survival Guide:
http://www.burningman.com/preparation/e ... uring.html

Image

Is your tent / shade structure ready for conditions like the ones pictured above? Think 40 mph wind. Get in the car, get up to speed and stick your hand out the window. Then speed up to 70 mph. If it pushes your hand back like that, what do you think it will do to your tent? (I measured 40+ mph wind last year, and in Alpha conditions 70 is not impossible, others claim it's went that high.)

You still have 4 weeks, you might want to consider something with a little more strength and that offers a bit more shade. I apologize if that came across as harsh but it's better to prepare now than be shocked on the playa.

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Post by Bob » Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:28 pm

damon wrote:What dou You guys think about something like this? I bought a little smoler one for 30$ long time ago, and consider it as my tiny shade structure, but I wonder if it will last a week on a playa?
Sure, if you bring extra stakes and light rope, set up downwind from a couple of vehicles, strap the legs off to long stakes, guy off the top to the vehicles or to extra stakes, and suchlike.
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yellowdog
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conduit connectors

Post by yellowdog » Sun Aug 01, 2004 10:44 pm

There is an internet site called "structures to go" that carries those flea market style connectors for EMT conduit (3/4 inch and 1 inch) and for chain-link fence pipe (1 3/8 inch and 1 5/8 inch) in various angles. I have heard that with proper anchoring (racheting straps to re-bar anchors)you can make a playa-proof structure with them.

Anyone have any idea which would be stronger/more bend-resistant: 1 inch EMT conduit or some sort of chain-link fence pipe?

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Post by Dork » Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:12 pm

That $30 shade you have pictured may last, but it doesn't appear to provide much shade. It looks more like mosquito protection than sun protection.

Fence posts are thicker than EMT, but honestly 1" EMT is probably not going to buckle unless there's a person or very large object on top of it or the span is very long.

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Post by Quickener » Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:49 pm

After some research at Home Depot and actually pricing things out, I've decided against the metal structure after all. I've actually decided to basically mimic the concept that Max Icon came up with here:
http://www.maxicon.com/Burning_Man/PVC_ ... _playa.htm

And if this doesn't work, well, I hope that the shade cloth I just purchase will at least stay attached to the guy lines long enough for me to not lose it. The PVC is pretty cheap (now up to ~$2.25 or so per 10' section of Sch 40) compared to EMT Conduit, so if it goes poo, then oh well.

To tell you the truth, it feels good just to have made a decision. Whether it works or not is 2nd to the fact that I'm actually gonig to build something.

Now to find someone with a Costco membership to help me get a look at that velvety turf/carpet stuff I keep reading about...

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Post by Badger » Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:20 pm

From Craigslist:
Straight, handsome, uncut 36 ft center pole seeks ride to burningman
Desert dogs drink deep.

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