Cube Shade Shelter

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Theraplst
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Cube Shade Shelter

Post by Theraplst » Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:59 pm

So for my shelter this year I was thinking of going with a design I saw my first year created by some of my neighbors. Their shelter was an 8x8x8 cube, made of 2 inch pvc, secured with rebar. For shade/wind protection, the walls were made by wrapping the cube over and over with string, then placing cloth all throughout the walls in 2 layers to allow airflow, but significantly slow down heavy winds and block dust. If anyone has any experience with a design like this, please leave me some feedback! I haven't started on this yet cause I want to make sure I've got a functioning plan for this design before I buy materials. But so far the parts list seems pretty straight forward. Let me know what you guys think.

Twelve 8' 2" schedule 40 pvc pipes
Eight 2" 3-way Elbow fittings
8 2' 2" Rebar pieces, candycaned to hold down structure, 2 for each corner
Upwards of 1000' of String (~30-40 wraps around)
Looking at around 800 sq ft of cloth for 5 double layered 8x8 walls (takes into account extra cloth will probably be needed)
One 24x8 Tarp
Three 8x8 Tarps (tarps for wrap up in case of rain and one for a base layer for the floor)
One 8x8 Rug for the floor

Please let me know what you think! Any help brainstorming ideas is much appreciated!
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BBadger
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by BBadger » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:12 pm

If your structure has any wind resistance, I could just see those elbow connectors snapping unless you have some sort of struts to reinforce the structure. The top might pop out of the sockets too. The string might provide enough structure, but I would definitely make sure you have everything tied down.
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FossaFerox
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by FossaFerox » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:19 pm

I really dislike rigid PVC structures. They tend to snap. Monkey huts by contrast are designed to bend and sway with the wind. Depending on how much cloth you put through the wound twine and how much wind resistance your structure presents it could potentially fail. Also, with vertical walls and only 8 anchors please go deeper than 1.5'....
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by leismanpo » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:16 pm

Hey Simba! Have you thought of a more structurally rigid design using EMT conduit and canopy fittings? We were thinking of making a flat roof structure in 10x10 sections on 7 foot tall legs for our main camp shade.. The structure is modular with the ability to wall off the windy side and expand from 20x20 to really any size. I think the EMT would be better on a rigid structure with right angles. Am I right? Anyone know what size EMT would work best for Simba or myself? 3/4"?

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FIGJAM
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by FIGJAM » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:36 pm

1" is pretty standard.
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by fernley1 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:31 pm

What Figjam said.
I have a 20x20 shade structure, 8 feet high, and I use 1 inch EMT.
Had no problems with this setup.

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Theraplst
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by Theraplst » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:19 pm

A lot of focus from replies has been pushing me toward going with a more traditional 1" EMT conduit shade structure.. HOWEVER, I don't know that what I'm looking for could be accomplished with that old design. I really want cloth walls on all sides with a hole that can be covered for a door. Would an EMT conduit box be able to withstand that pressure?
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FossaFerox
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by FossaFerox » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:59 am

EMT conduit is a lot stronger than PVC.
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by Tiahaar » Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:59 am

FossaFerox wrote:EMT conduit is a lot stronger than PVC.
Yes indeed and even better the 1-7/8" galvanized tubing for canopies could do all that you want and last forever,TherapIst :)

The 90 degree 3-way corners are kinda expensive, like $15-18 each for the 8 that you'd need, and the 16ga 1-7/8" galvanized steel tubing will be a bit more than pvc, but yeah, it will be SOLID. I use the stuff in my canopy and hang hammocks from it even.

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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by BBadger » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:37 am

Also, do you really need 8x of those 90-degree elbow fittings? Aren't 4x of them sufficient, as you only really need them for the top of the structure? The bottom can be fixed directly over some rebar, or better yet to some feet.

If you're going to buy the nicer, thicker tubing, why don't you just drop $220 on a Costco carport instead?
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:58 am

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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by FossaFerox » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:27 am

He was talking about upsizing for added security. YSBW still charges $14 for 3-way corner pieces in 1 7/8".
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pretty_monster
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by pretty_monster » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:01 pm

i used a 10x10 shade structure "skeleton" as the base of my shelter. i think the aluminum is 2" and i used the PVC fittings that came with it. i made a custom cover out of cammo netting, canvas, and sheer cammo fabric. the cover is one giant piece that slips down over the top, attaches to the bars & ground with velcro loops, and has a 5' long zipper up the front.

i was really surprised by how much it caught the wind. i figured the wind would pass right through all the sheer fabric but the damn thing was as much a giant wind sick as anything else out there. i thought it was gonna get away from me when i first started trying to tie my lines. once i got it secured it was fine, though. and it did cut down on breeze and sunshine and dust surprisingly well.

i would advise you to set it up with one corner into the prevailing wind so you're not catching the breeze with a flat side. i'd also map out where your corner posts are gonna be and drive all of your stakes (DEFINITELY use rebar, 2 per corner) prior to putting the cover on. the whole process will go muuuuuch smoother if you can tie down that first into-the-wind corner immediately.

i will say that 8x8 seems a bit small. mine is 10x10 and it's the perfect amount of space for a small tent, a card table, a camp chair, a few plastic tubs, and some wiggle room. just enough wiggle room that i can bring my air mattress out for an afternoon nap and i can bring bike in at night.
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Theraplst
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by Theraplst » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:23 am

Lollergirl what material are you using as ? 2" aluminum pipes?
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by trilobyte » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:59 am

My first thought is that it seems small (I like having shaded kitchen and relaxing space as well), but you know your space requirements and preferences much better than I. 2-inch PVC would probably work (I do know that 1 inch and below probably would not, you'd experience anything between highly annoying to catastrophic warping), though you probably wouldn't be able to re-use the PVC (exposure to playa tends to make that stuff brittle and prone to cracking, from my experience).

I'd join the others in recommending 1 inch EMT conduit too. From there, I'd say keep the same string and fabric design - it sounds like a lot of work, but it also sounds like a lot of fun and artful...and living in a piece of art for a week will make you happy. All you'd need would be 8 pieces of 1 inch EMT conduit cut to your 8' length, 4 corner fittings, and 4 footpads (they keep the poles from digging into the playa, make it more stable, and secure easily with simple tent stakes).

Whichever way you go - good luck! And take plenty of pictures, so we can see how it turns out :)

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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:13 pm

I made a shade for my camper last year from metal fence post pipe and rather than dropping a ton of extra money on corner connectors I just bought some pipe the next size up and welded up my own.
The commercially available ones all looked like weak junk anyway. If you haven't got access to a welder, but you know someone who does, it's an easy job and you'd still save money after buying all the beer and pizza. You can cut all your pieces to fit ahead of time with a hacksaw and grinder, and grind all the areas to be welded. Then all your buddy has to do is zap 'em together, sparing him the tedious part and making him more likely to say "sure bring it over".

You'll end up with better fittings. I made mine extra long and welded all the way around each joint. They ain't breaking. I went with fence pole pipe at Elliot's suggestion and found it to be relatively cheap and very sturdy.
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by BBadger » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:32 pm

If you had to, you could just connect the corners up to a piece of wood too.
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Re: Cube Shade Shelter

Post by pretty_monster » Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:23 pm

Theraplst -

got 'em out and measured them. they're actually smaller than i thought. the corner posts are 1.25" and the rest (the cross beams and roof supports) are only 1". they join with a variety of PVC fittings. the corner joints are exactly what Tiahaar posted, there are flat footed caps for the corner posts, and a special 4 way joint for the roof peak.

i would really suggest trying to get your hands on an old canopy frame. it seems a lot easier than trying to reinvent the wheel, ya know? i got mine from my parents when they moved into a new house & found it in the attic. the cover was trashed & they were gonna throw it away but i rescued it. i'm sure you could put some feelers out of craigslist or freecycle or whatever and get one for cheap or free. bonus to scoring a canopy frame: you might be able to get the carrying bag that belongs with it.
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