Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

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Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:39 am

I am planning to build a stretched version of the H12 hexayurt using 4x8x1" polyisocyanurate panels.

I plan to extend the walls 16" vertically using 1/3 of a 4x8 panel, and then stretch the whole thing by adding an extra 4' of length to two of the side panels. This would create an overall end to end point length of 20 feet, with the standard flat-side width of about 13' 10".

I am concerned that I now will have a fairly large vertical wall exposed to wind stress (64" high by 12 feet wide, versus 48"x8' for a standard hexayurt). Further, there will be some loss of the structural strength which the ring nature of a regular hexayurt provides.

To ameliorate this, I plan to build an internal framework for the center section. Vertical 2x4 studs to 64", then an 8' 2x4 rafter. The two supports thus created would be in turn tied to each other. Since I am building an internal frame anyway, I would also build a stud/rafter set for each of the end panels. (see sketch; rafters seen from above since it's kind of obvious what they would look like from the side.)

I have the construction expertise to create a reasonably sturdy internal frame, but I'm wondering if this is a typical and/or useful approach to adding structural integrity to stretched yurts. I also plan to reinforce the long side walls with a 1/4" luan plywood panel, partly because I am putting in a door there. Anchoring will be via tape anchors over the top and eye bolts into the vertical studs.
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by Elderberry » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:22 am

I have no clue. To my way of thinking it is no longer a hexayurt, you're building an entirely new type of structure. Why not just construct a small home while you're at it?
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:17 am

The insulating panels are not intended to be structural. We just get away with faking that on the playa! The larger the wind cross section, the greater the stresses on the joints, the chance of scissoring and even failure of the panels. You can look up the wind construction codes for Washoe county. In practice BRC breaks up the wind to lower ground velocities. I certainly know people with RVs that have been shaken by the wind.

Even for a full stud structure, the lumber is going to be a small portion of your transport volume, so you can improve that at minimal cost.

1/4" plywood is very sturdy, even that type. I think your greatest challenge is to find a bracing structure resistant to scissoring. Something like Simpson ties? Have to agree with Elderberry. But hey, report on lessons learned after the event!
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:36 am

Elderberry wrote:I have no clue. To my way of thinking it is no longer a hexayurt, you're building an entirely new type of structure. Why not just construct a small home while you're at it?
I did not realize the terminology is important to the issue at hand. I'm curious why you care about whether or not it's "stretched hexayurt," a term I used for title efficiency. (In fairness, taken off the hexayurt appropedia for "hexayurt variations."

I'm less interested in nomenclature than I am in whether or not it's a good idea to provide internal bracing for a structure of this size made of polyisocyanurate rigid insulation boards joined with 6" bifilament tape.

As an aside, is there sort of a natural resistance on the boards here to innovation? Or are you just indulging yourself in a little PMS? I really don't get the snark (unless I'm just being too sensitive) in your response. What's the point? Have we decided anything larger than a taped H12 means someone wants a small home? Do you spend your other time pontificating on RVs? You sound pissed that someone would want to brace a sacred design approach. Hopefully you do not also indulge yourself in warning noobs about the Playa elements, since my inclination to use internal bracing is in response to those warnings.

I want a larger structure than an H12 for the clan coming with me. A single large structure will house more people efficiently, with less environmental footprint than will multiple smaller ones. I am not alone in wanting a structure different from a standard H12; structures at BM span the gamut of size. I seek advice on approaches to solving that problem.

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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by trilobyte » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:00 pm

Yep, no longer a hexayurt, it's something different. And you might either be a bit of a jerk, or you're being too sensitive (seriously, you solicit opinions and then tell someone who replies that they might be PMSing?). You may not give a shit about the terminology, but I think it's important. Part of what makes the hexayurt concept work is that it's 6 equal portions, all working towards each other and creating balance. your idea is different from that.

That's not to say it's a bad idea - it might end up working out for you.

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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by Elderberry » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:56 pm

jimthompsonmd wrote:
As an aside, is there sort of a natural resistance on the boards here to innovation? Or are you just indulging yourself in a little PMS? I really don't get the snark (unless I'm just being too sensitive) in your response. What's the point?
If it's one thing that this board doesn't have is a "natural resistance to innovation". If you would have read even some of the threads here on the topic you'll see that that structure has been innovated to death. We have been using a two room hexayurt since seeing it for the first time at Green Man. (It would be a three room yurt if I could convince my partner.) I've also had the opportunity to see in person many of the iterations in person on the playa.

I was impressed by how perfect the structure was in so many ways; and most, if not all, of the major changes I have had the opportunity to actually see were, IMHO a lot of work for an ugly, bastardized place to sleep.

Hexayurts set up easily (as long as there is no wind), are strong and stable, and almost dust free. When you start talking about 2 x 4's, well, yes. You might as well just build walls and a roof and nail the panels on like you would insulating a house.

The only thing I ask, is when you complete your project, let me know where you are camped. I'd like to swing by to take a look at it.

Now excuse my, I think I need to change my tampon. :roll:
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by maladroit » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:34 pm

I've seen stretched yurts with 6' tall walls that didn't fall down...but then, there wasn't much wind that year.

When you go off-script, you are doing a good thing...you're exerting self-reliance. But then it's up to you to make the final decision based on the pros and cons that people will give you in response to asking for feedback. If everyone only says "I don't know" or "I don't think it'll be OK" or points out it's no longer a tried and true solution, then you can't get mad at them for refusing to take the responsibility of the decision (and blame for any failures) off your hands.

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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:18 am

maladroit wrote:I've seen stretched yurts with 6' tall walls that didn't fall down...but then, there wasn't much wind that year.

When you go off-script, you are doing a good thing...you're exerting self-reliance. But then it's up to you to make the final decision based on the pros and cons that people will give you in response to asking for feedback. If everyone only says "I don't know" or "I don't think it'll be OK" or points out it's no longer a tried and true solution, then you can't get mad at them for refusing to take the responsibility of the decision (and blame for any failures) off your hands.
Agreed. I function as an adult, and a self-reliant one. Most of my adventures involve going well off grid w/ no external support. I have learned it's valuable to seek the experience of others and then filter out what comes back against my own knowledge base.

Just to clear the air on the "hexayurt," there are many variations listed on the appropodia page to which I linked earlier. You can stretch a standard yurt 4 feet using only three extra panels. That's pretty efficient use of material.

I have read hundreds, if not thousands of posts here. And thanks for all of them. It would never once occur to me that someone else is responsible for an innovation I try that craps out.

It does occur to me that, "Why not just build a small house?" is a snarky reply to someone who is asking whether or not internal bracing is a good idea.

I think I'll try it. With some back yard experimenting it looks very easy to do, and I believe it may make assembly easier b/c you can essentially hang the panels to a structure as you go if the wind is not strong.

I have experimented with a variety of metal strap connectors (thing Simpson Strong Ties) and am comfortable that the failure point would not be the frame itself, I don't think. KISS for me at the scene, even if I have to prefab a couple specific connectors in advance.

I may consider switching to metal studs, which are trivially easy to work with, very light, and would still supply an additional measure of stiffness.

My plans include:
1. Pre marking a tarp for layout. Lay the tarp flat and use as the pattern.
2. Assembling the internal bracing frame using pre-cut components (2x4 or else metal studs) with pre-shaped metal strap fasteners
3. Pre-taping the vertical 16" panels to the 4x8s
4. Tape the internal vertical seams as the above panels are wrapped around the periphery (temporarily staked at that point)
5. Internally tape each end roof assembly using the diagonal panels, on the ground, prior to hanging
6. Tape the external seams as each section is hung
7. Hang the center roof panels
8. Tape over the top as appropriate, w/ tape hangers.

9. Take a nap in my RV

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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:44 am

Elderberry wrote:
jimthompsonmd wrote: Hexayurts set up easily (as long as there is no wind), are strong and stable, and almost dust free. When you start talking about 2 x 4's, well, yes. You might as well just build walls and a roof and nail the panels on like you would insulating a house.

The only thing I ask, is when you complete your project, let me know where you are camped. I'd like to swing by to take a look at it.
Perhaps where we don't see eye to eye is the ease/difficulty of building a simple internal frame.
I anticipate this adding 1-2 hours--and perhaps less--to assembly time on the playa--since I will have pre-built it and then dissembled it for transport, all components will be ready-made to be screwed together. It's trivially easy with screws and connector plates.

Not sure if you are serious, but nails are a bad idea for this sort of thing. Screws, connector plates and very simple bracing are all that is required. Essentially what the internal frame does is add buckling resistance to a side wall under wind pressure. Since an extended yurt has 12-16 feet of side wall instead of 8, I don't think an internal frame can do anything but help.

Note that the lower angle of the frame is stressed in extension (i.e., as seen from the inside the joint will want to open up), so there will be a metal strap (yellow )spanning that joint; the top joint will have both compression and extension, so that brace is wood. Those braces are in addition to a strap connector at the joint itself (typical Simpson strong tie).

I'd love to have you check it out.
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by Elderberry » Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:25 am

I wasn't trying to be snakry as much as share my thoughts on the idea based on a) my conception of what a yurt is; and b) my experience seeing what people have done to them with wood bracing around the doors, poles to hold up one yurt I saw that someone decided to assemble with zipper seams. (Which at first, during the planning stages, I thought might have been a good idea. Wrong.)

I have no clue how a carpenter would attach insulation panels to a frame though thinking about it, I know they use screws to attach drywall. What you are doing is great--for you. I hope it turns out as you are expecting.

Why are you extending it in the first place?
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by inventory » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:04 pm

I think the cognitive dissonance you are running into is that most people's idea of a hexayurt (stretched or not) includes the feature that it doesn't require internal bracing because of its near-geodesic shape and the size/strength capacity of the panels. Thus the comment that "you are building something different".

I personally think that if you start with the "I want to extend the standard H12 with these panels of these sizes in these places" as you have described above then you will in fact need some sort of internal frame for it. Butt joints that could be exposed to straight-on-wind are not the sturdiest, and in my opinion a portion of your frame should be focused on making sure you don't end up with scissoring failure at these joints.

To my engineering mind the 1/4" luan as a backer on your wall and roof butt joints would be most of what you need (overlap so seams in luan and insulation don't line up). Another way to go would be bumping up to 1.5" insulation panels. The internal frame you sketched out seems like a) overkill for internal bracing and b) perhaps misses portions of those butt joints. (Gravity is not your problem here - sideways wind is.) However, I am super-intrigued by the potential benefits of setting up that way -- pop your frame up, stake it down, screw in panels, finish guying, and no tape flying about in the dusty wind!

I am also specifically curious about the 16" vertical extension. For me, this would be adding more compromise points (i.e. a ring all the way around that can collapse) than the value I got out of the added height. With the roof slope the way it is, I find in a standard yurt that once you're inside there's plenty of height except the foot right next to the wall. I may be shorter than you. :)

Please add me to the list of people who would love to come see the finished product!

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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by some seeing eye » Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:33 pm

The triangles at each joint are a good idea. Consider making the structure the plywood and framing, then just apply the panels over that, you could probably hold them in place with tape all around. You may not need plywood for the roof. The dust seal could be wide tape on the outside of the foam panels, or over your plywood.

BM is a great experiment is building and creating. Sometimes we say we thing X won't work. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong.

But the community would benefit if you took photos of what you built and report back on ePlaya if it worked. That's how the hexayurt, monkey hut and galaxy hut have become new shelters at the event.

(Of course I am guilty not taking pictures of my shade structures...)
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by Canoe » Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:53 pm

jimthompsonmd wrote:I am planning to build a stretched version of the H12 hexayurt using 4x8x1" polyisocyanurate panels. ... This would create an overall end to end point length of 20 feet, with the standard flat-side width of about 13' 10".

I am concerned that I now will have a fairly large vertical wall exposed to wind stress (64" high by 12 feet wide, versus 48"x8' for a standard hexayurt). Further, there will be some loss of the structural strength which the ring nature of a regular hexayurt provides....
I can understand wanting an internal frame for that. With such a long side, where does the wind pressure get to escape to? Only over the top as it's so far to an end. And if you've got wind crossing over it, there's potential for huge eddies, vortices and negative pressures as it encounters the opposite side.

We've been here before on eplaya. Wish I could remember the threads. If I remember right, 2x3" studs worked out well.
One way is to build a custom frame, easily assembled/disassembled, add something for some cross bracing in a few places (brace or plywood panel), and skin it with the hexyurt type panels. If you build a "longhouse" type of frame, you can angle the walls to relieve pressure out over the top: huge spill path for the pressure. See how it would size out for the general sized structure you're look at, using lengths that would skin with standard 4'x8' panels?
Here's a detail (with shortened members) of a wood frame, assembled with bolts & fender washers, skin with the sheets (secured by bolts through fender washers?), seal with foil tape (messy to disassemble) or stucco tape (low/no residue). Hexayurt type tape if you want the extra strength (even power-band around the top).
yurt - frame detail for Inca block house.jpg
With the "studs" attached securely to a plate, or use a suitable metal framing bracket, you can use the super long lag bolts to secure the sides directly to the playa. (I'd still through a web strap or two over the top where a frame is - take some of that side load to the ground independent of the wall strength; or a rope to an eye bolt into the frame).

Once built, for dust control, you can add a ground sheet inside, up the sides a foot or two, taped continuously to the walls. You could even put some foam down as a blowing wind gasket between the playa and the wall plates; the ground sheet is for fine dust.

Do remember that while surrounding structures at BRC can attenuate the wind by times, there's also ground turbulence, and wind can be come channelled and you get greater wind pressure than you'd expect from the air mass speed.

Do take a look at these simple wind loads on yurts.
viewtopic.php?f=277&t=65276

And remember that winds of 25 mph, 45 mph, 75 mph and even 100 mph are possible on the playa.
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:27 am

These are extemely helpful replies, and thank you for them.
Comments range from "overkill" to caution about wind loads, so maybe I'm somewhere in the middle.

Why a bigger yurt? Well, I guess the question is whether two yurts are less work than one large one, I guess. Baby bear.

I think when you are stretching a standard yurt, either vertically or horizontally, it's essentially the increased load on the flat wall that comes into play. Rather than double up on the thickness of polyisocyanurate rigid insulation, I'm sort of betting that 1/4" luan ply on the extended side wall will add more strength than will a thicker insulation board.

Since most of the load will be horizontal (parallel to the ground), and in a direction away from the guy lines, I think the most likely point of failure is the center of a panel (and on the 16 foot extended wall, where panels join end to end. Therefore I place the internal frame members at those mid points, to maximally prevent inward buckling. Since I then have a frame member on the inner side of the panel, which can be anchored to the guy line on the outside, I believe I will markedly increased resistance to buckling against a side wind load. Essentially every 4 feet there is either a corner or a vertical stud.

I'm not worried about attaching the panels to the frame, really. There isn't a force other than outside pressure on the panel pushing it against the bracing vertical stud.

To anchor the 2x4 vertical studs at the base, I'm just going to use a corner brace screwed into the stud at the bottom, and then a 10" nail pounded straight down through the tarp floor into the playa to prevent lateral slip against the ground.

The material cost of this internal frame is trivial, and the assembly of its precut members onsite should be equally trivial for an experienced builder. So I am essentially betting that popping up the internal frame and then wrapping it with insulation panels will go smoothly. :D I plan to tape the inside seams of all the wall panels before wrapping them around the walls, of course, and I think I will be able to do the same for each end half of the roof assembly (I bought 480 yards of the recommended 6" bifilament tape).

I think I have figured out a do-able sequence to get the outside roof seams taped and the final roof panel placed, but that's definitely the part where a comedy "How not to build at BM" video has its greatest potential--and particularly so if it's windy. OTOH, I can always crap out on the spot and build an ordinary yurt.

But how self-reliant is that, when it's someone else's idea? :mrgreen:

As we get closer to BM, and I figure out how to find people, I'll be delighted to have interested visitors, on condition that they show me their solutions. I am all about learning, and not repeating mistakes. That's not the same, in my mind, as refusing to take a chance with innovation that doesn't (so far) have a history of failure.

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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by Canoe » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:27 am

I did some calcs of the total simple profile wind loads, at 75 mph (between 14.2 and 28 lbs/sq.ft.).
Previously, I had:
  • H12 8' (4' walls) hexayurt, 1350 to 2700 lbs.
  • H18 12' (8' walls) hexayurt, 2250 to 4500 lbs.
So I just did:
  • The H22 (H18 12', 8' walls, with a 4' stretch) 2950 to 5900 lbs.
  • H12 with 64" walls and a 4' stretch, 2200 to 4400 lbs.
What I'm not clear on between your first and last posts, are you doing a 4' stretch or an 8' stretch?
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:23 pm

DSC00581 (Large) (Small).JPG
So, I built the extended hexayurt with the internal frame.
Overall happy w/ it, and posting here to see if there are any questions.
While we didn't get any horrible winds, no issues w/ the breezes we did have--esp Friday into Sat.
Very spacious. 20x14, w/ 8 ft ceilings.
The dust-free interior space of the yurt saved our Burn.

A few details:
1. Kept the wall height to 4 ft, for convenience
2. Wide, hinged door makes stooping/entering easy. Ordinary magnetic cabinet door closures, which worked well. Ply inside; polyiso outside.
3. 12 " Spax lags. Very easy and effective. I would have used all paracord w/ trucker's hitch; plenty strong. I centered these on each panel, and on the inside is a vertical stud which is lagged into playa with a 6" lag to prevent lateral movement.
4. Potential point of failure, as tested in the wind: quality of taped joints. Recommend careful cleaning w/ solvent, and careful edge tamping. In the wind, dust gets into any crack, and gradually lifts off the tape edge as it vibrates in the wind.
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:31 pm

DSC00667 (Small).JPG
View from inside.
Notice I decided the side rafters were superfluous, and simply used a vertical stud in order to have something to anchor the yurt to the ground, and support the sidewall against the wind.
I did not separately tie down the roof in any way, assuming the tension band would hold it to the side walls.
If the winds had gotten stiffer, I would have tied it down in some way, I suppose.
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by Token » Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:09 pm

That there was some mighty fine engineering. Looks great.

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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by skippy3k » Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:18 am

You didn't happen to be located around 8:05 and J, were you? We watched someone else build an internal frame yurt on Sunday. By the end, I had serious yurt envy. The winds didn't even affect it (although the same was true for our traditional hexayurts as well), and it looked to be a solid structure. We then watched him build a motorized chair, complete with remote control, erect a wireless tower, build a shade structure, etc etc. It seemed his burn was all about engineering. He was building things on into the night. Sort of cool to watch.
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Re: Stretched hexayurt: Internal frame a good idea?

Post by jimthompsonmd » Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:37 pm

We were 8:20 and K.
And nothing fancy.
Not to mention our shade structure was not worth a crap, and a couple top supports broke in the wind.

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