"New" shade structure material

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
Capinator
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"New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:45 pm

Hi everyone,
Long time lurker but now I feel like I have something to add. One of the things that I love about Burning Man is that, with the indulgence and help from my friends, we can turn this:
Two Tents small size.png
into this!
mist tent small size.jpg
This is a modified monkey hut with 1" x 25' main supports spaced at 3' with cross ribs. There is also a 1" x 25' section at each end on the diagonal to push out the ends, which really made the whole thing tight as a drum. The main area under the half cylinder is 15' x 15'.

The cover is attic radiant barrier material. This is basically a lightweight poly tarp that has been aluminized. It is claimed to be 97% reflective. We found it to create a MUCH cooler space than our 70% aluminet. Our theme camp gift was a misting tent. With two mist nozzles and a cheap box fan, this tent was COLD during the middle of the afternoon. We had people come by and stay for hours at a time.

The material comes in 4 or 5 foot rolls, so there is a lot of taping involved. We used 6" bi-filament tape on the inside of the seams, and 3" aluminum tape on the outside. We found the seams to be as strong or stronger than the tarp itself. The structure held up very well in the high winds this year. We had no issue other than dust, since the structure is unsealed at the bottom. Because it has the zippered half cone at either end, the shelter also provided a lot of respite from the high winds we had this year. We preferred hanging out in these structures over our main structure because they were so much cooler.

I've seen some discussion of this material as a cover for a standard camping tent, but never as a primary material for a tent. So, I wanted to share our experience. These worked out much better than I had hoped. We were thrilled with them in every way, although we will work on sealing the bottoms from dust next year. They were also less than half the cost of aluminet, although there is a LOT of taping labor involved. I'm happy to answer any questions. If you are really interested, I can post some dimensioned drawings or shoot you a Sketchup file.
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Token
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Token » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:57 pm

Cool Stuff. Pun intended.

How does the cost compare to Aluminet, considering the material and two types of tape used?

Capinator
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:33 pm

We bought 1500 square feet of radiant barrier for $220. So that is 14.6 cents per square foot. Each tent uses 715 sq ft to cover, and about $40 of expensive bifilament tape (and some aluminum tape). So about $150 per tent cover (not including PVC).

We also bought 840 square feet of aluminet this year (with taped edges and grommets) for $355 (42.3 cents per square foot). That is the best price I could find on aluminet. So, 715 square feet of aluminet would be about $300.

So, aluminet is about twice as expensive.

Taping takes a while. It is also complicated when you need to tape the cone to the cylinder, making a 3D shape. That took some finesse. Also - it is unbelievably hot taping outside with the sun reflecting off the tarp. Wear sunscreen!

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Ratty
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Ratty » Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:35 pm

$180 for 1,000 sq ft at HD.
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Token
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Token » Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:52 pm

Not bad at all.

I may look into this for my dome project on my ranch.

Much Obliged

Capinator
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:12 pm

I've been thinking about this for a dome cover. I'd love to make a dome, but I don't think that is as high on the list as it used to be. I don't know if me building yet another dome at BM adds anything at this point. Although I've always wondered if you could hang a second floor in a dome. I've never seen anyone do that, but it seems like they should be strong enough.

If you got the 5 foot wide roll and did half darts instead of full darts, you wouldn't have much waste. If you get around to it, please post pictures of your big shiny dome! I think the 5 foot wide rolls are only at atticfoil.com. Everywhere else only seems to have 4 feet. Also - most suppliers were happy to send me samples before I bought anything. Not all of them were the same, so the samples were a good idea.

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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by gaminwench » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:03 pm

I lived in a camp for several years that hung a full sized trampoline at the top of the dome to make a 'loft'; we often had 12-15 people up there, fun times!
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

hooker
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by hooker » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:50 pm

How did you seam the bottom edges? Tape? I assume you also added gromets by hand. Do you think this stuff is much better than a heavy silver tarp? I'm looking for a new covering for my monkey hut next year. I hope to make it taller so I can fit a taller tent inside ( 10 x 10 Kodiak). I was going to just buy a bigger tarp, but maybe this radiant barrier is the way to go.
JR

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Roundabout
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Roundabout » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:27 pm

Did you use the perforated product or the non-perforated? And why?
Did you ultimately choose the product sold by atticfoil.com? And why?
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lucky420
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by lucky420 » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:03 am

bumping for future interest :coffee:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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sadie
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by sadie » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:14 am

can this stuff be sewn instead of taped?
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Capinator
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Thu Oct 01, 2015 12:36 pm

Hi everyone,
I'll try to answer those questions:

Seams - we used 6 inch bi-filament on the inside and 3 inch aluminum on the outside.

Edges - where the tarp ended in an edge, we folded 6 inch bi-filament over the edge (3 inches on the inside, 3 on the outside) and protected the outside 3 inches with aluminum tape. For grommets we used plastic "tarp grabbers" from Amazon. These were very easy to use, and held up well. If you use a lot they become expensive at about $1 per piece. I think that brass grommets would work fine and be much cheaper if you are willing to put in the work.

Sewing - For seams, I think that taping is much easier than sewing, because you are working with very large pieces. Tape is much more expensive. We did sew in the zippers. The edges where we sewed in the zippers had been reinforced by folding bi-filament tape over them as mentioned above. The sewing held up fine. I don't know how well a sewn seam would work - probably pretty well. I'm sure the vendors would be happy to send you a sample to test.

Perforated - we used the perforated type. Mostly we used that because the 5 foot width is only available in perforated, and we wanted to limit the seams as much as possible. The vendor claimed that the perforated is waterproof, but caveated that it wasn't really intended for long term outdoor use. I imagine that over time the perforations would enlarge under tension and be big enough to leak. I did test a piece overnight holding water over a bowl, and no water came through. That is not real world, but it does mean I would expect fairly minor leaking if any, at least when new.

I did end up buying from atticfoil.com. They were the only one with a 5 foot width. None of the samples I had from any vendor seemed moopy at all. However, some had laminated aluminum, and the atticfoil seemed to have deposited aluminum. It was much more difficult to scrape any bits of aluminum off of the atticfoil then the laminated aluminum samples. So, although no sample seemed moopy, under duress the atticfoil seemed the least moopy.

Versus grey/silver tarp - the silver/grey tarp I have seen has never been the least bit reflective. They seem to be grey only because that is vaguely silver in color and silver would actually reflect. Seems to me that grey is just a lighter shade of black, and black would be the absolute worst color tarp for a sun shade. I don't think those grey tarps reflect much, and I have always felt heat radiating from the bottom of them. The radiant barrier tarp was amazing in terms of heat radiating into the inside of the structure. There was none. The inside of the tarp was cool to the touch. It was much more effective than aluminet over white tarp, which we use on another structure, and is probably the next best thing.

Let me know any other questions!

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Akela
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Akela » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:21 pm

I made a tent cover in 2014 out of the same material from the same vendor, using detachable sections fastened together with adhesive-backed velcro strips. It has held up great the last two burns, and I definitely intend to keep using it. It keeps my tent cooler, darker, and less dusty than my neighbors', shed a lot of the pre-event rain last year, and has never caught wind or come undone. It's an inexpensive product, easy to work with, and moop-free as far as I've seen. I definitely recommend it for a tent cover and was curious about scaling up to a shade structure or dome cover in the future, so I'm glad to hear that it worked well for you.

Image

hooker
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by hooker » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:52 pm

Capinator,
I'm thinking of using this new stuff on a modified monkey hut. My current monkey hut uses 1 inch PVC in 20 foot lengths. I have it spaced every five feet. I hope to expand these PVC supports to a 30 foot length. Do you think I'll need to move them closer together, as you have ( 3 feet between ribs)? I hope to put a 10 x 10 Kodiak tent inside it. Those are 6.5 feet tall, hence my need for a tall shade structure. I assembled a 30 foot length of PVC and staked it down 20 feet end to end on the ground. It worked, but was pretty shaky. I plan to run two ropes from rib to rib, to help keep things taught. But I wonder if I need heavier PVC for such a large arc in every rib. I mostly worry about the ribs collapsing under the force of all that wind. My monkey hut has been terrific with a big silver tarp. But I'd really like something tall for a tent. Anyone built shade with 30 foot ribs? Did you get by with 1 inch PVC?

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burn_shady
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by burn_shady » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:24 pm

Capinator, I don't understand the "on the diagonal to keep things taught". Can you maybe post a diagram or pic of what you mean?

I too tried a taping based cover for this year's burn. Tip #1: If possible do ALL taping before you're in a desert where the constant dusting negates the adhesive of the tape.

I used soft tyvek in a 5ft roll with clear packing tape. It worked very well, it's lightweight and very tough. (Soft tyvek is a more cloth-like version of house wrap tyvek or the tyvek used for fedex envelopes.) I'm not sure that I'd do a whole MH with it, but it worked well for the franken-dome that I made (essentially a small half dome on stilts).

Hooker, while Capinator may have some different answers that I'd like to hear as well, I have experience with scaling up a MH suitable for enclosing a large, tall tent like you're talking about. Its exactly what I did this year. My ribs were 24' each, still spaced 5' apart. However, my ribs are built in segments. Each rib comprises 2 5' segments that themselves fit into a 5' horizontal segment. For the ribs I use a 5' long, 1.25" diameter pipe on the bottom half and a 5' long 1" pipe for the top half of the rib. The top 5' long horizontal segment is usually a 1.25" piece as well. This staggering of 1.25 and 1 pipes is for a few reasons. Mainly, the 1" pipes are exactly where I want there to be more bend and the 1.25" are exactly where I want less bend. Also, by alternating between the two sizes, I can use the fact that 1" nicely slips inside 1.25" pipes to make really strong connections throughout (just be sure to insert the 1" at least 3" into the larger pipe). To make it even easier, I use paracord sandwiched between the 1.25" and 1" as I insert one into the other to keep things in place (I've described this before, if this is unclear, search for it or message me... it really is the simplest, fastest, cheapest and most secure way that I've found to do it). I use plain 5' segments of pipes to make things uniform and simple. Even though I'm using 5 pipes of 5' in length, the overlap for re-joining the pipes uses up a foot of length between both ribs and the center section so I end up with an arch of 24' in length. This was just large enough to fit over our >6' tall tent that had a footprint of 10'x14' and enclosed enough extra space to walk past the tent within the shade structure itself.

Lastly, I feel like I'll be saying this everywhere around here for a while, LAG SCREWS ROCK. I ended up using a combination of lagscrews and rebar this year and it made for blissfully easy installation and removal. MH ribs still really benefit from the upright strength of the rebar but the screws absolutely hold better and are easier to work with. I thought I'd brought 2x the amount of lag screws that I would need and I used all but maybe 3 of them. There's just no better way to fasten something to the playa surface at the scale that is needed for this.

For full-on overkill, I ordered some metal tent post holders (imagine a flat 5"x5" piece of plate metal with a hole on each corner and a hollow cylinder welded to the middle for the tent pole to go in). I then paid my neighbor in beer to drill out 1/2" holes in the plates in the center of where the cylinder was located. With that setup, I could drive in my 3' rebar to a modest depth of under a foot down, slip the drilled out tent post holder over it and then use a couple smallish lag screws to secure the tent post holder plate to the ground. The pvc then slips over the rebar and into the tent post holder cylinder. (I'm skipping a few things but that's the gist of it)

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Ratty
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Ratty » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:40 pm

For full-on overkill, I ordered some metal tent post holders (imagine a flat 5"x5" piece of plate metal with a hole on each corner and a hollow cylinder welded to the middle for the tent pole to go in). I then paid my neighbor in beer to drill out 1/2" holes in the plates in the center of where the cylinder was located. With that setup, I could drive in my 3' rebar to a modest depth of under a foot down, slip the drilled out tent post holder over it and then use a couple smallish lag screws to secure the tent post holder plate to the ground. The pvc then slips over the rebar and into the tent post holder cylinder. (I'm skipping a few things but that's the gist of it)
Hooker, Pictures or it didn't happen. OK. I'm sure it happened but you lost me. Can you go out to the storage shed, dig through your dusty stuff, assemble a mock tie-down and get a picture? No hurry. I'll just wait here. Thanks
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by hooker » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:02 am

Burn_Shady, thanks for the thorough write up. I really like your design. I need to get some 1.25 inch pipe and try out alternating with 1 inch pipe. I"m hoping to sleep in a Kodiak tent which is 6 feet 6 inches tall. I'll have to set it up and see if it will fit under these ribs.

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Ratty
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Ratty » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:11 am

Now I just feel silly I've been sitting here for 12 hours waiting for the wrong guy. Burn-shady... YOU are the one that I'm wait for. I need you to post a photograph or a drawing of your tie-down set-up.
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Capinator
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:45 am

Hi all,
Sorry for not replying sooner - I haven't looked at this thread for a while.

@hooker - we have a monkey hut with 30' 1" PVC ribs at a little over 3 feet spacing. It did great in 2014, bu this year, with the wind, it almost flattened. We had to tie it to my truck to keep it up. Spaced at 5' would be even weaker. We are currently thinking about abandoning that hut in favor of the new design that uses 25' ribs and 3' spacing. The new huts were not nearly as impacted by the wind. To be fair, there are probably a couple of factors that made the old hut less wind worthy. First, it was perpendicular to the wind, instead of parallel like the new huts. Second, it was covered in aluminet and tarp which is both heavier than the new material, and probably catches more wind because of the shape of the aluminet. All that said, I would be leary of going back to 30' ribs. Have a backup plan (a truck to tie it to).

@burn shady - I've attached the pic to show the diagonal piece. We improvised that because the half cone ends were a little "floppy". With the diagonal rib pushing out on the half cone, it really tightened up and there was no wind flapping.
diag.jpg
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Capinator
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:46 pm

For anyone still watching this topic, there's a post on this blog

http://thisisblackrockcity.blogspot.com ... 15_56.html

About a lot of cool structure ideas, including ours. We are waaaaay down towards the bottom. Some good pictures of our new structure, and also the big one that did not fare so well this year.

Thanks Phillipe!

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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by SquireM » Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:11 pm

I bought an 18'X18' teepee for my regional event and am hoping to modify it for my first trip to BRC. I was thinking I would make a reflective skin to go over the outside of the nylon using the same pole and staking out an extra foot or so to maintain an air gap.

This Attic Foil seems like it would work perfectly. The sides of the Teepee are just 8 triangular panels so I can simply do a little math, cut and tape.

A few questions:
Which foil did you use? Single or double sided? Vapor barrier I assume?
Since the tent uses 8 ground attachment points, do you think that would be enough for the foil cover?
Should I reinforce the lines that will hold the foil cover? I could run PVC from the peak of the pole to the ground, this would add a lot of expense and material but if it would keep the foil from blowing away...
The teepee has vents at the top, I was assuming I would just cover these to help keep the dust out, but perhaps I could build something similar using the foil... Would you recommend attempting this or just keeping it as simple as possible?

Thanks

kevinwells
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by kevinwells » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:25 pm

I spent a couple of afternoons in these delightfully cool "hunky mutts". most of our camp (lamby camp) hunkered down in them during some of the sandstorms last year. I can attest to their functional coolness. thanks for posting, it's a great reminder of a very effective product and some very fun and convivial visits!

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ZigZag
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by ZigZag » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:22 am

Capinator:
Hopefully you are still on this thread.

I am interested in building a hut using the attic material and have a few questions:
1) How do you attach the material to the ribs or is it just pulled taught?
2) Is the front/back edge attached to the PVC?
3) How did you anchor the edges to the ground? It looks like you have a pvc pipe running the length of the hut on the ground, Is that staked into the playa? How is the material attached to that?
4) Is that attic material pretty strong? Does it hold up to folding, set up, wind battering, and re-use? Did you have problems with tears?
5) Did those grabber grommets hold up pretty well?
6) I am looking at a 30 foot hut, do you think 5 feet spacing between ribs is too wide?

Thanks for the awesome idea!! :)
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Capinator
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:30 pm

Hi ZigZag,
We are working on a modified design this year so some answers are changing.

1) How do you attach the material to the ribs or is it just pulled taught?

Last year we had one monolithic cover that stretched over the frame and was staked to the ground. It was not directly attached to the frame. It was hard to make and did not seal well, so when it was windy, dust came in. This year we are building the top in 5 pieces. 2 cones. 2 end caps. 1 main cover. All of these pieces are flat and should be easy to make. I can't explain everything in words, so you will need to visualize a little. The floor tarp goes down first. The frame is built on top of the floor. The end caps are bungied to the frame and staked to the ground. The cones are attached and staked to the ground. Finally the main top is attached and staked to the ground. Do all that in order and you should get a very large, well sealed tent. I hope the attached drawing helps.
2016 small tent exploded.png
2) Is the front/back edge attached to the PVC?

I don't understand the question, but hopefully my first answer covers this.

3) How did you anchor the edges to the ground? It looks like you have a pvc pipe running the length of the hut on the ground, Is that staked into the playa? How is the material attached to that?

last year we staked with 12" nails and they worked great. This year we will not have pvc running along the long edges and staked through them. It is unnecessary. Plant a nail about half way and slide the 10' sections over that nail. hopefully this drawing will help.
2016 small tent frame.png
4) Is that attic material pretty strong? Does it hold up to folding, set up, wind battering, and re-use? Did you have problems with tears?

The attic material was very strong. It was in no danger of tearing. It is impossible to tear with your hands.

5) Did those grabber grommets hold up pretty well?

They held up very well.

6) I am looking at a 30 foot hut, do you think 5 feet spacing between ribs is too wide?

We spaced at 3' and we will do again this year. 5 might be fine but my gut says 3.
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ZigZag
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by ZigZag » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:25 am

Thank you very much for the informed and detailed explanations. This is so very helpful and your new designs are amazing.

I like the idea of using 12" nails instead of rebar. That seems safer and probably easier to extract at the end of the event.

The floor tarp seems like it will really keep the dust down. I assume that is just a plain tarp since you don't need the radiant qualities of the attic material.

This being my first burn, and since I am camping solo, I will probably keep it simple this year but I am trying to be forward thinking in that I want something I can build on and grow in years to come.

I'll start construction on mine soon, if (when) I get stuck, you'll probably hear from me again. :D
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are" Joseph Campbell

Capinator
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:19 pm

Hi ZigZag,
If you are on your own, you may be happier with something like this.



A commercial tent will be easier, cheaper, and less frustrating. But the big tents are awesome to hang out in with others. The big tents require probably a minimum of four people to build. I've sent you the sketchup file. It is free and worth every penny of the purchase price. Good luck! If/when we get placed I'll let you know where we are so you can come check them out.

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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by Capinator » Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:37 pm

oh - and yes, only the main cover and the cones are shiny. Everything else is white tarp or whatever you have.

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ZigZag
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by ZigZag » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:18 pm

Wow, that is so cool! Wish I'd seen that earlier. Love the fan Idea.

I still like the idea of a monkey hut to give some shade and wind break for bigger spaces,

I was working on the framework for the monkey hut today and had some problems. Any advice?

See my post at viewtopic.php?f=277&t=77067
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are" Joseph Campbell

hooker
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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by hooker » Tue May 24, 2016 10:51 pm

Capinator,
Do you have any drawings for how you pieced together the cones? I'm having a hell of a time figuring out how to cut 4 foot sections into triangles that I can tape together to form a cone. I really want to try this out. I think the cones will be key in keeping things shady in the early morning when I want to sleep.
Thanks,
Jason

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Re: "New" shade structure material

Post by hooker » Tue May 24, 2016 10:55 pm

I had an idea that might help keep the end cones rigid. If you ran miltiple ropes from rib to rib and then out to the edge of the cones, these would help hold up the cone. Your design currently has two ropes running the length of the hut. Add another 2 or 4 and I think the cones would have plenty of support in a wind storm. This might be overkill, but I'm definitely going to anchor at least the two lines that run down the top of the hut. I've anchored huts with lines like this before and it definitely keeps things solid in a wind storm.
Jason

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