Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

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vinaych_22
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Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by vinaych_22 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:08 pm

I am thinking of building a 36’X30’ shade structure based on 1” EMT conduits. In my first year, I created a 10X10 shade structure as discussed in https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic.php?t=78129 Last year, I redid the shade structure and increased the size to 24’X20’X8’ with all the roof poles at 10’ length and legs at 8’ length. This year, I am planning to extend it to 36’X30’X8. I have the below questions and I would appreciate if anyone can answer these questions
  • Foot pads?: We used footpads to anchor each of the legs. We do have 12 ratchet straps to hold down the structure so foot pads are primarily to hold the legs in place and for the legs to not sink into the ground. However, we did not have enough lag screws to have 2 per leg. So we had to use just one lag screw for some legs. During windy times the legs kind of rotated around that one lag screw and were bent into some weird angles. We were able to twist it back and add another lag-screw. It did not seem to have long-lasting effect though. We are planning to use two lag screws for each footpad this time around. However, I am worried if this approach makes the legs too rigid and if we should go for the popular route of placing the legs over a lagscrew/rebar
  • 12X20 tarp vs 12X10 tarp?. We bought a 12X20 tarp from amazon. The dimensions of this tarp were very close/slightly over the spec dimensions and our ball-bungees were 11”. The tarps were not very taut and they flapped a lot during windy times and we had to re-tie the tarp with multiple bungee loops to make it tight. It was fine after that. This time around to reduce the sail, all the new tarps I got are 10’X12’ from ysbw which are typically smaller than the spec dimension and I am confident would not create a sail. The questions is if I should replace the current 12’X20’ with 10’X12’ tarps. It would require more bungees but I think would reduce the wind impact on the shade structure.
  • What is the best way to erect this structure? Last year, we prepared the entire roof with tarps and had 9 people lift each leg up. It took us sometime to align the legs properly. I am not sure if this approach works this time. I would really prefer to put on the tarps on the ground. So here is what I am thinking.
    • Prepare all ratchet straps with 11’ length before starting the shade structure
    • Arrange the roof without tarps
    • Set the foot pads at every intersection of the poles and stake them down with two lag screws. This is to avoid aligning problem after lifting the roof up
    • Screw-in all the lagscrews in their respective locations: 6’ from each leg, perpendicular to the side. Anchor all the intersections to the lagscrews. This is to provide stability to the structure when lifting it up
    • Have 12/15 people lift up the structure as quickly as possible and insert the legs.
  • How to reinforce the center legs?: There will be 4 center legs which I am not sure how to tie down. I am thinking of just using a vertical guy-line and tying it to the lagscrews used to anchor the footpads. Will this be sufficient?
  • Are the tarps good enough to keep the roof together?: Should I use some rope to reinforce each 10’X12’ portion using diagonal connections? I might be being paranoid here, but I read in some other post that the connectors pulled away from the poles and it was impossible to connect them back.
Below is the sketchup diagram of the shade structure
shade_structure_for_eplaya.png
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BBadger
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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by BBadger » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:32 pm

Foot-pads: If the foot pad has a hole where the pipe gets inserted is hollow near the end, could you just drill the foot-pad into the ground through a hole in the bottom where the pipe would slide in? Then it would only use one, and the foot pad would serve its same purpose. You could also drill a hole yourself.

Bigger vs smaller tarps: Smaller tarps will have more air gaps to allow air to pass though, but require more work. Bungees aren't that expensive and are a good investment. It's also nice to not have the middle of the tarp on top of a horizontal support pipe. Remember that you can also adjust the spacing of your pipes to accommodate the tarps you're using too.

How to support legs: maybe designate some panels as "walls" and reinforce them with the ratchet/guy lines and put dividers or tables or something up around them so people aren't tempted to walk through them. You can also drill holes in the legs/pipes and put a bolt through. Maybe for those, drill 2-lag screws to hold them to the floor.
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pappachuck
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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by pappachuck » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:15 pm

You can use a huge Military Net Camo as shade and first barrier against dust storm.
http://www.camonettingstore.com/24x40-u ... o-netting/
Then on the sides you just need poles, cables and Tarp. It is like setting up half a tent.

This gives you a full cover from the sun and protection against dust storms.
Military surplus is so cheap.

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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by Papa Bear » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:13 pm

Most of my experience has been with carports, though I've helped with a couple of flat-tops, but in either case I've never seen footpads twist around the lag screw. Did you have them screwed down flush and tight? If you want to prevent that entirely, you'd probably do just fine with a large nail or tent peg rather than a second lag screw, since it's really just there to impede lateral movement.

With respect to the center legs, a ratchet strap from the top of a leg down to the lag screw in the footpad is how we do our interior legs in cases where we've got a number of carports connected in a row - seems to work fine.

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sparr
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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by sparr » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:32 pm

With an aspect ratio so close to 1:1, I have to ask what drives the rectangle-ness of your plan? You will save a lot of organizational and logistical headaches down the line if you make it 30x30 or 36x36 instead.
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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by DoctorIknow » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:48 am

Try 7" bungees. Hard to find, but they're out there.

For raising the roof, I've never seen it done any other way than in the link below. If it's too windy, wait until it isn't. Raising these flat roof structures should never be hurried and four people doing it is kinda a must when I raise my 12x20.

https://formandreform.com/blackrock-har ... tructions/

vinaych_22
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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by vinaych_22 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:55 am

Thanks everyone for the replies
@BBadger,
1) I like the idea of drilling the hole in the middle. Does this have any advantage other than reducing the number of lagscrews I need to use? My feeling is that it would be less rigid which I think is a good thing. It doesnt have holes right now, so I need to drill them myself.

2) I think I am going to stick with smaller tarps. I havent heard of any significant negatives of using the smaller tarps. I know it will have more gaps than if I had used big tarps. But I dont want to run into the flapping issue again. It was terrifying!!

3) I like the idea of walls.. Maybe we can put some tables/hammocks right next to these walls to discourage people from walking through the "walls"

@pappachuck, I dont know about that. I dont want to change our entire design now. We already have most of the parts for the flat roof structure

@Papa Bear,
We did. The foot pad has three holes and we put the lag screw in only one. So it was kind of imbalanced and the wind pushed it. The only way it could react to the wind was by twisting around the lag screw and it did.

re:center legs, that was my original idea. I might still do it for some of the legs. I also like @Bbadger's idea of making some virtual walls. If I can do that, I will do that.

@sparr,
Our kodiak tents are 10X10 and we need the shade structure portions to be larger than that. Otherwise it would be a pain to setup the tent, thats the reason we went with 10X12 AND we knew that blackrock hardware sells shade structures with that aspect ratio and they work. Now we are stuck with this aspect ratio because we already bought parts for this.

@DoctorIknow
I did find 6" bungees on ysbw and am ordering some. re: raising the roof, I dont know how hard it would be to attach the tarp after setting up the legs. Wind will make it hard no? But I might have to do this considering the number of early entry passes we get. We might not have enough people to support all the legs at once.

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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by DoctorIknow » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:16 pm

Hammocks on a conduit shade structure?
No way. Forget it.
Which brings up another aspect of the basic rules for conduit shade structures:
"Walls"
Not sure what you mean by walls vs. virtual walls,, but solid tarp should only be used for the roof.
Mesh or camo for the sides.
Seriously....

If you don't have enough people to raise the roof safely, ie; one person for each leg, when you
are ready to raise it, ask people from camps around you to help, especially if they have a carport or conduit structure and have done it before. Things can go wrong, even with no wind. I once saw one upright conduit slip out of the connector and hit someone in the head.

I've never had people not be happy to join in on a task that will only take a few minutes. One year, a group of campers had spent an entire day setting up a 25' four frequency dome (1" conduit) and discovered it was mostly on some other theme camps "property." In five minutes they gathered about 40 people who picked it up and walked it to where it needed to go.

Don't ever hesitate to ask for help when safety is an issue.

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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by motskyroonmatick » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:39 pm

I hang hammocks from a square tubing shade structure but it is where 2 independent structures meet and so there are twice the legs and horizontals there making a sturdy spine. I'd never hang a hammock from a 1" conduit shade framework.
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vinaych_22
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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by vinaych_22 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:13 am

@DoctorIKnow,
DoctorIknow wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:16 pm
Hammocks on a conduit shade structure?
No way. Forget it.
Which brings up another aspect of the basic rules for conduit shade structures:
"Walls"
Not sure what you mean by walls vs. virtual walls,, but solid tarp should only be used for the roof.
Mesh or camo for the sides.
Seriously....
I should have been clearer. We are not going to attach the hammocks to the poles. We have standalone hammocks like the one in: https://www.rakuten.com/shop/factory-di ... 346102Red/ . The idea is to put some obstacle where we tie down the center legs to one another. And yes, we are using solid tarp only for the roof and 70% mesh cloth for the sides.
vinaych_22 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:55 am
are ready to raise it, ask people from camps around you to help, especially if they have a carport or conduit structure and have done it before. Things can go wrong, even with no wind. I once saw one upright conduit slip out of the connector and hit someone in the head.
Oh my, that is scary and it did not even occur to me that could happen. The more I think about it, the more I feel like raising the whole structure at once is a bad idea. I am leaning towards the instructions provided by blackrock hardware. Need to plan out in advance the order of constructing different sections. I want to make a plan where we wont have to depend on others. Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it.

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Re: Help with 36'X30' EMT conduit flat top shade structure

Post by Ratty » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:56 am

I tie my shade together with paracord while it's still on the ground. That little bit of precaution will keep it together even after it's up. (I do leave the cord on.)
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