Dome Lift Advice

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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Dome Lift Advice

Post by rebornsw » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:49 pm

Hi, I hope this is the right place to post this, but I'm looking for advice on what the best way to get a lift on the playa for lifting domes.

My camp is looking to pick up a larger 32ft dome for our camp but the people who own it now said that it requires a lift and a ladder to setup. I've been looking around but haven't seen any topics with solid means for how to get a lift on the playa, some people say DPW or just larger camps, or renting. Does anyone have solid answers on how to do this?


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Re: Dome Lift Advice

Post by trilobyte » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:53 pm

Uh, posting in the 2012 Share Resources board was probably a poor choice for your question. I'll move it to the shelter and camping board, as that may be a better fit. i'd recommend getting radically slef reliant and renting the equipment you need, or perhaps post on the 2013 Share Resources board (or search for someone else's thread that discusses the same kind of issue) to find someone interested in sharing the cost and use on a rental.

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Re: Dome Lift Advice

Post by BBadger » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:21 pm

This topic may be of interest to you.
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Re: Dome Lift Advice

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:25 am

Mr Badger points out that search is your friend on ePlaya. If doing top down, do some engineering calculations of weight and add safety. You might look around for truss lifts and build a properly engineered ones in a triangle for top down assembly. In years past there have been camps banding together to rent heavy machinery independent of DPW. Depending on your cover material/design, the cover can benefit from machinery to get on and off.
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Re: Dome Lift Advice

Post by Token » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:52 pm

So when are you going to test build this dome in the real world to check you have all the struts, nuts, bolts, anchors and whatnot? How many impact drivers and what length/size sockets will you need?

You can try options for building it then.

BTW, I've built 30+ foot domes before with just a 24' ladder and a lot of helping hands. Machinery is not really required if you know what you're doing.

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Re: Dome Lift Advice

Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:57 pm

Machinery is not really required if you know what you're doing.
... might be the pertinent phrase.
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Re: Dome Lift Advice

Post by GreyCoyote » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:57 am

On domes up to 30 feet all you need is a strong center pole about 3 feet longer than the dome is high. We use two 4x4s end to end with a square metal sleeve over the joint for strength. The top end has a pully and a large eyebolt to which three 50 foot lengths of rope are tied. The bitter end of these ropes go to big angle-iron stakes arranged 120 degrees apart in a circle. The bottom of the pole has a metal spike to keep the pole from moving laterally. On the side of the pole is a boat winch loaded with steel cable. Cable goes up to the top of he pole, around a pully, and down the pole.

Assembling the dome becomes a simple, 2-person operation. No climbing needed and everything gets done with feet on the ground. Assemble the top pentagon, connect the cable to the spider (just a pre-made load spreader that attaches to the first set of vertexes) and crank it up to chest height. Add the next level of struts and crank again. Repeat until you have a dome hanging just off the playa in front of you, then lower it to ground.

Takes about an hour and a half to do each dome this way, and its the safest way I have found yet without resorting to on-playa hydraulics. No need for aerial antics on a ladder either, which for old duffers like me is a GOOD thing.

Even for the big dome, we only bring a 8 foot ladder. And this is only needed when we install the 2nd floor (a hanging half-moon loft) due to some poor design choices I made years ago.

If I can find pictures of the lift rig I will post them.
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Re: Dome Lift Advice

Post by Simon of the Playa » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:07 am

i have been on the crew that builds 30, 44' 60' 70' and 90' domes.

it is possible with enough people to build and lift each layer. even with a 60' (not easy, and you need a buttload of people)

you ALSO as stated above NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING....

practice that sucker BEFORE you get to the desert.

trust me on this one.

the second build will go TWICE as fast, once you are familiar with the setup...the learning curve in the hot dusty confines of Black Rock can be frustrating, to say the least.

you will probably need at least 20 people to lift that frame up near the last levels ALSO if you are skinning this thing, TIE THAT THING DOWN!!!

use GOOD zip ties or bungee or not skimp....the winds out there will shred it if it is not properly attached....or worse,it will turn into a giant parachute that flies to winnemucca.

remember, the potential for 60 mph winds does exist, do not ignore this warning.
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Re: Dome Lift Advice

Post by GreyCoyote » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:35 am

I cant underscore enough Simon's comment about assembling the complete dome, with the skin and all internals, before you get to the playa. What looks easy at home can turn into a nightmare on the playa. You might also try assembling it when you are tired and sore.

My big issue is always tools: they are as close as the garage, until you get to BM. Then they are still in the gagage and not useful.So I started "kits" of dedicated tools for the domes and other infrastructure bits. Any tool I use at home to assemble them, goes into the kit. The kit goes in the trailer.

One other thing: no dark colored tools. Seriously. Ten minutes in the sun and they are hot enough to blister. I dipped a bunch of my wrenches in light colored plasti-dip after burning the phooey out of my palm. One black crescent wrench nearly ruined my burn.

And gloves. Bring a good pair and a spare.
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