Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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sstevens-mcgeever
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Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by sstevens-mcgeever » Mon May 21, 2018 5:52 pm

Looking into building a 20x30 conduit shade structure for our common space this year. Wondering what size tarps people have used--smaller tarps will have more grommets per area which makes me think they may hold up better, but they will also create more gaps that let light in. Larger tarps would tension the whole structure together. What do you use? 10x10? 10x20? 20x20? 20x30?
Silver tarps will reflect the most heat--has anyone with colored tarps (yellow or red for instance) noticed a difference?

Also, it seems most people cut the conduit down to have shorter legs--why? Catches less wind? Has anyone left the legs the full 10 feet? I'd love to have a high ceiling so our tall camp members can spin poi (not on fire :) ) inside the common area without fearing hitting the ceiling.

Finally: feet--I like the idea of putting lag screws through canopy feet and then attaching a handful of ratchet straps at the corners better than pounding rebar to slide each leg over. Is there a structural reason to go with the rebar??? We've used carports in the past and ratcheted them down with straps and staked in the feet with success, I was planning on doing the same with the conduit but began reading various instructions take called for rebar. If you've used lag screws successfully--what size?

Thank you in advance for your hard earned wisdom! Come by Camp Fun-Do for thank you hugs and fondue!

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Popeye
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by Popeye » Tue May 22, 2018 2:23 am

Shorter uprights are easier to put up- you don't need a ladder.
If you use feet check the hole size, make sure your lag bolts fit.
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fernley1
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by fernley1 » Tue May 22, 2018 7:16 am

On my 20x20 flat shade structure, I use 4 10x10 tarps, less wind loading when it get super windy.

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DrCook
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by DrCook » Thu May 24, 2018 12:51 pm

We used feet and lag bolts with ratchet straps, the 12" and 14" lags fit perfectly into the feet holes, no washer required. 18" lags that are 1/2" diameter would be too large for the holes. If you don't want to have the guy at Home Depot make a hundred cuts of chain link for the lags, you can buy 3/8" climbing anchors, we used these: https://www.backcountrygear.com/zinc-pl ... btech.html. This setup worked very well for us

asr9754
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by asr9754 » Thu May 24, 2018 2:13 pm

If you get 3 10x20 tarps you can cover your 20x30, and it also gives you future options for different configurations.

I like a white roof tarp--I think white actually reflects better than gray/silver but who knows?
Aluminet or mesh tarps breathe better, but don't protect from rain. You just have to decide and pick what works for your budget. Sidewall mesh tarps are nice for extra shade and dust protection. Whatever you pick will work.

I have done 8ft and 10ft tall versions....the 10 footer is definitely wobblier and harder to assemble.

Slipping the leg tube over a rebar stake is not really that great. A Lag thru the footplate is NOT ENOUGH to hold down your structure. The poles can blow out of the feet. Consider the Duct-tape lashing method and definitely add ratchet straps to corners. PS don't hook the ratchet strap through the eyebolt of your connector pieces.

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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by motskyroonmatick » Mon May 28, 2018 8:13 pm

We do 10 feet tall on our Bar shade but..... We start with it raised on 7 foot legs so that installing the power distribution and lights is easier. We then use these handy sleeves I made out of fence top rail sections that slide over the conduit and 3 foot shorties to raise the shade to its final height. Works great. There are more extreme forces on 10 foot tall shades so it is necessary to tie down really well. I use custom made shade cloth and have pieces made to fit my individual shade structures. Full size with no gaps.
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pedroescobar
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by pedroescobar » Mon May 28, 2018 9:19 pm

What feet are everyone using with lag bolts? I’d prefer not to Rebar either.

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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by motskyroonmatick » Tue May 29, 2018 9:41 am

I use tennis balls as feet-- Cut open enough with one slit so you can pac man mouth them over the bottom of the poles. I use the lag bolt and chain method with paracord to secure every external upright down. I stopped using rebar inside legs after the first time I did it. It is integral to some structures but not for me the way I do mine. Lag bolts are hella awesome compared to rebar. It's up to you if you want to buy an impact driver and impact sockets as most people do or if you are good with hand tools for sinking them. Some people do that too.
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Zubeneschamali
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by Zubeneschamali » Tue May 29, 2018 10:31 am

We went with the black rock 12 X 20 and added another 12 X 20 to it, 8 foot legs. Silver tarps fit with about a 6" gap on all sides. Grommets set every 16 or 18". We added mesh sides set at 45 degrees on 2 sides. Still using the rebar inside the legs, and we added tiedowns at the corners and center pole. So its pretty stock and it worked as expected for 10 days last year.

DoctorIknow
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by DoctorIknow » Thu May 31, 2018 4:32 am

Forget feet.
  • If your conduit is 1", get a 1 1/8" spade bit (or a 1 1/16" if you can find one)
    Get some 2x3 or 2x4 and cut correct number of "feet", each about 4" long.
    Drill holes about 3/4" deep.
    Assemble conduit structure, once upright with all legs attached, put the wood feet under the upright conduit legs.
    Use 18" lag screws with chain links or 3/4" mule tape on every leg to attach ratchet straps or mule tape.
    Tighten that thing down! No need to overtighten, let it flex a little,,,,check tension daily.
    Don't forget at least minimal "X" cross bracing in a few places. (I even cross brace the roof as I love handling the sensuous mule tape)
mule on lag.JPG
spade bit 1 18.JPG
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krly
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by krly » Thu May 31, 2018 4:12 pm

Would "angling" sidewalls help in windy conditions ? Like using a 10' tarp on a 7' high structure and lagging down the bottom edge that is pulled out and taut (roughly 45 degrees).

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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by DoctorIknow » Thu May 31, 2018 5:09 pm

DoctorIknow wrote: If your conduit is 1", get a 1 1/8" spade bit (or a 1 1/16" if you can find one)
I was wrong.
To be safe, as your conduit might differ from mine, use a 1 1/4" spade bit.

There is no reason to make the hole be snug around the conduit, especially as even kiln dried 2x4 will get what moisture remains sucked out of them on the playa.

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Ratty
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by Ratty » Thu May 31, 2018 7:38 pm

Krly, When it's hot we peel back openings in our side tarps to let the breeze through. When it's windy we button up tight to keep the dust out. the front of our shade is either all open or half open at all times. If your camp is facing the 'man', the wind hits your back. This is a loose generalization that works for the middle section of the city.
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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by motskyroonmatick » Thu May 31, 2018 9:42 pm

krly wrote:Would "angling" sidewalls help in windy conditions ? Like using a 10' tarp on a 7' high structure and lagging down the bottom edge that is pulled out and taut (roughly 45 degrees).
Many people do side walls with good results. I do not. If I were to do side walls I would angle them at a 45 degree angle and secure the shit out of them.

The reason I don't do sidewalls as the Mayor of a camp of 50 is that I believe they add huge side and top load forces to the supporting structure under heavy wind(1"conduit structure with factory made fittings). I've been in numerous big wind storms on playa and seen other camps and had parts of my camp torn apart by wind. I want my shade to be as close to bomb proof as possible so that I can take care of other small things during a big wind storm. If I have to neutralize the failure of a shade structure in the midst of a wind storm it will be dangerous, stressful and in the end there would be vastly diminished shade in camp. I'd like to avoid that so my hazard and potential failure mitigation is to not do sidewalls. I do make my flat shade structures wider and longer if I want more shade.
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DoctorIknow
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by DoctorIknow » Thu May 31, 2018 10:38 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:
The reason I don't do sidewalls as the Mayor of a camp of 50 is that I believe they add huge side and top load forces to the supporting structure under heavy wind(1"conduit structure with factory made fittings).
I get that.

I figured 10 foot 90% shade (mesh) "tarp" stretched out all the way from the 8' conduit height (is about a 40degree angle and the distance on the ground from the structure to the end of the tarp is about 6') would be a great additional shaded space, and it was a very useful space.

What I didn't count on was it absorbing maybe 50% of the most head on wind I've encountered on the playa...(I think it was two years ago before the gate opened).

I had used 14" lags to hold down only two edges, and one was pulled out pretty quickly. In the middle of the whiteout, I impacted in 18" lag screws and they held.

Even with the shade absorbing a lot of wind, my tent was the most stressed I'd ever seen it (15 burns for that tent) and without the shade angled in front of my front door, I have no doubt my tent would have snapped or bent it's steel poles.

I was also surprised at the amount of playa "dust" the shade filtered. When the white out and windstorm passed, there must have been a pound of playa in its pores....

Conclusion: with very high wind hitting straight on, I did not notice the shade structure struggling at all. I had "X" braces on three sides, and that might have spread the stress of that "wall" of mesh at a 40degree angle to the conduit frame.

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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by motskyroonmatick » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:41 pm

DoctorIknow wrote: I get that.
Glad you had good luck with side walls and that they most likely saved your tent.

It's a good demonstration of the forces applied to side walls that the 14" lags were pulled out and a good demonstration that longer lags do matter in high force situations.

Mule tape is awesome and I regret to this day I did not buy that pallet of it I saw on an internet auction 2 years ago. I've never found it inexpensive enough since to start a hoard of it.
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Razzlesmazzle
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by Razzlesmazzle » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:56 pm

DoctorIknow wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 4:32 am
Forget feet.
  • If your conduit is 1", get a 1 1/8" spade bit (or a 1 1/16" if you can find one)
    Get some 2x3 or 2x4 and cut correct number of "feet", each about 4" long.
    Drill holes about 3/4" deep.
    Assemble conduit structure, once upright with all legs attached, put the wood feet under the upright conduit legs.
    Use 18" lag screws with chain links or 3/4" mule tape on every leg to attach ratchet straps or mule tape.
    Tighten that thing down! No need to overtighten, let it flex a little,,,,check tension daily.
    Don't forget at least minimal "X" cross bracing in a few places. (I even cross brace the roof as I love handling the sensuous mule tape)
mule on lag.JPG
spade bit 1 18.JPG
Could you please elaborate a bit on this design? I have done a conduit structure once before but this time I am buying materials from scratch and I would like to understand how you are doing the feet without rebar. You drill 1.25" holes through pieces of 2x4, each just 4" long? Then how do you actually secure the shade to the playa? The 18" lag screws looks like an excellent idea. Are you simply putting 2 of those at each corner then using straps to the top of that pole to triangulate? Why are the wooden feet necessary? Is it possible to have the 18" screws INSIDE the conduit, and not need additional strappings? Thank you.

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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by DoctorIknow » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:03 pm

Razzlesmazzle wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:56 pm
DoctorIknow wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 4:32 am
Forget feet.
  • If your conduit is 1", get a 1 1/8" spade bit (or a 1 1/16" if you can find one)
    Get some 2x3 or 2x4 and cut correct number of "feet", each about 4" long.
    Drill holes about 3/4" deep.
    Assemble conduit structure, once upright with all legs attached, put the wood feet under the upright conduit legs.
    Use 18" lag screws with chain links or 3/4" mule tape on every leg to attach ratchet straps or mule tape.
    Tighten that thing down! No need to overtighten, let it flex a little,,,,check tension daily.
    Don't forget at least minimal "X" cross bracing in a few places. (I even cross brace the roof as I love handling the sensuous mule tape)
mule on lag.JPG
spade bit 1 18.JPG
Could you please elaborate a bit on this design? I have done a conduit structure once before but this time I am buying materials from scratch and I would like to understand how you are doing the feet without rebar. You drill 1.25" holes through pieces of 2x4, each just 4" long? Then how do you actually secure the shade to the playa? The 18" lag screws looks like an excellent idea. Are you simply putting 2 of those at each corner then using straps to the top of that pole to triangulate? Why are the wooden feet necessary? Is it possible to have the 18" screws INSIDE the conduit, and not need additional strappings? Thank you.
I understand your confusion.
This will be a long explanation....hope it helps :D

I count four versions of connection conduit structures to the ground. (there may be more!)

1-Commercial feet with very small holes for staking
2-Commercial feet with external tie down (not using holes)
3-No feet, internal rebar
4-Wood feet, external tie down

Numbers 1 and 2 fullfill the need that the conduit does not sink into the playa.
Number three needs no "foot" at all as the bolt tightening into the rebar will not allow the conduit to slip (more on this later)

Number 1-This is the common foot supplied with kits all over the 'net or do it yourself parts available.
Problems:
--------the holes are too small for PLAYA needed security. Drilling out the holes for more adequate lag screws or candy cane rebar would bring the holes too close to the edge.
-------anyone who has pounded conduit ends for dome spars knows all too well that conduit is not like Jesus's garment with no seams. There is a seam the entire length. This stuff is only meant to surround electrical wire and need not be strong for that! That is one reason it is cheap, the other being the quality of the steel can be bad depending on what the Chinese dump into the molten recycled steel crucible. Maybe some of the thousands of bikes left behind at BM end up making conduit!
-------so lets say by chance you use that eye bolt on the commercial foot and you tighten it down directly on the seam of the conduit. I don't know this, but it could split the conduit.
------even if it doesn't split the counduit, I would imagine that once the eye bolt is tightend sufficiently, movement of the structure could move the post enough to make the connection movable.
------lastly, as these commercial feet are made as cheap as possible, perhaps you will strip the threads if you use some lever to twist that eyebolt way beyond hand pressure.
conduit foot.JPG
Number 2
Using the commercial foot with external tie down.
THis is very popular on the playa. Candy cane rebar or lag screws for tiedown using ratchet straps. rope or mule tape, the latter two with truckers hitch or similar to retighten as needed over the week.

Number 3
This is the style of pre-made shade structures as made by BlackRockHardware.
What makes this style of shade structure different than other kits is that they drill a hole in the bottom
of each post, and weld on a high quality nut, and use a hex bolt instead of an eyebolt.
The 24" rebar they supply is poundedin the playa at 90degrees, and once the conduit is placed over it, the bolt is tightened with a lot of torque to the rebar. The ridges on the rebar will assure that the conduit won't slip.
This illustration is the concept but is not a BlackRockHardware photo.
conduit nut.JPG
Number 4
The six inch piece of 2x4 is not drilled all the way thru, only deep enough so the conduit doesn't slip away. The tie downs can be torqued as much as needed.
This isn't a 2x4...I couldn't find one,,,but you get the idea:
hole for conduit.JPG
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DrCook
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by DrCook » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:49 am

Number 1-This is the common foot supplied with kits all over the 'net or do it yourself parts available.
Problems:
--------the holes are too small for PLAYA needed security. Drilling out the holes for more adequate lag screws or candy cane rebar would bring the holes too close to the edge.
We use the commercial feet and they work perfectly well. The pre-drilled holes fit 3/8 diameter lags perfectly, so you can use up to 14" lags in them (overkill, IMO, we use a single 12" in each foot and they never move).

The strength of the structure comes from securing the sides, not the feet. We have ratchet straps connected at 45 degrees to 14" lags at every single side pole, with two at the corners. Aka every 10' along the sides. We also use sidewalls. I believe with this design if we didn't use any bolts at all on the feet the structure would still be fine, all the feet do is keep the poles from sinking into the ground.

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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by DoctorIknow » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:35 pm

DrCook wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:49 am


.....We use the commercial feet and they work perfectly well.

......all the feet do is keep the poles from sinking into the ground.
Good that you have feet with holes big enough. But, many times a buyer will order these sight unseen and may have a problem as all feet are not equal, as mentioned by others in this thread.

True for the playa that the feet SHOULD be only to keep the post from going into the ground, but some people with a kit that is designed for backyards will assume the directions are fine and NOT put in any strapping...just relying on the feet eyebolt screws holding the structure together.

sstevens-mcgeever
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by sstevens-mcgeever » Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:51 pm

Great to hear! Where do you find 18" lags?

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Ratty
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by Ratty » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:12 pm

Do you live in the SF Bay Area?
Pictures or it didn't happen Greycoyote
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Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah
You should start doing drugs, it doesn't mess you up as much. CaptG

sstevens-mcgeever
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by sstevens-mcgeever » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:18 pm

DoctorIknow wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 10:38 pm
motskyroonmatick wrote:
The reason I don't do sidewalls as the Mayor of a camp of 50 is that I believe they add huge side and top load forces to the supporting structure under heavy wind(1"conduit structure with factory made fittings).
I get that.

I figured 10 foot 90% shade (mesh) "tarp" stretched out all the way from the 8' conduit height (is about a 40degree angle and the distance on the ground from the structure to the end of the tarp is about 6') would be a great additional shaded space, and it was a very useful space.

What I didn't count on was it absorbing maybe 50% of the most head on wind I've encountered on the playa...(I think it was two years ago before the gate opened).

I had used 14" lags to hold down only two edges, and one was pulled out pretty quickly. In the middle of the whiteout, I impacted in 18" lag screws and they held.

Even with the shade absorbing a lot of wind, my tent was the most stressed I'd ever seen it (15 burns for that tent) and without the shade angled in front of my front door, I have no doubt my tent would have snapped or bent it's steel poles.

I was also surprised at the amount of playa "dust" the shade filtered. When the white out and windstorm passed, there must have been a pound of playa in its pores....

Conclusion: with very high wind hitting straight on, I did not notice the shade structure struggling at all. I had "X" braces on three sides, and that might have spread the stress of that "wall" of mesh at a 40degree angle to the conduit frame.


Great to hear! Where do you find 18" lags. I got some 14" but if they fail then I definitely want the longer ones!!

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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by DoctorIknow » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:33 pm

sstevens-mcgeever wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:18 pm
Great to hear! Where do you find 18" lags. I got some 14" but if they fail then I definitely want the longer ones!!
I get mine from amazon. Faster and cheaper than shipping for the same company that sells them thru amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005E ... UTF8&psc=1

RuckusGeronimo
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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by RuckusGeronimo » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:59 am

Our camp converted to the 14" x 3/8" lag bolt with two chain link method and it's worked super well to replace rebar, especially when needing to move structures or take them out.

Thank for the tip about the ClimbTech zinc-plated hanger to replace the two chain links - I'll try this.

Still, to use the two chain link method, aside from going to Home Depot and having someone cut a ton of them, any recommendations where to buy them? Thanks!!

- Ruckus

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Re: Conduit Shade Structure Questions

Post by MrRivethead » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:09 pm

RuckusGeronimo wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:59 am
...Still, to use the two chain link method, aside from going to Home Depot and having someone cut a ton of them, any recommendations where to buy them?
If you get them from HD, just get a few each time you go in. Asking the guy to help you out and cutting a half dozen is a lot better than asking for all of them at once.

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