Archives for 2005


Every party I’ve been to, everyone stays in the kitchen, even if it’s the smallest room in the house. This is my “dome-in-the-walk-in-area” project. The idea is to have a comfortable group meeting area at the 2005 Burning Man art festival. The walk-in area is a little-used part of the Burning Man camping area, shown [Read More…]

Initial Ruminations

I’ve been working on this “dome-in-the-walk-in-area” concept, and I think that I have something now. The idea is to have a nice group walk-in camp. At this camp, I’d like a community meeting area that is out of the sun, dust, wind (and possibly rain), similar in purpose to the dining/meeting tent that I had [Read More…]

Cover Materials

Aluminized Mylar, gold lamé, and greenhouse shade cloth all have good attributes as cover materials. And they all have their drawbacks. The question marks show where suspicions need to be confirmed by experimentation. Shade cloth is the most practical cover solution. 90% black shade cloth would cost a little over $200. It is strong, and [Read More…]

Materials Test

With all of the talk about tests, it’s time to start planning them. Edge Strength I’d like to use ripped 2×4’s instead of 3/4″ EMT conduit or 2″ PVC tubing because 2×4’s are less expensive. My hypothesis is that ripped 2×4’s are stronger than 2″ PVC and 3/4″ EMT. To test my hypothesis, I’m going [Read More…]

Coloring the Cover

I use spreadsheets like Excel for everything. Probably for too many things. I have a 25 megabyte spreadsheet that puts the coordinates of the Earth’s ocean boundaries on an unfolded northern hemisphere. Click on the image for a really large PDF file that you can print on 11×17 paper and cut out yourself.   I’m [Read More…]

Structural Analysis

Using 2×4s Now Just how strong does the dome need to be? The largest force on the structure comes from the wind, which at Burning Man, depending on who you listen to, gets up to 30 MPH, with 60 to 75 MPH gusts. So I wrote a C program to simulate the stresses in the [Read More…]

Aerodynamics of Domes

Update 2018: This post describes aerodynamic estimates that I made in 2005. If I were to redo the anaysis today, I would use the method from more recent projects. Both airplane wings and domes are curved on top. Should I be concerned with the aerodynamics of domes? It sure would be embarrassing to have the [Read More…]

Strengths of Materials (Part 1)

I find things in unexpected places. On the exhibit floor of the National Association of Broadcasters convention, while walking past the booth of Music Books Plus, I discovered the most amazing and readable book on structural analysis: Structural Design for the Stage (now in its 2nd edition). It presents nearly everything that I need to [Read More…]

How Much Shade Cloth?

Covering the Dome Most likely, the dome will be covered with Aluminet shade fabric. This knitted fabric can stretch in one direction but not the other because it contains strings, about 1 cm apart, that run through the fabric with the long dimension. I need to decide how to orient these strings. The shade fabric [Read More…]

Strengths of Materials (Part 2)

Summary The 2×4s are the dome’s main support, and so here’s an entire (and pretty long) page devoted to them. Perhaps I should summarize the results here: The 2×4s are sufficiently strong to support the dome in a 60 MPH wind. Holes in the 2×4s must be set back 1 to 2 inches from the [Read More…]

Frame is Done!

Woo, hoo! After assembling the dome’s 25′-diameter frame, Kerry confirms his frame-strength calculations. Outside and inside views of the dome’s metal brackets. Looking at the topmost joint.

Cover Half Done!

On Saturday, Michelle and Craig offered the floor of their home’s big room for marking the shade fabric. And then . . . On Sunday, Linda and Chris hosted a “sew-fest.” As Kerry trims the marked fabric pieces, Linda sews. Follow the plan, and 15 pieces of fabric cover a dome. With about 100 feet [Read More…]

Dome with Cover!

Many thanks to Linda who completed sewing the cover at her and Chris’s place Tuesday night through early Wednesday morning. Wednesday evening, after transporting the completed cover back to my place, I gathered it into a “donut” . . . . . . lifted it to the top of the frame, and “unpeeled” it. I [Read More…]

Where to Camp?

The dome will be in the walk-in area, to avoid the noise, congestion, and dust of the main camping area. I’m bringing a 4-foot by 7-foot garden cart to allow easy transportation of equipment from the road to the camp. But now the question is, just where in the walk-in area should we be? Here’s [Read More…]

Dome at Burning Man 2005

August 30 through September 4 The Wooden 2-by-4 dome starts life as several pentagonal subassemblies. These will tilt up to form walls. A temporary metal brace stabilizes each pentagon, preventing folding as the pentagon is tilted up. Another temporary brace, wooden, and connected to what will become the most vertical member of the pentagon, is [Read More…]