TECH: Big Engineering Questions (#1-4)

Each assembly includes:

  • Center door

  • Orbit door

  • Center pole

  • Orbit pole

  • Truss (connecting center to orbit)

  • Wheel(+track) kit

Budget per assembly: $500 (barf emoji)

#1: How To Hinge

Each door needs to rotate 360+ degrees along one long (upright) edge. (“Hinge” might not be the best word, but it’s the best I have so far).

The door will be about 4 inches thick, framed with wood and filled/stabilized with rigid foam.

Initial thoughts were to have the rotation happen external to the door structure, like a typical hinge (as seen in my early models). But now I’m considering having the rotation set into the frame of the door by a few inches, which would hide the pole, centralize the weight a tiny bit, and make everything slightly more mysterious.

New idea is worth a 10% increase in door cost.

Hinges should be very easy to operate. I like the idea of all the doors ending up pointing in the same direction during high winds.

#1b: How to Pole

This may be a separate question from #1, and may be question #0.

Is it hollow or solid? Is it the same for both the central pole (14-17-ish feet) and the orbit pole (11 ish feet)? Is this a core element that should be determined first, or can it be flexible based on other requirements?

#2: How to Wheel

At the bottom of the orbit pole is a wheel! I highly resisted this for a long time due to concerns about the evenness of the playa surface, plus surface erosion/deformation over the course of the event.

Part of why I eventually agreed was because someone mentioned that the wheel could be set in a ring track, which would give it more consistent support.

Maybe instead of a ring, there could be some kind of spring/shock that keeps the wheel in contact with the ground.

Overall, I want it to be very easy for the orbit pole to move.

#3: How to Truss (ie: the attacment and support of the orbit pole)

If decorative metalwork is too heavy and difficult, possibly a simpler metal brace, plus CNC wood decoration.

UPDATE: Initial contact with Brad lead me to believe this might be the most difficult part, engineering-wise.

#4: How to Support

Do we sink the center pole deep into the ground? Do we have a flat brace plate? or a buried brace plate?