PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

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PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FossaFerox » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:25 pm

Hi all,

So this will be my first burn and I'm camping with 11-14 people most of whom are virgins. We have a few veterans in the group, but while they're supplying us with their old shade structure, they're not engineers.

The existing structure, which we're looking to add to, is a flat 20'x12' (technically 2 10x12sections) of EMT conduit frame with a flat horizontal tarp stretched between each section, supported on vertical EMT conduit poles set on half burried rebar. We're looking to make it larger, but I'm nervous.

From what I've been hearing this thing should have been a kite. They only used it last year, and from what I've heard the winds last year were relatively mild. On top of that, I'm worried if we make it three times as large it could be a nightmare.

Even if we bring absurd amounts of rebar and stake down the corners like there's no tomorrow, I'm still nervous about blowing debris. I came across a certain picture and I'm not just worried about our structure taking off, I'm worried about keeping us safe should our neighbors stuff tear loose since the current structure has no side walls at all.

Image
*shudder*

My initial idea was to try to add half-arch walls (like half a monkey hut) to two opposite sides while parking our vehicles along a third leaving the fourth side open. I'm curious if anything like this has been tried before and how feasible it will be.

My rough draft is as follows. Each square is 2' by 2'. Black rectangles are EMT frames with 10x12' tarps strung between, grey rectangles are "Monkey Half-Huts" designed to buffer the wind and keep it from getting under the roof and protect the camp from blowing debris, red circles are EMT posts set on rebar, red lines tie downs to half-buried 3' rebar.

Image

Three questions for any experienced burner construction crews:

1) Does this look sufficiently staked down? Does it look like this will weather the weather?
2) How reliable is the wind direction? I know it tends to come out of the south west, but how consistent is it?
3) Does anyone have any ideas or recommendations for securing the top spine of the half-monkey-hut to the EMT frame? There is going to be considerable force from the bent PVC that will tent to pull up and away. I'm considering dropping a second piece of rebar along the anchored edge of the hut and tying the top spine to it in three places, holding the curve in the PVC like a bow and arrow. Then I could just lash the spine to the EMT frame and not worry about any added stress.

Thanks!
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:58 pm

Forget the pvc and angle tarps down to the ground where you were going to put the pvc.

Try to find pictures of retrofrolic camp, thats how they did it.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FossaFerox » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:06 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Forget the pvc and angle tarps down to the ground where you were going to put the pvc.

Try to find pictures of retrofrolic camp, thats how they did it.


Thanks for the input. Having it be a simple slant would make things easier, but wouldn't reinforcement ribs still be a good idea? They aren't expensive or bulky...

If those are pulled taut at a 45 degree angle (would then stick out farther) would that be enough support to withstand the winds?
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:30 pm

This is how I do it! 8)

I use rope to tension the edges.

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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby Drawingablank » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:35 pm

Then wind is generally horizontal so a flat horizontal tarp doesn't catch much wind.

If you are paranoid about the neighbors stuff take Figgys advice.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:11 pm

Wind direction varies. Vehicle blocking the prevailing is a good idea, but not guarantee.

The force/lift of winds is an equation you can look up. It is powerful. Peak design winds are 80. Bungie balls tensioning surfaces absorbs gusts over hard rigged.

Consider replacing the EMT zone cover with shade cloth or Aluminet. Same with your curve to ground zones.

Make a photo of the emt junctions for advice on transitioning to the PVC curve to ground.

Provide more details on use of the curve to ground edges use - tents?
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FossaFerox » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:29 pm

I wanted to use the curved edges to squeeze a few more tents in (the whole row closest to the vehicles is for tents, as of tonight our camp is for 15 people) while providing shade and a shield from the wind and anything caught in it. Ideally I'd like to create a decent enough wind buffer that I'm not worried about individual tents too much. Or should I give up, assume the wind will find a way into the camp full force regardless, and start bending candy cane rebar for ever tent we'll be using?

The EMT frame is held together at the corners with "canopy fittings". Again, I didn't build the structure we're trying to add on to; it hasn't even been pulled out of storage yet. This is the only photo I've been given of the old camp.

Image

The advantage of the aluminet is that it is wind transparent while blocking the sun, I take it? It looks like it costs about three to fives times as much as a heavy duty tarp. I could quadruple the guylines and framing and still spend less money while getting 100% shade cover and some wind block. Am I missing something?
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby EspressoDude » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:51 am

If you want to transition to pvc, get 4 way canopy corners and slip the pvc over the connectors or over emt sticking out of the connectors. take a connector to home depot or ? and see what fits. Use grey pvc electrical conduit, probably 1 " or 1-1/4" put a bolt thru the connection so it does not slip out
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:18 am

Mr Espresso has the best idea, and then you have expansion capability. With no change, overlap the PVC, say 1" Sch 40 by about 24" and duct tape to your EMT. I am an advocate of 20' lengths. on a 10' grid for your curved PVC to ground, you will need a lot of bracing going the other direction, say every 3-4'. You can use 3/4 for cross bracing.

For the complexity and even price, it might be more efficient to just expand your grid with more fittings and pipe, then do a simple diagonal tarp to ground as does Mr Figjam.

Silver tarp is about .13/sf and Aluminet is .30. Shade cloth is in between. If you are in an agricultural area, shade cloth comes up on Craigslist. But it is usually not grommeted. The Gothic Arch Greenhouse supplyco is Burner-friendly and has everything for these structures used for farming.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:31 am

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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FossaFerox » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:24 am

I'm finding brand new heavy duty silver tarp for 0.08/sf. and small Aluminet (the right size to fill out the frames) at 0.81/sf. at Home Depot. I'm sure I can find Aluminet cheaper, but for comparable products from one supplier that looked pretty damning to me.

I'm going to just drop angled tarps off two sides, I think. You guys have definitely sold me there. mudpuppy's photo looks downright comfy. If I do go with heavy duty tarps dropped at an angle to replace the dome sections, do I have sufficient guylines planned?
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:51 am

Go with your analysis. Silver tarp is the best shade, but the worst wind load. With wind-permeable shade you save the cost of bungie ball ties. The supplier mentioned has a fee for edging and grommeting which increases the end price. Aluminet also only comes in 7, 14 and 21'. None the less, I'm a fan. Gothic is the distributor, and least cost supplier, the product comes from Israel. They have sun there.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FossaFerox » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:26 am

Gothic is a much better supplier, thanks for pointing them out to me. I also failed to take into account that the aluminet wouldn't require a bungie ties. Reworking the numbers I am rather surprised by the results.

If we go with 7x10' sections of 70% aluminet and factor in taping and grommets (assuming one every two feet, rounding up for the 7' side for 16 grommets total) that's $30.80 for each 7x10 section not counting the conduit frame. Working with gothic's cheapest shade cloth would drop the price $10.15 a section to $20.65. Then you have to factor in that none of these fit standard length EMT poles so we're wasting 3' off each pole as scrap we can't use and increasing the number of canopy fittings, but that's almost inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

Meanwhile, the bungie ties are about $0.36 a pop, and each tarp would require 24 of them for a cost of $8.64 alone + $12.57 for the tarp itself.

The costs add up quickly either way and are making scrapping the old structure entirely in favor of monkey huts look damn attractive.

I'm going to have to run these numbers by the group and pass a hat it looks like. In the sake of thoroughness and explaining things to the vets providing our old structure, can any veteran burners weigh in on how bad last year's winds actually were?

Edit: Found a MUCH better deal on bungee balls that changed the math considerably.
Last edited by FossaFerox on Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:36 am

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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FossaFerox » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:58 am

Figjam is my new favorite person ever. That makes costs much more reasonable.

Then we're back to the old question of if the structure is sufficiently sturdy to handle the windload. Are bungees on each grommet really a blank check to deal with gusts provided the structure is well anchored with guylines and candycane rebar?
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:01 pm

I believe so.

I could be wrong, but I'm not uncertain! 8)
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby trilobyte » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:29 pm

One issue I see with the layout you've put in is your wind direction. It's great that you have that on the layout, and there is a prevailing wind direction that you can try to line yourself up with, but as a rule the wind doesn't really adhere to peoples' plans. In a dust storm, the winds can often come from different directions, sometimes all at once (or so it seems). :)

A well built conduit frame structure can withstand a lot that the playa would throw at it, but doing things like stretching big tarps between separate structures could get dicey. If the winds pick up significantly, it'll use that middle tarp to try and pull the structure out of the ground, or bend poles, etc. The easiest and most structurally sound thing to do would be to get more fittings and more conduit and just build a framework big enough for the other tarp, and secure it to the frame with ball bungees. Once that's up, you should be good to.

I'd keep monkey huts separate. What makes those structures so successful on the playa is that they're able to flex and flow when the winds pick up. Trying to adapt a monkey hut design to create arched/curved side walls seems a bit dicey. I'd recommend using side tarps stretched out on angles at each side. On my camp's structures we've got a vertical height of 6'8", and then use 10' tarps pulled out diagonally on the sides. We not only get a bit more shaded space, but it directs wind up and over the structure with minimal resistance.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FossaFerox » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:30 pm

I'm feeling pretty good about this. At the very worst, I don't think we'll be caught off guard with a catastrophic failure. If something does go slightly wrong we should see it coming and be able to mitigate it, and from there fixing stuff and dealing with problems is half the fun.

Two final questions:

1) Any advice for setting 1' EMT conduit on 3/8" rebar securely? I could always just lash the EMT to the rebar with duct tape, but I'd rather have the EMT surround the rebar without it rattling around if possible.
2) What are the best materials to use for guylines? I'm thinking paracord is an attractive option (with something added to make it visible) but I'm not sure 550 lb test is sufficient. Thoughts?
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby MacGlenver » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:52 pm

FossaFerox wrote:2) What are the best materials to use for guylines? I'm thinking paracord is an attractive option (with something added to make it visible) but I'm not sure 550 lb test is sufficient. Thoughts?


I am not certain whether or not paracord is strong enough, but I would probably get something stronger if I were building it. I've never had a rope snap on me, though, so I don't have the best appreciation for the limits.

Mule tape is strong as hell and cheap per foot, but it's usually sold in huge rolls. You gotta go on Ebay to get shorter sections. Because of its open weave, it is not quite as durable as regular rope when it comes to abrasion, but it's super cheap and super strong, and it will definitely last you a few burns.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:06 pm

Yup.

I've got some 1" mule tape a nieghbor gave me.

It's rated at 2500 pounds.

Check craigs list for partial rolls cheap.

I've got about 1000 ft. 8)
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby MikeGyver » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:10 pm

FossaFerox wrote:I'm feeling pretty good about this. At the very worst, I don't think we'll be caught off guard with a catastrophic failure. If something does go slightly wrong we should see it coming and be able to mitigate it, and from there fixing stuff and dealing with problems is half the fun.

Two final questions:

1) Any advice for setting 1' EMT conduit on 3/8" rebar securely? I could always just lash the EMT to the rebar with duct tape, but I'd rather have the EMT surround the rebar without it rattling around if possible.
2) What are the best materials to use for guylines? I'm thinking paracord is an attractive option (with something added to make it visible) but I'm not sure 550 lb test is sufficient. Thoughts?


1) You can drill and tap holes in your EMT and use Eyebolts that will hold it tight against the Rebar, Just gotta watch for the sticking out eyelets catching ankles...

2) Like Mac, I have never had paracord snap on me but I would double it up just to be safe for something that big.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby BetaBox » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:04 pm

i've snapped paracord guying out 10ft 4x4's, but that was just to see if it could finally get that shit to break. The knots were completely locked, but my go to for guying out corners are ratchet straps. you can find good ones with proper handles for cheap if you look hard enough.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby mulch » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:02 am

Has anyone seen corner fittings for EMT or Fence Post that have angles, like 45 degree or 30 or 60 degree. We are constructing a shade that covers the small 21 foot RV with a spacer over the roof, and then angles down on one side more than the other to form a large canopy. I was hoping for rigid support that angled from the highest point at the top of the RV - 11 feet - and then down to 6 feet or so at the edge.

Thanks for all the info in this post, very helpful.

Also, are those sections that mudpuppy posted 8 x 8 foot sections? And is that 1" EMT that can handle such a span? Not sure if we want multiple sections or one big section that would of course require more strength to avoid wind abuse or using aluminet perhaps.

So people usually just put the emt as it hits the ground over rebar and perhaps fasten as described with threaded hole instead of buying flat ground plates for the EMT that are available?
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby MacGlenver » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:21 am

The only other thing I'd mention on Mule tape is that it is fairly slippery, so knots that rely on friction like the taut-line hitch don't really work. Tons of other knots work great though (truckers hitch, bowline, etc).
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby trilobyte » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:30 am

I don't use rebar at all to secure my EMT conduit structures (I hate the stuff, it's a massive pain in the ass to use). I also don't put the conduit directly onto the playa - I get footpad fittings. The fittings are galvanized and won't rust, plus keep the poles from digging down into the ground. They've got small holes in them, and I use 10 inch nail spikes in them to keep them in place. If your structure's built properly, nail spikes work best at each post and then you use heavy-duty anchors at the corners and/or sides (I'd recommend a guy line from the top of the frame going down into the ground at the same angle as your side tarp, then secure it with hurricane stakes (what I use) or rebar.

There are a variety of different types/shapes of fittings out there. Not a huge variety, but more than just square corners. Here's the place I use, the website's not at all intuitive, but he's generally got what I need when I need it and I've been doing business with him for longer than he's had the clunky website. I'm not sure offhand of the specific angles, but you may want to look for fittings for either low or medium peak roof.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:11 am

He has an adjustable fitting, but his prices are double what Yuma Bargains are! :shock:
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby trilobyte » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:19 am

Yuma Bargains' stuff doesn't appear to be galvanized steel. That makes a huge difference.

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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:20 am

I've got some here that have been out in the weather for 4 years and there is no sign of rust or anything.

I think they're galvinized.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby dragonpilot » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:26 pm

FossaFerox wrote:If something does go slightly wrong we should see it coming and be able to mitigate it...


Uhhhh...things rarely go "slightly wrong" on the playa...more like "catastrophically wrong." :lol:

And it's almost axiomatic that the worst things always happen during one's excursions on the deep playa. Your basic plan looks sound...and things happen...from which we learn.
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Re: PVC monkey hut/EMT Conduit awning hybrid?

Postby FossaFerox » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:12 pm

FIGJAM wrote:I've got some here that have been out in the weather for 4 years and there is no sign of rust or anything.

I think they're galvinized.


What's the diameter of the stake holes in Yuma's Conduit footings? They don't list it on the site and I'd hate to guess wrong...

As for things going catastrophically wrong, if a tarp tears free and we lose it I'll live. So long as no one other than me suffers for my mistakes I'm okay with making repairs and learning from them.
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