Teepee Tent Construction Journal

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

Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:27 pm

A post by Howitzer73 has inspired me to attempt to create my own Teepee Tent.

Objectives:
Teepee construction technique
Space for 2 to 3 persons and related gear for 1 week.
Dust resistant
Water resistant
Wind resistant
Can be occupied during daylight hours

I hope to post comments, sketches, drawings, and other resources here as the project takes shape.

My plan is first to do conceptual sketching, then more detailed drawing, materials and supplier identification, and then construction. These should all produce documents that can appear in this thread.

And I hope those in the community with more experience than I can offer advice and guidance!

And the first bit of guidance is "how do I display sketches?" My sketch runs 2Mb but this site has a 256KB limit. So I guess people upload content to some other location and link. Suggestions for the other host? How are pictures/files of greater than 1/4 MB handled?

Also... I'm in San Diego's North County if maybe there is a co-participant!
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:29 pm

So here is the concept (downsized my sketch to fit 1/4MB):

Sketch1.jpg


Here is how it is responsive to the goals:

1)Teepee construction technique
Obvious from the sketch

2)Space for 2 to 3 persons and related gear for 1 week.
This will be established by choosing the base diameter and peak height. I'll lay out a hose at various diameters and hold up my hand to various elevations to guess about living space. Right now 10" diameter and 8' is the initial guess.

3)Dust resistant
The interior Teepee will be completely sewn shut save for a zippered door, a AC entry port, and a top vent. The positive pressure should reduce dust entry from the top vent and maybe the zipper door. I'll add a exterior flap over zipper. Material will be waterproof which will have added benefit of keeping dust diffusion thru weave down.

4)Water resistant
Not expecting much rain. Interior will be of waterproof material. Not expecting condensation on interior walls to be a problem in dry conditions expected at BM.

5)Wind resistant
Lots of stake points to the ground, both for interior Teepee and exterior fly. I worry that the fly will be captured by the wind so I'll add a lot and also reinforce the fly with stronger materials.


6) Can be occupied during daylight hours.
Here's the challenge. Of course tents get really hot. First response is to provide a "rain fly" but designed for solar reflection. This will likely be aluminized plastic with a reinforcement on the underside. I don't plan to seal stitch holes so likely rain will get thru. This cone will have clearance above the ground and exit porting at the top and heat from what sunlight doesn't reflect off will buoyantly convect away. Second response is the 5 Gal AC. See

https://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic ... 80&t=33842

for a excellent design of swamp AC. This will be solar powered as described. Third response is to insulate Teepee. I plan a Teepee that has rigid wall support (later topic) rather than the traditional center pole. I'll sew up fiberglass housing insulation into 2" thick shaped 'pillows' and secure these to the rigid support, the objective being to gain insulation everywhere except the door. Hopefully this will allow AC to keep up with heat flux thru insulation. Fourth response is convective ventilation obtained naturally by the cone and vent at the peak. Hopefully these responses will give a environment that will stay cooler than outside!
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby Sunbeam56 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:10 pm

We have been sewing, resewing, and testing a dome cover for the past three weeks.
If you need a zipper - contact Alicia "The Zipper Lady". She was BEEG help.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:29 pm

Sunbeam56 - thanks for zipper info. I usually purchase these from Rochford supply. I'll have a bill of materials and suppliers later after I make the purchases.

Today's addition is a concept sketch of the inner support for Teepee. Not a single pole, but multiple angled supports - like the plains Indians of our old west. This gives an exit at the center of the top. Inner supports to be 3/4" PVC pipe and associated fittings. I figure I'll put in one or two mid-reinforcements. The sketch shows 1. These will keep the tent from bowing in as force is applied to the top. The tent wall will restrain bowing out, or maybe I'll add a exterior strap if the tent fabric seems loose. Bowing out must be restrained since the PVC fittings will be glued on only one side. These unglued fittings are good in compression but of course must come right apart for dis-assembly and transport.

There will be a door thru these somewhere.

The top part will have ventilation and I intend to mount a small fan. Warm air will naturally tend to exit and the fan will help. I expect to sew the tent really well closed except for a door and the point of entry for AC, so if AC isn't on and door is closed there may be issues with air quality.

Construction will be to lift the tent material (which will be sewn to the floor) enter thru the door, hand in and assemble the PVC.

Here is the sketch:
ss1.jpg
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby trilobyte » Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:10 pm

A couple things to point out.

1) You may want to forego that ventilation thing at the top. You may want to talk to one of the many who've done teepees on the playa previously, but I'm pretty sure they can get plenty of ventilation through a small hole at the top without the chunk of hvac gear up there. Under the harsh conditions of the playa (meaning winds that sometimes blow in excess of 50mph), something like that could be torn off. That'd affect the integrity of your structure, and potentially really hurt someone.

And, oh yeah...

2) Doom. 3/4 pvc just isn't going to work for you. I'd avoid PVC altogether. I had a campmate attempt to build a small dome using PVC pipes, unfortunately after only a few hours in the heat of the day the pipes began to warp and bend. I couldn't tell you how things went on day 2, because the structure was a total loss after day one. Gluing the fittings would probably present its own set of catastrophic problems, but they'll be nothing compared to what happens to PVC.

You're going to want to do some serious reading, and build your shade out of something that can withstand the beating that the playa is going to give it. Even in a really good, really gentle year, daytime temps will soar to over 100 degrees, nighttime temps down into the 50's, and winds are always at least a few miles per hour, with wins getting to ridiculous levels during dust storms. A weak dust storm may see gusts of 30-40mph and only last a short period of time, I've seen fierce ones last for more than a day with sustained winds over 50mph and gusts in the 70mph range. It can vary from 'a few' to 'several' dust storms during the week to 'nearly constant fucking insanity' the entire time.

And finally...

3) If you do a zipper, I'd suggest a strong plastic one. If you go with a metal zipper, bring a generous supply of beeswax (or chapstick). The playa conditions cause metal zippers to seize up a lot, which can be really frustrating. Coating the zipper with beeswax will keep it working smoothly.

Good luck
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:12 am

Thanks for advice! The most important is the PVC. Did your camp mate's structure die from heat distortion or did it die because the pvc wasn't rigid enough and bowed? I suppose you could tell if heat distortion since maybe you saw the dome disassembled for removal. If heat then the pipes would retain their bend after dis-assembly. Did they?

PVC softens for bending purposes at about 200 deg F. Hard to imagine air temps higher than about 110 (F) so if heat distorted the PVC must have been higher than air temp. Did PVC fail maybe at the top of the dome from maybe solar heated trapped air?

I see monkey tents in lots of pictures that appear to depend upon PVC for support. How do these survive?

Thanks again for advice. I intend to take it seriously and plan to test whatever I build here in San Diego's Colorado desert. Temps easy get to 110 (F) even early in the summer.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:53 am

Materials are beginning to arrive. I'll put these in from time to time. A bill of materials will gradually develop.

Today's arrival is the outer 'sun fly' (as in rain fly). Material ordered from EcoFoil

http://www.ecofoil.com/All-Products/Rad ... 500-sq-ft-

$79 plus shipping.

Material is 0.005" thick and very flexible. It is a laminate of aluminum on each outer side over a core of some plastic sheet with a strong 4/inch weave of a plastic thread of some sort. Here's a picture

IMG_2830.JPG


This is the first heat barrier and will be positioned over most of the Teepee, with a inch or two for air circulation between the underside of the sun fly and out outer side of the Teepee tent. The idea is to reflect away most of the incoming long and short wave radiation so the Teepee will only have to deal with basic free air temperature.

It looks like it will sew really easy so fabrication shouldn't be a problem.

The main question is how will it withstand wind stress when hot. My guess is that it will do fine if tear stress can be avoided. I plan to reinforce it with 1" web and I'll double fold all the joints. I will also heat a bit of it up to 50 (C)and see if it seems to loose any strength. Right now I'm not scared, but if Trilobyte gets me any more paranoid, I'll back it with Tyvek, which is pretty strong and cheap since I have a roll from a previous untra light tent project.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby MacGlenver » Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:17 pm

It's a little late for me to suggest it, as your reflective cover has already arrived, but you might consider aluminet if you're concerned about whether your cover will hold up in the wind. Either way, I'd fully agree with Trilo that you don't need the air circulator at the top. The open hole at the top and a wind blowing across should be all the ventilation you need.... though it wouldnt be dust proof... Would the HVAC thing be dust proof?
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:09 pm

Just checking here, but isn't HVAC machines? As in, you're running a genny? Because if you are relying on machines, don't. The playa is not nice to machines.

If it's a more "passive"* system, oops, sorry.


As in "passive solar".
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:29 pm

Yes I saw aluminet in other posts. I was concerned that I could not join this material by sewing. And if the wind gets thru the net it will hit the tent underneath so I might as well plan to resist wind at the sun fly level as plan to resist it at the tent. And like you say, material is already here.

I have great confidence in my ability to stake to the ground. Second, I bet I can reinforce the fly or tent material so it doesn't tear. So my resistance problem becomes mostly about the strength of the structure holding all upright... the PVC.

I did a heat test today, heating PVC pipe and also the fly material to 55 C (131 F). This is much hotter than any foreseeable free-air temperature. PVC remained just as stiff as it was at room temperature. Fly material seemed the same as well.

My suspicion on the dome failure above is that if the PVC softened it was because it was located where the sun could heat some sort of captive air around it. Or it maybe the PVC, even at cool temperature, just wasn't rigid enough to support the wind loading.

I hope the Teepee with sun fly and vent (HVAC or hole or whatever) will vent well enough to stay at least at free-air temperature. As for simple bending, I intend to attach the PVC to the tent fabric which should limit bends outwards or sideways. Inner bends should be resisted by horizontal supports. Anyway that's the idea. I'll build this structure in the coming weeks and will get a general idea of how strong.

As for HVAC, I just thought it looked neat... There needs to be something to keep rain out although rain isn't a first consideration for BM.

If PVC fails I can go to fiberglass rods. Stay tuned.

Nope, no generator. I'm going to use solar. I have a Engle fridge and I will need daytime power to run AC. The 'HVAC' is really just an aluminum vent to let air escape. I plan to put a 12V computer fan i salvaged from a motherboard into this vent to help a little, and to try a swamp cooler 5-gal bucket AC, with another fan. I'm planning 100 Watts solar.


Here's some math for a guess at horizontal force on the Teepee

http://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Wind-Load

I calc a pressure of 6.4 pounds/sq ft at 50 mph wind. Coefficient of drag on a cone isn't listed but my guess is that Cd is more like a rod than a flat surface. Could be less than rod really. And A I took to be the 7' high x 10' base = 35 sq feet. Using

F = P * A * Cd gives F= 268 pounds. There could be a lot wrong with this estimate but a couple hundred pounds gets my attention.

The 6.4 psf is encouraging since my impression of the fly material is that its burst pressure would be higher.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:35 pm

Tested sewing the new ecofoil. Material sews well. The resulting seam, even if doubled, can be pulled apart by hand although with a lot of effort. The inner plastic fails first, followed by the thread weave.

IMG_2834.JPG


I tried backing the ecofoil with tyvek. This really works well. The resulting material is sufficiently stiff and the seam can not be pulled apart by hand. Guess I'll plan on backing the sun shade with tyvek. Tyvek is used for waterproofing buildings and is available in rolls from Home Depot or the like.

IMG_2835.JPG
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby GreyCoyote » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:38 pm

Mhead: check your mail. :mrgreen:
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby Ulisse » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:18 pm

Mhead: I really like what you are doing here. I think reflecting sunlight away from your teepee will eliminate most of your heat gain. The structure could be as effective as a hexayurt and more easily packed.
The aluminum on the inside of your fly will reflect any heat radiated by the tent back to the tent, but sewing/gluing to tyvek will stop this.
Somewhere on this board (maybe the box truck thread) there is advice to keep more than a 4" distance between the truck and the shade to allow for ventilation. I think you can expect about 15%-20% of the sunlght (both visible and IR) to be absorbed by the fly and reradiated as heat. This would be above 200Watts/ square meter total so above 100Watts towards the tent.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:03 pm

I received the PM below from GreyCoyote and, because it contains so much useful and detailed info, am posting it here with permission.


Sent: Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:04 am
From: GreyCoyote
To: mhead
Hey: Wanted to share something I learned using very similar material to what you have posted in the "Teepee" thread.

I prototyped a dome cover using a type of housewrap (cheapo stuff, too) that looks exactly like the sample you posted except for the aluminum covering layer. Believe it or not, the stuff was very durable. I was shocked. So I think what you've got will work nicely, and not be disposable after just one burn. But sewing it can be a little tricksy.

I found out the hard way you want to play with this stuff before you do the whole project. There are some non-obvious traps waiting. Follow:

1). Do not use a cotton or cotton-poly thread. Use only polyester. The cotton very quickly degrades in the sunlight. It took just two weeks for my samples to start having problems. When I switched to UV-stablized polyester, the thread became bulletproof.

2). Use a heavy-duty thread. Gutermann makes the best IMHO. You can get it at JoAnns or any other large supply place. Not a quilting or upholstery thread, just a good heavy-duty "normal" thread.

3). Use a semi-flat-felled seam. When you get the seam made, run another line of stitching down the middle of it. Keeps it flat, but also serves to strengthen the seam.

4). Use the smallest needle you can get away with. This is contradictory advice at first glance (you are using heavy-duty thread!), but you want the smallest hole you can get by with. I think I wound-up using a 100 needle, but that was because I'm a total spaz when it comes to sewing. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed was able to use considerably smaller and get good results.

5). Test various stitch-per-inch configurations. Try 6 tpi, 8 tpi, etc. Pull-test them to failure using the semi-flat-felled seam design in 4-inch wide pieces. You will learn a LOT about this material. If you're doing it right, it should take two people pulling to get a failure.

6). Do a double-back-stitch at the ends of your seams. Loads accumulate at the ends under wind, and you want to prevent a "zipper-like" failure of the seam. If I had it to do all over again, I would also incorporate a strip of canvas or something in the last 6 inches of any top or bottom seam as a load-spreading/anti-punch-through device within the the stitch.

7). Thread tension is everything. You will find a very narrow range that provides a good stitch. It's going to be different for every machine. For me it was a little higher than the "center-of-the-dial". (Singer commercial machine).

8). You may need a lot of foot-tension after you fold-over the seam. Dunno why, but the material I was using was *easy* to punch through in 2 thicknesses, but became a right sticky bastard anytime I was trying to do 4 or more. YMMV.

9). Consider using this stuff for your seams. http://www.sailrite.com/Seamstick-3-8-f ... yWdzYXLLf0 If you want to try a little first, you can get seam-stick tape at WalMart in 10 foot lengths. The WalMart stuff is inferior, but will give you an idea if you like it. If possible, assemble your seam with the sticky-stuff down the full length. It keeps everything lined-up and you can sew right through it. This stuff is DA BOMB on canvas. Should work good for your stuff, too. (Disclaimer-no financial interest)

FWIW, my test-cover spent six months on the dome, in Texas heat and light and winds. It survived 50 MPH winds on several occasions. Eventually, the "fabric" frayed-out and started coming apart, but the seams were still pretty good.

Other noodlings:

Other noodlings:

- Maybe consider sewing-in a narrow webbing in all of your vertical seams? It would give you a good anchor point.

- Have you contacted the company to see if this material can be heat-sealed? If so, how much? (Might make for really strong seams if done right).

- Will your inner fabric be canvas? If so, you NEED to talk to these guys: http://www.bigduckcanvas.com When I did my "real" dome cover, they were an amazing resource. Lots cheaper than anyone else I could find, and a really good product. I used this 10.10 oz "Army Duck" called SunForger with a fire retardant. Link: http://www.bigduckcanvas.com/canvas-for ... ent-canvas It is amazingly strong but you can still sew it on a good consumer machine. In 100 yard x 60 inch rolls I think I paid $7/yd + shipping. They will send you free swatches of anything they sell, too. (Disclaimer-no financial interest)

Good luck. Hope this helps. See ya in the dust!!!

Hey: One other thing I saw from your post this PM that you may benefit from: Try using a narrow-gauge (relatively speaking) denim needle. These are thicker than a normal needle, but they have a blunter, spade-shaped point that tapers to a narrower shaft. This design tends to spread the fibers instead of piercing them outright. This may leave you with a stronger base material.

Another thing would be to see if you can use a zig-zag stitch. It may also leave the base material stronger. (The problem with some poly is once you get a hole, it will "run" from the hole).

Finally, try using a waxed thread. Sounds funny, but a waxed (or siliconized) thread will be less prone to tear through your base material.

Take care! Glad you found my rant useful. :mrgreen:
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:55 pm

Ulisse: Thanks for calculation. The ecofoil supplier claims 97% reflectivity so maybe I'm down to 30 W/m^2. Anyway its the best I can do so I'll have to take what I can get.

As for 4" distance between truck and cover, this doesn't do much about radiation but the distance is there to allow the heated air to convect away. Look back at the sketch at the start of this post and you'll see a gap between the sun fly and Teepee at the top of the sun fly. This gap will hopefully allow air heated by contact with the sun fly to exit. Nice thing about a cone is it vents to the top really well, kinda like how a stove-pipe pumps the stove. I only expect an inch or so of clearance between sun fly and tent at the top and somewhat more at the bottom.

GreyCoyote: What can I say... there's just too much information for a good reply to all. Yes cotton thread is a tent disaster, I've got a good thread. The inner fabric will be Top Gun

http://www.rochfordsupply.com/shop/Text ... index.html

I have good experience with this material. It's really heavy. Like Sunbrella on steroids.

Your 'house-wrap' was likely Dupont's Tyvek. This material is somewhere between paper and fabric. It is semi-permeable, allowing water vapor to pass but resisting liquid water. If you make a small backpacking tent from something like poly sheeting that is impervious you wake up wet in the morning from breath condensation on the interior walls. Not so with Tyvek. You wake up mostly dry even in rain weather. I know having made my own tent and gotten 2 days rain and one night of hail on last summer's backpack. It's an ultralight thing and there are a lot of designs on the net. I'm on my second design now. Yes Tyvek tents wear out quick but who cares, they are really light. If I only get a trip or two from one the weight is worth the work. It comes in large rolls from Home Depot.

I definitely intend to purchase the tape you mention. Sounds like a god-send for seaming large material.

Thanks for all your needle suggestions. I'm lost when it comes to needles. My packs say 135X7, SY1901, 134, 135X5, 797, SY 1955, DP X 5, DP X7, 134KK, 797, - there's just too many numbers to make any sense. i don't know how to translate these into needle size or point type.

http://www.sailrite.com/Industrial-Sewi ... ne-Needles

just makes things worse, with a daunting range of selection. Got any advice on needle selection? I'm about to order tape from sailrite and could order needles.

Sorry, my machine is an old industrial but it only sews straight. Good idea for sails though and I wish I could zig.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby GreyCoyote » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:21 pm

Wow. I'd give my left nut for an old-school industrial machine! It wouldn't happen to be a Singer 66 or 201, would it? Wanna trade? :mrgreen:

As to the needle stuff, I'm no help. My talents are not in the sewing department. Others may chime-in who understand this needle-language-thingie. All I can do is measure them with a micrometer and go from there. Maybe google those numbers and see if you can find a relative size chart. All I know is "bigger numbers = bigger needles". Maybe one of our lady-burners will come to our rescue here and straighten us knuckleheads out.

FWIW, the material I was using wasn't Tyvek. Tyvek is smooth and spun. It's the stuff FedEx and DHL make their shipping envelopes out of. They also make bunny-suits out of it for mold and asbestos remediation. It's neat stuff. But I couldn't part with a C-note to muck around with 150 feet of it. What I got was a woven material just like yours for about $60 per 150 foot roll x 9 feet high. It looks like the cheap woven poly tarp material everyone uses at BM but thinner. It was a generic thing I got at Lowes right next to the Tyvek and about half the price. They call it home wrap. It breathes too, but is slightly thinner than the Tyvek. Woven polypropylene is what I think it was. (Can look tomorrow and get back to you with a brand and model number).
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:21 pm

Sorry, not a Singer. It's a cheap knock-off

IMG_2838.JPG


Purchased it off Craig's List for $250 from someone who had it stuffed in the crawl space under their porch and then had to have about $250 repairs made. Works well but it only has one trick: sew forward and reverse. I've used it for a bunch of tent projects. It goes too fast. Guess the clutch is worn or something but it really likes to stitch fast. Not too bad for long runs on tent material.

Tyvek yep FedEx and DHL. Good material, sews well and you get a lot for $100.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby GreyCoyote » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:33 pm

I'm jealous. :) Not a 66 or 201, but that's still a darned heavy-duty machine. And for tents you really don't need a triple-thread-alternate-back-stitch-with-an-ally-oops-at-the-end. Forward and reverse in a straight line will git 'er dun nicely.

FWIW, they make a pully kit for that machine that will slow it down by a third and trade speed for torque. I see them occasionally on the auction sites.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:44 pm

I ordered a 'servo' motor today to replace the AC motor on the machine. It will come in next week. They say I can turn a knob on the motor and set the speed. So I expect to be able to shift the gears down to something a little more manageable. I'll take a picture when I've mounted the new motor.

The fabric came in today. Maybe I've made a mistake...My tent will weigh about 40 pounds, just the fabric, if lifting the roll is any indication. Oh well... I'm not planning to backpack with it.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby GreyCoyote » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:31 am

mhead wrote:I ordered a 'servo' motor today to replace the AC motor on the machine. It will come in next week. They say I can turn a knob on the motor and set the speed. So I expect to be able to shift the gears down to something a little more manageable. I'll take a picture when I've mounted the new motor.


Please do. Would like to see it as we may want to do something like that too. Does the pedal still vary the speed (with the knob setting the upper limit?). Or is speed fixed at the knob?

mhead wrote:The fabric came in today. Maybe I've made a mistake...My tent will weigh about 40 pounds, just the fabric, if lifting the roll is any indication. Oh well... I'm not planning to backpack with it.


The cover on my 20 foot dome is made from 10oz army duck and it weighs about the same. No matter. The first big wind will have you cheering the heavier materials. I just remind myself I only have to move it from the vehicle/trailer to the setup spot. (And for me that's about 10 feet. With enough beer, I can handle that! hehehe). :mrgreen:

I also found a needle chart that makes sense to this knuckle-dragger. Wish I had found this earlier: http://www.schmetzneedles.com/learning/ ... -chart.pdf They have some stuff I never would have dreamed of. I'm still sorting through it all.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:09 pm

Thanks for needle info. I visited my sewing shop and now my knowledge of needles is vast... which is to say that I have found the size among the numbers. I now have 14, 18, and 20. Unlike wire gauge, #20 is much larger than #14. He told me to use #14 for the aluminum material and so that's what I'm doing. Easy.

The first order of business is construction of the interior frame. This goes first so as to judge space and most importantly to judge strength. Right now my plan is PVC. Here's a picture of the top of Teepee. The PVC tubes will slide in here. No gluing just inserted.
IMG_2840.JPG


And here is the planned support.

IMG_2841.JPG


At least it looks like a Teepee. You can see I've also created a bottom ring.

The first lesson is that the bottom ring won't be necessary. I've realized that the tent floor is heavy material and will be staked to the ground. I'll build pockets in the tent wall for the lower end of the verticals. I had planned the simply arc the PVC and T fittings into a circle which could be done if the fittings were glued. But the fittings can't be glued in advance since I can't transport a 10' diameter ring. If not glued the PVC just snaps out of the fittings when the arc is sprung. I put in 45 degree fittings in the picture but these cause the tent floor to be octagonal and not circular. But pockets in the tent wall at floor level will work just fine.

So what about wind loading? Since all the materials (tent and fly) are staked to the ground, about all the wind can do is try to press these downwards. So I'm expecting compression loading of the top. The verticals will likely bow. I'll secure them to the inside of the tent wall with straps, but I expect the tent wall wall cave in.

I bent one of the verticals (3/4" PVC schedule 200) into a 180 degree 'U' without its breaking. I believe the best way to handle the wind is just to let the tent deform. So my plan now is to do just that and hope the PVC doesn't snap.

Maybe I mentioned above but I'm confident of my ability to stake to the ground, and I'm pretty sure my materials won't tear, so damage to the supporting structure is what's left.

Right now I'm planning the PVC you see, but maybe I'll get responses to this post that will scare me into fiberglass rod. I have really good experience with a home made tent supported by 1/4" fiberglass rod. In 50 mph wind it just collapsed somewhat which was kinda freeky while inside but when the gust subsided the tent just popped back.

Most materials are here. Waiting for the double sided tape suggested. Waiting for sewing machine upgrade. Once some final decision is made about support I can start patterning.

Think I'll go to Zion for a week starting middle next week so I'll be back on project after.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby GreyCoyote » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:30 am

FWIW, my favorite trick for making PVC joints hold together without glue (and still be capable of disassembly later) is to run a sheet metal screw through the side of the coupler and into the tubing. It doesnt take a big screw. Just big enough to keep the joint from pulling out. Might consider this for your design just in case all the loads dont stay compressive. :mrgreen:

If PVC doesnt work out, how about EMT?
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:32 pm

Yep, screws will work. Shoulda thought of this on my own...

EMT: The oak verses the palm. I'm with the palm as an overall strategy. I'm just planning the tent will bend and not break.

As for the servo motor sewing machine, here's a link to a video that compares the machine I was planning to purchase with an alternative.

http://www.makeonlinecollection.com/8gx ... Motor.html

You hear on the 'net that the servos don't live up to the high torque at low rpm and the video brings the point home. Right now I'm going to get the pulley off the motor and turn it down to bare minimum. The cool servo in the video is too much money...
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:20 pm

Here's the progress report:

On the sewing machine front, I discovered that my AC clutch-motor is a 3600 RPM but there exist 1800 rpm versions with the same HP rating. So equivalent HP at different RPM means different torques, HP being torque times rpm. I traded my motor and $50 for a very old 1800 rpm. Big difference! The machine starts much better and doesn't run away at full clutch. I have ordered a slightly smaller pulley but I don't think it is really needed.

On supporting the tent.... OK pvc is probably a bad idea. I don't like how long the tubes are nor how they may pop apart. I've purchased these pool skimmer handles from Amazon for $12 each

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0026M ... UTF8&psc=1

These are really nice. Aluminum, about 1 1/2 " diameter at the base. Really light. Collapse to about 5' length, and very strong against bending. Not even terribly expensive considering what you get. So the idea now is to replace the pvc verticals (8) with these. Tent won't bend in the wind but under extreme load the securing mechanisms slip. I can fix this with a sheet metal screw but I think I'll take my chances since if the pole slips in a little it may save it from bending. Unlike pvc, once these babies bend, they don't bend back.

So most of the materials are here. Soon it's time to sew.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:57 pm

Here are the design details. The cross section of the Teepee will be

cross section.jpg


Notice that the top will not go all the way to the point but will be flattened. This is necessary to provide space for the top connection for the supporting poles. I had originally planned a vent here but on consideration of rain leakage I've decided to skip the fancy vent and simply install small sewn-in vents with integrated awnings.

You see the Teepee will have a 120" diameter floor. The material I am using is 62" wide. I simply sewed (felled seam like mentioned above) two lengths together along their sides. Here is the cut patten allowing 1/2" perimeter material for hem.

Floor.JPG


The first step is easy. Just sew and cut. I took the liberty of seam sealing this part where sewn together at this point since later it will be harder to get at.

That's today's installation. More to come.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby dwschouten » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:08 am

So, a strong word of caution. PVC connectors shatter in wind.The PVC may bend, but the connectors are a much harder plastic. Under surprisingly small tensions, they will explode. I have learned this this hard way on playa.

Rule for PVC building on playa: 1" Sch 40 PVC minimum, no couplers.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:47 pm

dwschouten wrote:So, a strong word of caution. PVC connectors shatter in wind.The PVC may bend, but the connectors are a much harder plastic. Under surprisingly small tensions, they will explode. I have learned this this hard way on playa.

Rule for PVC building on playa: 1" Sch 40 PVC minimum, no couplers.



Thanks! Yes, abandoned PVC based on comments above. Tent will now be supported by 8X extendable aluminum struts. I have re-purposed swimming pool strainer handles for this purpose. They seem really strong but only the playa will tell.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:49 pm

Here's the next installment. The diagram shows the pattern for cutting the sides. I show my usual 1/2" seam allowance. Turns out a cone is efficiently cut from fabric of any width. I just keep cutting the patterns out until I have sufficient perimeter to be longer than the perimeter of the tent floor. At the time when I attach the floor I just cut away the excess.
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:37 pm

So now that the cutting is established, it's time for a little modeling to foresee what the top flat part will be like.

Here's a picture of a paper cone.

IMG_2978.JPG


I made the cone first, then cut it in the expected way that each of the panel "pie slices" will be up at the top. I then folded all these over. makes a nice flat disc. I can expect to do a lot of sewing up in this area. There will be too many needle penetrations, and a horizontal surface, to expect tent sealer to work, so I'll place a disk of fresh tent material over all when I'm done.

Here's a picture of a trial sewing:

IMG_2978.JPG
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Re: Teepee Tent Construction Journal

Postby mhead » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:50 pm

Now it's time to sew.

First the tent floor is sewn together, and cut to proper diameter.

Next all the "pie slices" are cut.

Next is fabrication of various features:
1) floor vents and flaps
2) door with window and screen
3) diametrical reinforcements (3)
4) top vents


Next the detail work on the pie slices is done. This detail work is

1) installation of floor vents and vent flaps.
2) installation of upper vents.
3) fabrication of door and installation
4) installation of tent electrical panel velcro
5) installation of electrical cable feed thru

Next the "pie slices" are edge sewn. Things are getting big now. In addition to sewing the slices together on the edges, a strip of 1" nylon reinforcement is added over each seam. This holds the seam together and forms the stake-loop so tension is transferred from stake to top via this strap.

Sufficient pie slices are cut so that there is a little to much perimeter to attach to the floor. The double sided tape mentioned above is next used to attach the pie slices to the floor. Note both slices and floor are pre-hemmed before this attachment. The attachment shows where the overlap will occur. The slices are then removed and the final seam sewn, closing the cone. Cone is then re-taped to floor and sewn.

This completes the tent. Not much to write down, but many hours of efforts of 2 or more people to handle the large amounts of material.
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