Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

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

Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby asr9754 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:09 am

Wow, you have a serious rig in the works, Nice!

Solar experts recommend panel configuration based on latitude and time of year. For BRC in late August, optimal is 37degrees tilted (*not* parallel to the playa) and facing to due south or just slightly southeast.
This position maximizes overall daily battery charging, according to the solar calculators I looked at. If you're using solar to charge batteries (rather than running off solar panel directly) this single angle should be great and you don't need to make daily adjustments. You can have more time to run around and meet people and look at stuff.
If you were thinking of running directly off solar panels with no battery, I'd reconsider; the morning sun is low angle and often hazy from lingering dust (beautiful sunrises!) but panel performance might not be enough to power your gear early in the day.

As for the open ends of the monkeyhut, we've had good luck using Camo-Netting in doorways, it lets some wind through so it doesn't become a sail or an oven, but it does cut down on the gustiness and dust blasts. It's easy to attach and adjust with zip ties or bungeeballs.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Jun 11, 2014 11:30 am

kowtow wrote:So is the image below the placement you are suggesting?

This would have my shelter openings to the N and S and the monkeyawning wall facing south. The solar panels would be on the NW side of the trailer, but I can raise the leading edge so that grab the early morning sun on the opposite side of the trailer and then lower them to parallel with playa as the sun rises.

Image


Sort of, but if you turn it 180 degrees you can sit in your shade and look up and down the 5 o'clock spoke and the north side will be facing G.

For the sake of space you may need to unhook and park your vehicle on the east side of your set up. 8)
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby Roundabout » Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:08 pm

Unless there are other structures tightly around you, with your structure set up that way, you are going to get the full brunt of every wind and dust storm coming straight through you monkey hut. My personal preference is to block the wind by putting the closed ends of my structure on the north and south. Others see it differently.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby kowtow » Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:12 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Sort of, but if you turn it 180 degrees you can sit in your shade and look up and down the 5 o'clock spoke and the north side will be facing G.

For the sake of space you may need to unhook and park your vehicle on the east side of your set up. 8)


Looking at this diagram, I drew it up thinking I was pointing that direction. The solar panels pointing at the 5:00 spoke and the hut facing G. In the picture it really isn't clear but my door is on the left front of the trailer on G facing side. 180 degree flip would be better for the solar, but I would then have shade facing out towards the 5 and H direction, but at this angle it really doesn't matter.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:46 pm

For the record, 1.5" PVC will be way too rigid for your MH. If you're doing 20' ribs or shorter, you should stick with 1" PVC. 1.25" PVC MAY bend enough, but I'm not certain of that. If you're trying to do 30' ribs, I think 1.25" could work well. We use 1" PVC for our 30' ribs and it is a little bendier than we'd like (but still workable).

As for whether you should use strapping for the spine instead of PVC, I think it's only necessary if you get over a certain length. For a 10' or 20' long hut, I prefer to just lay PVC over the top of the ribs and duct tape it on. Quick easy, and doesnt require bungees. There is plenty of flex in the MH without having bungee cords in the spine. For our 30' MH, we use 2 straps running the length of the hut (about 2 feet on either side of center), then guy them down. This works great, but is much more finicky & takes a while to do. I felt it was necessary in order to secure the whole structure (given the increased wind load). There are 2 challenges in using strapping: 1) Keeping the straps from sliding side to side on the PVC. We solve this by twisting up some duct tape and then taping it on either side of the strapping on the PVC to create a little ridge so it won't slide sideways. 2) Attaching the strapping to the PVC itself. The only method I've found acceptable is tying it to each rib. Maintaining proper spacing between the ribs is a little annoying, and the fact that you have to tie knots in the strap is a pain & time consuming, but I wasn't willing to use any of the other methods we dreamed up because i felt they would not be as strong.

The other key to making ANY MH work at bman is to use cross strapping over the top of the tarp, between each rib. This has proven vital even for our 20' huts, else it wants to lift off.

Here's our 30' hut under construction (1" Schedule 40 PVC electrical conduit with built-in bell connectors). That's my butt in the pic.

Image

Image
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby kowtow » Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:36 pm

MacGlenver wrote:For the record, 1.5" PVC will be way too rigid for your MH. If you're doing 20' ribs or shorter, you should stick with 1" PVC. 1.25" PVC MAY bend enough, but I'm not certain of that. If you're trying to do 30' ribs, I think 1.25" could work well. We use 1" PVC for our 30' ribs and it is a little bendier than we'd like (but still workable).


I am using 1" sched40 PVC for the ribs, The only 1.5" PVC I have is for the spine (where the ribs meet in the middle). I'm using the diagram below as a guide, but I added one addition rib section.

They used 1.5" couplers and 1.25" for the spine, but I opted for 1.5" all the way around (spine only) because then I only had to put tape the 8 1" rib sticks where the author of this design applied tape to the 1.25" spine to coupler joints as well as all the 1" rib sticks.

Image
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby maladroit » Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:41 pm

For ends of the spine, the inch or two slid into the T coupler isn't enough. I used a bigger T coupler and glued in some 6" lengths of PVC that my spine tubing could slide into. It will never pop out of that. Basically the same setup as it shows for the ribs passing through the T coupler.

I left the spine pieces 10' long, and used a piece of bigger tubing to join them in the middle. I ran a screw through the center of that larger pipe to keep things centered. I didn't use X couplers, I simply lashed the spine to the ribs.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby kowtow » Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:57 pm

I glued the 1.5" sections into the couplers that run parallel with the ribs. I did not glue in the perpendicular 1.5" pieces, but these aren't exposed to the same degree the forces that will pop the ribs apart. They are maintained through securing of the tarp to the outside ribs; preventing exacerbated lateral movements.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby socks2 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:41 pm

The engineering magic of the monkey hut is the flexibility of it. When you glue any part of the spine you lose that.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby maladroit » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:21 pm

socks2 wrote:The engineering magic of the monkey hut is the flexibility of it. When you glue any part of the spine you lose that.


The only part glued on my monkey hut was a 6" length of pipe sticking out of the T coupler. The spine itself slid inside that pipe on either end of the monkeyhut. Flexibility was not compromised, and you can find plenty of people complaining about the spine end popping out of the T coupler during a windstorm because it's only engaged by 1.5 inches or so.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby kowtow » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:57 pm

socks2 wrote:The engineering magic of the monkey hut is the flexibility of it. When you glue any part of the spine you lose that.


Thanks. That was taken into consideration before gluing them. I realize the value of not having pieces glued in the monkey hut design. Not gluing allows pieces to not only flex, but also shift during wind loads.

I have not removed that flexibility as the ribs can still freely move within the spine should they need to. I created four 1.5"diameter longitudinal shafts that allow full freedom of movement by the 1" PVC that run through them. There are no additional stressors put on the design by simply affixing the three pieces (two 36" 1.5" sections and a coupler) with adhesive. Should there be stress put on the monkeyawning by wind creating lift going through either end of the design the lateral pieces of 1.5" PVC can still shift and flex within the couplers, but that motion is also limited by the tarp coupling to the outer ribs. Unless the tarp stretches or the vast majority of the 4" bungee balls fail on the leading or trailing edges of the tarp the lateral PVC pipe should not pull out from the couplers. That said, the lateral pieces between each coupler (that aren't glued) are probably the greatest weakness in this design. I have some ideas on how to mitigate this weakness, but I want to see it on the playa to understand the magnitude of this weakness.

I'm not stating this design is any better than the original, I'm only stating that I have put a lot of work into a design that has so far proven out for me. It is very easy to criticize a design that hasn't proven itself on the playa. I see a vast amount of that being tossed around on the forums and there is plenty of credence in those arguments. It's short-sighted to criticize a design because it isn't like the original. Before the original ever existed it was nothing more than an idea, concept, model or feasibility study. This awning is in the category. I'm sure there was a time when the FigJam swamp cooler was nothing but an idea that was challenged and discounted. Now it's probably one of the single-most proven out designs out on the playa, but it's also constantly being improved and modified for different applications.

There are many experts here on the boards who are able to explain why a design might have weaknesses; lending itself to knowledge sharing and brainstorming that may provide improvement opportunities for an existing design. The mother of all invention is coming up with new ways to do things that work for different people in different situations.

I'm not flaunting the monkeyawning as my design, quite the opposite, this idea was birthed by FigJam as far as I know. He described to me what his ideas were for a monkeyawning and I took those ideas and executed them the best way I knew how.

Hopefully this design will fail on the playa, because unless it fails I won't be able to make improvements to it. If it fails because I glued it, then I'll report back that it shouldn't be glued, but enough history and experience has told me that without glue the short insertion depth (~2 inches) wouldn't be enough to prevent collapse once the wind applied even a reasonable amount of pressure on the surface of the awning. I can't tout the validity of this design before it's been tested, but I will defend the reasons for why I made the design choices I have so far.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:33 am

When I first posted pictures of my untested shade design, there was a lot of post about why it COULDN'T work!

After 4 years I guess it still doesn't work since the doubters COULDN'T be wrong! 8)
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby unjonharley » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:49 am

going to reconfigure the monkey hut to go over the van.. Same hut but extend the 1 1/2 inch cross bars over the van.. for my needs I want to set the van east west..
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby GypsyMike » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:15 pm

Thanks MacGlenver for addressing my pipe size question. I'm feeling pretty good about the hut at this point. I'm just trying to figure out if I should build the full scale model now and take it on the road with me for a couple of months, or wait until I reach my long term spot and erect it there. Now that I've settled my obsessions with the monkey hut, my mind is now onto a swamp cooler. At first I wanted to keep my camp as low tech as possible. But I'm considering getting to the desert in the middle of September. If I do so, it will be REALLY hot.

So, to FigJam in particular, and to anyone else who cares to input, how does the swamp cooler work in conjunction with the monkey hut? ie, can it be used to cool the whole hut? Or do I have to put a tent inside the hut and the swamp cooler inside the tent? I'm planning on building a 20' version.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby trilobyte » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:10 pm

You might want to consider looking up and participating in a swamp cooler discussion.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby Dr. Brap » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:11 pm

sadie wrote:Hi GypsyMike. I'll jump in here. I have built my first monkey hut and plan to attend Burning Man in August. Based on what I have read and gathered from the experienced burners, I think wrapping the pvc in duct tape has a pretty big sticky mess potential. If I was going to wrap the pvc, I would probably choose gaffers tape. I'm not sure if either one would make a difference in the life of the plastic.

I chose 70% reflective aluminet to use as a cover for my hut. From what I understand, you lose a little in deep shade, but make up for it in breathability. It is also very lightweight and packs down small. I can't answer the temp. question other than to say it would have to be better than no shade at all..!! Aluminet also puts less stress on the structure since it doesn't fight the wind.

Oh, and mine is right at 7' center height. I used Love Monkey's plans and left the floor width at 12'. The only change I made was cutting the pvc into 5' sections for portability, and I am using 2.5' sleeves of one size larger pvc to join the pieces back together. I seem to recall reading that someone had adjusted the width of their floor to 11' without any issues.

I think it comes down to personal choice for the variations.

As far as posting a list of questions vs. a couple at a time...I think either way would be accepted. :)


I cut my sections down to 5' last year and it was fine. I secured the joints with a PTO Pin. You can get these at Harbor Freight for about $9 a kit. The whole duct tape thing just sounds messy. The key is make sure that all the holes you drill are all in the same place. Best to do this on a drill press with some sort of jig. This way you don't have to keep track of things. Any 1.25" connector can connect to any rib. I also attached the ribs to the spine with some of the bigger PTO pins in the the kit. It probably isn't necessary but it puts a positive connection at every joint instead of relying on bungees and duct tape.

While I'm on it, I also used a few 3'x0.75" stakes from Home Depot, http://www.homedepot.com/p/3-4-in-x-36- ... /204738285 I had some scrap rebar laying around but not enough for all six stakes. These are nice cause they're super meaty, already cut to length, and already pointed.

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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby BBadger » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:15 pm

What the hell man, no duct tape? This is a total abomination. What next, are you going to use some real construction materials, not plastic water pipes and bungees?


See, this is what happens when you overthink the monkeyhut.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:39 pm

Dr. Brap wrote:Image

I know what I'm going to do this weekend. I'm going to "Home Despot" with my "Char-Pei" and adding "Monkey Hut" to all sorts of products.

Care to join me, Bbadger?
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby kowtow » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:55 pm

theCryptofishist wrote: I know what I'm going to do this weekend. I'm going to "Home Despot" with my "Char-Pei" and adding "Monkey Hut" to all sorts of products.

Care to join me, Bbadger?


Were you serious about your "Char-Pei"? Lol, I have a 14 year old chocolate Shar-Pei. We should get them together for a play date at Home Despot. :?

Image
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:14 pm

*Looks at feet and scuffs ground...*

No, I was riffing off my non-use of "Home Depot" and, yes, the breed name. Sharpie was the intended referent.
Image

Sorry.
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby kowtow » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:43 pm

It's okay, he's been at the butt of those jokes for 14 years, he's kinda unphased by it anymore.

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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby gaminwench » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:03 pm

What a cutie! and he's taking the ribbing very well, I'd say ...
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby unjonharley » Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:07 pm

I looked like a Char-Pei puppy before my face lift...

I know all the jokes.. Like having to put my face up in rollers..
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Re: Yet another monkey hut enthusiast

Postby kowtow » Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:25 pm

unjonharley wrote:I looked like a Char-Pei puppy before my face lift...

I know all the jokes.. Like having to put my face up in rollers..


But can they do something for those goddamn balls. I've got enough skin down there to cover Center Camp and at least two monkeyhuts.
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