Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

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Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:32 pm

Hey guys! im building a large tower to bring to the playa 2013 (my first burn) I have so far been working on it every week and am starting to run into problems. It is made of wood, Octagonal shaped and will be 30 ft tall. Im am assembling 5 sections that are 7 ft wide and 6 ft tall, i have one section completely finished but i feel like stacking what i have wont work, Please if you can help me out with advice that would be awesome, I tried to upload my sketchups but they are too large. I know i will get it done but any secret tips that can save me time or money would be awesome! Its designed to pop apart and together in 25 mins per section. There is a bottom with place holders, 8 walls that are pre made, and a top with placeholders. I want to keep this same system if possible or any other system that will allow me to build it with one other person on playa. Love, Froves

today i added diagonals in between each wall on top and bottom of the middle, it seems strong but not 30 ft strong. I am thinking about making 3 ten foot sections, or like 10- 3 ft sections instead.I have a FB group with all the sketchups and designs along with all the progress and pics, The Throbbing Tower of Liquid Love, please join and help me!!!!! 8)
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DSCF2589.JPG
this is last week, it is now totally wrapped with the fence slats and has diagonal supports.
DSCF2589.JPG (101.71 KiB) Viewed 2346 times
DSCF2601.JPG
this is the first section.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:41 pm

Froves wrote:...im building a large .......my first burn...


Eeee.... No offense intended, but you are daring to tackle an ambitious project without having been there yet.

Try to give better detail about exactly the problem that you are having.
And good luck!
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:45 pm

hahaha thank you!!!!! i dont have any real questions quite yet, i feel like its going smooth but im sure something is bound to go wrong, any pro's feel free to leave a msg, or join our group!!!
\
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby some seeing eye » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:49 pm

With a 7' base and 30' tall you need to consider wind loading and guy lines. You might also reach out to the Texas regional, try for tickets to Flipside and test it there. Good luck with your project!
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby BBadger » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:52 am

I wouldn't trust those panels without any cross-braces inside or some plywood fixed across the entire side. Should that structure twist, it'll collapse on itself with just those fence panels and that horizontal cross-piece.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Ugly Dougly » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:01 am

In stacking five of these six-foot tall sections, of course you will probably bolt them together, but that won't be enough. I'd want to tie them together with some sort of longer member, say a few 10' or 12' 2x4's at least.

And yeah, add internal cross-bracing and guy wires as well. 60-mph winds, remember.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:19 pm

Yea just yesterday i added some diagonal braces! Thanks to all for the help so far!! Im trying to avoid guy wires but there is still plenty of surface area that the tower will hold on to. If you are interested please check out our group, The Throbbing Tower of Liquid Love, on Facebook. I have all the pics from yesterday and stuff on there. There will be two of the octogon boxes resting at the base that will help hold the big one thats 5 tall. its a huge penis tower. I would take it to flipside but i make about 15k and dont get a vacation. i would have to quit, spend a good chunk of change, get a new job, save again....etc etc. im saving every dollar i got to build this thing its destined for BRC! I have been wanting to come home for years, i was really close last year but gave up after i left my job and had all sorts of lung problems. This is my time!!! im in my prime!!!! Im getting kicked out next year too so i gotta do it while i got the space!!!! LOLOLOL

and yes big bolts and cantilever = 12 ft 2x4's and 2x8's holding it all together again,
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:21 pm

Thanks badger and dougly!
im one step ahead! i guess thats good? lol im 23 and never really built anything taller than a chair lol this ought to be fun!
<3
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby MacGlenver » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:34 pm

I'd echo all the reinforcement ideas. Maybe bring 5 of them and DONT stack them. Just arrange them in a pentagon shape about 2 feet apart. People could climb up and hang out. Add some shade too, maybe. Or maybe make 4 and stack them in pairs (thus, 12 feet high). Less high = less death :)

PS -- I see you said that you dont want to guy it out... 30 feet tall + 7 foot wide base + 30-60mph wind... I'm no physics major, but me thinks it will fall. Please remember that people can and do get seriously hurt out there. You don't want to be the cause of someone's injury.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Major Krash » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:31 pm

be aware that once in Black Rock City, if your structure looks hazardous it may get shut down by either DPW or the Rangers....30' is tall enough to hurt/kill people, either that fall or jump off (has happened)...it will also be an "attractive nuisance", so it should be guarded 24/7 or secured from unauthorized access somehow. The wind estimates are no joke - design for 75mph winds (if you don't know what that means, you should not be building a 30' tall tower). This narrow for that tall will almost certainly need guy lines, unless your foundation is very well designed (a lot more than just rebar). Over build, then double that...

how will people move from level to level? How will all this be lit (inside and out)?

will this be part of a registered theme camp? if so, the application form will need the details (height mostly).

good luck!
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Bounce530 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:31 pm

Major Krash wrote:be aware that once in Black Rock City, if your structure looks hazardous it may get shut down by either DPW or the Rangers...


When has that happened?
There's been many, many, many structures that looked hazardous but still have people crawling all over them. The only time I've ever seen any thing shut down was due to it not yet being complete, or due to vandalism and having to be rebuilt. I've never seen anything shut down by DPW/Rangers because it was hazardous.
If the DWP/Rangers are turning into nannies that are going to say "now, now that's not safe" the org might as well sell ad space on all that extra room thats going to be on the back of the tickets.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:49 pm

I've forgotten the details, but there was a structure/ride that wasn't sufficiently closed when the camp was off elsewhere and someone climbed on it and got hurt. I don't think that the camp was ever back...
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:07 pm

I think that when i build the 2nd ball the entire thing will seem less scary. I may widen the girth out to 9ft across for the shaft if it seems sketchy. the balls will hold the cock still. the fence slats are just for cover and grunge look. The inside will be like a windmill tower. ive seen 30 ft windmill towers without guy wires and you can climb that all day. im loving the input, keep it coming. its going to be a giant sky penis! not a short little pecker! Dont tell me i cant because then i will just prove you wrong, im asking advice for the tower to be 30 ft tall climbable from the outside. (only) a series of wooden dildos will act as a ladder so participants can climb up into the tip. (observatory) Check out the group, its set to private but i check it constantly, The throbbing tower of liquid love Facebook
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby BBadger » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:18 pm

Froves wrote:Thanks badger and dougly!
im one step ahead! i guess thats good? lol im 23 and never really built anything taller than a chair lol this ought to be fun!
<3


Fun or not, you need to make sure it is safe. "LOL I'm 23" won't be a good excuse if the structure tips over onto your camp or someone else's and you get your ass sued.

You're going to need guylines. Assuming the structure doesn't just tip over mid-way, the leverage caused by the 30ft structure will lift any stakes you secure the base to. Imagine a stack of empty soda cans in front of a fan.

As stated by others, I would consult the expertise of someone locally before continuing on your structure. You may need to redesign the structure so that it is safe and playa worthy. If you've literally never designed anything larger than a chair you shouldn't be building large structures until you know more, especially for a place like the playa.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby ranger magnum » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:44 pm

I really like your enthusiasm! Ive been burning since 96, and I have never built such a large project.

As a building contractor by trade, I see a couple issues with your idea. First, are people going to climb this tower? Never mind if you want them to, you must plan on there being people climbing. Have you weighed each module? You will need to add the weight of the module with an estimated weight amount of people. Now multiply this by the amount of modules. This is the weight that the bottom module must hold. In order to make it strong enough to support all this weight, you are going to have to shear the walls. Typically, this is done with plywood, but in your situation this will make the structure even more susceptible to the effects of wind, not to mention adding more weight.

There is no way an un anchored 7' base will provide enough of a footprint to keep this structure from toppling over. It will have to be guy wired down. You will also have to bolt each module together with at least one bolt per facet.

Why not build a tapered structure? You could start with a 7' base, then make each module consecutively smaller. It would be a more secure way to go, but this may not give you the look you are after.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Bounce530 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:59 pm

If you build it right you won't have to guy it, and people will be able to climb it.

Image
Image
I've been watching your project since the "drunken sketch" on the BMFB page.

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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Drawingablank » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:10 pm

Froves wrote: ive seen 30 ft windmill towers without guy wires and you can climb that all day.


You might want to consider that those windmills likely had pretty substantial foundations or footings - i.e. stone or concrete.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby BBadger » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:39 am

Drawingablank wrote:You might want to consider that those windmills likely had pretty substantial foundations or footings - i.e. stone or concrete.


Not to mention they're usually constructed with a heavy timber frame, and heavily reinforced on the interior to ensure the wind energy gets transferred to machinery. Most have a larger footprint too, which adds to the stability.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby trilobyte » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:01 am

Sounds like fun. What others have said above about design though, remember that unlike most buildings (such as a lighthouse) you're building a temporary freestanding structure with no embedded foundation, and it needs to be able to withstand 60+. mph winds.

My main suggestion would be to plan for a bigger build crew. One mistake/trap that a lot of first or second year burners fall into is that they over-extend themselves. Not only does that put the project at risk (once a person reaches their limit out there, they tend to not be able to go any further), but it. Puts you at risk for having a very difficult and not-so-enjoyable burn. My recommendation for any first year burner would be to come to Black Rock City with as few commitments and obligations as possible. Bring all your awesomeness and energy and enthusiasm, and then once you get there you can channel that in whateve direction feels right. There are so many opportunities to help build things, crew things, support things, or just have fun out there that you can be assured of putting everything you have to use.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Bob » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:27 am

Bounce530 wrote:
Major Krash wrote:be aware that once in Black Rock City, if your structure looks hazardous it may get shut down by either DPW or the Rangers...


When has that happened?
There's been many, many, many structures that looked hazardous but still have people crawling all over them. The only time I've ever seen any thing shut down was due to it not yet being complete, or due to vandalism and having to be rebuilt. I've never seen anything shut down by DPW/Rangers because it was hazardous.
If the DWP/Rangers are turning into nannies that are going to say "now, now that's not safe" the org might as well sell ad space on all that extra room thats going to be on the back of the tickets.


I've red-tagged structures years before you started going to that thing in the dark. Most of the time, they just need guy lines, but people can be stupid about that too. Best time to catch them is when they email art & theme camp proposals.

Other than that, I have no comment on this tower thing. Seems like the OP thinks lumber works like tinker toys and not as a framed & sheathed system.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Bob » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:53 am

FWIW, the lighthouse Man base in 2002 used 2x4 framing sheathed w/ 1/2" ply for most of the walls. The top section was two layers of 1/4" ply, as I recall.

These days they pre-build & paint the largest modular units possible off-site and assemble on the playa, so the size of modules may be defined by the truck you plan on using.

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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:20 pm

Ranger magnum, Thank you! This is really helpful info! thats the stuff i needed!!! lol i will figure out how to weigh the modules soon. i want to keep contact with you!!! Join our group pleasssee!!! i need a guide lol.


Bbadger- Im not going to bring it if its not safe to climb. "Im 23" is so you can understand i need help. No excuses here.


Bounce530! thanks dude!!! WOWOWOW the minaret is insane looking!!!! this is really reassuring! it seems like they have some large ibeams, im sure i could do something like that. Glad you saw the first sketch lol. Drunken dick sketch lol

The surface area/ footprint will be BIG over 150sq ft. i will downsize the sketch ups and bigger pics after work so i can show yall. Thank you all soo much!!!

Trilobyte, thank you, i realize that none of my friends will even try to go, they all say they will but im sure when january sneaks up everyone will back out early. Im looking for crew! We have an awesome regional network down here and im sure i will be able to come up with a good solid team, With my design i can build it with 3 people. YEA BELIEVE IT. And thank you for the advice but naw man i already started, this is what i want to do and im just going to keep on truckin. Alot of people say to just go check it out first but i know what im getting into, i want to share this.

Everyone else, dont tell me what i should do, im not you. Im responsible for my own experience and im going to experience this! suggestions are welcome, tips are loved, help is needed, but dont tell me not to do it.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:21 pm

@ bob, it will be closely similar to the pic, without the man, and without all the coverage. See it seems more possible every day! i love this place!
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:26 pm

i keep hearing the word "sheathed" i really like how the old fence slats look but i may do the inside walls over with plywood if needed.im willing to do whatever it takes as long as its within my budget and doesnt change the plan, ease of assembly, burnable, 30 ft. the framing is intense now, look on the group page
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:41 pm

Attachments
sm2.jpg
THIS IS NOT THE TOWER! THIS IS ONE TESTE! only 6ft
sm1.jpg
tower not started yet, want to redesign for strong
sm.jpg
this is the latest sketch with actual desired height and dimensions, is it hard to run guy wires? what kind of cable is it? and before you chip in your pennies i know they have to be well lit. ;)
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:54 pm

more pics :) someone tell me good job! lol im doing it right? anything>? it looks strong as a bull now
Attachments
pole2.jpg
pole.jpg
sm4.jpg
this was before the diagonals were put in, it was creaky and scary! again this is just the teste
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby ranger magnum » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:35 pm

The last picture sold me. Good job. The "balls" will give you the stability it needs, if they are solidly attached to the penis, err tower. The interior braces add a lot. Think about simpson strong ties and/or joist hangers. Also, use screws and not nails. The hot dry conditions on the playa will shrink the lumber and nails will loosen.

Before you only had about a .23 ratio of footprint to height. Way to little an an un anchored structure. Thought of another way, a typical freeway overcrossing is 15', and a lane is 12' wide. Next time you are driving, double the height of the bridge you see, and cut the lane width a little more than half and you will realize how unstable it would be.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Froves » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:35 pm

@ ranger mag. I like the way you think! i can see what you mean by the bridge height and yea that is scary lol. haha balls, penis, throbbing tower, liquid, smegma, lol. We can talk about that all day! Its a giant cock tower with a climbing wall made of dildo's!!!! eruptions, it has a heart beat, herpes and shoots fire! lol, there is an interactive wall of dicks also on the ground level that activates features like sounds, smoke, fire, all sorts of wacky fun. you have to pull twist, push, dildos to make the tower do something and if you want to go up into the tip you have to grab a lot of dildos and pull yourself up with them lol, some will be gross looking, some will be all floppy lol, wooden splintery ones, lubed ones, haha, its silly

sincerely thank you! im glad you see it being able to at least stand! i can see it! i think i would climb it, we all sign our lives away anyways so why not climb at your own risk. i will have danger signs all over, do not climb, if you want to be a hero, go for it, it will hold you, there is a secret in the top lol. maybe there isnt. If there is a way to get up there it will be a legit safe way. Overweight people will be able to climb too!!!
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby BBadger » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:14 am

I see what you're trying to do there in that diagram. ;)

For the flat mid-sections (the roof in your single structure) set those 2x4/2x6 boards vertical, not flat. That way they'll support more weight. The way it is now if someone jumps on the center of the roof it'll cause those boards to buckle. Apply the above concept to any location where force will be applied. You probably won't even need that center support if you span the entire length of the floor with well connected boards oriented vertically.

Image

Before you proceed any further, and possibly have to dismantle things, you should visit your local library and pick up some books on basic wooden structure design and construction. It'll at least help you be aware of structure problems like the above, and how you can counter them. A forum like ePlaya is really not the place for teaching you good building techniques or even basic techniques. It's not that we don't want to help, but giving helpful advice is one thing, teaching someone the fundamentals is entirely another.

This is not meant to be condescending. I wouldn't trust myself--in the least--in an undertaking such as yours without extra reading and planning. It's more that to run, you need to learn how to walk. You've got the enthusiasm and resources, now you need the fundamental knowledge to use both.
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Re: Need tips building a 30 ft wooden octogon

Postby Snow » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:19 am

Glad to see your enthusiasm and progress.

I agree that your structure appears to need some guying, but don't worry you don't have to have gaudy cables on the outside. Internal guying is sturdy and well hidden, yet provides the necessary down force to counteract wind and burner forces (yes people WILL climb all over your stuffl, and trying to keep a ever changing group of burners in balance is, well it ain't going to happen). Many of our past projects (some pretty damn big) have had both external and internal guying. I prefer internal for most structures, but external works better in some cases (Ein hammer for example) I'll post more about earth anchors when I'm less drunk haha. And yes you will get shut down (people kept out of area and it plain sucks) if your project is far too unsafe.

Another helpful tip, an octogon has 8 sides, in case you were wondering :wink:
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