Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

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Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby fbcota » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:12 pm

Whats the Pier Group doing this year? Well we are mostly taking the year off to work on a couple smaller projects before we build our Temple like temple thing in 2014 (we are building a Temple yes. We are unsure if it will be "The Temple" but we are going to make it happen no matter what :))

One of those smaller projects will be COUCH TRAIN.

The idea is that we will have a main couch engine that modular couch train cars can join to and drive around like, well a train (without tracks of course because that is just fucking silly). Each car will have a modular standard that we are working on developing with a standard axle length and wheel size and modular power and audio plugs on the front and the back so they can receive power and beats from the engine. We are hoping to create an open format layout that will allow anyone to easily and affordably duplicate the process and make their own cars and possibly engines.

This year we are going to aim at making 1 engine (Imagine a half scale steam engine built out of couch cushions instead of steel, with a poofer shooting fire out of the chimney stack) 1 or 2 standard cars (maybe a couch with coolers in the arms and speakers in the head rest and a victorian bathtub car with fake shower head and some cool lighting) and a double couch epic dining car!

We are considering building it off of Airport luggage carts. We think this may be a good base depending on how easily we can track them down. If anyone knows of a place we could find them for cheap (without stealing them :P) please let me know :)!?!?! Also, I will post the modular standard here in case anyone wants to build a train or cars too!!!!

Ohh, and this is just a baby idea so far. If anyone has great thoughts on how to make the cars cheap, a good base for the engine, a great idea for modular hook-ups, etc,... then let me know.

Viva La Couch Train!
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby fbcota » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:34 pm

Would it be possible to move this to the mutant vehicles thread?
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby Savannah » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:39 pm

Done. :)
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby maladroit » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:26 pm

This sounds lovely. I was originally thinking that people could attach their own couches to your engine, using the standard...but it gets awkward when you think of trying to find an elusive mutant vehicle while pushing an unpowered couch around the playa. And then if you want to leave and take your couch with you....

Maybe organize (hah) it so that anyone who wants to join the train has to meet you at a specific location with their couch-car, and you'll go on a grand tour for a few hours. And of course there would need to be a limit to the number of cars your engine could pull.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby fbcota » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:20 pm

That was kinda our idea. We could get the train going and track down the cars and make it slowly grow. Also, there can be multiple engines as long as each one can go into a fully neutral mode. Basically we could make as many engines and cars as we like and then when 1 train finds another it could join together to form Couch Train Supreme and fight the evil nega couch train supreme on a 1980's cartoon.

Each car, can have its own audio too. You want Bluegrass while the next car wants glitch, cool!!! Basically the sky is the limit on each car. Our thoughts are trying to give people an option to make a mutant vehicle with a bit less monetary investment. It also allows us to play with different combinations and cars every year. Who knows, maybe in a couple years the train could be a 20 car rolling death trap!!!
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:09 pm

A rolling death trap? That sounds.... dangerous!!!

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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby ranger magnum » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:26 pm

Your gonna want something with torque and low gears. Id look for some type of small tractor. Heavier than say a lawn tractor, and more like a small farm unit.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby trilobyte » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:29 pm

Sounds like fun. Get in touch with the DMV sooner rather than later to get visibility on potential logistical issues.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby nilasnake » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:16 pm

fun fun fun! most people can access an old couch...but the framing/wheels/hookup needs to be spelled out so we can contact our friendly welders. also, with shade i suppose. good going, matt!
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby TT120 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:43 pm

fbcota wrote:......could be a 20 car rolling death trap!!!

This sounds like fun!
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:49 pm

I love it.
Consider adding optional wheelchair access to some cars.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:31 pm

Free couch or love seat off craigs list.

Two pieces of 2"X2' angle iron bolted to the bottom frame at each end of the couch.

A 2" long piece of 1"X1" angle welded at the center bottom of each of those to create a triangle to hold the axle in place.

The axle runs the length of the couch (or love seat).

Wheel barrow wheels on the ends of the axle and you're good up to 1000 pounds.

A piece of 2" strap iron 7' long bolted at the middle of the couch on the bottom will extend 3' in front and 1' out the back to act as hitches for other "cars".

Shear pins to connect. 8)
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby ygmir » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:39 pm

an army mule (M274)would be a great tow vehicle, super low gearing, 4x4 locked axles, 4 wheel steering.
the thing about tires on the couches is if they are too thin, you might get in trouble on soft surfaces.
sounds like a great idea!! how fun!!
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby some seeing eye » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:31 am

Suggestion, make your standard trailer a double wide, with two couches facing one another. Make the music quiet enough that people can talk. Work out all the safety issues with people getting on and off. There have been problems with that.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby maladroit » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:48 am

Here's my valuable suggestion: you need an engine and a caboose. The person in the caboose is one of your group, has walkie-talkie communication with the engine, and possibly brakes (maybe even wirelessly controlled electric trailer brakes and an engine cutoff...not too tough, I've done worse). This will help a lot for safety going around corners, and alerting the driver to any problems with people falling off, wanting to hop off, etc.

Could be really important to pass DMV, since with a long train you could be operating part of a large vehicle out of sight behind an obstacle.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby Theraplst » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:55 pm

I could possibly see myself making a couch car if you guys are serious about this. I may even want to put a steering wheel and engine on mine that could go neutral. This is an awesome idea and I'm gonna keep checking to see where you guys are taking this. Just wanted to let you know, there is interest in making more cars!
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby maladroit » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:38 pm

I'm worried about DMV, how would they inspect/license a vehicle that is 90% not even present at the moment of inspection? Would hold especially true for getting the night license.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby trilobyte » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:13 pm

Each section would likely need to fill out a separate questionnaire/registration, and be subject to the approval process and (if approved) on playa inspection.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby maladroit » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:34 pm

There would definitely need to be some special consideration from DMV then, a couch on wheels wouldn't likely make the cut on its own.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby trilobyte » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:32 am

There is already a motorized couch MV, it's been coming to the event for many years.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:39 pm

trilobyte wrote:There is already a motorized couch MV, it's been coming to the event for many years.


Beyond that, there are multiple motorized couch MVs. I've seen at least 3-4..
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby Captain Goddammit » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:02 pm

Actually I'd say there have been DOZENS of motorized couches at Burning Man, for well over ten years. The motorized couch is one of the standard MV ideas, kinda' like boats. There have been great ones, with everything completely concealed under the couch, on down to platforms with a couch bolted to them. I've seen both gas and electric. I've even seen a gas vs. electric motorcouch race. The gas one stomped the electric one...
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby maladroit » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:20 pm

I just recall some discussion about standalone motorized couches being "lame" and done before, not mutant or original enough, etc. If people are literally bolting some angle iron and lawnmower wheels to a couch to use as a trailer, I don't see how that would get through DMV on its own merit. I'm just saying that DMV would need to be aware of the whole Couch Train concept and treat all the couch-bringers as a group rather than individuals.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby OMG » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:44 am

Ya, DMV will be a problem. Every trailer/couch would need to be licensed, day and night. You also have to go to DMV twice if you want to run day and night.
Unless you only want to haul them during the day they would all have to be radically illuminated. DMV does not want a Mutant Vehicle or trailer getting T-Boned at night.

Also it gets a little fuzzy on trailers as the gap between the trailer and tow vehicle has to be safe. Someone can walk between them and get hurt.

I like the couch train idea! It would be cool to just make a cool couch for people to hop on and visit and enjoy the playa. Take some organizing though as all the trailers would probably need to be licensed at the same time.

Read the rules submit your idea and go for it! :D
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby renojeff » Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:16 pm

Use the lrg airport luggage trailers the baggage handlers use to load airplanes with. Put on rails, a set of ratchet straps and steps. Then people can add a bath tub or couch or whatever to its own already existing platform/car. That may help get it thru DMV.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby fbcota » Sun May 05, 2013 9:42 pm

I think we are going to stick with just a couple cars that we make the first year. And then let it grow from there. That means 1 time in and out with the dmv. We will work on trying to find a way to make the articulating portions safe enough so people don't get stuck in the joining locations between the cars. We are going to build it in a way that its safe enough. But like The Pier and The Ship we are going to build our vision with the intent of hoping people don't get hurt, however, I have no interest in playing the "safety man" game. If we don't get approval from dmv we will simply make it people powered and probably a whole lot jankier.

Im not so worried about the idea that there have been multiple motorized couch vehicles. We have a billion boats, a ton of animals, more speaker stacks then I can count, a couple hundred of the same bar,... we have been pushing hard to make rad art 4 years in a row and I think the crew wants to join the burn and have a little fun for a year before going MASSIVE again in 2014.

Thanks for the great feedback everyone!!! We made a bike powered prototype fucking around at the art space the other night and towed the equivalent of 2 cars with 10 people with an electric wheelchair. We may be able to pull this off with a quad or a golf cart.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby GreyCoyote » Mon May 06, 2013 6:29 am

Look at an older John Deere G100-series garden tractor. These are cheap to purchase when the deck rusts out, but the running gear is built to handle ground-engaging implements. Much tougher transaxle than a typical lawn tractor and pushing 30 hp, hydrostatic drive and a top speed of 6 mph it should have no problem pulling a couch train. The stock oil cooler works well but can be enhanced easily. Can support up 200 lbs on the hitch. It also tolerates dust well.

A useful mod that can be easily made is adding an alternator or two to the PTO. The PTO is electrically operated so you can switch it on and off at will. There are even mounts underneath that allow an adapter plate to bolt right up. The PTO can handle full engine output too.

Might be worth a look for your MV.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon May 06, 2013 7:44 am

Actually the DMV grey area will be about trailers... if someone builds an unpowered couch on wheels, it isn't a "mutant vehicle" and needs no DMV license on it's own.
When being towed by a mutant vehicle, it becomes part of that rig. But it's ownership is separate and so would be it's license. That could get complicated.
The hitches and trailers need to be lighted, so you'd need not only a standard electrical connector, but a minimum standard wire gauge for pass-through of power to subsequent cars.
I think the logistics of relying on random people's trailers are too problematic to be practical.

It's a super cool idea but I think you need to build the whole thing.
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Re: Couch Train!!! ! !! ! !!!!! !

Postby trilobyte » Mon May 06, 2013 8:11 am

I think you guys are on the right track, fbcota. It doesn't even matter if there have been 16 couch trains, you guys have never built one and I'm sure whatever would bubble up out of the collective group would be uniquely awesome. And I think sticking to a couple at first keeps it manageable, and keeps it from becoming a runaway project - like you said, this year you want to keep things relatively lower key.

If the questionnaire form isn't already in, remember the deadline's coming up soon. Good luck with the project, and I look forward to hearing more about your progress :)
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