Friday, August 27, 2010

Moon Base Alpha - Part 4

The continuing saga of the Burning Man 2010 Geodesic Dome Project. Previous entries in the saga can be found here.

Moon Base Alpha - 1

Moon Base Alpha - 2

Moon Base Alpha - 3

Been a little MIA of late. Being piled on at work just before you leave on vacation is a norm around these parts of the woods. Even though I give my peers and supervisors ample warning that I am going to be gone for two weeks, they never fail to dump a shit load of work on my desk that MUST be done before I am leave.

From Moon_Base_Alpha

Last weekend was the big push to get the dome test constructed, which went pretty well. There were some problems, but hey, it actually fit together, which was a concern up until the very end.

From Moon_Base_Alpha

Unfortunately, the ONE day I had it erected is also the one day in the past 3 months that it decided to rain cats and dogs at 1am in the morning. So the dome got drenched, which means there is a bit of water damage to it, but nothing that I can't fix.

From Moon_Base_Alpha

This weekend will be the final steps to finish off some of the remaining projects and pieces to the dome, pack up the motor-home and head off to the "City At The End Of The World".

From Moon_Base_Alpha

Accept my apologizes for not visiting and commenting on some of the exceptional blogs that I usually follow, but like most of this year, free time has been scarce to allow me to indulge in your observations and witticisms. Something I hope to catch up on when I get back from Burning Man.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Moom Base Alpha - Part 3

The continuing saga of the Burning Man 2010 Geodesic Dome Project. Previous entries in the saga can be found here.

Moon Base Alpha - 1

Moon Base Alpha - 2

Not as much to look at this week, but a major step forward in the construction of the Geodesic Dome.

From Moon_Base_Alpha

This weekend saw the completion of the cutting of all 36 triangular panels for the dome. The wooden slates still need to be created and applied to 24 of the panels, but all the drywall cutting has been completed.

From Moon_Base_Alpha

This included a total of eight 4' X 8' 1/4 drywall panels to make the 36 triangle for the dome. I have also purchased enough wood to finish the wooden slates for the all the peices.

From Moon_Base_Alpha

The project is now in 'production' mode, where I am streamlining the building process to produce as much as I can in the shortest period of time. That is to say, I am combining similar processes to minimize repeat effort.

From Moon_Base_Alpha

The plan is to have the dome test erected by this Friday. Once erected, it can be painted and detail work, such as doors and windows can be started. This is going to be a busy week.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

All Hail!

The Slater

You most likely know who this is. If you don't, go here.

Steven Slater has become the poster boy for the frustrated and repressed masses in the United States virtually overnight. I am absolutely positive that he will be making the rounds of EVER television news show and late night discussion show for the next three weeks.

Without a doubt, Mr. Slater has touched a nerve in the American psyche that is resonating very long and deep.

While I cheered to myself when I read about his exploits and also envied him for his balls and hutzpa, there is also a darker side to this.

Five or six years ago when things were 'better', this sort of behavior would have been looked upon as very unprofessional and somewhat lunatic. He certainly would not have been made into a media darling.

Such is not the case today. Which is a bell-weather of sorts. More Americans than not identify with Mr. Slater. They feel his anger and frustration and admire him for what he did. Indeed, it appears that many Americans wish they could emulate him, and many may do so in the near future.

This is a very disturbing sign. In a time of economic stagnation and deflation, when we should be grateful we have any job, many people seem poised on the brink and are ready to shuck it all and pull the escape chute. I don't sense a lot of optimism here.

A society that is not optimistic about their future and in fact is pessimistic to the extent that they will burn their bridges just to leave the only employment they have is not good. It shows a fundamental shift in the perception of the country and it's future.

At this point, I am not quite sure what that future will be.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moon Base Alpha-Part 2

The continuing saga of the Burning Man 2010 Geodesic Dome Project. Previous entries in the saga can be found here.

Moon Base Alpha - 1

This past weekend, the task of mass producing the panels for the geodesic dome began in earnest. The first thing I found that I needed to tweak after the initial panel, was to get a different saw blade that would not be rip into the drywall like the default blade that came with the circular saw.

The next thing that became apparent was that creating all 36 of the panels individually would be far too time consuming. So I hit upon the idea of cutting two panels at the same time, one sheet of drywall ontop of the other, which halved the time it takes to cut the panels.

So I completed the three panel templates which I made out of cardboard. From these templates I would trace the dimensions of each panel on 4' by 8' sheets of drywall and cut them out with the circular saw. Laid the two uncut panels on top of one another and proceeded to create a cloud of dust as I cut 12 "Plate-1" panels.

After the initial run of the "Plate-1" panels, the same process was applied to the angled wooden slats that had to be placed on the edges of each panel. I created a type of mobile / upside down table saw for cutting long sections of wood at a specific angle.

I was able to finally get several of the 'Plate-1', panels completed and held together with the vice clamps that will hold the entire dome together. After assembling the panels for almost eight hours I had to stop because I had run out of wood for the slats and my drill batteries were running low on power.

Based on the work I was able to accomplish this past weekend, I hope to be able to have all the panels completed within the next two weeks, which will leave just enough time to finish the accessories for the dome, such as windows and doors. At least that is the plan.

Hopefully more next weekend. It appears that this is where all that play time with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs pays off. It is basically the same thing, but on a much bigger scale.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Moon Base Alpha-Part 1

The Initial Drywall Test Panel with angled wooden slates

It is that time of year again. One month to go till Burning Man. Which means I have to get my ducks in order.

Burning Man sort of comes together in a chaotic way, starting with a loose concept and narrowing down to a sharp focus the nearer you get to the burn.

This year’s project, is another Geodesic Dome. Learning from the experience that I had last year, I am pushing the envelope and making a 'better' dome. Or at least that is the plan. Whether or not my abilities meet my expectations will be determined in the next 28 days. That is how long I have to complete the project that has been knocking around in my head for the past 3 months.

Last year’s dome was made of cardboard and wood. The plans for the dome came from the Internet and were pretty well laid out. The results were a dome that I found to be surprisingly useful and rigid. It also made me the envy of most 'tent' dwellers at Burning Man.

Another angle of the initial test triangle. Each wooden edge strip has to be set at a specific angle. (Baby Dome visible in the background)

Learning from last year’s experiment, I wanted to try and go one better this year. My grandiose plans got whittled down due to constraints beyond my control (time and cargo space to get it there). So I opted for a dome the same size, but much nicer. I will be trying to document my attempt to fulfill this project over the next few weeks.

The flip side of the test triangle, with wood flashing to prevent the screws from tearing into the drywall.

The dome this year will be made of drywall and wood. It will also have a different construction method, and hopefully, electricity, carpeting and air conditioning. Some upgrades this year will be windows and a more functional door, not to mention a bit more rigidity and some more sound proofing.

For those of you that want to see all the angles and layout of the basic design, the PDF file for the plans are located here

This weekend was the initial experimental phase to see if my construction technique would work. I created on of the 36 panels that I will need for the dome, and much to my surprise, it came out pretty well. There were a few minor glitches, which I can iron out in the final production assembly.

So for the next 3 weeks, almost all of my free time will be devoted to this little project. I will keep you posted. Hopefully, I can make this work. If not. Then you get a ring side seat to view my 'agony of defeat'.

Also, if there are still any stragglers out there that want to attend Burning Man this year, we have room in the R.V. if anyone is interested. August 28 - September 8, cost of a ticket is $300. Contact me if you are interested.