After much musing on Twitter and checking coatings for quite a few different designs I settled on a low cost design for this iteration of the nodes.
The main criteria were
- Low cost
- Large size, around a meter squared
- Robust against wind
- Waterproof enough to survive the event
- Easy to setup
The winning suggestion was to use rubble sacks, these are cubed and come with straps to allow them to be moved around a building site with a forklift. This was great for me as I could just run it upside down and use those straps to peg them down. This kept them from blowing away and when pegged right tensioned the bottom into a nice square shape.
When tested the woven plastic material was perfect at taking the colour of the nodes and fluorescing with a nice bright light, but also containing the light so it didn't shine too much into the surrounding tents etc.
The main remaining issue to solve was keeping the rest of the cube rigid. First I tested making a makeshift truss inside by taking chicken wire, cutting strips of 3 holes wide and folding them into a triangle. This worked well, but was a pain to make and needed quite a lot of it to keep square.
The winning solution was to just add in 4 upright sticks of bamboo, with the pegged out base holding the bottom of the canes secure it just needed some guy ropes at the top to pull the top section square. Then hey presto, a waterproof cube that won't blow down and makes a lovely housing for the led light.
Now to make 50 of them...
The main pain here was the fact that they looked much better if I turned the cubes inside out, this hid all of the canes inside, along with the blue coloured stiching, it looked great. The pain was the skin on my hands getting shredded by the woven plastic. To add in the webbing that holds the canes, along with the webbing in the top corners to allow for attaching the guy ropes, I had to turn each of the 50 inside out, then back again (then inside out during setup at emf). The woven plastic is like a dull cheese grater and shredded the skin on my hands. I tried to use gloves, but the loss of feeling made manipulating the bags hard and more of an issue than the pain, so time to grin and bare it. In all it was 4 seasons of deep space 9 to make all 50 housings. Felt good to make the last 1.
I'm glad we have a nice kick arse sewing machine that I use for making corsets. It only does straight stich, but it does it at great speed and can much through many layers of tough leather without breaking a sweat, so it made short work of multiple layers of woven plastic with thick webbing on top. Hate to think how long it would have taken on a £10 sewing machine.
Up next, setting this up in the field at emf!