Please vote up my Instructable so the next one I make can have this whole step replaced by one that uses a home fabricator!
Originally I planned on ordering parts from these guys
, but they emailed me and suggested using hose instead. It was a fine experiment, and it worked on the cheap, but next time I want:
Less time spent on vertex construction
Not to have to dowel the strut ends
To be able to snap struts in and out of vertices at will, thus allowing me to disassemble the whole thing easily.
But that's for next time, here's what to do if you're making it out of hose:
I made the hose lengths 8". With the struts only going in 2", this was too much. Make them 6" and your whole construction process will be a lot less floppy. (You can try 5" too, but I don't know if it will be too short.)
Now to make them.
There are three different types of vertices to make, 4 connector, 5, and 6. For 5 and 6, use 3 hoses. You'll just ignore one end on the 5's. For 4 connectors, these will be on the ground. You will either need to cut two ends off, or make two of the hoses "one sided" from the start.
First, cut your hoses to length. For 2" doweled ends (which is determined by the length of your hole bit,) I recommend trying 6", but you might be able to get away with 5" lengths.
Next, use a press to smash the hoses, 3 on top of each other, and drill a hole through them big enough for your machine screws to fit through. Drive the screws through with a hammer.
Flip, press again so the screw comes out on the top, and apply your washer and nut. Tighten some, but not so much that you can't adjust the angle of the hoses.
These are now complete. Load them up and get them to your construction site!