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Burning Man Skills

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Gilligan and the Skipper had to build a "cozy island nest" for the stranded crew of the s.s. Minnow.
If they'd been at Burning Man, it would have been much harder, because there's nothing there but flat blowing alkali dust, hot sun in the day, and cold at night.
What follows are some of the ways people have found to thrive in this very difficult environment.

The [www.burningman.org Burning Man] festival is held each year at the end of August for the week of the labor Day weekend. It's in Black Rock Desert of Nevada, which is a totally flat alkali dry lake.

This photo gives a good sense of what the surface is like. Now imagine a hundred square miles of just that. Now have fifty thousand people set up camp with gigantic artworks and lots of loud music. Do any possible problems occur to you?
This photo illustrates some solutions. It's a tent peg for holding up a shade structure.
There were 60 mph winds this year. Very few structures blew down due to good use of rebar (reinforcing rod manufactured for cement work) tent stakes.
This rebar tent stake is put through a rubber foot to make it more visible and entertaining. There's an orange mushroom rebar cap on the end so someone doesn't get impaled by falling on it. The guy line to the tent is tied with a tautline hitch so it can be easily tightened. The guy line is ornamented with christmas lights and yellow caution tape so someone doesn't trip on it. A very competent and decorative installation.
 
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I stumbled on this when looking for diy sump pump plans for my large fish tank, dunno how that happen *laughs*

I work as an erection specialist "har har" we do tents....its what we do!

as stated, we also make our own stakes, altho we use super thick hardened rebar and axle shafts, we also do bounceys for kids and use smaller rebar, bent with an oxy torch. We put these stakes into everything, including black top etc....and we do events with tents in the same spot year in and year out so after its bin willed with tar "black jack" it can be tuff to get out the next year.

As stated, sledge hammers, there your friends, but another tool i havent seen mentioned "i didnt read all posts but then again im not going to since i just happened across this" a pipe wrench! its key for stake removal....with or without the use of a sledge, it makes your like simple without the danger of 4x4ing a stake into someones skull or screwing around with a jack.....consider it.

and urine unless coupled with something like a bladder infection, etc, is sterile.
I have a big military tent (think M.A.S.H). And it has 16 3/4" x 24" stakes. I had them bent into candy canes.

A good sledgehammer puts them in, and helps to take them out.

When I get ready to pull them, I give 'em a couple of good whacks with the sledgehammer from the four cardinal directions (toward the tent, away from the tent, and each side). This generally loosens them enough to pull out.

For really stubborn ones, I thread a free one through the loop, and use it as a tee handle.

For really, really stubborn ones, I put a fulcrum on the away from the tent side, and use a free one as a lever to pull it out. You can stand on it if it needs that much juice.

Finally, like above said, as a last ditch, when your buddy Paul Bunyun drove the stake through a granite boulder, you can hitch your car to it and pop it out. But, that often bends them.
rgrimm12 years ago
I use a propane torch to heat the rebar end red hot, then bend it in a loop. The loop end allows easier withdrawal by using a length of rope to yank it straight up and out, and the round part reduces injury.
It also reduces the chance the rope will come off if the wind flaps the loose rope around.
I also paint the stakes with fluorescent paints in a couple colors, as two colors are easier to see than one.

If you find a local foundation company, you might be able to borrow their rebar bender, a tool used to make up rebar frames etc. for concrete work.
Take your rebar to them.

As an alternative, have the stakes made up in a rebar shop, yes there is such a place, and odds are the rebar MIGHT be cheaper there.
You can even get rebar that is coated in a green epoxy, which reduces rusting somewhat.
YES heat bending your rebar is best because you get a much tighter bend radius then if you cold bend it. Thus the re is easier to beat in cold bent looks like a candy cane.
rgrimm12 years ago
I've had VERY good luck buying tarps from Northern Tool, just make sure they are the heavy-duty ones, silver both sides.
Thor Tarp is another good company.
oh sorry I got to puke "blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"
Anykey2 years ago
Berbers are not nomad , I guess you were talking about Beduins ?
lingg2 years ago
There is plan for rocking recliner in Nomadic Furniture by James Hennessey and Victor Papanek that resembles the couch. Yurt on a Truck now thats nomadic!
RogueRiver2 years ago
Re: Static's question about recycling gray water from a shower into swamp coolers. Absolutely. I tried a proof of principle this year at Burning Man and it worked. Used a Kiddy Pool under the solar-heated camp shower, a 12V marine pump to move the water into a raised 7-gal holding bucket, which was connected via irrigation fittings to another bucket with layers of washed sand and charcoal held in recycled panty hose. The sand filters out particulates like hair and skin cells and the charcoal absorbs bacteria. After passing through this filter the water was clear and odorless and worked fine in my swamp cooler, which was a 120V wick-action room humidifier I got for $25 at Wal-Mart. Ran that off an inverter connected to a 12V marine battery connected to solar panels. Some tinkering left to do, but a sweet concept. Everybody likes showers and cool air.
thundt2 years ago
Flashlight (flat red + silver object) hanging on lanyard around neck -- don't leave daylight without it.
mmadesky2 years ago
I loved those couches so much I came back to them several times & had to bring my friends who were veterans to check them out.
mmadesky2 years ago
This is my camp! Can the instructor email me this picture?

Other neat things for a camp to have that we did: non-alcoholic beverages for passerbys, giant vehicle for carpooling up & carpet for keeping the dust down
reedzilla5 years ago
it's....it's glorious...
Liquid gold, my friend
RogueRiver2 years ago
I just hooked a chain from the rebar to my trailer hitch and pulled them out with my 4WD truck in compound low (don't want to pull too fast and nail someone in a camp across the street). A variation on the vice grips method is to pound them from side to side for a while, then pull. Without a 4WD truck or vice grips, pouring a little water alongside the stake hole will soften up the playa to mud and make removal much easier.

As for urine, it is sterile unless somebody has a raging bladder infection. Also pH neutral (~7). Some people drink it, though I wouldn't. The ammonia smell occurs when bacteria start to act on the urea, which is high in nitrogen, which is why it is a good fertilizer.
finnindian5 years ago
weld steel rings to the stakes and insert a common bumper jack inside the ring and jack the stake out of the ground
Going to get this out of the way first and move on to practical matters and comments on burning man. On the removal on the current administrative branch an possibly some members of Congress is not the duty of the military, but the duty of the people and their elected representatives. The military is the last one we would want to do the job, as that would be a slippery slope. On P in a bottle, read volume 5 of the foxfire book series to learn how P was collected and processed to obtain nitrates for black powder production here in parts of the US long ago. The P bottle in the sun, will help disinfect the urine or one can add hydrogen peroxide to seed that process along. A long neck funnel from the auto department can make a P bottle easier to use for women and also help men make sure they actually hit the target. Would in be practical to recycle grey water in swamp coolers, or would there be enough bacteria from showering to make that a nasty idea?
Derin static5 years ago
p is sterile
thebriguy Derin3 years ago
Doesn't pee (as a body fluid) also carry disease? You'd be fine around your own pee, but who knows what the next person has inside them? Am I wrong?
what smells is the ammonia
jakee1175 years ago
can you just go i live in Maryland and i am 14 it sounds so cool can I just get campigsupplies and things and go?!?! so cofusing but so awesome...
jillg jakee1175 years ago
if u want more info goto the burning man website. i wanna go to someday. it sounds awesome
Sylkhr jillg4 years ago
only problem is the 300+ $ per person price tag :-(
Why are there costs now? Wasn't this whole thing anti establishment when it originated? Were there problems that required this (ie; security costs, ems, toilet rentals, etc???)
That's not even 1/2 of it -- there's transportation costs, self-support costs (camping gear, food, etc), just those two can add up pretty quickly.
 I want to go too. the problem is, I live in Belgium. might have to move...
aborior4 years ago
I would love to see an instructable on these couches! i will try to make them by the pictures anyway. thank you for this.
Go to a plasma donation center and look at their giant chair recliners because they are very comfortable and a similar shape. Take a few measurements and pictures. Then post an instructable ;-)
nd347943 years ago
i like the picture that shows the people that had died, it is really nice
To pull your rebar use a utility jack (like a large bumper jack). It just pops right out with minimal effort.
I like to use fabric softener bottles. You can pull out the spout and you have a nice wide opening. It's also hard to confuse it with a water bottle.
elgorgo4 years ago
man-you have no idea how much i would love to attend the burning man festival! ever since it started it just seems to showcase the best in free thinking. It seems like a week long instructable-in the flesh.
great stuff!!!!
what are the chunks in the bin for?
haptotrope6 years ago
I'm not sure it I thanked you for the RV tarp suggestion a few years back... It seems to work pretty well... I can see *some light/shadows of the aluminet through it. but its been good to me.... When i go next I should show you the "spandex walled dome" -- Its full of privicy and pretty brilliant.
Ooh, may I hear about the spandex walled dome?
sure.  its had several iterations. Each based on the geometry dome ( http://geometrydome.com/ ) made from 8' struts of PVC.  First one looked like this:http://haptotrope.com/BurningMan2005/BurningMan2005.html  (middle of the page and a few on page 2))  and the fabric (make sure it stretches /is wide enough/4way stretch)  was held on by pennies/monkeyfists. (time consuming! but adaptable.)  There were several pieces which were overlapped.  Later iterations serged/overlocked all seperate pieces together (good idea) and overlocked on spandex tabs 1-2" wide and 8-10" long that tied in an "easy to release" bow knot - placed at every 2-3 feet.  This was a vast improvement since it was less adjustable,  but way less cumbersome.

If you make a "vajayjaydoor" (as shown) you will need a "chipclip" to keep it closed.  but it is nice to not have to mess with anything like a zipper to get in and out.

the spandex breathes, if you spray it with a plant sprayer it becomes a swamp cooler, I had an extra layer of alluminet  covering the whole thing, and room darkening tarps on top.  it does an ok job of filtering out the dust. (or slowing it down and dropping it between net layer and double fabric layer.)  It was also easy to take down and toss in a bin.

I also did this with a standard buckydome, HUGE piece, overlocked together, with tabs on it... sometimes you have to make adjustments... since its stretchy and the dome changes slightly each time you put it up...  but if you hang the ridiculously patterned fabric from the inside, and get some color changing LEDs -- it can be super fun. ahem.

Anyway, let me know if you have questions!
I think the "dust mask" is more likely for menthol (vicks) inhalation while rolling on x

Or both. Besides, everyone uses the inhalers now

dolabil664 years ago
Nice Pic`s of Burning Man......I have a 3 year plan to go there myself.....all I need is a bus and 3 weeks vacation
 wow have much fun in the sun?
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