Update: The structure made it to the playa and survived the wicked windstorm on Wednesday! It required some additional reinforcement, but it held together quite well. Our flag was a little damaged, and the threaded end of the center pole broke when we tried to unscrew it from the coupler after the windstorm. Luckily we had an extra coupler, so we just reversed the pipe and used the other end. Aside from that, no other parts broke or were significantly damaged during the week. Set up went pretty smoothly with a couple people helping. The most time consuming part was screwing the eye bolts into the posts. Next year I think I'm just going to drill the holes out a little wider and use a nut and washer to secure them.
The modifications we made in the field were:
- We opened the structure at two ends to allow breeze through the structure. The parachute was either rolled over the posts or tied up using rope tied around a ball or penny pushed through on the opposite side of the 'chute.
- Several ropes strung over the top of the structure and anchored in the ground to keep the parachute from billowing too much.
- Slits cut in some sections of the parachute to reduce billowing.
- Additional guy ropes run from the top of the posts to the ground on the windward side of the structure. We found that the structure put a lot of strain on the anchored guy ropes when the wind really picked up. Adding additional ropes and rebar helped significantly.
Step 1: The Plan
The centre pole is made from two 6' 1/2" steel pipes. I went with two segments of pipe and a coupler because they will fit in our van more easily than one 12' post or pipe. The outer posts are 8' 4x4s and just fit in our van. The (optional) flag pole on the roof can also be attached with another pipe coupler.
Like any good Burning Man shade structure, all the rope and posts are secured to the ground with rebar.
My cheesy Inkscape-drawn plan is below. For the original size image see here.