HexaFrame 2x4 Shelter

Introduction: HexaFrame 2x4 Shelter

About: New twists on old ideas
HexaFrame is a low cost 2x4 frame shelter.
Inspired by many time tested human building concepts.
Very wind resistant, high strength, and material efficient.
Designed to be sheathed with 1.5" concrete skinned blue/pink foam board (or many other coverings).

Info dump before I give some background:

Full Trimble/Google Sketchup 3D model
2x4 HexaFrame Shelter - Sept03 2012 by KK - 3D Warehouse - http://is.gd/VgXBIu
Flickr picture slideshow
2x4_HexaFrame | Flickr - http://flic.kr/p/d666fb

Picasa Web Album
HexaFrame 2012  - http://bit.ly/TbsEwc

Prototype 2x2 version
Open Source Greenhouse - a set on Flickr - http://bit.ly/nZrJKc

Prototype 2x2 version Sketchup model
OSG Hexagon Greenhouse 3.5  - 3D Warehouse - http://bit.ly/O9cMcz

80 minutes of video build instruction for the 2x2 version
(Click on Open Source Greenhouse playlist)

Now, on to the "story"....

I happened to be messing around with a hot glue and screw technique with 2x2 lumber when I got a brainstorm.
People at Burning Man have been using foam board Hexayurts for a while....why not make this idea into a *real* structure?

Gonna need a frame for that..

So I designed  one. My 2x2 frame fits 4 x 8 foot foam insulation boards perfectly with no waste.
I put this 2x2 project up as the "Open Source Greenhouse" on Kickstarter and was successful.
80 minutes of gruesome detail video build instruction was the result.

This 2x2 HexaFrame withstood *incredible* amounts of wind in it's test installation.
I think the hexagon is a great wind shedding shape...contrary to what you might think.
It's properties are not readily apparent till you *build* one yourself.
The hexagon lets wind flow around yet simultaneously "stalls" the wind with it's multiple edges.
Wind can't "grab" and drag a hexagon around very easily.

After making the 2x2 version I was determined to model it in CAD.
Needed to learn a simple, yet common CAD program so anybody can work with my model worldwide.
Google (now Trimble) Sketchup fit the bill perfectly.
100 hours later and the Sketchup model was "perfected".

I then made a really innovative 2x2 version in Sketchup with much more insulation capability.
That version is staying under wraps for now. Takes somebody skilled in 2x2 techniques to build.
Drawing sat for a year. Life intruded. Fast forward to Sept. 2012.

What I needed was a HexaFrame made out of 2x4's. Places like Home Depot have good quality 2x4's readily available.
2x2's are hard to come by in quality grade. Takes someone skilled to pick out useable ones from the piles most places have on hand. Most people only seem to "understand" 2x4's.

So the result was this design. I blasted it out in 8 hours this time.
It's fully modular and can be bolted together for easy takedown.
Same goes for the deck.

The 2x4 HexaFrame shelter has roof for a small loft, a center column to hold it up and many other "potentials".
The roof is a steep angle to shed snow in cold climates. Top cupola can be swapped out for many applications.
The modular walls have built in "ladders" so roof rafter installation is made easy.

A rough parts count follows:

2 x 4 x 96" - 81
2 x 4 x (10 or 12 foot)  - 6
2 x 8 x 96" - 24
1 x 8 x 96" - 12
Simpson 2x8 hanger Model # LUS28Z - 38

Rough estimate - Under $500 USD to build the frame and deck. Will add real prices shortly.

I encourage you to download the unrestricted, FREE copy of Trimble Sketchup:

Explore the model. It's *very* detailed.
You need to have a working knowledge of Sketchup to get the most out of it.
Every part is exact and can be measured.
The model has all the info to build this shelter in real life.
Only thing I left out was fastener locations...this is up to you.
Bolts can be used in very specific locations to make HexaFrame takedown.
Nails or screws could be used if it's a permanent build somewhere.
Choice is up to the skilled builder.

If you can't measure (x2 or 3!), cut, drill, hammer, screw or curse....don't attempt to build this.
Stick to a fabric tent ;)

I'll add info to this page as I get ready to build HexaFrame 2x4.
This is an ongoing adventure. I hope it inspires you.
Build one. Beat me to it. I dare you!

First person to do so...gets "secret" inside info on the construction methods.
Email if you are doing so. And prove that you are actually building it.
I don't have time to respond to every email. Just the one from the first lucky builder.

Email me.

"Qui audet adipiscitur"

Step 1: A Look Inside

A look at the frame and it's subsections.

Step 2: 2x2 Version

This is the 2x2 version of the HexaFrame.
It's designed to have dense pack cellulose insulation blown inside the entire frame.
This means 8" thick, cheap insulation.
Very little thermal bridging (heat leakage) through the wall.

All 2x4 and 2x6 walls leak heat through the wall studs. Covering the building in foam board helps to stop this.
Most American homes do not have foam board covering.
Typical stud construction is bad anyway. It's done only because it's cheap and it's all the builders understand.

This design is strong while keeping heat leakage to a minimum.
It can also be pre-fabbed and bolted together at the build site.
Carry it into the woods or wherever it needs to go.

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    6 years ago

    Beautiful illustrations! I build a scale model for a wood frame hexayurt -- complete with roof overhang:
    I'd love to build one full-size and now that I'm retired, I have the time to do it! We'll be headed to The Slabs mid to end of Nov this year (2016) for the winter months and I'd love to put one of these together. If you're still active on this 'ble, please email me at sail4free@zoho.com

    Uncle Kudzu
    Uncle Kudzu

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, the bare frame in the greenhouse pphotos is beautiful on its own. It's a shame good 2x2 material isn't more available.

    Very cool structure. Thanks for sharing


    Reply 6 years ago

    The best 2x2 material (1.5x1.5) is better procured through use of 2x6 or larger 2x material of quality ripping it down to proper size locally 2x8 is the cheapest to rip from (use a table saw only way I know to get sizes consistent) is 2x8 locally but may be different by location. I have done this to make good 2x2 on two ocosions now and am verry happy with the reslt.

    It looks easy to build .i need to do a structure like this in the hills in india.i can only assemble a structure already built. Can you give me more details on this one please?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic build! I will be building this starting this week as my main building is flooded (lot's of rain lately) and I need temporary storage space. Later I may use it at my friends lake place for A sleeping shelter. Thank you kindly!!


    8 years ago

    Has the full size been built?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    compliments for the really detailed sketches!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You are very welcome. I'm glad somebody looked at them and noticed ;)