The Napparatus




Introduction: The Napparatus

About: I'm an inventor / maker / designer based in the Bay Area. My background is in residential architecture, film set design, animatronics, media arts, exhibit design, and electronics. I use digital design and fa...

Since the dawn of society, mankind has been trying to solve one mystery: how do you make workers more productive. We have the solution: naps at work!

It turns out that if you provide people with amenities that make them want to stay at work (espresso machines, snacks, pingpong tables, video game consoles, ball pits, dog parks, nap structures, etc.), they'll stay way longer than they would if you just give them a desk, a computer, and yell at them when they don't perform according to your expectations. Talk about bang for your buck!

As soon as we figure this out, we at the Instructables Design Studio went right to work making the Napparatus.

Step 1: Design


The first step, of course, is always design. The big idea was to make a place for taking naps that wouldn't sacrifice priceless floor space in the building. The obvious answer to that was to make the "bed" on a raised platform so that you could still walk under it. The space already had a couch and a coffee table, so the structure would need to accommodate those.

A solid platform wouldn't do because of a fire sprinkler above that space- never obstruct a fire sprinkler! This is where the idea of a cargo net came from- water will have no trouble getting through a net with 2" Ø openings.


For the structure, we decided to go with aluminum box section with aluminum gussets. This makes it lightweight; a grand total of 289 LB for the entire structure. Being in a seismic zone, it's a bad idea to add significant weight to any building that wasn't factored in when the building was designed.

We went with 3"X3"X.125" and 1/4" plate for the gussets, which is serious overkill! You could put a tank on top of this thing and it wouldn't budge. We had a few reasons for this:

  1. We didn't want the facilities personnel to worry about it not being string enough.
  2. The net is hung from the beams on the top of the structure, meaning they need depth in the horizontal direction to keep them from bending when the net is pulled tight from weight.
  3. We sacrificed the efficiency of designing the structure with multiple types of members so that we could get a consistent aesthetic and simplify the kit of parts.

Any time you're designing something specific to a space, you've got to measure the space it's going in before you do anything else. The space for it had a 7'-3" X 11' footprint, so we went with a 7' X 10' footprint to prevent the structure from touching the walls. We made the structure 7'-2 1/2" tall to give us ample clearance to walk underneath.

For the full kit of parts, see page 3 of the PDF in this step.


*Quantities are based on package sizes and aren't necessarily accurate. If you plan to build this project, look carefully at the shop drawings to avoid wasting money!

Cargo Net Cost: $300

Total Cost of Project: $2,500

  1. 3X3 6061 Aluminum Box Section Tube: 492 LF. Locally sourced.
  2. 1/4" 6061 Aluminum Plate: 4'X8' Total. Locally sourced.
  3. Cargo Net: 6'X9' 2 inch sq. mesh black 4.75 mm knotless HTTP cord- 1/4” sewn rope border. Custom made by Incord.
  4. 11mm Safety Rope: 165'.
  5. Paracord: 100'.
  6. Type 18-8 Stainless Steel Nylon-Insert Locknut 1/2"-13 Thread Size, 3/4"Wide, 19/32". QTY: 190.
  7. Galvanized Steel Eyebolt with Nut and with Shoulderfor Lifting, 1/2"-13 Thread Size, 1-1/2" Thread Length. QTY: 64.
  8. Grade 8 Steel Flanged Hex Head Cap Screw 1/2"-13 Thread, 4" Long. QTY: 130.
  9. Nylon Self-Retaining Washer 1/2" Screw Size, 0.468" ID,1.125" OD. QTY: 200.


  1. The PDF file is a full set of shop drawings. It includes a full list of hardware, aluminum member cut list, hole drilling locations, and an assembly diagram for the shelf brackets (which we never finished).
  2. The DWG file is a gusset layout for waterjet cutting. All the gussets fit on a 4'X8' sheet. These could be plasma cut or CNC cut as well, or I guess you could hand-cut them if you don't have anything else to do for a few weeks.
  3. The F3D file is the Fusion 360 file I used to design the piece. Fusion is free for life for students, hobbyists, and enthusiasts. If you don't already have it, download the free trial version, click on the day counter, and select the appropriate license and you're in business. It's a truly awesome design program, and it's the only one I really use anymore after 13 years of using other programs.

Fusion 360 is free for students and hobbyists, and there's a ton of educational support on it. If you want to learn to 3D model the kind of work I do, I think this is the best choice on the market. Click the links below to sign up:



Step 2: Fabrication


Alex Crease (AKA Printeraction) was interning for us while we were building this project, and he did a great job cutting aluminum tube and drilling holes in them. He's a real pro! Randofo did a lot of work with these too.


This job was done mostly by Paige Russel and Madeleine Douglas (our second intern). Paige manned (womanned?) the waterjet, MikaelaHolmes did the de-burring, Maddie cleaned off the markings with acetone and got the stubborn bits with a flapper wheel. Paige did most of the painting- we went with bright yellow Rustoleum for the gussets to match the blue walls in the space.


We got the cargo net custom made by Incord for less than $300 so that we wouldn't have to cut anything and worry about structural integrity. The mesh break test for this net is rated for 719lbf (3.2 kN) and the dynamic drop test is rated at 12,075 ft-lb (16373 N-m). So yeah, there's no way we could possibly break this net. We used 11mm safety rope to tie the net to the eye-bolts on the structure, which is rated at 23.4 kN with a figure-8 knot.

Step 3: Assembly


Joekevdv was also interning while we were building this beast, and she did a lot of the assembly work. The first step for assembly was to add all the eye-bolts for the net attachment. We used 1/2"Ø galvanized eye-bolts with nylon washers and nylon cored locknuts to put these together. Very beefy!


With the eye-bolts installed, we started assembling the frame. We did this in the standard construction way- frame up a wall on the floor, tilt it up, connect it to the next wall, repeat... We used 1/2"Ø galvanized steel hex nuts, nylon washers, and nylon cored locknuts to attach the gussets to the tubes. We got an off-the-shelf ladder from McMaster Carr that we could remove if need be.


With the structure finished, we started lacing up the cargo net. We did this by zip-tying the net into place from a few of the eye-bolts, then lacing the safety rope through the outer ring of holes on the cargo net. We used a trucker's hitch not to tie the ends of the safety rope together. This is kind of like tuning a guitar- you tighten, then let it stretch, then tighten it again until it's settled.

We also ended up adding an extra level of redundancy. We got some paracord and tied back the inner loops of the net to the eye-bolts. That way, if somehow the knot came undone, the net wouldn't fall because it would be held back by the climbing ropes. This had the added benefit of making the net even tighter as well.

Step 4: Getting in Trouble


At Instructables, we tend to follow the ethos of ask forgiveness, not permission. Turns out this doesn't always work so well in a corporate environment.

After building the structure, the facilities department brought down the hammer because they were concerned about safety. From their point of view, there were too many opportunities for people to get hurt on the structure and they weren't convinced that the structure was sound- apparently my opinion doesn't hold the same weight as a licensed structural engineer- go figure!

Shout out to Mikeasaurus for having lots of awkward conversations with Facilities!


Facilities met us half-way and said that if we got a structural engineer to sign off on it, that we'd be able to keep it in the building. A local architect / structural engineer, David Spurgeon, was kind enough to take a look at the structure pro bono and give us some advice.

He was with me on everything and agreed on its general safety and over-engineeredness. The only problem from his point of view was that there was no guardrail and that the ladder was removable. If someone got drunk at a holiday party and did something stupid up there, they could fall off and get seriously hurt- fair enough.

The images in this step have all the info an engineer would need to make the call about the structure. The 3D model shows a proposal for a new guardrail structure to be added to the top. After a bit of back-and-forth, it became clear that adding a guardrail would put us over the edge on the budget- we'd already spent $2500, not to mention everyone's time.

Step 5: Fun While It Lasted

Alas, we ended up having to take it down, but it was thoroughly enjoyed while it was up. On the bright side, Eric and Christy's kids got to keep it! We cut it down by about half in the 10' dimension so it would fit in their space. Lucky kids!



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    63 Discussions

    My opinion: facilities will use the "safety" and "lawsuit" FUD often. But the real issue is that they didn't provide it (of course wouldn't) and jealousy/resentment. Usually, an executive "sponsor" (either post- or ideally pre-project) solves the problem. I'm interested in creating this on my home, downstairs where I have up to a 20+ foot ceiling and am interested in a "standing" version (with appropriate railing, etc. I didn't notice you weight holding parameters - you must have worked that out? I'm in the same earthquake zone, so wondering what you did to tie the structure into the building structure to prevent sliding, and methods (like crossmembers) to prevent colapse of a side by folding flat, as we saw on on the I-880 overpasses in 1989?
    To knock this project as made by "self centered" engineers is simply wrong. If others were to critique your projects as such would that be valid? These folks didn't ask someone to build this for them, they did it themselves as a team. So that they could work 12-16 or more hour days when needed by the team. If I were their manager, I'd give them an award and free access to our patent attorney for a consult. Creativity, empowermwnt, hard work are 3 key requirements for company and without all 3 a start-up will fail. Bravo to the team!

    3 replies

    Bravo, the (corp) world needs more bosses with your insight. Kudos to your comment

    That's very kind of you to say, thank you for brightening my day!

    Good questions! Here's a point-by-point.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not a structural engineer, but I do have a B-Arch degree and worked in the field for about 5 years doing small, custom residential architecture. What's below is based on my rudimentary understanding of structures.


    1. The netting passed a 12,000 ft-lb drop test, meaning a 12,000 lb weight dropped from a height of 1 ft didn't break the netting.

    2. The deflection of the longest leg of the aluminum tube beam (10' span) is about .9" with a 2,000 lb point load applied. Since the load on the beam is spread our effectively across the whole beam by way of the eye-bolts, there will never be a point load, hence the deflection will be spread out across the whole beam. So it's safe to say that 10 full-grown people, you won't notice any deflection in the beam, let alone failure. Also, I know this because we tried it.

    3. The point loads from the columns to the ground is easy to calculate. The whole piece weighs 289 lb, and if you assume the maximum case of 2,000 lb, that means the load on each column is (2,000 + 289) / 4 (columns), giving you 572 lb on each column max.

    This is the most important part of the calculation if you're putting it in your house, because the floor structure needs to be able to carry this load. The live load for a residential building (meaning furniture + people + equipment) is 40 lb/sq.ft. The maximum loaded napparatus comes out to about 28 lb/sq.ft, but all the weight is transferred to four point loads, so if you're putting it on wood framing, it's advisable to make sure the columns are lined up with floor joists wherever possible, and the closer you are to walls, the better.

    Also, why would you ever put 10 people on this thing!? Make a sign that says "4 adults max" and avoid unnecessary risks.


    !!!DO NOT TIE THIS TO YOUR HOUSE STRUCTURE!!! It seems like the logical thing to do, but your house wasn't designed for it. It was designed for a 40 lb/sq.ft. live load on the floor which assumes that this load will be jostled around on it as the ground shakes, but your walls were not designed to have up to an extra 2,000 lb tied to them. This weight could detach your walls from the floor diaphragm! It's much safer to just let it stand free.


    Thanks for the compliments! It's always such a joy to connect with like-minded people. This is why I'm at Instructables!


    2 years ago

    I love that it was removed for safety reasons, so now some kids get to play on it instead.

    3 replies

    Exactly! They don't even have a ladder, they have to figure out how to get on and off it themselves. I'm worried that more kids probably don't grow up with this kind of freedom anymore.

    Couldn't agree more! I can't count how many times I fell off my bunk bed as a kid and it never did me any apricot.

    Thanks so much for the belly laugh!

    Love love love it! Want want want it.

    How much can I get for a kidney these days?

    1 reply

    I'd imagine a kidney would get you enough to make at least 2 of these.

    angle iron from a scarp yard much much cheaper. leaned and painted..brill!

    1 reply

    Totally. That's the best way to go if weight's not an issue.

    just wondering about how much did that netting cost? Looks like a cool design that could be applied to many projects, should the netting not be too expensive...

    2 replies

    for the 6'X9' net it was $289 with a 2-week lead time. was very easy to deal with, if you need one they'll point you in the right direction- they have lots of options!

    I'm glad this at least got to be documented in an awesome Instructable, even if it couldn't live on at work. Thanks for creating such a beautifully designed structure for us Jonathan, you put so much thought and care into everything you make :)

    1 reply

    Wow MikaelaHolmes, what a nice thing to say! Especially coming from someone as dedicated and talented as you are.

    I guess it's too late to offer up a corporate sponsorship of the safety rail.... such a sad ending! it's like watching the titanic all over again!

    you totally had us with the whole "get an engineer sign off" and the word "pro-bono" and then the expensive toy got chucked into the big pond to eventually land shrunken in an awesome kids room... XD

    the drama made it over the top! bravo!