Building the Nose
 3na the Jellyfish

 The Home Dome

 Nosefish Dome Deck

 The Desert Nose

 BM 2001 Photos


 Tim's Images

 James' Images

 Party Images


 Nose Plans

 Building the Nose


 Nose Calculator

 Building a Model

 2002 Organizers

 Roller Disco 2002


 The Fishmobile

 Camp Nose Fish 2011

 Gray Water

 Fish Hats

 Nosefish Shower

 The Fishcycle

Building the nose turned out to be quite challenging, both because of its complexity and because of its size.

I just dove in and tried to assemble the nose and, really, that wasn't the right thing to do. Here's how I would do it if I could do it again for the first time.

  1. After producing all the struts, check them all again.
    • Make sure there is only one label on each strut.
    • Check the lengths of the struts against the labels.

  2. Sort all the struts into pairs (left/right) or singles (unique) that are in numerical order.

  3. Create a center line with a strong piece of cord. It should be long enough for the entire length of the strutcture, on its centerline. I marked the string at 1 foot increments and used short, medium and long marks in a kind of roman numeral like numbering system (short=1, medium=5, long=10).

  4. Then "graph" the location of each vertex that is on the ground using the center line as a reference. This defines the perimiter. I'd like to place a surveyor's flag at each location (a tiny flag on a wire), but a piece of baling wire with an address label wrapped in half as a tiny flag (I'd use the 1" x 2-5/8" size).

  5. Lay out all the struts around the perimiter of the base. Bolt the base struts together, but just twist the nuts on a few threads.

  6. Build up the "first layer" of struts. Here's a simple example of a section of the "first layer":
     /\  /\  /\  /\  /\  /

    You will need to prop up some of the verticies of the top of the first layer to keep it from falling inward.

  7. Make sure you bend the end of each strut so that the ends are flat with respect to each other. I didn't need any L-brackets in the lower part of the Desert Nose.

  8. Then build up an area that has some strength. In the Desert Nose I built up the septum, and then the very opposite end, which was essentially like a half dome.

    click for larger view

  9. I used 3" bolts, but these only worked up to about six or so struts meeting. I needed struts as long as 6" for some joints.

  10. Then fill in the rest of the perimiter between whatever strong areas were assembled. This should complete the second layer or even the second and third layers, etc.

  11. As you work be very careful to get the right struts in the right places. A single strut in the wrong place pretty much guarantees that the structure cannot be assembled. I got a few struts in the wrong place and burned two weekends trying to figure out why it was so hard to get the struts to fit.

  12. At some point you will need to support the structure on the inside with 2x4s, etc., so it doesn't collapse. Until all struts are assembled, the strutcure may have severe weaknesses.

  13. At some point you will be just about ready to create a continguous skin of triangles. In other words, once these last few struts are in place every strut will be part of a triangle and all that would be left would to be to build "up" into three dimensions.

  14. If there are any mistakes in your structure they will show up here as an inability to get the last few struts to fit. Audit the structure to find which struts are in the wrong place. Place an adhesive green dot (for example) on each strut that you check that is in the right place.

  15. Ultimately you'll get the structure "closed" to form a contiguous skin and you can start building the 3-d portions.

  16. Throughout the assembly I found that it was best to attach a new strut to the most "involved" vertex first. You can judge how "involved" a vertex is by how many struts are already connected to it and how much force is on the vertex. A vertex under more stress beats one under less stress with nearly the same number of struts.

  17. Tightening the hardware on a vertex freezes it in a way which makes any adjacent verticies very difficult to work with. It is hard to disassemble adjacent verticies, hard to attach new struts to them, etc. Also, the structure will not be in its final shape until most or all of the struts have been assembled. So tightening the hardware may freeze it in a shape which ultimately prevents the structure from ever coming together! The Desert Nose was built with only a few verticies tightened -- those near the base and first few layes of the septum, and a few along the centerline of the deck.

  18. Leaving verticies loose allows you to "rattle" the strutcture by holding onto it and shifting your weight rapidly. Careful not to bend the struts or fall and hurt yourself. Rattling the strutcture allows it to settle into a new shape which balances the forces transfered by all the currently assembled struts. You need to rattle the structure frequently as you assemble the structure because the incomplete structure necessarily causes deformations. Rattling the structure is sometimes the only way to get a strut to fit.

More to come...

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