Gazebo geodome

I’ve been wanting to make a geodesic dome for years but as usual it’s taken me a long time to get round to it. I originally wanted to make one from tent poles after seeing so many tent left behind at Glastonbury festival to go to waste. But after realising that to make one with enough size to stand up in I would need about 300 tent poles because of their short length I have realised I’ve got to wait until next year again. Anyway a friend of mine, Kieron, who is a lot more on it than me, managed to collect loads of Gazebo poles and asked me to go to the sunrise off grid festival in Cheddar, Somerset to build one.

I used the website Desert Domes to work out the lengths. I made a 3 frequency dome with 3 different lengths of poles. I used an angle grinder to cut them all to length, which was really easy. Then using the little wooden jig in the vice, I squished all the ends together. The vice is curved, to allow the ends of the poles to be bent. I also put a stop on it so the length of the pressed end is consistent. Some of the poles unfortunately cracked when I pressed them. I think in my next attempt I will temper the ends in a fire to soften them. Once I’d bent the 165 poles I made up a jig to set the hole position consistently and then started drilling them all. I made sure that the drill bit was oiled each time and it worked out fine.

All this took a lot longer than I thought but I got it done in the end. I then put it together using the M6 bolts and nuts I had. I started from the bottom layer and worked my way up. If you do it this way, you can do it on your own, but you need to be able to fully reach the top to put the last struts in. Unfortunately the bolts I had were not threaded all the way to the head and the thickness of the strut ends held together wasnt enough to be held tightly by the bolts. This meant that the dome had a bit of a wobble at the end, but overal it does get pretty rigid, especially if you hang from the centre top.

Anyway I’m pretty happy with the result and I reckon I’m gonna try and make a much bigger one from tent poles. I didn’t have time to fit a cover this time either but now I sort of know what’s involved.

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Fisheye Goggles!! (wonkoculars)

So I’d had this idea to make some fisheye goggle for ages, pretty much since when I first got a fisheye adapter lens and held it up to one eye. It gives such a lush distorted view of everything around. The problem is that you have to hold it up to your eye, so you can’t really feel your way in the world, and of course you’re only seeing in 2D with one lens. Fisheye lenses really play on perspective, which needs 3 dimensions for the full hit.

I bought some ski goggles because I reckon they’re comfiest thing to put in front of your eyes and bodged together mounting two lenses onto them. As long as the lenses point in a parallel direction they look good. If they’re not parallel it all looks out of focus. I mounted all the screws concentrically so that light reflects along their length and intensifies. Nah they’re just to hold the lens in and look a bit wacky! Mental!!!!!1

It’s quite hard to appreciate what it’s like to wear them just from mundane two dimensional  photos. Once you try them on, your world will expand! I’m planning on making some more for friends who have asked me to. If anyone is interested, I reckon they’ll probably cost about £100 to buy all the stuff and put them together. Send me an email to laurencesymonds (at) gmail (dot) com

Pulsing LED ping pong ball

So it was my friend Scott’s birthday and I thought he deserves a pressie so I made him this pulsing ping pong ball thing. I originally wanted to have an RGB LED cycle through a load of colours sort at random similar to the processing sketch I did here. I didn’t know how to code the PIC chip to do that though so I just borrowed Jowan’s one that he’d made to puls on and off and routed 3 switches through the red green and blue connectors of the LED.

I realised that I could hide the word if it is written in ink that’s the same colour as the light, so blue text dissappears under blue light. That’s cool but it just hides one out of three words. I think it’d be better if it hid 2, so only 1 shows. Maybe if I wired the LED so that each switch lights up 2 colours to produce cyan, magenta and yellow, it would only light up 1 of the words. Next time next time.

Pretty pointless and shamelessly geeky but Scott seemed to be not too offended so that’s OK.