Altared Space: Construction

Pictured above is the Sketchup drawing of the project. Obviously, a lot of identical repeating elements, which for a project like this translates to “easy to build.” I think all told, it took about 3 hours to make the model in Sketchup. From there, the file was sent to a friend who does vector work, and the pieces that needed to be cut and engraved were rebuilt there.

The arches were cut from 3/4″ plywood with a CNC router at TechShop. All told it took about 30 sheets of plywood to create all the arches (plus a few spares – you never know what is going to happen in transit or during a build). The small studs connecting them were simply cut up bits of 2×4. In the interest of saving time and material, the bottom, straight, legs of the arches were cut on a table saw. Having a robot make your cuts is pretty amazing and allows for some cool shapes that can’t easily be done by hand, but it is surprisingly time consuming and fraught with potential errors.

After all the arch pieces were cut, we hauled them off to HackerSpace. At the time it was the only spot in town with a laser bed big enough to do what we wanted. We then engraved the arches with some cool designs:


Also engraved were the names of the people who donated to our project at a certain level. Best perq ever for crowdfunding – they got the chance to symbolically be with us at Burning Man, and we didn’t have to deal with the effort of created and mailing a swag item for them.

After all that work was done it was just a matter of doing a quick test assembly for proof of concept. Aside from a brief mishap where I almost fell off a ladder and tore my ACL again, things went pretty smooth. A few weeks after that, the crew loaded the project on a trailer and we hauled it out to Burning Man.

Next up, the LED physical layer.


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