Monthly Archives: August 2013

It’s Official – The Sky Yurt will be exhibited at the Champlain Mini-Makers Faire

Yes! Just got the word that the Sky Yurt will be an exhibit at the Makers Faire at Shelburne Farms in Vermont September 28 and 29. Details at I understand that there is lots of discussion in my little community of Essex as to “What is that space ship thing in the backyard?” I am working hard to get the prototype completed in time for set up on the Friday before the Faire. At first glance it doesn’t look like much has changed. But I am booming ahead in two important areas – getting the Yurt cover designed, laid out, cut and taped together. And building and painting the telescoping legs that will progressively lift the tramp frame to approx.10 feet off the ground.

Polytarp cut and tape sails

I am taking a page from the book of the folks who are using polytarp for sails to for small home-made boats. The word is that the sails out of this stuff will last for at least a couple of seasons. I am using Tyvek house wrap to make the roof and the side panels for the Sky Yurt.  Why Tyvek? It is relatively easy to work with – it cuts with a scissors, can be marked on with a felt tip pen and the panels can be fastened with double-sided, fiberglass reinforced, indoor-outdoor carpet tape. I won’t be the final fabric that I chose for the cover, but it will work as I am experimenting with with the best way to shape and secure the panels.

Challenged to the core

Oh, I am so challenged making and fitting the test panels – which I will use for patterns for the other panels. I am rather dyslexic, always have had trouble with spelling and jig saw puzzles and scrabble and linear sequencing. And while the Tyvek is flat, the Sky Yurt roof and sides are curved. Yikes, I’ve been up and down the ladder too many times with my test panels, marking, measuring, cutting, taping,.  Doing lots of head scratching. But I think I got it now. One more modification and then I can begin turning out panels and taping them together. Yahoo!

Third Sky Yurt Prototype structure is up

Sky Yurt as an exhibit at the Makers Faire in Vermont?

2013 Yurt structure

2013 Yurt structure

Now that I have the basic structure up, I felt confident enough to apply to the Makers Faire to exhibit the Sky Yurt in Shelburne, Vermont on the weekend of September 28-29. Here is some of the text from the application:

The Sky Yurt is the first prototype in a series of designs that provide working/ living structures for a nomadic community of artists/crafters/makers. The eight –sided Sky Yurt ‘s floor is 14 feet in diameter, with roof extending to almost 20 feet in diameter. The floor is perched 10 feet above the lower tent-canopied workspace which is an integral unit 32 feet in diameter and separate from the upper living space of the Sky Yurt. This lower space acts as the mother ship, and the upper living space structure actually “docks” to the trampoline frame at the center of the mother ship.

The prototype as as an on-going experiment

The prototype is a full scale working model which is allowing experimentation with design challenges inherent in two separate tent structures, the work structure on the ground and the yurt structure elevated 10 feet of the ground, combined with the need to make the combined structure portable. Structural materials, except for the laminated cedar beams, are readily available and easy to modify, including the trampoline frame, plywood, lumber, building wrap, epoxy, PVC pipe fittings, and fiberglass fence posts.

The design is “open sourced” and as the structure is modified and the engineering needs are better understood, future prototypes will utilize lightweight “engineered” materials and design features that improve portability.

Moving ahead

I worked out a deal with my neighbors Bev and Brian to set up the Sky yurt in their big backyard in exchange for doing their lawn. I just have one more set of cross struts to add to the lower structure, and then I can begin building the fabric covers for the tent structures. I will also start to deploy my anchoring system. I am moving into new territory with this prototype. I see the Faire as an opportunity to engage makers, elicit design ideas and move the open sourcing of the project ahead.