into the Fall

A few weeks back I posted on facebook, "the circus has no "on" and "off" season, it has "touring" and "build new rigs and develop new acts" seasons."

To that end I stare at October. We still haven't finished collecting all of our data from 2014 and we're already planning the 2015 line-up. We have a lot of notes and testimonials to post about the 2014 season. We had successes and lots of learning. We're currently conducting satisfaction surveys with a hand-full of key customers. I look forward to posting the results of those surveys.

The biggest news in the coming season is the introduction of the steel cast hub. We had 100 hubs produced as prototypes to test at Burning Man this year. It was outstandingly successful. So much so, it will be available for all of our frame sizes in 2015. This improvement replaces what was the the most vulnerable part in the system, the pressed tubing 1.0 hub. 

bucky dome steel cast hub

bucky dome steel cast hub

The 1.0 hubs had problems with inversion. The system worked, but it was  learning curve and it took care and maintenance to ensure the hubs did not fail. One of the things we learned this summer is the 1.0 works best with struts of 50" or less. With 60" struts, 1.0 hubs operate at the edge of failure in high winds. This is not the case with the new hubs. 

The steel cast 2.0 hubs have none of the problems of its predecessor. We built this 16 facets shade structure (using a radial symmetry orientation for additional doors)-- it was our largest structure to date. The playa served up high winds and the structure held fast. It was amazing to watch how well it handled the wind.

16 facet, Radial Configured Bucky Dome

16 facet, Radial Configured Bucky Dome

In the coming weeks we plan to test build a 20 facet configuration. This will again be our largest structure to date. We plan to build the 20 facet dome in three different strut lengths making big, bigger and ridiculously huge spaces. We should have plenty of photos to share along the way, and if we're lucky perhaps a few fall colors.

20 facet, bi-lateral, truncated icosahedron.

20 facet, bi-lateral, truncated icosahedron.

So, though it's only october, it's time to get going, even if the circus doesn't hit the road for another 6 months.