In a couple weeks we will be returning to Maker Faire in San Mateo CA. Last year we launched Archimedes Design at the event, this year we begin to explore new territory.
To date we have been focusing on fun. But it has always been our intention to use our hub and harness frame system for applications beyond the festival circuit. To that end, in the coming months we will be introducing agricultural, and disaster relief products. With the first premiering at Maker Faire in May.
"Anecdotal testing" had been an issue for us. In order to move into more serious applications we needed testing that was more substantial than "the cast hubs rocked at Burning Man!". To get the real data we recently had our hub stressed tested (read: crushed) by an engineering firm. This is what we found out: the tensile strength, or how much it can take before it breaks is 71,300 psi (35 tons) and the yield strength, or how much it can take before it deforms is 38,400 psi (19.2 tons). I knew we had designed a solid piece, but until I calculated that the largest dinosaur that ever lived to stand on it without breaking it, I didn't get it.
In San Mateo we will be introducing our first agricultural prototype using this hub. We are covering the frame with 80% agricultural shade cloth. It is designed to be used as a portable, seasonal, shade house for gardeners and organic farmers. As our system is modular you can add and remove panels to suit the daily sun needs of your garden (climate) throughout the season. Additionally our portability makes it doubly viable. Not only can it be set up quickly, with no tools, just about anywhere. It can also be easily epicked-up and moved once asssembled...by humans without a crane, or tractor, or pick-up truck.
This shade structure will be on display at Maker Faire May 16-17. Please come out and have a look. User feedback is what helped to built our domes, and we will keep that tradition alive.