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Help! Awesome freestanding wall..
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Jan 11, 2013
On WSU campus
Hey guys, I'm gonna start by just getting this out of the way and saying, I am by no means an engineer.

But I know some of you guys have a pretty good handle on things like that. So here's my project.

Wall
Wall


I want to make a big freestanding wall (similar as possible to the one above) and take it to burning man (All painted and lit up so it'll fit in) so I can showcase routesetting as art!

Right now we're writing up a grant proposal for the project, but we still aren't sure how we would build the support structure for the wall, AND make it so we can take it apart, put it in a trailer, and take it home once the festival is over - not to mention putting it up before the festival starts-

One last thing. in the interest of making the wall as interactive as possible - and so people can get good pictures from different angles - we want to make the back side of the wall a lounge area if it's possible.

Like I said, I'm not an engineer, I'm just throwing ideas around. Flame me if you want, please help me if you can. I'm just looking for ideas and feedback, this is by no means a closed door project either, if you live close enough and want to be a part of it, by all means!
Brian Taylor
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Dec 7, 2009
47 points
Administrator
Jan 11, 2013
El Chorro
Would you be open to adding vertical support beams on the sides? If so, you could probably get away making the supporting structure out of wood. If not, I don't see how you'd be able to support the weight of the wall, much less a lounge, w/o using steal beams.

I'm no engineer either, but I am interested to see some educated answers.
Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Jan 11, 2013
Mashers Tower
are you going to end up torching it on the playa?

better use wooden holds.
Cornelius Jefferson
Joined Apr 5, 2006
163 points
Jan 11, 2013
That's a big cantilever. You would need a pretty heavy counter weight or some guy lines or ground anchors if you want the free end to be unsupported. DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Joined Aug 27, 2010
78 points
Jan 11, 2013
S Denny
From Aspen, CO
Joined Sep 25, 2008
24 points
Jan 11, 2013
On WSU campus
Ok, so we're not going to burn it. Steel would be fine so long as we can assemble it out there, or at least have the frame be in small enough pieces that we could fit it in a trailer and get it out there. We're totally open to the idea of support beams, but we'd rather not if we can avoid it. (The silhouette pictures would be way less cool with support beams)

Thanks for the video Denny, BUR-NING-MAN. haha
Brian Taylor
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Dec 7, 2009
47 points
Jan 11, 2013
I appreciate good route setting and I also appreciate good art however I've never considered that the two are even remotely similar.
In my experience what constitutes a good route has nothing to do with it's visual impact. And regardless of how amazing the colors and arrangements of the climbing holds are they are seldom indicators of stellar climbing.
So, I would have to hear more about why mixing route setting and art together makes sense.

As far as taking something to burning man and setting it on fire I'm all in.
sarcasm
Joined May 22, 2010
458 points
Jan 11, 2013
Have fun at burning man - hope nobody gets crushed! MojoMonkey
Joined Jan 29, 2009
65 points
Jan 11, 2013
I'm not an engineer but I have been building things (like houses etc) for nearly 40 years. I have also built several climbing walls over the years. You simply cannot build that structure free standing in a practical way without some supports near the front. If you plan to take this to a public outing I assume you will be buying a large liability insurance policy on it (you'd better be). The insurance company may well demand engineer involvement and plans. Chris Rice
Joined Jan 11, 2013
15 points
Jan 11, 2013
A grey fox skull wedged in a crack 100' up on a FA...
drmartindell wrote:
So, I would have to hear more about why mixing route setting and art together makes sense.


It's f*#cking Burning Man Dude!!! Slap some glo in the dark neon paint on there, send the heinously rad boulder problems wearing your lit up fur coat (and nothing else) and BAM - you have art.
Glenn Schuler
From Monument, Co.
Joined Jun 24, 2006
985 points
Jan 11, 2013
Summitting Independence Monument
The easiest thing to do might be to sink a few ~10 ft 4" schedule 40 pipes into the ground at the support structure (easier and more stable than a cumbersome cantilever). Then you could build trusses off of the sunk pipes. The calculations are all relatively straightforward, though you need to make a number of assumptions about the soul quality. Though I don't have much structures experience, so maybe a civil engineer can chime in. Glass Tupperware
From the barren midwest
Joined Jul 4, 2012
52 points
Jan 11, 2013
Glenn Schuler wrote:
It's f*#cking Burning Man Dude!!! Slap some glo in the dark neon paint on there, send the heinously rad boulder problems wearing your lit up fur coat (and nothing else) and BAM - you have art.



Haha, I stand corrected. Seriously, you're totally right.
sarcasm
Joined May 22, 2010
458 points
Jan 11, 2013
Can you pour concrete? What's the soil composition like? As far as the framing goes, you could stick with wood and just use carriage bolts to get sections together onsite. And then screw in the pre cut plywood panels. You are going to have to overbuild the thing somewhat. The real problem with what is pictured is keeping the thing upright. You don't want to kill someone. Steve86
Joined Jul 17, 2011
10 points
Jan 11, 2013
On WSU campus
Ideally this would be something that could be set up, taken down, then set up somewhere else. Because we can't leave anything at the festival (They have a strict LNT policy) Steel poles into the ground actually might be a reasonable possibility at burning man though, because it's basically just an empty ancient lakebed.

drmartindell- As far as routesetting and art are concerned, how is setting NOT art? You're basically choreographing a vertical dance up a rock face, we'd just be using paint and lights to enhance that aspect.
Brian Taylor
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Dec 7, 2009
47 points
Jan 11, 2013
Brian Taylor wrote:
drmartindell- As far as routesetting and art are concerned, how is setting NOT art? You're basically choreographing a vertical dance up a rock face, we'd just be using paint and lights to enhance that aspect.


I was open to hearing your argument in favor of routesetting=art, having heard it I agree with you. I had just never thought of it that way.
Unfortunately I spend a little time in climbing gyms and have on occasion volunteered to help set routes but I never put the two together. Sometimes I feel like climbing gyms are increasingly further and further removed from rock climbing. Maybe it's just my idea of what rock climbing is though that they are far from. Anyway, the whole thing is pretty funny to me and I try not to take any of it seriously. Enjoy your project! Thanks for the thought invoking topic.
sarcasm
Joined May 22, 2010
458 points
Jan 11, 2013
The simple solution would be to just build a bigger frame around the cantilevered end.

Head on view:
frame
frame


Where the inside structure is the wall you have depicted and the outside frame shown here just exists at the front face of the wall. That way the you don't have support beams interfering with climbable area. Also you could use the frame as support for lighting, etc and to "frame" your art.

Call it an artistic choice but honestly it is a lot more LNT than sinking a bunch of stuff in the ground, aside from the extra wood.
Steve86
Joined Jul 17, 2011
10 points
Jan 11, 2013
fun in the (twilight) sun
Although it would change you design, you could consider adding a mirror image to the other side. It would provide some counter balance and you could have your lounge in between. It would also double your combustible material if the mood strikes you. Gregory D
From La Verne
Joined Mar 6, 2010
22 points
Jan 11, 2013
Brian Taylor wrote:
Ideally this would be something that could be set up, taken down, then set up somewhere else. Because we can't leave anything at the festival (They have a strict LNT policy) Steel poles into the ground actually might be a reasonable possibility at burning man though, because it's basically just an empty ancient lakebed. drmartindell- As far as routesetting and art are concerned, how is setting NOT art? You're basically choreographing a vertical dance up a rock face, we'd just be using paint and lights to enhance that aspect.


Having spent my share of time in the desert, i wouldnt count on being able to sink steel poles 10' into the ground out there- at least not easily. From a portability standpoint, something that steep would have to have side support. You might consider making it a cave instead of putting poles alone on the sides. This would prevent injury from anyone swinging (you could also account for this with careful route-setting). But a big cave could be super cool and self-supporting. My friends have one like this in their backyard- fit on a trailer, made of steel, its 16' x 16' x 8' tall (was originally built to fit inside a 2-car garage).
You could definitely go taller with steel, though.

edit: Steve86 idea is good too- they did this a Momentum in Boulder, that massive lead wall of theirs is hanging off the ceiling due to how steep it is.
John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Feb 1, 2004
2,395 points
Jan 11, 2013
On WSU campus
Steve86- do you think we could do the frame from above at an angle so it frames the wall from one side rather than head on?

Like this?



Side view
Brian Taylor
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Dec 7, 2009
47 points
Jan 11, 2013
Another idea would be to have some kind of anchor still at the base, then have cables running from the top of the wall to even further back behind the wall to another anchor/stake. This would allow you to get away with a shallower anchor at the base, and keep the silhouette you desire. Then its just a statics problem to figure out how thick the cable needs to be and how far back the cable's anchor/stake needs to be to support the wall and climber(s). Ryan7crew
Joined Feb 6, 2012
44 points
Jan 11, 2013
What is represented by the dark grey rectangle pictured below the structure? If it is not meant to be a base, maybe it should be. You may be able to engineer enough bracing that a long base could support the structure, sort of a U shape rotated 90 degrees. You could hide the base with astro turf or some other material. mandarin
Joined Mar 20, 2012
0 points
Jan 11, 2013
This has "train wreck" written all over it - hire someone knowledgeable to design this thing before you hurt someone badly. Chris Rice
Joined Jan 11, 2013
15 points
Jan 11, 2013
It would be much much much cheaper and easier to make a freestanding wall that isn't ridiculously overhung like that. And do you actually want people to climb on it? If so, how many people at burning man do you think are going to be good enough to do anything on what appears to be around an 80 degree overhang? Most gyms don't even use overhangs that severe, and if so it's only for very small sections of the wall.

If route setting is the "art", keep the "canvas" simple.
Ian Stewart
Joined May 17, 2010
166 points
Jan 11, 2013
Brian Taylor wrote:
Steve86- do you think we could do the frame from above at an angle so it frames the wall from one side rather than head on? Like this? Side view


Your pictures don't seem to be loading...
Steve86
Joined Jul 17, 2011
10 points
Jan 11, 2013
On WSU campus
Ian- I've been leaning the less steep way for a while now, thanks for the feedback. I'm gonna draw up another one and post it soon here. Brian Taylor
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Dec 7, 2009
47 points
Jan 11, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
I'm no engineer and this ain't pretty (drew it in MS paint), but this is a cheap way to build a semi-portable and sturdy bouldering wall. Maybe this helps, maybe not. Of course, it will have to look more like art if you're going to take it to burning man.


basic climbing wall schematic
basic climbing wall schematic
Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Joined Aug 15, 2008
357 points


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