14 March, 2012

Ahem... Another New Project

I have a new little project to work on. Basically, it's to put up some shade cloth as an awning in the garden area (also known as the raised bed) for Dianna to use as a 'shade house' for her vegetable garden. It'll be about 12-feet wide by 30-feet long, as wide as the raised bed is and about one-third of the length of the raised bed.

In the diagram below, you're looking down on the shade house structure. The existing chain-link fence is on the right.
Overhead View - Shade House
Right now, our thinking calls for the shade house to have open ends and sides - that is, no shade cloth on the ends or the sides. The roof is going to have arched supports, giving the long center area a height of eight feet, curving down to a height of 5-foot 6-inches along the sides.

So far, I've gotten the round flanges, which will be anchored to the concrete wall along one side of the raised bed and nipples that will be threaded into the flanges. The nipples will be the supports for the vertical 1 3/8" diameter tubing (the same stuff used as the top rail on chain-link fences). That tubing will also be used around the upper perimeter of the structure, and will also comprise the bent pieces spanning the width of it. The shade cloth will sit on top of the curved pieces and be held by cable-tie-wraps.

Well, at least that's all our current thinking. I've gone to the muffler shop (I don't know the name of it, off-hand) near Villa's Imports to see if they can bend the tubing... maybe. They have the equipment to do down to 1 1/2" diameter, but they're at least willing to give it a try at 1 3/8".

Next steps? Well, tomorrow, I'll start measuring and drilling to put the plastic plugs in so that I can screw the flanges down to the concrete wall. The plastic plugs are ok to use for this since there's virtually no structural strength required, just to hold the vertical 1 3/8" tubing in place.

I'll also probably go ahead and get the tubing. I'll need eleven twenty-foot lengths of tubing for this project. After I cut one to the correct bent length, I'll take it to the muffler shop for them to attempt the bend.

I found a handy calculator online (of course) that figures out the radius of an arc [DANGER - Complex mathematics in use here]. Their calculator is at ( you can see the results I got below.
Higher Math
Thank the gods for that calculator. You don't know what a struggle it was for me to deal with math in school and in my professional life. The 'Angle Subtended by Arc (deg)... Get real.

Anyway, this gave me the actual length of tubing I needed to have - thirteen feet four inches - "close enough for government work", as we used to say. It also gave me the radius, handy if I have to make my own bending jig for the tubing.

I think I have enough shade cloth left over from the pool awning project to cover the roof of the shade house. For now, that's all that's required.

This project will get worked on more or less when I don't have anything else to work on, so it might go slow. Then again, things change, as do priorities.

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