The problem with using 5 foot pipes is that using them to recreate the 10 foot length with something close to its original structural integrity requires special effort. You can’t just pop on a standard plumbing pipe coupler (or any fitting) and expect it to hold up to playa level stress. The suggestion that I followed last year was: drill holes and attach sleeves with cotter pins to the tops of the bottom 5 foot pole. Overall, the approach worked, but I was constantly re-seating and checking whether or not my pipes were set correctly or at least correctly enough and given that I was drilling small holes through two layers of PVC pipe, its not exactly a task to do without a power tool.
In fact, the whole hut turns out to have this issue to some degree. Typically, the issue of a compressive force to hold it all together is dealt with by utilizing the tarp and friction created from the addition of duct tape. For the standard setup, this all just so happens to land the whole design into a certain sweet spot where it all tends to work extremely well. Cut the pipes in half, and now you’ve increased the need to better apply some kind of force to hold the pipe segments together again.
TMH Core Design Feature — Internal Compressive Force — Internal LInes
The TMH rises to the challenge by creating a new internal, compressive force that holds the entire structure together: tensioned lines within all of the PVC that are connected to each other and to the rebar anchors.
In Support of an Internal Compressive Force
- The line must be able to be tensioned after everything is set up
Solution: connectors that expose the inside of the pipe so you can reach in and grab the line. Then use T-Connectors in such a way that one acts as a handle that you attach the line to and then twist until the desired line tension is achieved.
- The line must be able to be tied to the tops of the anchors in a rock-solid way that will still fit within the space left between the pipe being fit over it and the rebar/stake it is attached to.
Solution: The Icicle Hitch (and related knots/hitches) is a low profile hitch that is one of the best (if not the best) choice to use when pulling a cylinder (the rebar) in the same direction that it points in.
Secondary Design Feature — Connectors (couplers)
However, to make this really work, there had to be a better methodology for reconnecting the pipe segments. What is important to realize is that the only task a connector like this has is to stay in place so that it holds the two pipes being connected in place. It doesn’t have to pressure the pipe segments together, it only has to keep them lined up so that when force is applied (weight and internal line tension), the segments connect and forces are then able to be transferred through them.
I have several ways to do this, and I’m sure others can come up with some that are even better. However, the easy way is to use 1′ pipe segments and put them into a 1.25 sleeve that must be at least 6 inches long, though longer is decidedly better if possible (a foot being close to ideal) and then insert a 3 inch long piece of paracord that gets sandwiched between the two pipes.
An Example Arch
Here’s a badly draw diagram that puts it all together:
Stakes anchoring both ends of the arch are connected by a line tied to them that runs the length of the arch.
To take this to its full potential, the spine that connects each arch houses a central line that is rigged (typically in a zig-zag type of pattern) such that when the ribs are tensioned, the central line is also tensioned. By doing this, the entire structure then can respond to external loads more as a whole rather than only at the point of contact.
(See my TMH announcement “At Last! — The Threaded Monkey Hut!!” for the full document describing the conversion of a MH into a TMH.)