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Tetrahedral Mobstacles Quick-deploy, transportable, one-piece, etc.

#1 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:21 AM

We tried it at Dayko's Effin 2.4 War, and we loved them. I want to share the knowlege, so this is going to be a "For Dummies" level writeup. In other words, it's going to be mega-long, multi-post, etc. These things are not hard to make, labour-wise. There are parts that may be confusing, hence my trying to be as detailed as possible.

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Building the Frame

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Conduit (EMT) PVC comes in 10' lengths, one side with bell ends (built-in couplers.)

Cut 3 x 1/2" EMT PVC in half, selecting the bell ends. If not using EMT PVC, or the other 5' lengths, just use couplers.

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Further cut the pipes into 2.5' lengths.

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Tape a weight (a large lag bolt in this case) to the end of the rope, taking care to minimize the width. Taping it end-to-end like this helps.

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Assemble one non-belled and one belled section of 2.5' pipe into a pipe that approximates 5' in length.

Use the weight to thread the rope this pipe.

Go back and forth the length of the pipe five times, so there is roughly 30' of rope laid out. Save the excess.

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At other end of the rope, double it up appx 9" (doubled).

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Tie a double-overhand knot with the doubled portion

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If using 1/2" PVC and 3/16" rope, this will result in a knot too large to fit in the pipe.

Pull weighted end of the rope until knot is at other end of the pipe.

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This is the left end of the first pipe.

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At the other end of the pipe, tie the second double overhand knot. Don't be overly generous with the slack, but no need to make it fiddle-string tight.

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This is the right end of the first pipe.

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Lay the rope against the pipe.

At the first knot, tie the third double overhand knot in the rope only (do not tie it to the first knot.)

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This is the left end of the first pipe.

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Drop the weight through the second pipe and pull it until it is against the third double overhand knot, the one most recently tied.

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This is the left end of the first pipe (top) and second pipe (bottom).

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Flip the second pipe over, so the 5' length of exposed rope and the knot is on the other side.

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This is the left end of the first pipe (top), and what was the right end of the second pipe, now moved to the left (bottom). From now on, we will refer to this end of the second pipe as the left end.

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Undo the first double overhand knot.

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This is the left end of the first pipe (top) and second pipe (bottom).

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Lay the tail of the rope against the doubled rope from the first overhand knot.

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This is the left end of the first pipe (top) and second pipe (bottom).

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Retie the first knot as a triple overhand knot.

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This is the left end of the first pipe (top) and second pipe (bottom).

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Drop the weight through the third pipe and pull it until it is against the first knot (the triple overhand).

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This is the left end of the first pipe (top), second pipe (middle) and third pipe (bottom).

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At the other end of the pipe, tie the fourth knot, a double overhand.

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This is the right end of the first pipe (top), second pipe (middle) and third pipe (bottom).

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Cut the end off the weight

Lay the rope against pipes.

Mark where the pipe ends. This is approximately 5' of rope.

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This is the left end of the first pipe (top), second pipe (middle) and third pipe (bottom).

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Bring the rope back to the other end of the pipes.

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This is the right end of the first pipe (top) and second pipe (bottom). The third pipe is not in the picture.

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Undo the double overhand knot. In this picture, it is the third one, but undoing the second one will work as well.

Lay the tail of the rope against the doubled rope from the third overhand knot.

align the mark with the end of the pipe

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This is the right end of the second pipe.

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Retie the third knot as a triple overhand knot.

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This is the right end of the second pipe (top) and thirdpipe (bottom).

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Cut off any excess. There is none in this picture, but previous mobstacles had up to 3' of excess.

Lay another piece of rope, one at least 6' long, against the fourth overhand knot.

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This is the right end of the third pipe.

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Undo the fourth double overhand knot.

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This is the right end of the third pipe. The second pipe is barely in the frame.

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Retie the fourth knot as a triple overhand knot.

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This is the right end of the second pipe (top) and third pipe (bottom).

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Lay the rope against pipes.

Mark where the pipe ends. This is approximately 5' of rope.

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This is the left end of the first pipe (top), second pipe (middle) and third pipe (bottom).

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Bring the rope back to the other end of the pipes. Only the second overhand knot has not been turned into a triple overhand knot, so lay the mark near the the end of the first pipe.

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This is the right end of the first pipe (top), second pipe (middle) and third pipe (bottom).

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Measure off appx 6" and cut.

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This is the right end of the first pipe (top), second pipe (middle) and third pipe (bottom).

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Undo the second double overhand knot.

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This is the right end of the first pipe.

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Retie the second knot as a triple overhand knot.

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This is the right end of the first pipe.

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That's it. We're done (with the frame at least). When deployed, it looks like this:

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This post has been edited by taerKitty: 22 September 2011 - 08:45 AM

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#2 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:23 AM

Folding and Storage

This will show how to collapse and store the mobstacle to minimize the chances of the ropes getting tangled. The sides are not yet attached, so this will hopefully be clearer.

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Lay the mobstacle on the ground and separate the two parts of the legs.

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Double back the legs.

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Pull the loops of rope so they are straight.

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Remember the first overhand knot? Pull the loops of rope through that loop.

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Lay the loops against the pipes.

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One of the loops will usually be longer than the others.

Tie a double overhand knot to even the lengths.

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Thread the excess through the loop.

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Tie a single overhand knot near the end to keep the rope from unraveling.

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Thread the rope through the loops.

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Tie it into a neat bundle.

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This knotted loop will slide along the pipe, which allows the base ropes to serve as a carying handle. However, with the panels in place, it will not slide.

This post has been edited by taerKitty: 22 September 2011 - 08:47 AM

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#3 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:26 AM

Making the Panels

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Start with one Costco-sized tarp, and mark off a 4' strip from the edge.

Lay two strips of tape, one on each side of the line.

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Cut between the tape so you now have a 4' wide strip of tarp.

Take three 5' pieces of pipe and tape the ends in a triangle.

Lay the triangle so the inside edge is on the corner, and the base is parallel to the long edge of the tarp.

Lay a strip of tape on the inside of the triange.

Move the triangle out of the way and lay a strip of tape on the 'outside' of the strip just laid down.

Place the triange against the outer edge of this layer of tape, then lay a strip of tape on the other side.

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Lay another strip of tape, this time on the 'inside' of the strip just laid down.

Invert the triangle.

Lay two strips of tape on the 'inside' of the triangle. The goal is to form a triangle that is smaller than the 5' triangle by 4" (two widths' of duct tape). This size difference is to reflect the fact that the mobstacle poles will not meet end-to-end-to-end. Some slack exists, so the usable length of the poles will be slightly less than 5'.

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Repeat until you run out of tarp.

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Mark a line 4" from each side, on the duct tape triangles only. (No need to draw the line on the tarp.)

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Next, mark two lines, each 6" from the middle of the strip. They will be at the 18" and 30" mark.

Again, mark on the duct tape triangles only.

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Cut.

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Take the two end pieces, overlap them so they form an equilateral triangle, or something approximating such.

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Draw a line to note where the tarps overlap.

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Cut, then lay the two triangles side-by-side.

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Tape down the middle, trying to minimize the gap, any overlap, and evenly split the tape on both pieces.

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Flip triangle over and tape other side as well

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Don't put that duct tape away. We've still more taping to do, but I shoved it into the next section.

This post has been edited by taerKitty: 22 September 2011 - 08:48 AM

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#4 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:29 AM

Assembly

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Tools and materials for this phase:

- Die punch

- Mallet

- 24 zip ties

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Take one triangle and look for one of the marked edges.

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Cover the mark with a strip of duct tape appx 4" long. Align one of the ends with the edges of the existing duct tape already on the tarp.

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Fold the flap over to the back (untaped) side.

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Repeat for all 8 marks.

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Take the die punch and make a hole in each flap of duct tape. Pictured is a 5/16" die punch.

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Deploy frame upright. Zip tie apex of tarp triangle to apex of frame. Do not tighten it down completely - it should be able to slide if nudged. This is needed so we can disassemble the unit (next post).

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Zip tie rest of the panel to the frame.

When zip tying the remaining panels, make sure to not intertwine the new zip tie with one already looped around the pole. Even if the punched holes are at the same height, ensure one zip tie is wholly on top, and the two are separate.

Again, do not fully tighten the zip ties.

This post has been edited by taerKitty: 22 September 2011 - 08:49 AM

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#5 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:37 AM

Storage

Remember a few posts ago where we showed how to stow just the frame? Here we'll be doing it with the tarps in place.

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Lay the mobstacle down. Gather all the poles together. Smooth out the panels.

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Separate the leg segments.

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Fold apex section back over lower section. If you are storing stakes with it, put the stakes on top of the tarp, parallel to the lower legs, then fold.

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Roll up tarp around poles.

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Bring base ropes through the apex knot's loop. Tie string to longest loop. Ensure string threads through other two loops. Wrap around tarp and tie.

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This post has been edited by taerKitty: 22 September 2011 - 08:49 AM

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#6 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:44 AM

Here's how to make a shipping container for something so stupidly large and ungainly. Why? Because not only do I want to share how to make it, I appreciate that some people may not be able to make it for whatever reason - lack of time, materials, etc. Some people may have to resort to buying them, even if shipping is rather costly because this is an oversized item. And, where there's a need, there will be people who will at least consider fulfilling them.

(Edit: I just shipped one. It came out to about $15 from WA to IL.)

I'm hoping to see these widely adopted, and not for ego's sake. It totally changed the dynamics at our last war, and made it exponentially more fun. Rushers had a great time against others with century cannons. We had more tactical coordination (not as much as most Nerfers, but better than just the plain old "Rush 'em!!!") I think these will help in any war that doesn't have a lot of natural cover.

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We'll need:

- A huge-ass piece of cardboard It has to be at least 2' longer than the object being shipped along the grain (with the corrugation), so we're talking about 54" here for our 30" mobstacles. I'll try it later taping two smaller chunks of cardboard together.
- Box cutter
- Tape, preferably packing tape (a.k.a. box tape)
- Hot glue
- Paper - any sort, just lots of it
- Sharpie

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Start by laying the mobstacle on the cardboard on the edge, centered. If it has printing on it, lay it with the ink side up.

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Roll it up, letting the folds occur wherever they may.

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Leave 4" - 6" overlap (at least one folded segment) and cut it.

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If it has printing on it, flip it over. Score appx 3" from the edge. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CARDBOARD. Try to 'slant' toward the edge slightly.

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3" from one edge, draw a dotted line and label it "cut here"

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Fold it back over to the 'concave' side, inked or not, and lay a line of hot glue along the 'top' of the cardboard. Stop to ponder that this is likely the first time we're using hot glue in one of the intended ways.

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Lay the mobstacle on the cardboard, away from the 'cut here' side, but leaving a few inches from the other edge. If shipping stakes, lay them alongside the mobstacle.

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Roll it up and tape it down. At the ends, run the tape agains the scored line, on the 'inner' side. For good measure, give it a band down the middle.

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Flip it on end, with the 'cut here' side down. Stuff it full of crumpled paper.

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Cut the end along the folds down to the scored line.

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Fold down the innermost flap and squirt some glue on the inside of the second flap.

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Tape it down. Mummify it, even. The scored lines are an inherent weakness, so be sure to cover them.

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Repeat for other side. Done.

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My thoughts:

- Chief strengths in this design:
* Stores in a 2-1/2' x 8" space
* Has a built-in carrying handle when packed
* Deploys in under 2 minutes, not counting time staking it down. Please note this is my time, and I have had practice with it.
* Stows for storage in under 2 minutes, not counting time and profanity in extracting the stakes.
* Is a single 'piece' in that there are no components to get lost aside from stakes.

- Remember, the 'cut here' line is away from the actual object being shipped. You should be able to slice clean across the box at the line without touching the merchandise.

- At least 50% credit is due Ryan and Kane for their V1 mobstacles. They were very frank in reporting what issues they had, so I was able to avoid and address the difficulties they faced.

- Of the remaining credit, a majority is due Darth Freyr - my initial design was 6 poles and zip ties at the end. He came up with running rope as a base instead of 3 poles, and cutting the tarps to fit.

- Thanks is due as well to Dayko for allowing us to field-test these at his last Effin War.

- My prototypes had grommets, but I've found that the combination of duct tape and tarp is sufficient to keep it from tearing. This is to lower costs. My prototypes cost $15 each, with additional overhead for the usual waste in developing a product. By buying materials from Harbor Freight and in bulk, I'm able to lower my costs to below $15.

- If used outdoors, these things should be staked down. Any structure like this has a tendency to turn into a sail or a kite at the first and slightest breeze.

- In the name of fair disclosure, inflatable paintball bunkers can be found for as low as $20. Zorn provided a link, but I'm unable to find it. Ping him for details. Keep in mind they need to be inflated.

- We didn't try it, but you can either open up a whole side by cutting the four zip ties holding one tarp edge to a pole, or open up a smaller triangular opening by cutting the two zip ties on the top of one tarp panel. This will allow for the mobstacle to be used as a core in DTC.

- For pulling up the stakes, we shoved a piece of rope under the hook, wrapped it around our hands and yanked up on that. Gloves are recommended. I have developed on way to keep the stakes with the mobstacle so it's still an all-in-one bundle while providing the yanking rope, but I haven't tested it yet. I can post it if others want, but please remember that it's untested.

- Edit: thanks to b1gb3n for this link. Amazon is providing the shopping cart for 4 2' x 4' Inflatable Bunkers for $30 + S&H. If you have a compressor, a spigot, and a hose, these may be better than our DIY mobstacles above. Our war and attendees don't have any of the above, so it isn't a viable option. Additionally, setup and takedown of our mobstacles will likely be much faster than inflating and deflating these bunkers.

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Okay, we're finally done with the flood of posts. Thoughts, comments, questions and flames?

This post has been edited by taerKitty: 22 September 2011 - 03:34 PM

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#7 User is offline   evilbunnyo 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 10:24 AM

That is amazing taer.
Other than that statement I have nothing else really to say...

A question though how does the pipe itself hold up when its hit. I know pvc is pretty strong but something like this will be ran into during wars so is there a possibility of it breaking?

Oh and btw love your knot skills. 8^)
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#8 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 11:37 AM

We haven't had the misfortune to try that. Hopefully, it holds up - PVC breaks into sharp edges and pointy ends, so that's a possible danger.

Edit - as for knot skills, one thing that didn't make it into the write-up is the fact that the knots on the blue ropes are hot glued together. The blue rope is nylon, coarse nylon. It doesn't knot - too slippery. I had to loop it into place, then squirt hot glue into the gaps and pull it tight.

Those ropes aren't coming apart. Not without a lot of grunting or power tools.

This post has been edited by taerKitty: 22 September 2011 - 11:49 AM

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#9 User is offline   nisaburo 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 05:52 PM

These worked great at the last war. They provided cover from multiple directions but could be out-flanked with a little effort to prevent camping. I always felt I was safe for a quick reload but not to bunker down.
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#10 User is offline   SonReeceSonJensen 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 06:06 PM

Reading the part on the knots reminded me of my 14 year old self trying to remember the intricate pattern of beating a level in Zelda 64.

On topic: OH MY DAMN! This is about 400% better than I imagined it would be. Good F'n work.

I will say, from the experience point of carting around a car load of 6 mobsticals, that the compact nature and portability is easily their best feature.
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#11 User is offline   Nerfomania 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 06:40 PM

I LOVE these. The knots scare me a little but I guess when you actually start the build process It would be more intuitive.
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#12 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 07:24 PM

Broderick - Thanks. I loved how they made the middle of the field playable again. All the past wars we were too often just doing ring-around-the-rosie in the treeline around the field.

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SonReeceSonJensen - Here's a picture of 10 of them.

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As you can see, I managed to get 8 of them into an office moving box, which is about 24" x 12" (guestimated). Ryan mentioned how difficult it was schlepping 5' poles around, so I made sure to design these with portability in mind.

That said, the ones you brought to APOC were much larger. I think they were 5' x 5' on a side, so they provide easily twice the area, and probably 4x the volume. Here's a pic of it with an LAHB against it for scale:

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_Nerfomania_ - The knots are pretty simple. An overhand knot is just a loop with one end threaded through it. Lay two ropes side-by-side, and it's what I call a double overhand, though others have called it an Alpine, etc. This is what one looks like before it's pulled tight:

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At the end, each corner will have three ropes in parallel, not two as shown above.

This post has been edited by taerKitty: 22 September 2011 - 07:28 PM

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#13 User is offline   b1g13en 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:10 PM

Just wondering would you recommend covering all three sides or just one side is enough?

This post has been edited by b1g13en: 22 September 2011 - 08:11 PM

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#14 User is offline   taerKitty 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 08:48 PM

Originally, I was just going to cover two sides, but it makes it too tempting a camping (loser) spot. If you cover all three sides, with the sloping and narrowing apex, it's very difficult to become a camper - it's too easy to be flanked.

I'm not sure about one side. I'd worry about the uncovered pole not having something big and blue and flapping to visually scream "I'm here!" If it's to hard to see, then it can easily become a tripping hazard.
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#15 User is offline   Ryan201821 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 09:31 PM

Awesome, great work. I'm glad to see someone other than Kane and I put effort into making reusable cover for wars. This is something pretty much every war organizer overlooks (except for a hand-picked few).

These are definitely great if you're willing to sacrifice your time in order to make something cheaper and easier to transport.

Quote

That said, the ones you brought to APOC were much larger. I think they were 5' x 5' on a side, so they provide easily twice the area, and probably 4x the volume.

The ones we brought were 4 x 4'. The original mobstacles were 5 x 5' and just too unwieldy to transport and set up. The smaller mobstacles also make you have to duck to gain cover, instead of having most normal sized people with their heads as the only exposed target.

I'm not sure who's mobstacles you were referring to at Apoc, but we were the only ones to bring any. Tragic, I know.

Back on topic, taerkitty is sending me a sample of one of the mobstacles. I'll be sure to test it out and see how we like it. If it works out well, the true test will be to see how easy/difficult they are to build from scratch, and the setup/build time compared to our Rev2 mobstacles.

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In the name of fair disclosure, inflatable paintball bunkers can be found for as low as $20. Zorn provided a link, but I'm unable to find it. Ping him for details. Keep in mind they need to be inflated.

I was the one who actually found these a week ago. And they are in fact only $20, directly from Coleman. I happened to stuble over them searching for inflatable paintball bunkers. These may be the cheapest and easier way to provide cover. I will definitely have to check these out.

EDIT:


View PosttaerKitty, on 22 September 2011 - 08:44 AM, said:

- Edit: thanks to b1gb3n for this link. Amazon is providing the shopping cart for 4 2' x 4' Inflatable Bunkers for $30 + S&H. If you have a compressor, a spigot, and a hose, these may be better than our DIY mobstacles above. Our war and attendees don't have any of the above, so it isn't a viable option. Additionally, setup and takedown of our mobstacles will likely be much faster than inflating and deflating these bunkers.

Didn't see this, but these looks great too. A mix and match of the larger ones I linked, and some of these, would be pretty cool.

This post has been edited by Ryan201821: 22 September 2011 - 09:41 PM

 VACC, on 13 May 2011 - 07:30 AM, said:

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