Project Spotlight: Burning Man Pineapple

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Featured-project-makerspace-bend-oregon-pineapple-motel-burningmanLynn Strybosch was visiting Bend last summer and signed up to be a member of DIYcave to build a 12 ft geometric pineapple for her Burning Man camp tent “Pineapple Motel.” Read about her experience at the cave and how her project turned out at Burning Man.

How did you find out about DIYcave?
I was interested in visiting Bend for part of the summer and knew that I was going to need a construction space for my project. I did a google search to figure out what was in the area and I came across the DIYcave. They had tons of tools available and a large workspace. My inquiry email was returned with a warm welcome, and I felt like it was the place for me.

Tell us about the project you did at DIYcave?
I designed and built a 12 ft geometric pineapple that was going to be suspended on a 20 ft center pole inside my Burning Man camp tent. The main structure was built with copper pipe, connected using hose “joints”, and then it was decorated with iridescent cellophane panels and LED lights.

What was your inspiration for the project?
My Burning Man camp is called The Pineapple Motel, so I knew I wanted to build a pineapple to represent us. My goal was to build something that was durable in the harsh desert conditions and also something that could be reused every year (meaning I had to be able to take it apart to keep in storage). I was inspired by the Pulse Portal archway piece created by Davis McCarty for Burning Man in 2016 that used dichroic acrylic panels to create color patterns that shifted in the sunlight. I couldn’t afford the dichroic acrylic, so I had to get creative on my material choice. My decision to use copper pipes came from my fascination with Swedish Himmeli Ornaments, and I wanted to create something similar in a large size.

How did you prepare for the project?
I started by drawing out the design ideas in my notebook and simply trying to get what was in my head on paper. I then built models of my design using scrap materials so I could conceptualize the idea in 3D space. I did many renditions of small models until I got one that I liked and wanted to replicate in larger form. When I arrived at the DIYcave, I had all my materials and a plan to begin executing. Of course, it didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted!

What are some of the skills you learned at DIYcave?
My project didn’t require me to use any fancy machinery or tools (I had to make sure I could replicate the build in the desert) so I would say the greatest skill I learned was problem-solving. I quickly realized my design would not scale in the way I imagined and I had to start brainstorming solutions. Luckily, the DIYcave has amazing stewards and members who were so helpful in offering potential fixes. I learned that improvising to bring a project to life is all part of the creative process (at least for someone as inexperienced as me).

What were the easy and hard parts of your project?
The hardest part of the project was facing the fact that I needed to rethink my original design to make the structure work. I was questioning my ability to pull this off. Once I got the main structure completed the next challenge was putting it all together at the Burn. I realized that the iridescent gels and lights had to go up after the pineapple was on the 20 ft pole, which meant that I had to spend hours and hours in a harness completing the design. I want to rethink how I can make the process easier next year.

The easy part of the project was the mundane cutting of the pipes. Once I knew all the cuts I needed, it was as simple as doing it. It took a long time, but I had lots of friendly people at the DIYcave to chat with.

Favorite project you witnessed (besides yours) while hanging out at DIYcave?
There was lots of cool stuff going on! I think my favorite was Anne’s beautiful metal flowers mounted on a wooden base. She inspired me to consider metal as a potential medium for creation in the future. In fact, I recently took a welding course at the DIYcave to learn more! The reality is that there are so many interesting and talented people at the DIYcave. I loved learning about other people’s projects and looking at their final pictures.

What advice would you give someone who wants to join DIYcave and start a project?
Just do it! I was a little nervous at first due to my lack of building experience and skills, but what is amazing about the DIYcave is that they have experienced stewards there to help you with anything. I found that it was a supportive community who wanted to help me bring my creation to life. I would recommend the space to anyone interested in doing a project.

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