Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Oregon Country Fair: Building A Portable Booth

The last few months have been a whirlwind. I've taken lots of pictures but had no time to write the stories. For the next little while, I'll try to write faster than things happen so that I can get caught up.

The beginning of July was filled with preparation for the Oregon Country Fair. I didn't get a real, during-the-daytime show booth this year so I decided that I would run around at night when only the staff and vendors are there. Along with selling my wares, I would also sell myself. To get a booth there, someone who had one needs to decide to share with me so I was going to really put myself out there and show off my booth building skills.

[Computer rendering]

The challenge with this booth was a pretty big one. I needed to build a structure that could hold two of my regular wooden booth panels and have space for a banner, an umbrella, a mirror, and an onboard lighting system. The biggest constraint, though, is that whatever I built needed to stand up to the rigors of the Country Fair site - miles of uneven ground, potholes, and possible mud. One person needed to be able to haul the thing, weighing in over 300 pounds, and steer it without the danger of it tipping over.

[Cutting Pipes]

[Framework Done]

The first step was to design and create a system using pipe joints that I already have from other booths I used the computer model to "get a feel" for whether or not the thing would be stable. I didn't want to take the time to do a real load/stability simulation.

I designed the frame to be very rigid and sturdy because any sloppiness in the frame would let the whole thing fall apart.

[Sturdy Undercarriage]

Once the frame was constructed, I needed to attach it VERY securely to the garden cart that I had bought to serve as the rolling structure. I cut a piece of 3/4" plywood to fit exactly within the outline of the cart bed. I then added six extra joists underneath the bed to screw the plywood into. These joists underlapped the steel frame of the cart bed. Once the deck screws were in place, the plywood was as stable as if it had been part of the original cart itself.

[Assembled Cart]

Then it was time to roll the thing around downtown Wolf Creek and see if it was going to be stable on uneven ground. It passed the test with flying colors!

[Cart With Garments]

Then I added the final test - 100 pounds of garments on the rack arms. When rolling, I clamp them together so that garments are not falling from the hangers into the mud. The added weight gave me some trouble on very rough terrain, but it really seemed like the whole thing was going to work!

[Now With An Umbrella]

At that point, it was the day before I left for Fair and all I had left was to check and see if the umbrella was stable and gave me the protection that I wanted. It did. So I tore it all apart and packed the van. Whee!

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