Originally Posted by MacEntyre
Knotty, I think I know what happened... the more the struts are inclined (base smaller than top, and tops brought toward the ground) the more the tendons exert non-compressive forces. I think we brought the tops down low enough that the struts leaned excessively, and the tendons then put a bending force on the struts.
Mac, I think you're probably right that the angle of the struts relative to the ground is a significant factor, but I believe the reason is that the weight of the hammocks and occupants pulling down is what exerts non-compressive forces. Theoretically the tensegrity tendons are in equilibrium, regardless of the sizes of the base and the top. It's the additional load from the hammocks which the tensegrity structure distributes throughout the the structure, but which is not in balance so the struts eventually bend.
One of these days I'll make a six-strut tensegrity. I recall that the more struts, the closer they are to vertical, especially if the base and top are the same size hexagons.