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  1. #1
    New Member Promotions's Avatar
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    The (Mostly) Home Depot Sourced Semi-Portable Top Rail Tensahedron Stand

    The (Mostly) Home Depot Sourced Semi-Portable Top Rail Tensahedron Stand

    While learning to make one of these stands on my own, I found a bunch of good ideas out there, but ultimately I had to pull information from different sources to make something that suited my needs. At its core, you’ve got 4 poles that need to be connected at their ends, some rope to prevent spreading, and an anchor. You can accomplish that in a bunch of ways.

    I was able to complete this whole project with stuff from my local Home Depot and a basic understanding of the stand's concept, so I will provide links to the stuff I used.

    At a Glance:
    Cost - Varies depending on the number of optional steps you want to take. If you quite literally just chop some top rail, put some feet on the end and lash it, you're looking at around 60$ on the low end. If you add grommets, and pins, and feet on the tops of your poles, and buy a fancy anchor, and buy amsteel loops, your top end is about 130$.

    Time to Complete - With manual tools you're looking at around 3-4 hours. With a miter saw and a Dremel, it'll be closer to 2 hours. In both cases, the majority of your time will probably be spent deburring.

    Weight - ~30 lbs. This thing is heavy, but not unmanageably so. It's no backpacker's stand and you don't want to carry this too far, but it's great for a short walk to a park or picnic spot, or just something to leave in your car.

    Weight Capacity - My personal testing says it can hold at least 250 lbs. Experienced stand maker says it should be able to comfortably handle 400 lbs.


    Required Materials:
    (x4) 1 and 3/8 inch top rail. Length can vary depending on your need, but you probably want at least 8 feet long. I ended up going with 9 feet poles which feels just about right. Home Depot sells this at 10 ft 6 inches and I cut it to size.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/YARDGARD...3DPT/100322532

    Lashing Material. Depending on your own safety tolerance, use something with a higher breaking strength than your weight. I used truck rope, but if Home Depot sold Amsteel, I’d use that instead. I weigh 150 lbs. Most material lists its safe load as being 10 times less than the breaking strength, it’s up to you if you think 10 times is more than enough.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...2626/206191955

    *UPDATE* I ordered some Amsteel and ended up using it instead mainly out of convenience. I'll explain both ways.*UPDATE*
    https://dutchwaregear.com/product/am...tinuous-loops/

    (x4) “Feet” to fit on the top rail to prevent slipping and chunks of earth getting stuck in your poles. This can be anything you have on hand from crutch ends to chair feet. If you want, you can get 8 to plug the tops too, but not necessary. Make sure it’ll fit over your pole. These 1.25 inch ones sit snug on their own but you could use something a little bigger with something to bond the rubber to the metal.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...9223/203661034


    “You’ll Probably Want This” Materials:
    An Anchor. Could be a literal boat anchor I guess. Something that you can jam in the ground and tie your stand to to stop it from tipping over. Home Depot does sell cheap tent stakes that would probably work, however I personally ordered an Orange Screw.
    https://www.orangescrew.com/collecti...-ground-anchor

    (x4) Pins. Not required, but recommended for safety reasons. Prevents the poles from going flying in the event of a “taco.” ¼ inch works well. Can use almost anything as a substitute, as long as it’ll fit through the size hole you drill and is about 2 inches long.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...7468/204276210

    (x4) Grommets. Not required, but recommended to prevent damage to your lashing. If you don’t use these or some other type of grommet (hell even a quick and dirty coating of epoxy along the inside ring would work), you will want to de-burr your holes VERY well.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...2018/204275932

    (x4) more “Feet” to make it look pretty and allow you to use the pole either direction. Really not needed, but it does eliminate another potentially sharp edge.
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...9223/203661034


    Required Tools (I’m not gonna link Home Depot stuff but they have these if you need them):
    Something to cut the poles in half/to size. Hacksaw could work if you’re patient and have nothing else. Miter saw with a cut-off blade is nice.

    Drill for putting holes in the poles

    Bits the size of holes you want to use (I use ¼ inch for the pins and ½ inch for the holes to thread your rope through)

    File/Dremel to deburr everything

    A chopstick/pencil/fishing tool/etc. To help push the rope through the poles

    Gorilla Glue or similar. For the grommets. Without something to stick them to the metal, your rope will pull them out. Skip if you’re not using grommets.


    Instructions:
    How Big is Your Pole?
    Decide how long you want your finished poles to be. Lengths over 8 feet can work with 11 foot hammocks. The “real” tensa stands are 8’ 6”. 9 feet gets you a 12 foot ridge line comfortably, but that already feels pretty big. If you can’t decide, you can always cut them shorter later, but this will require multiple cuts and deburrs. Exact measurements are difficult because it all depends on how wide you want the legs and how high you want your hammock to be.

    I personally wanted 9 foot poles so I cut my 4 poles down to 9’ 3”. This is because the tapered section is about 3 inches long. Once it is inserted, you “lose” 3 inches which brings it down to 9’.

    Once you have cut your poles down to the desired length +3 inches, measure half of your desired length starting from the NON-tapered end and cut.

    For each pole you will now have two pieces. The piece with the tapered section will be 3 inches longer than the piece without the taper.

    Flip your tapered sections around and insert them into the other piece. Congrats you now have 4 poles that can break down to half their size.



    Drill Me
    Measure ~2 inches (you may want to do 2 and ¼ to make sure you clear the rubber foot) from the end and drill a ½ inch hole straight through. Then, on the other end, do the same thing. IF you are going to use pins to secure your top rail pieces together, drill perpendicular to the hole on the other end (see the image if that sounds confusing.) This is because with a pin in place, the poles cannot rotate freely. Having the hole go one way at the top and the other at the bottom gives you roughly the correct orientation for your ropes.



    OPTIONAL- Adding Pins
    While your pieces are inserted, make sure to orient them so that your top holes are perpendicular to your bottom holes. Measure 1.5 inches into the joint and drill a quarter inch hole all the way though as straight as you can. Test your pin(s) to make sure they can go in and out smoothly, drill a little bigger if they don’t. Repeat for each set.
    Unless you are a god with the drill, you will likely not do this exactly the same for every pole so it is probably best to mark your poles so you know which pairs go together and which way they should align to allow the pin to fit through.

    Deburring and Assembly

    The cutting and drilling is done! Now make sure you file and deburr every edge of this thing because this stuff is SHARP. Once you’ve taken care of those edges, if you're using them, slap the feet on the ends of your poles and glue your grommets into your ½ inch holes. You are now ready to assemble this bad boy.

    Thread about 7-8 inches of rope through each of the 4 pairs of holes and tie some fatty knots to prevent the rope from being pulled back in.


    You could also tie a toggle on either end if you have some spare bolts/arrows/extra pins/etc. lying around. Alternatively, you could always shear lash the bottom feet, but that defeats the purpose of drilling the holes.

    If you have some sturdy continuous loops you can just thread them through and loop them around the ends. 1/8, 8 inch loops are almost exactly the right size but they seem to vary slightly when coming premade. I had to remove the feet in order to get one of the pairs on.


    Tie ~7’ foot of rope to however you secure you bottom sections to prevent legs from spreading any farther. The length is ultimately up to you. You want it wide enough so you don't bump into the sides while in your hammock.

    If your hammock doesn’t have a ridgeline, tie another line across the top to prevent the stand from spreading open. 83% of your hammock length if you're just going to use it like your hammock ridgeline. Longer if you want to use additional suspension and/or add a tarp.

    Tie your foot end to something secure to prevent yourself from tipping over.

    Hang literally anything with some weight to it off the head end to prevent the stand from accidentally collapsing when unoccupied/you get in and out.


    THE END.
    Last edited by Promotions; 11-25-2020 at 12:07.

  2. #2
    Senior Member MissileMan's Avatar
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    Good job summarizing your project. You make it very understandable... I have a bipod stand that I made, but plan to build one like yours in the near future.

    I think it will work well if I go car camping...

  3. #3
    New Member Promotions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissileMan View Post
    Good job summarizing your project. You make it very understandable... I have a bipod stand that I made, but plan to build one like yours in the near future.

    I think it will work well if I go car camping...
    Yea this certainly isn't light. I've seen some people repurpose old camping chair bags to make carrying it easier but it isn't something I'd want to carry any amount of distance.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Promotions View Post
    Yea this certainly isn't light. I've seen some people repurpose old camping chair bags to make carrying it easier but it isn't something I'd want to carry any amount of distance.
    Yes, nice wright-up.

    I can carry the stand I made in a camping chair bag because it takes up less space and is substantially lighter than the one presented here. (3/4" dia. EMT vs. 1-3/8" dia. Fence Rail).

    Just a note for anyone down the line looking to build one of these style stands: The highest bending load and weakest point along the poles is the center. Thus, placing the joint there is not advisable. However, if using the fence rail, this can work fine, as the diameter and material thickness is larger than the EMT pipes and has more capability.

    Oh and for what it's worth, that little red camp chair bag in shown in the post, was way too light weight and i had to replace it with a another heavier bag I had.

  5. #5
    New Member Promotions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-oh View Post
    Yes, nice wright-up.

    I can carry the stand I made in a camping chair bag because it takes up less space and is substantially lighter than the one presented here. (3/4" dia. EMT vs. 1-3/8" dia. Fence Rail).

    Just a note for anyone down the line looking to build one of these style stands: The highest bending load and weakest point along the poles is the center. Thus, placing the joint there is not advisable. However, if using the fence rail, this can work fine, as the diameter and material thickness is larger than the EMT pipes and has more capability.

    Oh and for what it's worth, that little red camp chair bag in shown in the post, was way too light weight and i had to replace it with a another heavier bag I had.
    I had seen your and others thoughts regarding where to best break down the poles. I believe the prevailing logic was anywhere other than the middle. In the case of the simplicity of this method, if you're only going to make one cut, the middle saves you the most space. Top rail with both ends tapered would be great for breaking down into 1/3rds, since you could just flip both ends around, but I haven't seen that anywhere. If smaller size and weight capacity was a concern with the top rail, you could use sleeves like here and break down into as many parts as you like. That'd get incredibly heavy and even more expensive though, so I think that is best left to the EMT.

    All that said, my experience is that the poles don't feel particularly stressed. Even to the point where they can wobble in their socket a little bit (implying a low compressive force.) I wonder how much force is actually being applied at those joints.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    Not placing the joint in the middle of a column is not prevailing logic, or gut feel, it is engineering design and structural analysis that shows that the middle of a column is the most susceptible to deflection and column colipase. Adding a joint at this location induces an initial deflection and weakens the structure at this CTQ point. Just the physics of the design.

    That said, you are very correct in that 1-3/8" fence rail is overly capable and can easily handle placement of the joint here for convenience of this design. The actual compressive load is the same for any of the materials for the given stand width and length. The difference is how those materials can handle that compressive load... (which is ~100 lbs per pole for your weight of 150 lbs.) The larger diameter poles increase capability very quickly as their capability increases by a factor of ~8 as the diameter doubles. Fence rail at 1-3/8" dia has a capability ~4.25 times higher than 3/4" EMT.

    For your configuration, as best I can determine, and a loading of 150lbs your stand has a Margin of ~24. So yeah, I would very much expect it to be super stable for you. For anyone in the future this design should easily handle loading up to 400 lbs. Contrasting, a 3/4" EMT design made to this length and width would start getting sketchy at 105 lbs.


    The whole point of any and all my comments on this thread are only to caution people that if they make a stand similar to this out of a smaller diameter pole then they risk bending and damaging the poles beyond use.

    You have made a great stand and I hope many people follow your example. They may do so confidently following your directions.

    The pros to this version are:
    Very simple to make, no specialized tools required, easily obtainable materials, and inexpensive and packs down relatively small.
    Cons: heavier, and does not pack as small as other DIY options.

  7. #7
    New Member Promotions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-oh View Post
    Not placing the joint in the middle of a column is not prevailing logic, or gut feel, it is engineering design and structural analysis that shows that the middle of a column is the most susceptible to deflection and column colipase. Adding a joint at this location induces an initial deflection and weakens the structure at this CTQ point. Just the physics of the design.

    That said, you are very correct in that 1-3/8" fence rail is overly capable and can easily handle placement of the joint here for convenience of this design. The actual compressive load is the same for any of the materials for the given stand width and length. The difference is how those materials can handle that compressive load... (which is ~100 lbs per pole for your weight of 150 lbs.) The larger diameter poles increase capability very quickly as their capability increases by a factor of ~8 as the diameter doubles. Fence rail at 1-3/8" dia has a capability ~4.25 times higher than 3/4" EMT.

    For your configuration, as best I can determine, and a loading of 150lbs your stand has a Margin of ~24. So yeah, I would very much expect it to be super stable for you. For anyone in the future this design should easily handle loading up to 400 lbs. Contrasting, a 3/4" EMT design made to this length and width would start getting sketchy at 105 lbs.


    The whole point of any and all my comments on this thread are only to caution people that if they make a stand similar to this out of a smaller diameter pole then they risk bending and damaging the poles beyond use.

    You have made a great stand and I hope many people follow your example. They may do so confidently following your directions.

    The pros to this version are:
    Very simple to make, no specialized tools required, easily obtainable materials, and inexpensive and packs down relatively small.
    Cons: heavier, and does not pack as small as other DIY options.
    I appreciate your help and the information. One of the major reasons I wanted to make this post, and maybe I'm just too new here, but I really struggled to find a proper "guide" to building one of these stands. The information is out there and I've seen lots of people post about making them, but it is usually just a finished product showcase and maybe some notes about their experience rather than a full on guide.

    I'm actually very interested in learning how to calculate forces on joints and I've been working through some truss problems in hopes of learning some basics to build towards being able to do the same with projects like this. I know I'm a ways off, but maybe in the future when I know a little more, I can ask more educated questions and provide more educated answers.

  8. #8
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    The (Mostly) Home Depot Sourced Semi-Portable Top Rail Tensahedron Stand

    Easy (but unnecessary, purely for recreation/experimentation) mod would be to buy four more top rails, cut new pieces with tapered end and the old pieces down to 1/3 the length of the finished tensahedron poles, then insert the eight (four old and four new) tapered ends into the middle thirds...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Hammichael; 11-25-2020 at 11:59.

  9. #9
    New Member Promotions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammichael View Post
    Easy (but unnecessary, purely for recreation/experimentation) mod would be to buy four more top rails, cut new pieces with tapered end and the old pieces down to 1/3 the length of the finished tensahedron poles, then insert the eight (four old and four new) tapered ends into the middle thirds...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    That does up the cost another 45$ and, assuming if we're going to go that route, we've probably added the other fancy stuff, you're looking at close to 200$. For 100$ more you can just get a "real" tensa stand that weighs half as much so like you say its not particularly practical. I wish top rail was available with tapers on both ends. It'd make it much easier and cheaper. However, a cheap way to do something similar would be to buy some sleeves at ~3$ each and just use those for your joints. It adds more weight and 12$ but since we're already at 30 lbs, whats another 2 or 3 lol

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    https://www.homedepot.com/p/204510279


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