Buck Pod

Bout time I did a post about something I am doing as opposed to sharing inspiration.
As well as my usual design work, I have started studying architecture this year.

Our first group project involved designing and fabricating a pod that could accommodate 4 people and be made from corrugated cardboard. We were allowed to use 10 sheets of 1100 x 2400mm card, cable ties, cloth tape and acrylic paint.

Below is the result…


We also had to put together instructions so another group could build our pod. I used an IKEA instruction set as inspiration :) Anyone work out where the name came from?


The pod packs flat and folds out like an accordion. We only used 9 sheets, each being one panel of the total spherical shape. Each of the panels is pre joined with the cloth tape. A series of simple folds allow the flat panels to fold and meet together at a central overlapping ring. The panels are pre-taped together. Two people can build the pod with the main structural fixing being cable ties around the top circle of the structure (9 ties). There a minor fixings points where the angled edges of each panel meet when folded along the top sloping edge of the structure (20 ties). A water seal is established here with an overlap and fold of tape. The fixing point at the base of the opening brings the panels of the structure together creating the final geometric shape.

Ventilation is provided by 3 large and 6 smaller diamond shaped windows that can be popped open and shut . Inside the pod there is plenty of usable space. There is room for 9 people sitting inside; room for 4-6 to sleep side by side and you can even stand up straight and look out the central ring (useful for getting changed or just peeking outside). There is a cap that sits over this central circular ring during wet weather. Talking of wet weather…


The final part of the project was to stay in the pod for a couple of nights… and of course it rained. Our pod performed really well for about 8 hours. Then it began sinking in height! The weak point was at the entrance. The edges of the cuts that were made for the doors were not taped enough. Water getting into these edges over the hours of rain caused rips at the bottom of each door weakening the structure. The next morning the pod was sitting at about half height!

Other aspects of the design were pretty successful rain wise. Only one of the windows leaked (they all had an overlapping seal) and the acute angles of the the folded panels worked really well at dispersing most of the water off the cardboard surface… unfortunately on each side of the door these folded ‘gutters’ sent water straight into the problematic door cuts mentioned above.

From here we will look at what we can do to improve the structures strength, particularly around the entrance (perhaps another layer of card internally or a different type of opening) and reduce the number of cable ties required for assembly.

Watch out, the improved ‘Buck Pod’ might be coming to a music festival near u soon!

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