Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

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Banff Martin
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Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

Post by Banff Martin » Thu May 31, 2012 8:35 am

Hello,

The last-minute staff igloo build event last season has left me wanting to do another next season. There are a number of aspects of the first event that need to be worked out to improve the next:
(there will be a lead time of around 3 weeks for the next one)
1- Improvement of packing technique for speed
2- Brief training on packing for participants so everyone gets equal time in packing role if desired
3- Scheduling of event, as scope of project would span more than 1 day
4- Consideration of if a 2nd Icebox would be of any assistance, as another staff member owns one
5- Design details
6- Design/process improvements to reduce labor/build time

I am hopeful that our grounds department will again move a large volume of snow into the amphitheatre. In this case I'd be looking for a packed pad 13-15' across the top, 3' deep, sloping down the sides as normal. At the same time, a few rubbermaid bins or a sled/pulk may be needed to bring 'clean' snow to build the blocks with from the surrounding area.

The concept I have in mind is to build a standard 11' igloo. Then, to remove much of the pad under the floor and cut in a circular snow bench. Used carpet or scrap plywood could then be placed on the seating area to insulate from the cold. Any standing area of the pad would be dug down such that a 6'4" person could stand in any spot available with ample headroom (we have two such staff this tall...one of them our CEO). This would likely mean digging down almost to the ground. The doorway would be cut away as needed so that one would only need to duck slightly to enter the igloo lounge. The result would be a large airspace with seating that would be a neat lounge for winter-dressed people to enjoy.

Measurements:
11' exterior width
9'8" interior space
5'8" floor space after 2' deep circular bench

First thoughts on addressing issues:

#2+4: while my Icebox is in use building the primary igloo, practice blocks could be being done with the 2nd unit. This also begs the question, should there be a 2nd structure made from the practice efforts? =)

#2: Ed, from your experience in training groups in igloo building, do you have any tips on guiding a group without being the primary packer yourself?

#3: I could use vacation time to make this event span a number of days including a weekend. We have a staff roster of about 500 working both banker's hours and running 24 hour departments, meaning there are numerous staff having their weekend each day of the week. The challenge is determining ahead of time how long the complete build will take. This is important as I'd seek to register & schedule staff for each day to ensure at least 3 co-builders at all times. I expect it would mean stretching out the build over a long time frame (as much as 4 days?) to ensure no rush is felt and the build remains fun.

#6: The big labor parts I see are building the pad and digging out the floor post-igloo:
- The pad would require a good number of people to tackle so it could be done fairly quickly. Other than typical shovels and boots to spread out the pile of deposited snow by machinery, how could this be improved?
- The post-igloo pad will be quite solid, at least the top foot. I used my spade and would want my steel-toed rubber boots to do this. After the top foot I think it would get easier, and then would become a measurement challenge to start shaping the bench.

Thanks for any suggestions!
If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!

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Igloo Ed
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Re: Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

Post by Igloo Ed » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:32 pm

Banff Martin wrote:#2+4: while my Icebox is in use building the primary igloo, practice blocks could be being done with the 2nd unit. This also begs the question, should there be a 2nd structure made from the practice efforts? =)
Having an experienced team working on the primary igloo and inexperienced people learning on another igloo would certainly help the build time on the primary igloo. One caution would be to not spread yourself to thin...
#2: Ed, from your experience in training groups in igloo building, do you have any tips on guiding a group without being the primary packer yourself?
The best way to teach is by showing, verbal instructions are hard with the complete inexperience of people and the way different people learn things. One teaching trick that works quite well with certain people is to put your hand over the student's relaxed hand and then pack so they can feel what you are doing. But again, some people learn differently and this doesn't work for all people.
Some people struggle to learn the "feel" and others pick it right up. Don't dwell to long with the ones that don't pick it up right away.
We've had quite a few organizations tell us that the ICEBOX is the best "leadership" teaching tool they've ever used. That is because it gets into depth and the students enjoy the experience.
#3: I could use vacation time to make this event span a number of days including a weekend. We have a staff roster of about 500 working both banker's hours and running 24 hour departments, meaning there are numerous staff having their weekend each day of the week. The challenge is determining ahead of time how long the complete build will take. This is important as I'd seek to register & schedule staff for each day to ensure at least 3 co-builders at all times. I expect it would mean stretching out the build over a long time frame (as much as 4 days?) to ensure no rush is felt and the build remains fun.
With all the teaching and it being an eleven footer, I would expect it to take around 11 hours.
Depending on snow conditions, the igloo can sag quite a bit overnight if not completed. The top pole is shortened until the form fits correctly when the igloo has sagged. This creates an igloo that is not quite the correct shape and it will sag faster than normal.
#6: The big labor parts I see are building the pad and digging out the floor post-igloo:
- The pad would require a good number of people to tackle so it could be done fairly quickly. Other than typical shovels and boots to spread out the pile of deposited snow by machinery, how could this be improved?
Have the snow piled up immediately before starting to build the igloo. A pile that sets overnight becomes hard and takes a lot more time to level off.
- The post-igloo pad will be quite solid, at least the top foot. I used my spade and would want my steel-toed rubber boots to do this. After the top foot I think it would get easier, and then would become a measurement challenge to start shaping the bench.
I think you understand this pretty good. That floor is going to be rock hard by the time you finish the igloo and your steel spade will work well. A saw might work well too.

Sorry to be so slow in replying.

Banff Martin
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Re: Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

Post by Banff Martin » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:54 am

In regards to the issue of the incomplete igloo sagging, I have the idea of building a support structure at the end of such/each a day. I've access to a stack of used pallets that I'm allowed to take apart and use as I'd like. My thought is to build a support 'ring' against the top level of the igloo so it cannot sag inwards. It won't be a piece of art, but I should be able to rig something up with enough 1x4's & screws.

Do you think a 'ring' would do, or would it also need to be supported from the base?
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

Post by Igloo Ed » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:10 pm

Banff Martin wrote:In regards to the issue of the incomplete igloo sagging, I have the idea of building a support structure at the end of such/each a day. I've access to a stack of used pallets that I'm allowed to take apart and use as I'd like. My thought is to build a support 'ring' against the top level of the igloo so it cannot sag inwards. It won't be a piece of art, but I should be able to rig something up with enough 1x4's & screws.

Do you think a 'ring' would do, or would it also need to be supported from the base?
It would probably work better if it was several different panels with a support to each panel.
I envision a small panel that would fit onto the surface of one block. The blocks are 14 inches long at most and with overlapping they are nearly certain to be 12 inches or less. I think I'd take one of those pallet top boards and cut them 10 inches long.
Then the support should pivot on the panel. I envision one of those top boards sharpened like a pointed fence picket fitting in a small hole.
The bottom end of the support might need to have a stake to support it. Hopefully there is enough space in the center of the igloo for all the supports and stakes. I think skipping every other block would certainly be enough support but maybe only every third block would require support.
I'm not certain but I've left the ICEBOX in place on the last block when using light snow and it seemed to support the wall a few blocks back or more. That end block is the main problem. If it sags, it pulls a few more blocks along with it.
If you do the ring type of support, I would think it would need to be flexible some so it can conform to an out of round igloo.

Banff Martin
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Re: Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:31 am

Indeed!

That sounds pretty easy to set up. I'll build 10" long 'L' shapes from the 1x6's, and make notches on the undersides for another piece of wood to settle into. For the bottom end I'll also make notches on my 14" square that the pole attaches to. The notch-squares will only be 1" high, so they shouldn't interfere with the pole's operation during normal use.

I see what you mean with leaving the Icebox in place, but as I won't be building in a secured area this isn't a good option for me.

Thanks!
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

Post by Igloo Ed » Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:36 pm

Banff Martin wrote:Indeed!

That sounds pretty easy to set up. I'll build 10" long 'L' shapes from the 1x6's, and make notches on the undersides for another piece of wood to settle into. For the bottom end I'll also make notches on my 14" square that the pole attaches to. The notch-squares will only be 1" high, so they shouldn't interfere with the pole's operation during normal use.

I see what you mean with leaving the Icebox in place, but as I won't be building in a secured area this isn't a good option for me.

Thanks!
I had meant to mention not to use the form as a support because it can damage the tool. We replace a couple poles each season due to customers leaving the tool in place after they have finished the last/top block. It is always when the snow is sugar snow and they are struggling to make blocks. It gets late in the evening and everyone is tired and wants to go to bed so they just shovel in the snow for the last block and leave.
Then, they forget about it until the next weekend when they can play again. By that time the igloo has sagged enough to push the Socket Pole down over the ball on the Stake until the Socket Pole comes in contact with the flange on the Stake after which it will not move any more. The igloo continues to sag and the pole cannot support the weight. The Small Pole is the smallest in diameter and it begins to bow. I've seen pictures of the Small Pole bowed so much that I'm certain it couldn't be straitened out again.
If the form is left in place on an unfinished igloo, the pressure would be sideways on that ball and it could break it off of the Stake. I haven't heard reports of this though and I haven't experienced it myself. I used the form for support once and it pushed hard enough to pop the pole off of the Stake and it was sitting beside the Stake in the morning. It didn't break the ball off of the Stake but I've only done it once.

I think a piece of the 1 X 6 about 10 inches long will work good and you'd need about 6 of them.
I've drawn what I'm thinking with my mouse so it's pretty bad. The hole in the middle of the board isn't very clear and honest, I've haven't touched a drop tonight:
BlockSupport.jpg

Banff Martin
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Re: Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

Post by Banff Martin » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:30 pm

Can I see your artist's license sir? =)

I get the idea I think. Preparing items in advance though, I don't think I'll know what length the wood would need to be to support the blocks. So, I think the 'strut' needs to be adjustable. With a cordless drill & 1 3/4" screws, I should be able to rig up a support at the time.

Here is my version:

The ball joint is screwed to the 14" square and not used for support. 1" raised triangles are where the points of the struts catch.
Attachments
Adjustable support x6.jpg
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Igloo Ed
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Re: Project Cool Lounge: 11' igloo on campus

Post by Igloo Ed » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:16 am

I was thinking using stakes for each support, but if you are using the plywood/Flat Stake, your setup looks good.
I look forward to seeing how you do.

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