Designing an outdoor run for the ladies

The Chicken Run!

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The truncated elongated icosahedron poultry exercise facility! 

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The Chicken Run!

I sometimes like to build scale models of my upcoming projects. This is especially true if it is a complex first time project like we are going to build here.
I have always been intrigued by geodesic domes.  They have a simple complexity that I am captivated by. I would like to build a dome like structure and why not use it to put the chickens in? I got the process started with a paper dome model that I found online. I printed out 4 of them and cut them to pieces to make an elongated dome.

 This is the dome after cutting it out and taping it together. But it needed to be longish not roundish. So I went looking and found a website that sold plans for an elongated dome…I’m not a fan of buying plans,… and they had a picture,… so I read the picture and googled “hexagon graph paper” and “soccer ball pattern”.  The hexagon graph paper showed me that the center section is just whole and half hexagons. The soccer ball pattern showed me that I only need pentagons to make the ends close in!

This paper model helped me visualize what I had thought to be the solution to my problem of an elongated dome. Now it was time to get serious about this scale model!
That’s right, break out the drinking straws and the fishing line! Small scale production is about to Begin!
 

I started with my hexagon center section idea to validate the concept.
 Then, armed with my paper model, I went right to building a 1/12th scale model of the structure! I chose 1/12th scale because the math is easy…1 inch = 1 foot. The struts are going to be 18 inches long which is 1.5 feet or in scale… 1.5 inches! I cut a LOT of 1.5 inch lengths of straws…158 to be exact!
 I am only going to use the perimeter of the hexagons and pentagons which makes this dome more of an elongated truncated icosahedron…ish thing.  
 This is the beginning of my second try at this model, 4 hexagons
 Now there is more to see, notice the pentagon in the center of the straws? I used a single run of fishing line that runs thru the whole structure! I kept adding lengths with surgeons knots so I could keep tension on the whole thing with one string.
 The End is starting to look like something! There are 3 pentagons on each end of the structure. The pentagons essentially pull the hexagons tighter together on one side making the structure round out a bit. Note to self, pentagons do Not touch each other! (if they do you have to tear it apart AGAIN!)
 One end nearly complete!
 Now I am working down one side, the half hexagons on the bottom edge are 3 – 1.5 inch pieces and 1 – 3 inch piece, yes exactly double, there are ten of the double length pieces in the entire structure.
 I was amazed that the model supported itself at the half built stage!

 how’s that for a rookie modeler? Another great thing about using 1/12th scale is that I can take measurements off of the model to check things like overall height, length and width! I only had to build it twice to get it right!

If it is self supporting with straws and fishing line, how much better will it be full size with steel struts and bolted at every joint! We are very excited to get this project started and I will be bringing you updates thru the whole process!
Speaking of the whole process, have you been to our web store lately? www.meffordendeavors.com is where we fund our projects from, so please head on over there and take a look around…The chickens and I Thank You!

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