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Ral", f(ilCIN'"
A CORNER ........
f 1,

The INFLATOCOOKBOOK was first published in Jan.

197 1 by Ant Farm.It was our attempt to gather
information and skil l s learned in process and
present it in an eas il y access i bl e format. That I i-I' '!
INF LATOCOOKBOOK came l oose leaf in a vinyl bin der
that we fabricated in our warehouse in Sausa li to. :z '-I
The first print in g was 2000 copies . I (?;" /:.,
The experiences that qualified us as ' Inflato-
experts' occurred over an 18 month period in
which we designed. built, and erected i nflatab l es
for a variety of cl i ents and situat i ons.Charley
Tilford showed Ant Farm how to make fast, cheap
in flatag l es out of polyethylene and tape and
support them with used fans from Goodwi l l . That
was in the fall of 1969. The first one bui l t was
the l arges t, a 10Q'xlOO' white p ill ow that was
bui l t for t he ill fated Wtl d Fest i val in
San Francisco, then after be i ng turned down fo r
Stewart Brand's Liferaft Earth Event, final l y
had i ts day at Altamont . There fo ll owed a year
in which we built numerous demo -in f l atables at
schools, .conferences, festivals and gatherings
around the state of California and beyond.
ANT FARM at that time was: Andy Shap i ro, Kelly
: Gl oger, Fred Unterseher, Hudson Marquez, Chip
Lord, Doug Hurr, Mi chael Wright,Curtis Schre i er,
Joe Hall, and Doug Miche l s.
J The INFLATOCOOKBOOK was designed, and
put together by: Ch i p Lord, Curtis Schreier,
I Andy Shapiro, Hudson Marquez , Doug Hurr, Doug '"o..; ,
Mich els .with he l p from: Sy l via Oreyfus, Char l ey
Tilford, and Sot iti Kitrilakis . w
I Th i s SECOND PRINTING (July 1973) takes on a new
I form for ease of printing and di stribution. It
gets a new cover and binding. and some mate rial
has been omitted for update. St ill its a good
buy at the or i gi nal price of 3 .00$, only at one
place; thats Box 471 San Francisco Ca lif 9410 1
- ® ANT CORPS 1973

- -: LAf\GEST
I •


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... .. .... . . .-..


The World's Largest Snake Alph abe t

Electro as i s -in stan t media &
The Universa l Mass Consumption Grid •
Erection Americ an shopping centers
Livi n ' & jivin' - a &: b SECTION at CADDY
o r uni ve r si t y a utoma ton s /sta. - c&e
Ultrasonic media blasts from d
Blow it up - f
The World ' s Largest Snake eats
videoscreens - g & a 5 man crew
explores limits, blows up buildings ,
de s troy Fat City, build real (C)it"y
Solar energy, dreams, enviroyesterday
mobiletomorrow AND
We give LO X energy credits with fillup.



57 \..-I"-'-'UT

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p, 1= T· . - -'


. you hadn't figured qu t a reason or w.hY to build inflatable iN G,ETTING- WITH'
becom"es,obvious 85 soon as you get people inside. The freedom and instIl- ¢i:J'A1?fER 1 OF THE
biliry of where the constantly the ceiling from MO;(ier's Hold the end ;11 air. Ahe
and rh,e ceding the floor and the door IS rollmg around the clli/my somewher6 " wlrh tape. _Essentially all inflatables work by encapsulating air witJjJn -B closed ;;iembrsne.
a (otof e"nergy that is usually confined by the xyz planes of rhe nortn81 '1i .. 'SOt; will b,egin to notice'the bag gettlrig Obyiously, air iUJcaping thru
boX-foom. The new-dimensional space becomes more or Jess whatever people dflo '" h'6les apd creases in your lousy taping job, Rep68t tM {J)(psriment using Iho t knife to
cide i t ;s _ a a funhouse, a torture device, i/pleasure dome. A ' $fiji th'e O!J.en end By the across the except fi small orifice,
confereflC6, party, wedding, 'meeting, regular Saturday afternoon bllComes.,8 festival. the paggle,can be yp tightly a rubber balloon jJnd ualtHJIW"th. touc_ of'
, " hot Iran: the m. the p lastIc, if you bll!.'im .It up tightly.
To unfold, infla te and see each o ther in a black white red purple cloudballoon can (can Yau C9f1lmagme iJ long baggle, With one hundrBdpeople sealed mslde and real·
ditions right) help to break down people'; category walls about each other and their own ize that the entrained could (lot Isst 19f19, unless you had.
.. . . ' . enough plants m With them. Scotts, maker Bnd taker of green, says that a
abilities and can be a hmt at the Jdea that maybe maybe any,body can should ,;ust take 50 by 50 plot of fawn turf releases enough oxygen to supply a family of
space.making beautifying inco her, his o wn hands. ... >('. , four. _ .
, '. 2, Gersome clf1!1ner bags, you those all·plastic ones with all the
'. dreadfu{ warnmgs about this is nqta toy, and ger same scotch .tape
and lay rands on of kind. a small fan. Mqther's:hair
dryer ideal and a vacupm cleaner blower is powerful. Tape the
. ppen end 'o f the, cleaner bag around the delivery end of wha tever
bloWBrjpr arot/?d the guard of the fsn. -Turn on thl! power, No-
, tice wrat happens, even thougrh the nack hola of the bag has

'\,. "AO
been left oPtn. For the structure to become i'lflated, more
be com}:g!n thru
- the holes. Adjust tlie size of the neckho/e by.pinching it
closed - the tautness or limpness of the structure if under

your control. Tape the neckhole shut and inflate fully_

Notice the .wrinkles nesr the shoulder of the bag. ' With
a.knlfe ,c ut.s 3" slit ACROSS the wrink.les. Notice ,
what h.appens. -immediately, to the hole. Now try
Bgainl- deflate the bag and tape the hole with your
." - . tape - then turn the blowers on again. This time

• mskels slit ALONG one of the wrinkles. Notice

what it does.. Try this again at 8 pl,!ce whim,
th'ere Bre no wrinkles. Any differet/ce? Of the
ntb, which way would you cut if you were
8 door and you wanted tq
B/r? -.."." .
3. ' Get some thicker plastic fDmBwhere.
Large orange or red pIeces c'ome as covers
on flatcar loads of gypSuk wallboard. Large
black pieces come stapled to the side of a •
two-part mobile home, it 90es down the
highway. Black an ; i ,ear pieces are used
by construction ere to cover th{nfl$ up and
to put under timere slabs... A r8il1 find is
clear plastic reinfo!fed mesh used
in areenhouses.. Make sure that the piece is

finer and

.. you·remember
of material 9.42
- the' 2" polyeth-
industry is good.
it is hard

can seal if she


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I 7lI" "5 '/#" h.,, /


Tape stripS of poly together
I mto a large square . . . .

L _ ____ _ __

Fe\ d edse'5 over and tape .. _. . . STICK ME ON f LAG ·

Make tube for ,

mfl-ate & etlt-entrv-siit-:-;-spend the nIsht ," . ._, ".- ,
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We used polyethylene because of low cost CInd easy handling. With a material as abstract Building supply stores are the most widespread sources of polyethylene (good last minute,
as a micro-thick plastic film, and easy to join as polyethylene, one can transit the entire Saturday sources) but packaging houses and concrete construction supply companies usually
design-then-build process in such a short time 85 to be able to see the process as II whole. are cheaper and carry a larger stock of different weights and sizes of black and clear. They
In th is sense polyethylene can be a medium lor learning about whole design processes. can usually order white (in San Francis50 area, the Visqueen distributor has whitr. . .
PO( YETHYLENE - (dictionary definition) impervious to moisture, lighter than water,
pliable. outstanding at dielectric high frequenc ies; excellent chemical resistance.
Best prices we've found in the San Francisco Area (per sq.ft.)
We started out using four mil (.004") for everything (it's cheapest) but now we use 6 mil
wherever we can _ 6 mil strikes a pretty good balance between cost and longevity. The
of the membrane depends on 1) the surface the bubble will sit on (grass is bestl WE.IGHT CLEAR WHITE BLACK
21 that the wind will do to it (High winds may destroy the plastics just by the force of the 4 n<l11 1<\0 2¢ 1.1 d;
wi d, but more often the damage is done by the wind ripping the poly on branches, corners
of hings, etc,); 3) the use it is put to. Public events with high energy sources such as ro ck hrMll NA l.b4
music tend to wear hard - stable uses such as greenhouses or sleeping places tend to wear
weil. Under optimum conditions (minimum sun & wind) the material should last about a &v.t1 H N.A
year. 4) (for public places particularly) understanding of the nature of the material by the
people using it. Users need to be made aware, to take off their shoes before
entering, not to walk on (through) the walls, not to tear the doors as they go through, and (Note: Prices in San Francisco aren't low for building materials. Price per square foot
not to block the air·supply tunnels, Generally we try to reinforce areas of heavy usage and doesn't seem to increase for larger size pieces. White only comes in 4 miL)
make air tunnels where you can't get to t hem or make them big enough to crawl in without
Also see attached Sears price list ..
blocking the air flow. It's better to design in durabi lity than have to pol ice the vulnerable
details (e.g., sel f·closing doors in Geometry section). TAP E or: TAPE
¥ Polyethylene can be heat·sealed, but we use tape because it eliminates hardware, can be used
CO LOR or: COLO R in t he fie ld, and the technique can be mastered by large n umbers of people. The most
The most easily available colors are clear and black (used in concrete construct ion wor k) common kind o f tape is 2" poly tape available from most polyethylene outlets, but it's not
but white and colored poly can also be found. Clear is decidedly magical. Its drawbacks the best. Good tape comes in wider sizes, and is much stronger (it the seam is taped well,
arerthat it gets tremendously hot inside if there is sun and it is a hot day. It can cook the the poly will ri p before the seam).
people inside and the grass underneath. T h is can be turned to good advantage in cool
for solar heat or, in warme r wea ther good lor water environments, sauna baths, oil
Tape can be had from:
ma1ssages, etc. Be careful of leaving a clear bubble on a green lawn for too long as it will
Arista Custom Tape Co. Mr. Zimmler is a fine !lJY. He doesn't like to fill orders smaller
tKe grass in its own juice in a few hours if the sun is hot. White reflects heat, but it
Foot of Farm Ad. than $100. He can send an o rder by UPS air freight to San
ge; s very bright inside. You can project on it at night or bounce colored lights around
ins'ide it. One good design compromise is a half white/half clear bubble - you can put the Secaucus, N.J. 07094 Francisco in three days. He will cut his 9 mil vin yl tape (for
864·3131 use on polyethylene) to any width. Price is $1.20/inch of
white side up to the sun or t he clear side up on cool o r cloudy days. It's best to find shade,
width for a 36 yd. roll in any color except clear (whic h comes
or bring your own _ a big P<lrachute over a bubble helps a great !:leal on hot d ays. F rosted
in 4" only and is about $4.50/roll1. The 4" clear stuff is very
poly is best for rear projection, whi te for front projection (although white will work for
good for on the spa', patching. 3" width is good in the colored
rear projection - it just isn't quite as bright an image). Some poly sold as clear is w hat is
called "natural" whic h is slightly frosted, although not frosted enough to work we ll for rear H. T. McGill Co. J im Cook (who has a good de al of experience in poly inflatables
projection. With usage, clear becomes frosted - you can facilitate the process by rubbing it P.O. Box 5 17 which he is usually pretty open to sharing) sells 4" wide
un,til the static charge picks up dust. Colored poly gives a fine colored light inside. Sources 4511 Front St. polyethylene tape (36 yd rolls) which is also excellen t tape. The
for colored poly are 1) sheetrock and some other building materials are shipped on Ilatcars Brookshire, Texas price is comparable to Arista's on 4" clear but the service isn't
covered wi th 20'X50' sheets of colored poly. Talk to the people who unload the cars. 77423 quite as fast.
Orice we got a brand new red cOlIer from the US Gypsum factory in Ho uston. 2) Colored
po.iy dropcloths from paint or hardwara stores. 3 ) Manufacturers of gas station and used Let us know of any other good sources and we will publish the info.
earl lot banners. Bergman BanMrs in San Francisco stocks nine colors in 36" width (4 mil)
and sells it for. $.03/sq.ft. 4) Union Carbide will make any color for you in lots of 5,000 Ibs.
It i"oossible to buv colors that thev alreadv have in 1,OOO-lb.lots. _ _ .-._ , 'C " ",*
r-- p.----
- -_._-_ ..' . - = - -_ .- -
' . _. - - - -.-. P' -
=rom Tensile Structures, Volume One by Fret Otto: " ... pneumatic buildings are safer
CdNTACT PAPER (the stuff you put on shelves,
,." :han any other form of structure. The main advantage of the pneumatically stretched
good reinforcing for places that get heavy stress o r traffic, like doors ilnd where nembrane is its small weight; eve n with spans of more tha n 100m. the weight of the
join floors. .tructure does not exceed 3kg/sq.m. Even jf the compressed air supply should fail, it
YOuld take a long time for large envelopes to collapse, since the enclosed air can leak out
REI NFORC ED POLY lilly slowly. Even large holes and tears are not dangerous. Although the pressure d rops
(See Sears catalog page.) This is fine, strong stuff, alt hough a little difficul t to tape due to luite rapidly. the force due to the weight of the membrane is so small t hat, in large
tekture. There is also a company in Houston named Griffolyn that produces this stuff. :nv'i!lopes. it may take days before the enclosed air escapes even if the openings are large."
dqn't know how their prices compare.
Ve've never had any injuries due to str uctural failure.

Fire codes are necessary, witness c ircus tent fire tragedies. T hey are usually primarily
concerned wi th exits in public structures. Polyethylene inflatables have a vi rtual 360'
exit because anyone can rip his way ou l, but this is someti mes hard to communicate to
a fire marshall :"ecause he will have no precedent for allowing that type of ex it. He wilt
also want to test the fire resistance of t he membrane itself, usually by holding a small
piece of it over a bunsen burner for ten seconds. then removing it. If it remains burning
for mo re than two seconds it is not considered self·extinguishing. However, when the
polyethylene is inflated, the structu re has internal pressure which wo rks to extinguish the
flame as soon as it burns through the membrane. (Charley Tilford in New York has done
some research o n this and has a fi lm of his efforts.) Try to explain this. We put up
inflatables in many public situations wit h mixed success - we did not get approval from
t he San l eandro Fire Marshall for Stewart Brand's hunger show. but we did get approval
(wi t h the diligen t a id of Dr. Frank Oppenheimer) for an intermed ia event in the Palace
of Fine Arts in San F rancisco. We didn't consult a fire marshall before Altamont. but

TAP ING PROC ESS or: TAPING PROCESS remember you are responsible for the safety of your struc tu re.

Th is is best worked out by you, partly depending on the number of people you have taping Good things to talk about with Fire Marshalls:
togethe r. AVO IO WRINKLES in t he tape ilS the wrinkles will gather water, particularty when 1) self·exti ngu ishing properties of inflated polyethylene
th e bubble is left uninflated in the rain. This will eventually destroy the bond of ilny of 2) rip through exit doors (thinness of the poly)
these tapes. 3) the huge number of d oors you have
4) length of time required to deflate the building wit h holes in it
HEAT SEA LIN G 5) the pressure at which the buildings runs
Someone from Oregon sez: You can seal poly with a regular clothes iron (Teflon if possible). 6) t he number of CFM of air you are providing per person
rl'!e quality of the seam va ries greatly with the skill of the person who is seaming, so practice 7) how powerful your back up fan is (this is a must for public events)
I saw a dome bubble that got destroyed by the wind as the seams had been heat·sealed
this way by amateurs. Put a couple pieces are cardboard together up right under the
overlapping edges and rUn the iron along it smoothly and evenly.

POLYESTE R (mylar is a trade name for polyester)

Si lvered mylar is a good surface and VERY magical. 2 mil mylar is roughl y
'equivalent in strength to Gor a mil poly, and it can be taped together li ke poly. John
Reeves in Boston got a quantity of it from Eiser Ind ustr ies in Revere, Mass. for $.20/sq.ft.
He had to do a lot of talki ng to get it at that price. There are a lot of companies producing
mylar now, but we haven't investigated. Again, let us know what you find out.

(. (0Y 'WI [.>Of j

The best way to recycle polyethylene is to reuse it, but when it gets many holes in it, it
is no longer good as a rain cover. The worst thing you can do with it is to put it in a garbage
can - it will probably end up as land fill and ne ver decompose. The best thing you can do
with it is BURN it. When polyet hy lene burns it breaks down into CO 2, H20, and carbon
which is the ugly black smoke produced but whic h will precipitate out of the air quickly
and be absorbed by the earth.
It is possible to recycle poly chemically, but it's an elaborate process and all the big
manufacturers find it more profitab le to make it from fresh natural resources (petroleum),
We think inflatable shelter is a much bener use for petroleum than buming it in an internal
combustion engine. We also like inflatables because they aren' t in any one place long
enought to leave marks on the earth after they're gone.


Clear Polyethylene Mesh-:teinforoed Plastic . Black Polyethylene
u..... 10 tQ. tL--4 mil·
10dl tt."'" "'...... ll!.o . . . _-
low.. 3 • . xlllO).lL"'" ...... 1
. . thAD 0 lo.r.o-1t.
- - ' .....
•• "bout Steel.niDforad. Woyera wire meSh, DOI1-ravd WOIl't rot mild....., Keeps out
ot' Jjght,
FHA edges, mo.tcd with liquid ultra-violet raY$. Lasl$ J to s times loaget in ·
c:dIub.e BumiDa' of 9>:10t sunli&bt tlwI dea:r polyethylene. Salt-proof,
mesh is 1091bs.; of lul4t mesh lS71bs. Lub paint-proof, oil-proof .. can't becWDaged by COI".
sevo::nJ. seasons. Cut With scissors. rosive compost « 5ibge ..ods. Cut to tile willi
scisaon. Available in 6 to fO-tt. width!.

Utility Plastic for .carpets"

11 0",(2 1 Milk-white tnnSluCJeft1 atm..
30 iDc:he -..ilk. Giyas
effect OD. -b&thmom 1Irindows, shower doon.. IckaI. f..- temporvy .
carpet tuIIDer5. Diamond embossed 6Jm (1)
ribOed fdm (2) is "'IOl'e pliable; both typQ c:aD. be easily deaud by '
shaking. Sold pel" foot or in rO&. - . _.
1 Fi..... "2 ltibbocl fi... . . ",
l'u it. Shippiq ...t.. • oz. . Per It. ShiJl1)iD« 1Ri«bt .. =
32 32 ..
32 W42276C . _: •...•.... S30..!I5 . 32 W 42272C ••••.•.... _.$19095

AccesaorieIJ to
anchor plastics

quidtly. Crowns all 2x2·llIch pn:smre 5e115itive tape.
I Snap
on 5tape Fallene
ocwood ... 10
SCIt1JS. Snap
eachrovtn waOO 04
per pkg.
Tape -lItOUnted dud. for smooth surfac:ea.

. ,1
32 W429D3-Pq . '" 10. Wt." 0&. . • . , •••••• pq. fie
, 1ncl000000oitdoor V{oterproof CIaTh Tope. 60-£1.
3;l lridth. W1. 6 oz.. Roll $1.19 6
Screw-in Stud. lor rough surfaces.. .
32 of 10. WL 4 01.. •••••• ••• ·. Pq. 99c:
Breon G _. t.d Pla,tIc Ti. DowI\J.. ;Pressure.
Daub..-fcc.d Mounting Tape. Strong ivory paper sensitive a.dhesive. 4.!
lrith adhesive t.cklllf on b:>th sides.. 54-11. roll. 32 W42902-Pq. 01 10. WL 4 oz. .•. ...... •.•• pq. 990:.
nw W1." oz .•••. Roll 7k '7 Molding Strip. Rei!! treated taW. For
moullting sheeting. " in. by 36 in. long.. .
,!o.11e Cloth Tap •• 32 W oi l s.. WL 1 lb. .••••••....•• Pte. SSt ,
M&kei:.... cdlm\ sealant for air duct.., }OUIlII( Qr
:1IIOUi..1iriiplastiC sboetIna:. 6O-foot ron. 2-1n.. width.
8 grouod.
IutlOrl 510.... 101" -anchoring ph$tk
61n;long, DOtchtd. Pkt. of 40.

·l2"W-.4291:1-';'WU lb ..••.••• . : •.•... •Roll $1.65
. \'.t:b..·tNdc·... mill 0ne ....1 I._"""",,*,,,",, troo
13 W'lml -5hiPPinll 6 " " - . ....... pq.


Since.polyethylene is so light (1200 sq.ft. of 4 mil about 20 Ibs. ) a fa n usual ly is a
better air source than a blower. A blower gives more pressure than is necessary to support
I the weight. Blowers tend to be high-pressure low-volume ai r sources; fans give out more
air at lower pressure. In measuring t he output of a fan o r blower there are two considerations:
number of cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air delivered and the static pressure at which that
air is delivered. A water manometer is an easy W<1'( to measure static pressure.
A manometer will give you a lot of interesting and useful information about your bubble.
Wind effects, for example, do not always increase the pressure inside the bubble (see
I Anchoring section) . You can tet1 how mu(:h pressu re your seams w ill wi thstand. Make
your seams strong enough to withstand 2/5" pressure, because windloading is best
withstood by maintaining a tight skin. If the skin isn't tight, the wind will make a sail
in·the side of the bubble and then you .are .. wind's mercy ...


Remembe r that for a public event it is .

,- I ...
necessary to have a back-up fan that will •• , "' •
support t he whole bubble if t he nu'mbe r . (' .1...(, '" " J ... . (./ •
, one fan should fai l. Each fan must be " • \..·v .' . _, - '
capable of supplying at least 5 CFM per
person indise the bubble. Having a working
generator on hand is iI good idea if your
power source is at all dubious. (We have
panicked when a fuse inside a locked
building blew.J'

This;s the 100' pil low before we put a net on it. When it was half inflated, we stopped inflating it to patch up t he little
strings we had taped to it for tie·downs. A storm blew up and the wind made the 40'X l 00' sail tl1at you see in this picture.
All the little string9 popped and the bubble took off. We finally stopped it by cutting a 60' slit in the back side to release
all the air. Imagining a sail boat with a sail t hat big will give you an idea of t he magnitude of force involved. This was an
extreme case of low pressure, bu't you get the idea . . . . . - . _ - - ' - - _ . _ ......

... rl
A good source of fans and specifications on fans is Grainger's (a national chain of wholesalers). '
They sell a large variety of fans and blowers, each one listed in the catalog with its output.
I usually try to match up a used fan r am buying with something in their catalog for an
output estimate. To get a catalog or buy from them you have to show some company
credentials or a purchase order, but it is worth the hassle as t heir prices are abo ut 1/2 to 3/5
retail. A new fan is usually cheaper than a used one in the long run jf you get it wholesale, "
but any fan you can get for free can be made to work. (Beware of used fans for public
events, though, unless you are sure the fan is good.
About the best fan we've used for medium-sized inflatables is Charley Tilford's old-time
office fan that he talked the city of New York out of whe n they air-conditiOf'led some
offices. This fan is a 24" diameter, l' h.p., direct-dri..,e, two-speed fan with' a cast-aluminum,
t h ree-prop air-foil blade and a sturdy, c lose-mesh guard. This fan probably put out about
5,000 CF M at 0" pressure and maybe 4,000 at 1''' pressure. Hav ing a strong guard on any
fan is important if there are going to be any general public, little kids, or stoned people. .
Charley cut down the pedestal so that the fan was near to the ground for more stability.
The easiest way to attach the air tunnel to this type of fan is to tape it directly to the
'blade guard (another reason for a strong guard). Since the building will probably move
around - especially if there is no net and the bubble is on a hill or in the wi nd - it is a
de1ivery tube good idea to make the air supply tunnel long enough so that the building can move
without pulling the fan over. We've lost some good fans t his way. (A good invention
might be some skids on the bottom of your fans.)
eJ" best fan for large bubbles (used on the 100' pillow) is a four-foot diameter, six·blade .
by a h.p. motor. We scrounged this fan from a house that got
The original motor (l' h.p.) got burned out by a faulty generator, so
test your ... if at all possible. If you are renting a generator get the rental place
to test it for you. The replacement '%. h.p. motor we got (and all the fans and blowers
we've gotten since) has overload protection. This is simply a device inside the motor
that shuts t he motor oft automatically when the motor overheats (due to overloading,
incorrect voltage, etc.). The page from the Craftsman Motor Selection and Installation
Guide shows how motor speed relates to fan speed determined by pulley sizes. This is
a good booklet you can get from Sears. (HOW TO SELECT AND INSTALL ELECTRIC
MOTORS) The attic fan puts out about 15,000 CFM at 0" and very approximately
12,000 at 1/8". A STRONG mesh guard high ly recommended. ""," screen is good.
(Hinge pins a re remdveabfe for transporting.)
Charley recommends this fan for medium to big inflatables. This frame is made with
e lectrical conduit. Included are the specs for this fan from the Grainger catalog.
1200 to 6IOCI CFM. 1 &. 2·Speltd Tot . ll y En ( lose-Q' C.yton Motol"$. A lulllinu m Blltdes

$27• 69 at a savinI up to 30%. Tb.l.II ven- prefl!ITed everywhere
frame with venturl dlschule. A bible pre-
punched motor hue taatent to vert cal. suPPort.
lftI s.
u. bec.nse of ealle of Installation with O-boIL'l supplied. Panel has mOWltlDJr hole
IlIId efficient ventUaUon. Kit comes ' In each comer tor easy, seeu", mountlnJC.l1arcI_
1 complete. Totally-enclo&ed Dmon 1500 RPM
sbaded pole or 1725 or 1725/1140 RPM .split-
ware kit included. Panels are 4"" wider I nd
hlll:her than fan blade sUe. For Ihutten, see
p'base, llSV. 60 Cy. motors: Motors ru,"",";-'.L!'""""e·,· ...",;;:;",;;;-'
lroo 1200 1/20 7C867 S3O.3O $18.12 $ 17.53 13



--- . 'L -=-L -- -- 'C · L -, - L
A Ixl. Iho\Ild be jUSl liSN mougn SO thu '"ger
PresAln: midway pulleys .. ill deflect ;,
.. ,
• ....--r--"'l
aOOuI \/4 inch. If too Joos,e, Ilippige 01 the pulle)'ll
{ "'; .
.. ill "'u.r ;1 01.11. If too light, il ;ncreaxs motor I
load and wur on the MarinS'-
- t.. '
" '
V.pulk)1 In: mnlured from cdSe. 10 edge ( .. o/ -
in gYllo,·t) . The following uble gives you the
spttds of driven pullcys .. hen IIlinS nriouJ com·
binations of and pulley I;U:II (in
':11\ " 1, :
• ?

iIii.alilWf ItiiIs 11("" ·We bought a huge centrifugal blower at the flea markat, but the motor went out on UI
f-.\ after only two events. The problem, with used motors is that they only go out It
crucial moments when there is the most strain on a motor, i.e., in a wind Of when there
iI' .are a lot of people going in and out. When you buy I used fan or blower, run it for
15 minutes first to see if it heats up. If this heats it up (hot to the touch), don't buy
it, beclUse if it heats up with no load, it is almost sure to burn out under strein. The
wheel on this blower is abou t 12" X 12". We have used the 0/. h.p, motor on ttlis
blower, which probably puts out around 3500 CFM at IO"pressure and 3000 at
f J(," pressure. It would probably pop the seems of any bubble if thare were no air
outlet (such as a door).

SIZING FAN 8!tlllltlHlI.,

• ''''YIN polio, .p •• 4 ..... . . . . . " , . l,n, ' ,...
...., ... f .... ' PM .... ,.. 4.. 1M , ... d, 1I".d. TIIO DI.: _ $oo"i '.I M.,t.l•• Figuring out what size fan to use, in a more thorough way than just referring to thichart.
""-,. I .. ....,;., _.1'..'::. ________________ • 1».. .. D,;"" ito_.I_ot
W It invol\/8$ taking into consideration all the demands on the fan. These are:
1) The pressure at which the bubble will be running. Th is is determmed by size end
shape of the bubble in relation to the wind. This is dealt with in the "Anchoring" -
PRECAUTIONS THAT WILL GROUHD MOTOR PROPERLY chapter. Running pressure is about llb/sq.ft. (lIS" pressure in a water manometer) .
The mOior should be conn«lN, by ... itt: of Under heavy wind as much as 2 Ib/sq.ft. may be needed.
SAVE YOUR MOTOR P""" "u uted in line 10 moIor, 10 • Mlil.ble
ground (""'Ier pi,," or a grounding rod properly 2) Heat calculations. Unless you have access TO a giant heating or cooling system, your only
DON'T OVERLOAD MOTOR i.uullni) - biKh ro pl1Mcct you, and 10 prOicct
If controls over the temperature inside will be
1 moror nn burn ;1 oul. DD", ",. lhe moeor in cue oJ an mlemal shon C;taJiL
;1 10 rNn our/fllldtd. a. color of the polyethylene - clear gets the warmest, white is coolest
b. shade - getting the bubble into the shade is by far the easiest and generally the
LUBRICATE MOTOR PROPERLY most successful way to cool a bubble; frequently this is impoSSible, though
DON'T LET VOLTAGE DROP Motora with b .....ze belr;nae d o reqlllre oe·
When \'(l ltl gc at n>O<OI drop .. u l cdr the ' liM ceel"",1 _ 1."1 ..ot 100 ..' 0, ,.cessi". ,1m c. how much air you pass through the bubble - these calculations are primarily
ching I.. H .. hn1 .he motor is ' - on . It ' , beel to check "'a rl,.. e nd what we are dealing with below
W ith 100 link " /ud" ;1 is (in eRea) "" crworlced edd • few drope each Om.. Too ",,,eb oil cen
c eu . . trouble by celtina Ollt of the burlnl: 3) How fast you want to Inflate the bubble. It is unusual that you would want to inllate
- hen .. up _ and "'ill burn 0IJc. UK Imple siu Into the molD ••
,,·iring. the bubble so fast that the size fan required would be larger than that reQt.liredby the
USE RE·SET PROPERLY cooling requirements. But if you do use this as a design factor, take a rough estimete
I- of the volume of the bubble (in cubic feet), divide by the number of minutes you want
If you hI ve an ""e.load pl1M«tOf ... ith a m:lnual
If f r« citaJblion of ai. 10 • molD' is Il:IlriCfN rest( bUllon, al .... ys ....;1 /0' tlolor 10 fOol 1.'/0" to take to inflate the bubble, and the quotient is the the required CFM output for the
(by di rt. "'s or Of closing ,I up ,n J boll) UlIing the n:«t. Ntrn hammer the n:.J« <if ;1
il ove,heau - may bu.n 0111. Kul' mOIOT rI,.". S«mS 10 u this ..iII brnk oIf the _ilCh
...d d,/,. plrn. Any trouble "'Ih 1l:' J«ling .. ill probably Volume (tt3)
If ,,·hUt ..·nod ch'!". dUll. t iC. Can 'n. be due 10 du.ll between the con •• eu - and bID ....· '" CFM required
3 Inflation Time (min.)
"de. blo ... oul Ihe inler 'o ....ilh dry compruH:d ing :I"'y the dUllI, Or simply holding the bllnon
a,. - or UK a " I(\Iorn cleaner. in firmly ... ill correct thi,.
1 Inflation Time Imin.!
----- - -- - -- --_. __ ._-_. j
- -,,- - ---------
..--- _.... -- 1
The specifications we are tryfng to' get for the fan can be expressed as II perform8floe curve.
All the figures being dealt with here are approximations, 50 you will have to your
bubble operating condition according to what feels right when the bubble is up (more holes,
choking the fan tunnel with II string, etc.). This curve is different for each fan. We will give
as an example here the approximate curve for the 24" Venturi-Frame Exhaust Fan from
the Grainger catalog.
' Us,i ng the given working pressure of II bubble to be 1 .. pressure (see " Anchoring" ) this
particular fan will be putting out about 3500 CFM. . .

:::-- 1M I-I.P. 24" VENlVRl fRAME

-! - r (iURVe.
O· I
\ I:. I I
• I
I .
"cc 1- '
. I

N sl·· It\Che5 !'N1"IIre
G' Z .
C\ 7'"
::t: I:
). tf{ ' '
o .•

- ----4
In order to arrive at how much ai r the fan is going to put into the bubble and how much area
of holes it will take for this air to pass through the bubble whiie maintai ning the proper
pressure in the bubble requires a series of calculations. Since the amount of air aTI! going

to pass through depends on the heating and cooling req uirements. we must figure out woat
conditions ate going to make it hotter and how much ho tter, then balance this with the
factors t hat are going to cool the bubble.
2) people. inside
COO LI NG FACTORS 3) conduction through the bubble skin
4) passing air through the bubble

How to figure these follows:


Heat gain due to sunshine is Very Approximately 300 BTU/sq. ft./hr. of direct sunshine
(s un at 90 degrees to the su rface of the bubble). Heat drops off towards sunset o r as the
angle the sun makes with the surface of the bubble diminishes.
It should be noted here that if you're using white polyethylene, which you should be if you
are doing anything in the sun in hot weather, the heat 98in will be somewhat less,
but we will design for the maximum heat so we will have a little more cooling power than
necessary rather than a little less....
Heat gain due to people inside is very approximately 400 - 1,000 BTU/pe rson/hr. This
depef,ds on the level of activity of t he people. If the bubble is going to be-in full sun, this
figure will be negligible compared with the heat gain due to the sun.
a '" (AH T HU)
Q .. conduction loss in BTU!hr
A " surface area of t he bubble (not counting that
which is one the ground)
T " the diffe re nce in temperature inside and outside
APP. HEAT GAIN DVE TO SUN the bubble in degrees Fahre nheit
U " heat transfer coefficient for polyethy lene (a.bout 1.2)


c Qair .. heat loss in BTU/hr

W .. cubic ft. of air moved per hour
11 Cp .. heat capacity of air (about .016 BTU/ft 3 )
T .. d ifference between inside and outsjde
& temperature in degrees Fahrenheit

'i2 Now in order to use t hese fi gures, add together all the gains from heat and people. subtract from
... t his the heat loss due to cond uction, and solve the 4th formu la for W or the amount of air you
:::l are QOing to have to move.

:n 5)""
In order to pass this much ai r t h rough a bubble, it is necessary to have some holes fo r the air to

flow out. To get a rough idea of how big these holes should be, we will use the fan performance
0.:. curve (which has been dete rm ined by the above figuring) figure obtained above for the requ ired
<z: nu mber of CFM to be moved, and the following formu la:
lpHv2 )
Pd "'2"G

Pd = pressure drop at a hole (about 1Ib./sq.ft.

under normal conditions
P = density of air which is about .07 Ibs./ft.3
V = air velocity at the hole (in ft.Jsee.)
G = acceleration due to gravity ,
2G :. 64 ft./sec.2

v = (approx) 30 for normal conditions

Within the figures for V are the variables we are playing with:
LOOKS Q:1,+1PLEX ? V ={ CFM at which fan is operating) (from calculation 4 above) II
feet of opening
60 seconds
"rN £XAfYlPt.E TO SHOW (the variable here to change minutes to seconds)



(fllN ifftl&e,E ,Erc) ANP 50'X50' p illow, white on top. To be used in daytime -maximum exposure to the sun will

CALCVLAT I ON5 BERJIlE be about half the pillow getting 45 degree angle sun for noon hours. There.will probably
8UY,/IIe;. be about 100 people at medium tohi!tl activity as there will be rock music. Outside

.W 0'
temperature is about 60' Fahrenheit - temperatures up to 80' F are acceptable inside. O.K.
Little sketches are helpful for getting rough estimates so ...

3 r"T}-SS'uwnii'9Glfoal':l.Lrnl=-:-"22'5506;oo's,o,q-yttr-----
1250 sq ft exposed to 45 degree sun
(see chart) will gain,
1 50 BTU/hr/sq ft. 1250
"-L ',,, 1 '" \f
x 150
187500 BTU gain/h r
\\ \ 'ic "".., from SUD
z v 2)Body heat gain1l0 ••

"t, EXfhS' r.t l("'

. gener,ating 500BTU/hr/person =
0,000 BTU gain per hr
3)Conduction Loss-
.<?, Q=MTU
Q= (3500)(20)(1.2) = 85,000 BTU/hr
Loss from conduction
187,500 T yO" ooo - 85 ,0 0 = ;!A,OO Q" ,
Total Ga in per hour .

I 4) Heat Loss Due to Passing Ai r ihrougb

150,000 =(W)(.016)(20)
W = 480,000 cubic ft per hour
,480 ,0 00
60 =
W expressed in CFH
Two medium-size fans (around
5000 CFH) migh t be a good
solution, providing good control
over the ••• xax x.xxaiaxi air-flow
I ,
W = 8 ,0 00 CFH
as wellaas a double blower system•

=V )
opening = 4.5 sq ft.
r ft opening or Rough guess your door openings i •• x:tkia a bit
60 zxza¥xXakaxZk •• smaller to allow for
zka(inevitable)tears which will increase
the area of air leakage.
If your inflatable is going to be up outdoors in any wind, it will need an anchoring system,
For small volume (500 sq.ft. of floor area or less) interior weights should work; these
could be sand bags or water bags. Larger structures require heavier.anchoring. There are
a number of ways of doing it: integrally made tie downs, buried edge, weighted edges,
taped edge, or tension net anchors. Buried edge is good for a semi.permanent installation
where you can dig a trench. A taped edge is good for a small installation on'a smooth
floor; tie downs and tension nets are good for sites with existing things to tie to (trees.
fire hydrants), or where it wou ld be easy to drive tent stakes or augers.
The anchoring system must wi thstand not only windloading but also the internal air
pressure of the structure. Precise structural shou ld be left to 2 engineers,
3 Ph.D. mathematicians, and a computer, but a little rough math can give you a close
enough estimate of wha t anchors to use. We will deal first with inflation pressure and
second wi th wind loads.
PRESSURE LOAD ... On any suriace that is curved in one direction, i.e., a cylinder or
a long pillow, the tension per unit of width is equal to the internal pressure multiplied by I
the radius of curvature. Work in pounds and feet. Some ball.park figures on figuring
pressure: the highest pressure you are likely to get with a pov.-erful direct ,drive fan is I
2 pounds per sq. ft. (2Ib.fsq.ft.). A normal wo rking pressure is llb./sq.ft. On a water
manometer, 1" of water equals 5Ib.fsq.ft. (see monometer drawing). Indoors you can keep
a structure up with as little as
Make a sketch of the shape, find the radius of curvature by making a section through it, on
this diagram the tension equals pressure times radius of curvature. ' The tension is the
downward force you need per foot of edge.
TIft '" (P)(Rc) TIft downward force needed
per foot of edge
P pressure (in Ibs./sq.ft.)
Rc .. radius of curvature (in feet)

EXAMPLE: The Earth Day Bubble by Charley Tilford in' New York City was
200' X 60', radius of curvature was 30'. The anchors we re parking meters
spaced at 9' along the long edges (the 200' dimension). The pressur!! which
the bubble was designed to withstand was 2Ib./sq.ft. The ropes spanned
between parking meters so the load on each rope was (tension per foot of
width) between meters) . Tension = (30·)(2Ib./sq.ft.l and
+ Tension per rope " (9)(30·J(2Ib./sq.ft.) .. 540 Ibs. per rope. 2500 Ibs test
3/8 inch dia nylon rope was used.
If you want to do an with the weighted edge (instead of a plastic floor): findthe

J +-
total downward force required, then divide by the perimeter to get force required per unit
of length of the perimeter.

To figure windloads: find the area of resistance the structure presents fu the wind.
(len"gth)(height). The horizontal force from the wind blowing on the structure can be
up to 10Ib./sq.ft. on the shape of the structure and the wind velocity. A
lower, more shallow-sloping profile will create less resistance (and will ...... createmeo..-e.:
negative pressure on the leeward side of the bubble.

Bubble I presents a large area to the wind. The negative pressure is concentrated on the
back side. (This negative pressure is created the same way as lift is created by an airplane
wing.) Bubbles II and III are actually getting some lift help from the wind. Bubble III
would probably need less fan pressure in the wind because of the negative presS'-:Jre on the
outside created by the wind blowing over the low profile. A structure to be left up for
more than , say, an afternoon (or a structure for an event which you don't want to have to
postpone due to high wind) shou ld be designed for 101b./sq.ft. pressure. For a structure
50' long and 15' high, the design force would be which is 7500 Jbs
force on the structure.
FORMULA (area presented to the wind)(10Ib/sq.ft.l '" wind load
,, If 7500 Ibs seems like a lot, think of the force on just the minimal area your body presents
to the wind in a good, high wind.

- 1
This wind load must be added to the inflation load to get the total load that the anchoring
sy5tem has to counteract. If it is possible that the whole wind-load could be on one anchor
point (such as when a square pillow with a square net anchored down at each comer presents
one comer to the wi nd). then the total windload must be added to the inflation load on
each anchor. If the wind is coming di rectly against one side, then the windload divided by
the number of anchors that will be under tension should be added to the inflation load for
each anchor.



TheSe systems have the structural advantage of distributing the forces evenly around the
whole perimeter of the building. We used one with pieces of pipe taped into t he edge over
a waterbed environment so that we were able to remove t he inflatable by lifting it over the
bed without having to move the water bed which weighed 3000 Ibs. Because t he plastic floor
is eliminated. this type of inflatable wou ld also be good for a .gre!!!lhouse, storage facility, pool
cover, etc. These types might tend to last lcoger, too, because they are more static so people
probably wquJdn't walk through the walls or otherwise freak out at the expense of the plastic.

Weighted Edge is anythi ng heavy that can be laid on the edge
taped into the edge. See illustration.

I saw an interesting inflatable that John Reeves did in the Summer

of the plastic or

in Boston that was an inflated hemisphere (out of 2 mil silver mylar) that tied down
to a pieC1l of telephone cable that he had gotten the phone company to donate. A
20' diameter circle of this phone cable weighed abo ut 200 Ibs. The pho ne company
usually just chops it up and melts it down again. John's bubble leaked air between
the"cable and the edge of the plastic. This could be desireable if you want to circu late
a lot of air, but if you have pressure proble ms a flap could be taped on inside the
bubble. like on giant Bird·Air and most commercial inf latables. A section of the detail
might look like this:*

Looking at the elevation drawing of this, notice the catenary curves between each L
tie-down point. This is the natural configuration the line between two weighted points
on an inflatable takes, so it will strengthen your bubble to actually cut a curve to an
approximate shape, reinforce t he edge by taping a piece of cord into the edge and
running the tie-down loops through the string. This will distribute the force of the
t ie-downs throug, the whole edge of the inflatable, rather than gathering the stress
at the point where the tie-<iown meets the edge of the plastic. This will minimize
wrinkles and tears due to concentrated stress. Inflatables that are to be tied to stakes
can be made in the same way as this.

... '

"• " .
.. . ' J •

Edges can be taped to anything smooth enough to tape To L
Jim Cook at H. T. McGill Co. in Houston showed us th is method of burying edges.
He has had extensive 8xperillflce with it. His company has done polyethylene
swimming pool covers, Christmas tree warehouses, and other stuff. The holes In
the bottom ere important. Unless they are there, the underground poly collects
water. makes mud, and the lubricated plastic slips out of the ground. .. hI<' ",,«I "'l"t
[" ..,,,,,,11-
J im Cook ,Iso showed us pictures of a system he did with two by four frames.
Wrap the poly at least one time all the way arou nd the smaller piece of wood before
nailing or bolting this ont to the 2 X 4. The frame will eet as ten$lon r ing containing
the Inflation pressure, as well as acting as a hold-down against the wind.

This Is one of the few weys to make a poly bubble that has fI plastic floor without a net.
Another way Is lust t o put some heavy things like people or bricks wrapped In something
soft Inside the bubble while It.


l -
Ii ' . /f (
""'II {CW" I .. dtt CDl"d6

l ,
v, ,y,_ '.' _
fIItotO"TO .... , ...,.••
h&kI Pj

10,000 II' a Is Mt.

Advantages of a plastic-floor building with a net are portability. lotal enclosure,
large inflatables, and ease of construction of the anchoring system. In a large
inflatable, it would be difficult to make a connection between a tie-down rope
and polyethylene that could withstand the great forces on the bubble. Nets till
also be very beautiful. ••-.
To design your net. make a model of your bubble and start playing with string. "
If yOU can, set up the model somewnere tha t you can nail into lhe floor (like a
1-"0" 1'" . "'- :,).
piece of plywood) to simulate anchoring points. If you already halle a site fOf
the bubble picked out, put nails in where there are natural anchon, like parking '(---..
meters or trees or cars. If you are going to use your own augers, then you are 00 ",A
,totally free to do anything with the net, spider webs, star shapes, giant grids,
whatever ... To test your model, get the fan that is going to hold up your big
bubble and use It as a wind source. This testing can be really informative if
you very the wind and the pressure inside the inflatable. Nylon string (hardware
storel is a nice model material. We got our 10,000 lb. augers from a telephone supply co. in Housto n. Telephone
stlpply co.'s are generally a good so urce lor these. These augers are about 5 feet tall .
Building a net can be a major job. Wa made a 100'X 100' net with a 5·foot grid
A,B. Chllnce Co., Jersey Ave., New Brunswick, N.J. has 10,000 Ib (1" X66" shaft,
by staking down ali tha horizontal ropes. then tying slip knots every 5 feet in
S" hel ix) augl!rs for about S6. 15. Big augers generally have an eye at the top that you nic
each rope, slipping tha vertical ropes through and popping the knots.
stit:k u long (6'1 heavy pipe through and twin them into the ground . This generally
Tha knots at the adge of the nat ware just square knots, tiad onto loops in the takcs 2 Ilcople. Smull bubbles can be anc hored with dog· anchors wh ich cost about
adge rope. If you are tying knots, thi nk about knots that don't involve slipping $1.25 cuch from a pet store or hardware store. Trees, light poles, lire hydrants, parking
the whole rope through aach knot. me ters. cars, etc., are still the cheapest.

The 100' pillow nat: Our fint net was this 100' squara. We used parachute cord When you have your bu bble up and the wind comes up, tighten your net and increase your
for the bulk of tha nat, %" nylon rope for tha 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rop85 from the inflation pressure. The increased air pressure will keep the side of the bubble from caving
edge, end 3/8" nylon rope for the edge. At each corner we tilKh " 0" ring to in and the tigh tened net will I:jecrease the area presented to the wind. (See photo of bubble
avoid the rope rubbing and cutting Itself at this strass point. From tha 0 ring to about to take us all for a ride In Air Supply Sectioo.lJtI..
the anchor we used soma 10,000 lb. nylon strapping that we got from a surplus
store with a dooble D ring on the and 50 that we could tighten and loosen the
net. Tlghtanlng the net In the wind helped quite a bit in lowering the profile of
the su rface prasented to the wind. We used 10,000 lb. uugers. Chtlrley Tilford
has since mede another 100' pillow out of 6 mil poly (the original was 4 mill
using 8 net with 20' aquares Instead of 6' squores.


Ch.rley Mnd. from New York the accompuny lng approximate rope Itrength chert:



!!!SO ""
eao ""
II ro· '2.
&f&" '1150·
r -
A H81H

I V')
'• ., .'r:",:
. ",
< '•
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, .•
: 1- _.

, "-'--'--

. ',,",
", '


45° Angles.

FlatCnearly flat;)
4· F;'n Patch

ZiPper Hatchways
Access Panels
... . . _ - " - ,., '-'.- , ..
, I


, . it ·1
Riehl; anale Joint&
ruJ to flat or nearly fiat; .,
surface IOutolde

- -
___ 4

._---- -

I. I - - , - - - - - . Plan ahead
.hat the-
_1'-_ . 1 '/ ' -- - -
tunnelo ca be
fittecl be ore.
<t the majOr r.liloW5
are wp'ed up·
• fi\6ke UP a few
.PInts of
t,me w ith care

I I· ..
To fmd out how
to do thiS one
Just take apart. , ,
at! old pair ,
of pent'S
,, ,
'm e
' " _.1

in I"<-f" p<11q.v """n the p'lasuc skm ,. stre'6<d alonS we wnnkks

II There are litt'le or no stres!h the cthei wav
1(1 II" . Re.nfutred poIoch ' .
, ,- ,,

A ,;lit cut
the wrinkles will
tend to spread
. cpen and leak.
!-Jot. recommen ded

!\ rin8 or hula hoop taped around 8 arcular hole will Il self cioslns door
tf It " located SO It rests flat on the f':I'WNi when no ore IS mtennS'
length of . I.S7d
cin:vmfererce of do'lOt

iI <t
I .
In holes
c I

"... <f
.".--- ...... '1;

, Hot Ltps, a floroy donut- at the end cf" low
Pre5'5U r e wnnel. When conne;:.rea 100 'the blower; small
'" holes ad mit air to tile nJnnel from the I 1VIer1:eY
InflA!tlr1(S It .0
p 2Q

Curv!lture determines stress : a tmy plast IC rose carnes /3 hundrol pounQs pressure and
a huqe w eather balloon has a p",ssure barely above atmc<pt1enc. Yet we stresses on both
-the \'x:J5e wall and W balloon .skin may be the spme - The tinY vA:Je will i IS shan:1y
curveq ari:\ the weacher s<-l'f<lce Is'fitirter: :r:r the etlrttJ were a giant. ballccn, nrl"flne
row "We pressure WOL/Id IX neruecl 'InSide tv tense ty1e hom on trqht!
Make a little cube out of th in elastic sheet. Then Inflate. Tk con1ers , sharply curved,
MnA J1)nrlc the m,dJ:l)lnts 3rc taut enougn tb burst! Be,ne, chese areas t8/tl rutter,
more streSS. 1l1e ewe tries 'to IXcome a sphere - a shate In which the skm curves !1:> a n . ,.
equal amount In all dl Y'ceDons. deprly, the best shaPe 15 a Sphere, an.d these.
pageo; are c:levot<lct 'to get;t;! riP, as c.IoSt 10 :;phencal CIS \
, , WIt/1 flat rntltena s.
, , -' ',,
, ,, ,
,, ,,
,, ,, 11UI1Y ,
,, ,,
, \
, I
.' I
Surf&::e IS' lV,ded
e more p:>ly
tIll<ci., the se.r tile ;;t mat. a ' phenc8 surface..
Get Ideas from : l:esebBIi;" volleyballs,
. Aform made of rhornb
idlall'lOl\d\) IS economical
maKe 'trom rolls of pla.uc.

GO'" ,,
-.I .......

Surlace IS 5 equal rne cm:um-

of the base BlVes
MabnB the leJ18th ,.f the @
or JlC"es.
a half· sphe!ical shape.

Get ideas from' peehnB tilneennes

we2the.r PDlloons, Inner tubes, bead1
bails, Inflataole warehouse!>, Bloves,
wotic1 globes.
® .
"- ...

j-"'7"-=;:::= ,
\ - --

., . toeeth<;r' ,& Inflate



-- --"---=""- .....
F :q

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, R:Ly I

. - ........ . .

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----,--- ,

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PNEUM,I..TtCS: At IMtdc.n "IndNlW.i 'giroups- hi my c.-
HYBRID STRUCTURING ..chlteci:t tnd phy.icll pI.nnen· make
eccure!l' aJblUntlltld on
pneumatic UdtnolOW. At 'itl, mge of the
ATtIJ'f Mr. Bird', tmpre.lve c:hNw.
conference II1.t some.epec:tI of thi' tech-
m.n1l1nd h_lng Mr. Lundy'. enthuulIm I nology which are of ... Intcnst to mt
lIrilh to introci.lct .• note of construct..... pn- • an ...-ch it8ct:
6lim11m. P..JmImc.lly. I comider thet the
tppUc.t1on· in the field of ItrUctures · of a) Multi-memb, construction which
pnlUmltic techniques Is 106 involved whh enIIbfes variable preauriution tnd contain-
tpfving norrnal structural Ind shelter prob- ment (ct. paper by R. Szilard).
bl The lNllilllbility and performance If)«:if-

L 'It'h1l.1h.lntwmittent enclowre of
. "mmlng pool, or protection of trMtitionli ication of trlfllParent membranes .
, ormruetion wori( b extremely uMfuI, cl The contrd of light and radiation by
IIPPllcadom, if 100 iNkietpreld, can well re- both membranes. intennembrane conatruct·
aJl, in the fo'lowlng actionf which .re detri· Ion and contained gaaes. or l!quidl (ct. p.,..-s
menU! to increasing the development of V by R. S:dl.-d and N. Laing). V
dl The containment of granular tubatances
pneumatic technology : between membranes to control humidity,
11 Over-emphasis may be given to the static sou nd transference etc.
siting of .ir structures.. e) The capacity of controlled air movement·
2) Direct cost comparisons with traditional through the material of the membranes. Such
structures be made. a possibility enables changes in the norm"
3) The fixed-period accommodation avail· methods of foul air evacuation.
able with air structures may only be exploi- fl Multi·layer bonding enabling v.iable cel
ted for disaster or random-use of air struc- constnJction. Such hybrid construction can
tures. enable the simultaneous use of hi!ll presaJre
All these actions can retard the investigation seated volumes and low pressure air-support-
of new applications requiring improved and ed volumes..
more complex air-structures. In addition the gl UltrHonic bonding enabling an increased
development of new materials and fabricat- variation of membrane material. An incre.
ion techniQUes snould be related to new sed use of various materiats is urgently
applications rather than concentrate on trie required not only to enable varying structur-
perfection of existing applications since al perfonnance specifications to be met but
these very applications are still extremely also to achieve varying textural qualities.
arbitrary. h) Further information on the perform-
White space exploration and defence pro- ance of hi!ll and low pressure structures in
grams provide a valuable technical "spin-off' movement. "tie existing U K inflatable
of the development air-structure technology, vehicle transporter which both protects the
its very peculiarity is likely to restrict, in the vehicle and propels it on the Hovercraft
.., near future, the technological advance of air principle is an example of this. Movement
structuring related to civil and social activit- must include the employment of the Hover
ies. Too many architects and desi{11ers wait craft or Ground Effect Machine (G E M)
to see what NASA and various Defence pro- principle.
jects will produce. This conference must iI Self·packing, on deflation, of large vot-
increase the content and frequency of ex- ume membranes.
change between scientists, engineers, manu- il A new method of costing air·structures
facturers, architects, planners and social which is related to the variation of use and
administraton_ An immediate task could be not merely material and unit plant cost. Any
to agree on the semantic definition of the mechanical plant, pumps, blower etc. must
various structures and systems we are now be accepted as a structural element.
discussing (air·supported structures; air- The variation and individual control of vol-
inflated structures; air structures; pneumatic umes singly or in combination enables the
membrane structures; sealed pneuma"i:ic separation of membranes related to the
structu res). elimination of particular adverse conditions
I n this paper, reference to air structures Ict. paper by R. Szilard).
ir.:;:ludes air-supported and air-inflated As roofs, walls and floors no longer exist
structures, together with air-controlled and in the conventi011al sense, their pneumatic
air-moved structures. In addition, we must equivalents no longer need to provide the
keep mutually aware of the alteration of additive structural support normally reo
attitudes of authorities and others to the quired. Only col lective stability is requ ired
employment of air structures. In September and the air one breathes can become the
1965 the Department of Architecrure and major structural force. This being so, the
Civic Design of the Greater London Council interior fittings or divisions of such
refused to license a high-p ressure air-beam sbUctures become relatively more perman·
structure for temporary use as a place of em (see the interior of Lundy/B ird US
public entertainment on the grounds that it Atomic Energy Commission's travelling
constituted merely "a tent withou_t poles or exhibit).
frame". In December 1965 the same depart- Movement of such internal parts must alsO
ment of the G L C were prepared to consid- be investigated. The use of air-pallets for
er the use of the identical structure on such intermittent movement is extremely
receipt of calculations related to stability. valid. The use of an air-cond itioni ng plant as
Only when a continuous exchange is estab- the structural pressure fee<i is onlv one

example of the advantage of co-ordinated
671721 D5 1 1 use of air within such structure"s. Methods of
cleaning and mOl/ement related to the whole
Paper given at 1st International Colloquium or part of the structure should also be indu-
on Pneumatic Structures Stuttgart dod_
I n the past major urban congregation
areas were detennined by the location of a
large pennanent structure providing mass
accommodation or shelter such as the
Roman Circus, the Mediaeval Cathedral, the
Market Hall and Itle Sports Stadium. With
the use of air structures such permanence is
not requiredand so the additional restrict-
ions of the fixed site should now be avoided.
In effect large air structures can enable
planner5 to r:everse the pattern of traditional
urban congregation and seNicing nodes
found in existing towns or cities. In new
proposed urban settlements such nodes need
no longer be pennanent generators of fixed
urban patterning.
Theuse of air structures to provide sAon-
term small and medium sized facilities
enables the siting of shon-term mobile
housing to be independent of towns offering
similar facilities.
Air structures are already used to provide
industrial production space panicularty

where the demand for such space is likely to
fluctuate. Thus in effect we already have the
mobile factory, but it must be further devel-
.. ope4 and its potential further exploited .
Work on disaster control and emergency
planning has, over the past years, produced
a wide range of pneumatic appliances and
applications such as fabddams,
dracones, vehicular hover-pads and
GEMs or hovercraft. However, such uses
of air structures have not yet been seen as a
method of reducing the dependence of
emergency planning. That is, they have not
been viewed as a potential asset to society
enabl ing rapid yet variable control and com-
munication to be achieved. Such realisation,
backed by increasing design and develop-
meht work, can enable air structures to
contribute to a higher degree of sensitivity
in society's continuous control of the
physical environment.
This conference and the possibilities of
future exchange that it has created must
assist in establishing new priorities for future
work. While I accept the fact that develop-
ment of present projects is by no means per-
fect. a desire to achieve greater accuracy in
-the immediate tasks must not impair our
realisatiol"l. of the future potential.
Pneumatic.s, as far as partial or total structur-
ing are concerned, are likely to stagnate un-
less this is realised. The field of valid applica-
tion has scarcely been touched.
The determination of the extent, inter-
action and location of activities that require
buildings is no longer a sufficient brief.
The quantitative assessment of the valid
social life related to panicular location must
also be made and designed for.

This then is the major role for <-if structures

• .-"=-". -". ".
now and in the future .


Faculty Urges U.C

Contr%f Air Labs

Tr;ou", ...., ..... F·310,"

Some dared to enter, others iust gaped at th is huge plastic air container In lower Sproul Piau .it the U.C. Campus

Breathing- That's Their Bag

3F,IlKELEY- A 4O-by.w-foot can cam pus e ... iih their The voice invited onlookers affixed small yellow cl'rcles to
piastic bag was the theater, Clean Air Pod (CAP 1500) per- to take shelter in lbe CAP oruookers' foreheads. ''These
a.nd prop yesterday Illr formed outdoors at the Uni· 1500 which, it said, had been are sensors w.mch can be
vemty of california campus tested "in Akron under gov- monitored by a Human Re-
a chWingly realistic bit of as part of a three-day Envi. ernment contract," The air &lurces Sat e III t e whidl is
theater about a "day when the ronmentai Teach-in. system inflating CAP 1500 also t r-a c kin g your fmaJ move-
air becomes too polluted to As an 'air raid siren drew screens out deadly pollutants, ments," it was amiably ex.
breath!. U.C. students to lower Sproul the voice said. p I a fn e d by a I man called
"Air Emergency" was Plaza, a monotone loudspeak. Those who didn't go Into "F·310," who described him·
er voice informed them that CAP 1500 were given "nega· sell as a " human mentad pro.
ceived and built by a Sausall· an "air failure" had occurred tive census forms" to fill out g ram m e d only to answer
to "family" of dropout ar· and those who couldn't escape before dying. questions from the press."
chilecls called the Ant Farm. from the pollution would die White·jacketed Ant Far m The teach-in toncludes to..
The commune, touring. Amerir - - wtthin""1S"li'illitites. members wearing gas masks day.

GLOBE err\" TODA Y was a one night show at the Sausalito Art Center in which
we were given tolal cont rol over the environment. music, admission charge, etc.
We infla ted a weather balloon dome abou t 30' dia , in the cen ter, with a long tube • Sl:J3!SIl<l • .lJJHh\ •
entrance and squeeze-through hOI lips at ei ther end. plus a sma il inflatable wit h a
water bed in it. a shrouded picture phone cen ter with the help of The Cine ma
Wo rkshop vid eo equ ipment. an inflatable sculpture. and o ther ex tras (see Plan).

Admissio n was by barte r. or $ 1.50 donation - we go t 44 dollars, 4 joint s, and one
Budweiser - not eno ugh to pay expenses. a lot of peopl e got in fre e. There was a
band tha t never came. but the environm ent took over and especially the picture
phone was a dynamit e invisible environment between the inside (of the balloo n) I
and the outside. Thi s event would have been idea l for a seq uential time audience H51
like a museum where we could live in it for say a week. It was a treme ndous energy
output for a o ne night stand , we forgot to take any phot os.
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2 3 EVENTS PNEUMADS 4 3 2 FANTASY 10 9 B 7 6 5 4 3 2
Reasonab l e Facsimile Earth Wks. TH E INFLATQ-NETWO RK Architectural Design
(liS we know it) The only periodical to consistently
John Paski ew i cz
Charley Ti 1 ford publish state o f the art material on
17 We l sford m
%Ant i och pneumatic structures. '"
Pittsburgh Pa 15 2]3 m
13.50$ per year
N '".,>, Co l umbi a Md . .,
• Architectural Design m
Erwi n S Strauss 26 Bloomsbury Way i'im
'rT A Enterpr i ses Chrysa li s /P ar i s l ondon w.e. l ' England
... >o 1015 Laguna St suite 10 7 Rue Des Ecuyers
Santa Barbers Ca , 93 101 7800 St.Ge rmain En Laye June 1966 issue has a complete m
,'" France issue o n pneumatic structures.

... rn _ Bob Co l omb Hugh McCarney ARCH I GRHm mAGAZ I NE IS

'" "''' 20 Will iam St PUBLISHED fRom
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