October 23, 2003
The idea of a patio set that transforms into a bunker has potential. However, the model and sketches made thus far, when scaled to a macro level, are structurally unsound. If the model were recreated with dimensions of a few feet or more per side, even if constructed of wood and not metal, would collapse even when intended to be rigid.
There are manufacturers from whom I could have purchased metal hinges up to 18 inches long, but these weigh approximately 200 pounds each, as they were designed to be used as parts of fallout shelters used by the military. Their expense was also prohibitive.
As the plates are brass-plated steel, there is a possibility of using magnets to raise the plates, in spite of the gravity pulling them down. However, no elegant solution was available.
After experimenting with a number of 3D modeling programs, (Maya, POV-Ray, Juice), I realized that the only way for the structure to be actually useful is if it were implemented in sand, where the dirt would anchor the long poles, securing them against collapse. It was with this in mind that I drew the following sketches (tinted in Photoshop) depicting a possible use of the patioBunker.
The robot at home
Raising the defenses
The warning signal is sent
The following are not photos, but images of the original model taken from a flatbed scanner. Each image is actually looking up at the model through the glass.