I’ve stayed in my yurt in its current size for eight weeks. I made it was because I want to build my own house, and have it be *exactly* the right size. I’d start with something I *knew* would be too small, and then increase. I also wanted a cheap way to live on the road that wasn’t an RV that gets 10 MPG. And I wanted to do it in a way that was funky, personal, and fun. Thusly was born my yurt, and I adore it so! I averaged 50 mpg on the trip last year, and I didn’t have cuise control. Now, after many hours of painful, hot work, I do. However, there is a problem.

The yurt is too big.

It’s more space than I need. At 150 sq. ft., it was kind of ridiculous for one person on the road. It’s also too big to fit well in the Metro. It not only requires the removal of my passenger seat, but it touches both ends of the car, and sits at a funky angle. It’s also roundish, and so shit slides off. That includes *me*, because my original plan was to sleep on top of it. That did *not* got well. However, I really want to be able to sleep in the car in a pinch. If it were shorter, this might be possible.

So broke out my algebra, my trig, and a spreadsheet and started crunching numbers. Everything was fucked up, and then I realized that OpenOffice defaults to radians instead of degrees. Oops. I’d tried all this once before, and it seemed like the roof rafters would have been too short to reach the ring. I must have made a mistake, because it turns out it *does* work. If my main constraint is that no part be longer than 6′, I can still make the yurt 12 1/2′ across and have some headroom in the middle. It will feel tighter, but I hoped that translates into “cozy” and “cute.” My main requirements are that I can stand to cook, and use a standing computer workstation.

After math showed me I was close, I proceeded to shorten 5 roof rafters and set it up so I could feel what the difference would be like by physically standing inside it.

This is an important step, because reality is different from math.

It worked! Definitely a bit more cramped, but completely usable. I then proceeded to whip up this Google Sketch-Up 3-D model to show the difference in sizes shown above.

Here’s a top view to see the difference in total usable space:


Again, it’s a big change, but I know from experience this is enough space for what I want. The rest was waste. What I want is enough, and this is it.

Tomorrow I’ll cut down the rest of the rafters. It turns out that I can fit at least 6′ 6″, so I’ll make the roof rafters that long. This will buy me a little extra headroom, which the new setup could use. Then I’ll see about making some kind of shelf/rack thing to make it sit level in the car and increase my usable storage. I’m guessing I probably won’t have time to cut the vinyl cover down until I get to Portland, but that’s ok. That doesn’t involve maths, just scissors.

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3 Responses to Shrinkage

  1. Kavita Joshi says:

    very creative and useful skill I must say ..I wish I can built something at my own ๐Ÿ™‚

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