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The Koosh is now installed semi-permanently in the 140B conference room at HackerDojo, a software focused hackerspace in Mountain View. This is way better than having it hide in the darkness in some storage locker.

See how full it hangs in the air, unfettered by the pressures of hard objects and large bodies of water!

Installing the koosh in hackerdojo  Installing the koosh in hackerdojo
Installing the koosh in hackerdojo  Installing the koosh in hackerdojo

Full set of Koosh pictures on flickr
 
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After lots of repetitive manual labor (completed to the tune of Catch-22, various TED talks, and This American Life), I finally finished constructing what I believe to be the world's largest koosh ball. Originally meant for the Ephemerisle festival, it will now instead make an appearance at The Floating Festival That is Not Ephemerisle.

Made from 276 pool noodles purchased for a dollar each at local Dollar Trees, it could theoretically support close to 1500 pounds, but it's hard enough for even one person to climb to the top and stay stable:

Playing with the world's largest koosh

Thanks to Dave, Chris, Steve, and Jocelyn for helping me test it out!

Update:  Here's a video!




Here are some more pictures of how it came together:

Playing with the world's largest koosh Assembly instructions
Playing with the world's largest koosh Playing with the world's largest koosh
Playing with the world's largest koosh Playing with the world's largest koosh
Playing with the world's largest koosh The Iwo Jima moment
Launched! Playing with the world's largest koosh
Playing with the world's largest koosh Playing with the world's largest koosh
Playing with the world's largest koosh Playing with the world's largest koosh

See more at the Flickr group

It's not too far off from my original concept photoshopping:  The coloring is definitely better. 

Climbable floating 9 ft dandelion made of pool noodles

For more info on construction, read the older entries here.
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Half a koosh

Here's the "bottom" half:

Half a koosh  Half a koosh

And the inside:

Inside the koosh

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I finished the koosh core yesterday.  Now I just have to fill it up with noodles.

It's so simple, really.  Here's how each of the 12 modules is filled up with noodles: 

---

First, the noodles have to be prepped.  I worked really hard to get per-noodle work down to the absolute minimum. 
The prep for each noodle takes around 30 seconds and ensures the noodles stay in place by securely attaching a string to one end.

Construction process for koosh strands  Construction process for koosh strands

It's good that it only takes 30 seconds because I have to do it 276 times.  I do not handle repetitive manual labor very well.  I have to fight utter boredom with a good audiobook.  I dug my own grave on this one by thinking up this project. :-)

The noodles are then stuffed into the holes according to my coloring diagram. 

Construction process for koosh strands  Construction process for koosh strands
Construction process for koosh strands

Here's a more interesting-looking module.  In order to ensure that the noodles bow out at the appropriate angle, the bundle of noodles is tightened together using a ratcheting tie-down, which provides the temporary compression necessary to attach a giant 48" zip tie.  Once the zip tie is on, the ratcheting tie-down is removed. 

Construction process for koosh strands  Construction process for koosh strands

Finally, the string attached to each noodle is threaded with wooden dowels to ensure that someone playing with the koosh can't yank a noodle out. 

Construction process for koosh strands

Here's a few hours' work:

Construction process for koosh strands  Construction process for koosh strands
Construction process for koosh strands  Construction process for koosh strands
Construction process for koosh strands

There's now a giant unfinished mass of project dominating my living room.  It sits there behind my head as I type, ever-present, waiting to taunt me again with its massive unfinished-ness. 


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I had been working on and off on the dandelion / koosh project, but recently I've had the urge to just get it done.  So for some reason I'm blogging about it instead of doing it.  Oh right:
(1) If you want to help me finish it today or tomorrow night, I'd love the help
(2) If you have a truck, van, or other large vehicle (or a zipcar account that would let you borrow said vehicle for a few hours) I'd be very interested in using the vehicle to transport the koosh for a test run at a swimming pool, Golden Gate Park, or some other such place. 

Here's how it's been coming along:

I have the core completely done.  Each pentagonal piece of the dodecahedral core will have 23 pool noodles attached and secured to it.  That way, the koosh can be broken to 12 pieces for easy transport and can be assembled on-site in around an hour with 60 zipties.  It turns out that, with a tensile strength of 75 pounds and low elasticity, zip ties are actually a source of structural integrity in large numbers. 

Koosh core assembled  Koosh core assembled

Here's what the construction process looks like:

The core is shaped like a dodecahedron.  Each piece of the core is assembled from 3 pentagonal pieces, which are laser cut from 3/16" Lauan plywood and then glued together in a stack:


Laser-cutting koosh core  Koosh core pieces

The three pieces are slightly different sizes so that
(1) The edges of the pentagon are at the right angle to interface flat against the neighboring pentagon. 

(2) The holes for the pool noodles are angled in the direction that the pool noodle needs to go.

Assembled koosh core section  Assembled koosh core section

The pieces are painted with exterior primer and deck paint to add some amount of waterproofing.  Painting them got a hell of a lot faster once I realized this little hack with a paint roller, which happened to be just the right size:

Time-saving painting technique for koosh core  Time-saving painting technique for koosh core
P1140976  P1140978

The pieces are then pulled together using slit pieces of vinyl tubing as spacers and zip ties attached to screw eyes as a source of compression:

Assembly of koosh core  Assembly of koosh core
Assembly of koosh core  Assembly of koosh core

I modeled the final appearance of the koosh with a small model.  Now it's assembly time:

Model for pool noodle arrangement  276 pool noodles

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