Thursday, November 1, 2012

Brain Malfunction Leads to Canopy Collapse

Sometimes you do something so incredibly stupid that when you look back on it, you  cannot believe you really did something that dumb.  Jo and I simultaneously went brain dead, wrecking our show canopies in the process.

After bringing the canopies home from our last show, we decided they needed to be set up in the yard and washed off.  The tops were covered with "mud", a thick layer of dust that a heavy dew wetted and then the sun dried.  The sides were still a little damp from the dew.  Hence, we set the canopies up in the yard and hosed them off as we've done many times before.  We finished this chore late in the day, so the canopies needed to remain set up overnight and dry the following day.  Again, we've done this many times in the past.  There was a fairly gusty south wind blowing.  Neither of us thought about the wind increasing overnight.  Neither of us even thought about staking the canopies down like we always do at a show.

The wind did increase overnight.  Although I wasn't there to watch, I'm sure the wind partially picked the canopies up off the ground.  While airborne, a canopy leg or two shifted, coming back down at an angle and bending the fitting it was attached to a little.  After repeating this process several times, the fitting bent a lot and failed completely.  One corner of the canopy collapsed, bending other fittings and poles.  The end result is what you see in the photos.

Seven fittings were bent.  We ordered replacements from the manufacturer.  Three leg poles were also bent.  I will fabricate new ones with thinwall conduit purchased from the hardware store.  The ends of several poles are bent out-of-round.  I'll have to figure out some way to make them round again.  The tops suffered a lot of stress and strain when the frame twisted.  We found one small rip which we taped.  My fear is that the tops suffered works stress damage and will leak badly, especially at the seams.  I guess we'll find out the first time we're set up in the rain.

The irony of the situation is that we had a couple of days of really strong wind while set up over at Bella Vista.  Thunderstorms move through overnight while we were set up in Springfield.  The canopies came through those events just fine -- because they were anchored.  Yet, we come home and damage our show canopies by setting them up in the yard without anchoring them down.  Doh!!!

Update:  The replacement parts arrived.  I fabricated new leg poles.  Jo and I assembled the frames.  Everything went together just fine.  Our canopies are ready to do shows again.  The only thing we have to worry about is the condition of those old tops.