The flexible plywood test went well and will be our choice of material. It's relatively strong for its weight and can be screwed to itself so we don't need all the blocks inside. We also glued the segments before we screwed them and that will help a lot with bonding the segments together. In this test we used yellow glue. At Burningman we will use construction adhesive. It is stronger and will be easier to apply in the crack and upside down. We struggled in Maryland to apply the yellow glue so I'm pretty sure that yellow glue would be a nightmare at BM. The legs (pointy 1 X 3's) worked well again in this test. I'd like to figure a nice way to finish the inside end. We will still need stands to hold the whole structure off the ground.
The metal plates from PDF worked well with the Masonite but they produced cracks on the plywood so I made plywood braces from the left over scrape flex-ply and they seem to hold up well and solve the bending problem.
Unfortunately building half of Zark is almost as much work as building the whole thing so we had to support the inside with lots of structure. This should all be gone at BM. The good news is that Now I've built this twice and Travis and Mike have each built this once.
So I struggled with the problem "To paint or not to paint" I liked the natural wood but it was a test and we painted. Now that I have painted it once I feel like we will not paint it at BM. Multiple problems. Cleaning brushes, protecting the playa, getting crisp lines means that using brushes would be difficult and unsatisfactory aesthetically. Spray paint is a possibility but the raw materials are so much more evocative that I don't see how painting will improve the look. Plus I want to keep the form evocative but ambiguous so that participants can interpret it how they like. The painting nailed the piece to a caterpillar form
The main test of course was making the plastic head. It is made from 1 gallon water jugs cut and stapled together and lit with superbrite LED's. I'm happy with the head. The only change will be the addition of more LED's. The glow inside is awesome. I'm really happy with how it lights the space
We added aircraft cable tie downs to the neck area to counteract the force of wind on the head and tail. I think it will be enough but we may also need another set of cables lower down to stop any occilations in the wind.
Here are two views of the finished product. I am starting work on the fiber optic bristles that will run along the shoulder. We need some light cast on the sides. To illuminate everything. I think the tail antennae will also shine on the outsides. At PEXfest we used Xmas lights on the ground but no generator at BM.
When Mike and I were hoisting Zark into place we heard a loud crack and a piece of plywood flew out the top. Turns out we had the towers too far apart and the hoist cable broke a chunk out of the support collar. We won't have this problem at BM because we already know the proper distance for the full Zark but I thought I'd show the piece missing. You can also see the improvised cutting I did so that the plastic head could fit on the neck. This shot also shows the shaped internal braces. For the test I just left them rectangular but we will use a router to make them wiggly like the exterior ones. They really looked great without the paint.