28 February 2012

R&D Project Presentation: Reciproboo Shelter Kit

Our goal is to see the simple, but extremely strong, reciprocal frame roof concept adopted worldwide as a framing solution for the hundreds of thousands of relief tarpaulins delivered each year by Aid Agencies.

Specifically we see the steel kit as a first phase emergency shelter that will also encourage the use of sustainable bamboo resources worldwide.

The 4 pole reciprocal frame in the Reciproboo roof design is the most efficient means of spanning a roof, using 33% less steel then conventional tent frames.  This remarkable fact is at the heart of the design of the ReciproBoo shelter.

By simply overlapping 4 standard steel poles in turn, the advantages of this little known, but well proven, construction concept are becoming clear. Our work with steel has discovered that this reciprocal frame, when cross-lashed with only a couple of metres of sisal twine, has special physical advantages, when inclined as a roof for shelter construction.

For attaching ropes to the end of poles we designed a simple steel hook, that can be made from a standard steel tent peg and doubles as a ridge pole support. It was then possible to replace 3 of the side poles with ropes, thereby saving a considerable amount of steel. This single ridge pole together with its opposite counterpart “the ground”, perform as two trusses to create a rigid roof frame. The result is a unique shelter roof that self-supports a huge loading of available insulation materials making it cooler in the tropics or warmer at altitude. Using no high-tech fittings (all materials are already available in the relief sector), the shelter can be easily repaired, worked on and elevated by beneficiaries. For additional shelter benefits and details see www.reciproboo.org

After an independent successful workshop in Sudan and University Engineering projects now underway, we expect this framing solution to be soon widely adopted.

We see our role, as a not for profit group, to share and coordinate this increasing international interest.  As all the components are already available we believe there is an opportunity for an NGO, working with a commercial interest if necessary, to assemble and distribute the Reciproboo shelter kit in the near future.

A Reciproboo shelter kit (including 2 tarpaulins) costs US$ 46.

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