Plans, Drawings, and Photographs

CLICK HERE to see the Ball of Light as a fly-through animation.

Proposed "Ball of Light"

In the images below, the rings that form the sphere are colored to make it easier to distinguish one from the other. The brown boxes represent moveable, programmable DMX lights attached at each vertex. Floating bolts point to the center of the vertices, where two rings cross. The gray structure underneath is a base, a foundation to support the sphere and to firmly attach it to the playa. The foundation also helps to hold the spiral ladder firmly upright.


The netting shown in the illustrations above represent dreamcatchers, drawn from Native American art. The thick orange dreamcatchers in the illustration are only for planning purposes; in real life, they will not be as visible.  The actual dreamcatchers are made from climbing rope, and their thickness in relation to the metal rings should be similar to the illustration at left.

The dreamcatchers will be fun for participants to climb, but the ropes will have little visual or architectural impact. We will ignore the dreamcatchers in the discussion that follows.

DMX Lights
The brown rectangular DMX lights will also be omitted from the discussion of sphere architecture. 

 DMX Lights

The brown rectangular DMX scanner lights, shown in the illustration as brown rectangular boxes, will actually look something like the photo at right.

These lights will also be omitted from the discussion of sphere architecture.


Sphere Architecture

Each ring is made of four segments of 2" schedule 40 aluminum pipe, rolled to a 12.75 foot centerline radius. The joints between the four sections of pipe are not shown.

The structure is best visualized as two sets of crossed rings. In other words, the crossed rings share a diameter line. The crossing points create 60 and 120 degree angles.

Each 2" Schedule 40 pipe is actually 2.375" wide. This design takes the width of the pipes into account and insures that there will be no gaps between the rings where they cross. In the example above, the blue ring and the green ring cross each other. In this view, the blue ring is in front of the green one on both sides of the structure. The two rings pass through each other like links on a chain so that they can fit together perfectly while having the same diameter.  

The crossing points for the blue/green set are set at 90 degrees from the red/yellow crossing point.

Orthographic View

The structure may be easier to visualize from flat drawings:

In each set, the two rings cross along their diameters at a 120 degree angle on the left and right sides and a 60 degree angle on the top and bottom sides. This is evident in the "X" shaped structure above and below. Except for the orientation of the ladder, the front view below looks identical to the side view above.

Viewed from the top, we see two ovals. Each oval is two rings tilted at a 60 degree angle. The triangle formed by the two radii at the base is an equilateral triangle.

The ladder makes one complete circle as it rises. Since the ladder's weight will not be supported at the center of gravity, it must be made of light strong material. The ladder supports will be composed of two 3" schedule 40 aluminum pipes bent into spirals. The rungs will be 1.5" schedule 40 aluminum pipe.

The Foundation Base

The base provides a secure flat surface to attach the sphere to the playa and to support the helical ladder.

The base consists of six horizontal beams and four vertical supports that will be bolted together on site. The illustration above assumes that we will use 4" square steel tubes, but we may substitute 4x4 wooden beams. The caps for the four vertical supports are not shown. The "X" in the middle is a cross half lap joint like the one at left.

Due to the thickness of the pipe and the requirement that one set of two rings must rest on top of the other, only one set of two rings will lie flat against the top of the base. The other must be raised 2.375 " above the base to take the width of the pipe into account. The illustration below depicts one of the two raised base connectors.

Note the rust colored L shaped rebar stakes that help keep the base secured to the ground.

The other two base connectors allow the rings to rest on top of the base beams, as below:

Ring Detail  Connector Detail  Arc Detai
Ring Detail
Arc Connector Detail Arc Detail