CHAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

Photo by Andy Pischalnikoff AKA Playarazzi   2010

     The Chairway is about ten years old. It's had a lot of adventures. I'm really trying to make this page shorter.

2004 Pushed it back to camp

2007 Photo by Bryce Hunt.

    Features of the Chairway to Heaven

     We call it the Chairway to heaven because it's a death trap. I believe it was 2008 or late 2007 when we added another set of scissors to the old scissors to make it go up higher. It seemed to work. Vicki's niece came to visit and we gave her a ride up on the new scissors. As I was saying, "It's perfectly safe." The metal bent and the couch tilted over about forty five degrees. Nothing catostrophic. Vicki's niece, who is a little heavy set, said, "Did my big butt do that?"  So we made new scissors, bigger, better, stronger. Unfortunately we didn't have a drill press big enough to drill them accurately so I used a plasma cutter. The result was 1" diameter shafts that were tilted a little bit. This put a lot of strain on the bearings. The couch creaked and popped when it went up and down. But it continued to work for quite a few years with kids playing on it and many adults riding up and down thousands of time. Vicki and I didn't go to Burning man in 2014. We let David Sassy take it. The set of bearings that we already knew were in bad shape gave out, disintegrated and the shaft completely broke free. But the couch still went up and down about half way. Now, December 2014, we have the couch stripped down to the frame. We are going to remake the scissors and have it all powder coated. The new scissors will be drilled by a machine shop. I bet these will last for a very long time.

     The couch has a fire cannon originally made by Bone Fire Bob, which provides warmth and light and can rattle roll up doors from a distance. Two steam whistles and animated flower balls made of brass which still work after all these years. In the new remodeled couch I am planning on building in two hydraulic disk brakes. Until now it has had one disk brake air actuated with a solenoid with a loud exhaust port. I might include this again just for sound effects. Also the servo throttle has been occasionally problematic as the signal has to travel down a small wire about 25' long. I think that's the problem. A hydraulic throttle will fix that. The stereo is important although not as important today with the giant sound cars everywhere. The canopy used poly-fiber airplane fabric, a miracle modern technique that is amazingly durable. The canopy blew off the truck in the desert and we hiked about a mile to recover it and it is still in great shape. Infinity mirrors in the portholes amaze people sometimes. They will be restored when it rolls out of the factory. The servo operated choke on the engine was kind of cool and convenient but a cable operated one would be more robust. The environment at Burning man is almost like going to Mars. People stir up the corrosive dust. You leave Burning Man even a hundred yards and there is no dust. So if the couch is prepared for years on the Playa, it should handle anything a city can throw at it except perhaps sitting outside for a long time.

     Today you can rent this for events or buy it for Burning man.

Dinner on the Playa 2009

dave@motorizedcouch.com   510-967-4071    Oakland CA.