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Well, the shade arbor is finally almost done (shown here absent its bamboo shade topper). She's painted, she's assembled, she's up, she's sturdy .... and she's not square. Make me crazy. Multiple measurements. Multiple tools for squaring things up. Adjustments and re-adjustments. Still not square. :-( Failure face.
We searched for quite a while for an arbor that would fit the space we have on our porch and cast shade where it was needed. (The concrete slab is a super-efficient heat sink located where we really don't need more heat.) A custom arbor seemed the perfect solution when a commercial one could not be found. Wood was the first choice for material but cost was high and we'd need to invest in pricy tools. Then we discovered Maker Pipe and began to plan. Cost was reasonable; materials and tools were reasonably priced when compared to the investment a wood arbor would require.
The one thing that drove me nuts when I was exploring builds online and drawing up the plan was that any build that was very big didn't look square. I swore that my build would be different. Again, :-( failure face. Sucking it up and thinking of something else to try to get 'er square. We'll lay it down again this weekend and use measured strings attached to the vertical supports to square the top with the bottom, then re-adjust the diagonal supports (again).
Hints on the Maker Pipe website were very helpful and watch the build videos provided lots of ideas for stable design and efficient assembly.
I'm on the hunt for a more effective way to cut pipe. The little blue pipe cutter works OK but the blade gets dull and pipes became more difficult to cut as I did more of them.
The 'how to paint' video was quite helpful; although next time I'll opt for brush-on rather than spray-on paint. We'll probably end up touching up the current paint job with brush-on paint. I scratched it up making multiple connector adjustments.
The Maker Pipe connectors are fun and easy to use - kind of like Legos (we love Legos). I selected connectors based on my cost estimate. Next time I might try some of the other types for stability reasons (and, again, the out of square thing makes me nuts).
Our next project will be outdoor plant shelves. We need something sturdy enough to stand up to weather and support our houseplants without risk of blowing over in summer storms.
The products are great and work as described. The customer service is some of the best I have ever experienced. I am a customer for life!
The more I use the connectors, the more uses I find. In the midst of several builds for my woodshop, particularly for lighting supports. I'll post a photo when I'm done. When I started, I was concerned with the connectors sliding on the conduit under load (like for shelving) but I've loaded them up pretty heavily without a move. The friction bands work well.
I began the process of converting an old 10’x20’ structural Canopy to a jungle gym. I didn’t know what was possible until I started a few things here and there. Once I had built the monkey bars and a slide. I added color to them and it was ready for inspection. My hardest critic is my wife and gave me the thumbs up. My nieces came over and had a blast. They actually were critiquing my work and made suggestions. Since then I’m adding onto it a rock climbing feature bridges and type of 2nd story observation area. All this with The majority of the parts from Maker Pipe. It’s been a pleasure to work with them and the available resource to draw from other peoples idea. I give this product / company 2 thumbs up. Best review is coming from my 4 & 6 year old nieces who have expressed their joy and excitement.