Solar Power Beaming Demonstration Unit
Shipping & Packaging
by Peter Kokh

Main Mirror Assemblies Center Mirror Assembly Wood & Wire parts
Working Parts  Overall Assembly Directions Shipping & Packaging
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Shipping & Storage
Choosing and/or designing shipping and handling containers was not a part of the original project, but has been given considerable attention since then as the unit is fragile and susceptible to damage if not packaged appropriately.

When we first designed our original unit, we did not think of packaging as part of the design. We quickly learned that as in all commercial products, packaging is an integral part of the overall design of a product.

After the last fall 2008 showing, and in preparation for display at ISDC 2009 in Orlando, Florida at the end of May, I redid the packaging. Below are pictures and instructions for the system we are now using. Please feel free to reinvent your packaging system.

Our Kit now travels in three packages:
  • A wood-reinforced large cardboard box with a bottom and a cover: This holds the 2 delicate Main Mirror Assemblies. Ours has an outer cardboard box bottom and cover, and an inner 1/2" plywood or OSB liner.
  • A 2" diameter PVC tube long enough (c. 40") to contain the 8 half-inch wood dowels used to support the Main Mirror Assemblies, and also containing all the long wires used to join the Main Mirror Assemblies to the Center Mirror Assembly, and the latter to the Blue Solar Cell Disk that sits on the wood 2x2 platform. The tube is capped at both ends with a female PVC sleeve that accepts a PVC male plug.
  • A large size rolling suitcase with pull-up handle, easily available in thrift stores for under $10 and at bargain outlets for $40 or so. This case holds "everything else" carefully and compactly packed, heaviest items at the bottom, of course.
The plywood lined cardboard box for the 2 Main Mirror Assemblies
The inner 1/2" plywood or OSB (oriented strand board or chip board) box (bottom and sides) has these dimensions:
Bottom: 22" x 28"
Two long sides: 28" long x 7 1/2" high
Two short sides (fit inside the long sides): 21" long x 7 1/2" high
4 corner posts 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" by 7 1/2" high - the four sides are attached to these posts. With the plywood bottom screwed into the bottom of the posts.
wood liner for Main Mirror Assembly boxwood liner parts  -- top reinforcing bar top spacer bar

a 1/2" thick piece of foam board sits on the bottom of the box, split down the middle to receive the rear reinforcing bar of the first Main Mirror Assembly unit.

bubble wrap separates the two Main Mirror Assembly units, the lower one facing upwards, the upper one facing downwards.

A wood brace designed to secure the rear reinforcing bar of the upper enclosed Main Mirror Assembly is made of two pieces of 1/2 " plywood any convenient width by 6" high, atop which are placed two 1x2 boards 27" long, set short side down, with a space between to hold the reinforcing bar. These 1x2s are further notched diagonally to receive the inner diagonal reinforcing bar of the upper-enclosed Main Mirror Assembly

A home made encasing cardboard box and cover was cut down to size from a large cardboard box leftover from an appliance

Improvements? The four 2" long 1/8" aluminum tubes that protrude from each Main Mirror Assembly are not sufficiently protected. But their attachment to the assembly frames also needs to be rethought. They should be inset in predrilled holes at the proper angle, not glued on.

Main Mirror Assembly Box Packaging Photo Sequence

wood box liner
notched foam support
 Main Mirror Assembly face up
2nd Main Mirror Assembly face down
wood top brace (upside down)
upper wood brace in place
cardboard cover - total c. 20 lbs.
PVC tube with long thin dowels and wires

parts protruding from open left end - c. 5 lbs

Large Suitcase Packing Photo Sequence
packed suitcase
foam cushion
plywood crush proofing - finnal weight c. 40  lbs.

Note: This system was designed "ad hoc" -
We encourage others to feel free to rethink packaging from scratch, and only offer the above as one possible solution.
But remember, you are not done building and/or designing your spb-demo unit until you have designed and built a compact but damage-resistant packaging system!


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