Between Desert Cottontail Rabbits, chipmunks, various birds, and what-have-you… the Tomatoes were disappearing last year just as they started to ripen.
Decided to design a possible solution using SolidWorks CAD Software …
Originally thought the Tomato Hut would be taken down in the winter but after using it this spring decided might use for other items in the fall planting season.
Created several simple CAD renderings to help visualize the final parts …
Changed the design as I was building it, but the CAD dimensions allowed me to work on ideas and get a general feel of how much metal I would need to buy.
Cut & welded all the parts together in the Workshop and then bolted it together.
Enjoyed the nice day painting the Tomato-Hut frame in the backyard grass area.
Once the Tomato-Hut frame was up on the raised garden area, I then cut and made screen frames and connected them with plastic corner pieces.
To make it easier to remove the screens and pick tomatoes, I used a Dremel tool to grind out an area in the plastic to put very strong (but small) Neodymium Magnets inside the corner connectors.
There was no need to glue the magnets, because once the corner connectors were pushed inside the Aluminum framing material, they were secure.
BKE installed screen in all the frames and they were put on the Tomato-hut.
Used a piece of flat-bar steel with a center hole drilled in it, and a 1/4″ bolt, plus two ceramic magnets to create the side screen frame latches.
The Upper Side Latches are similar to Side Latches with a piece of angle added.
( Still need to powder-coat the Upper Angle Latch pieces )
Wanted to put some handles on the front screens to make them easier to open, so used some small machine bolts … of course, had to paint them blue because I have a ritual of making at least one part in all my projects blue. *grin*
Put small blue machine bolts on both sides of the top of the front screens.
In addition, as you can see in the photos, there are two upper frame pieces of metal square tubing that are spaced to create a 1/4″ gap to allow bees into the Tomato-Hut to pollinate whatever is planted inside.
An added bonus to the gap only being 1/4″ is that bees can go in and out quite easy, but the large Tomato Horn-Worm Moths cannot fit through the gap; thus, no tomato eating crawlers this year!!
The screens have a slight shading effect on the tomatoes which helps them grow longer in the hot Summer Nevada desert climate.
The hut has worked as intended ~ Handled a few heavy wind storms ~ No break-ins from the unruly Chipmunk & Bunny mobs ~ Harvested about 30 tomatoes so far this year.
After summer, when Tomato growing season is over, possibly will attempt to grow some Kale for Turtlebutt ( The Amazing Adopted Desert Tortoise )
… That’s All …
. — CHEERS …
. . .