not a dress: Planning a Faraday Cage

It has been a long time desire of mine to make a Faraday cage. Just a cage to rest in and be free from all kinds of wifi networks and telephone networks, just for a little while. Allow my body to rest and reset.

Years ago I made a kayak by hand. It consisted of carved wooden sticks, bend with steam, and canvas pulled tight over it. All finished with watertight seam (fell seams of some sort).
It was made in the Inuit tradition as taught by Anders Thygesen, in Norway.


Ever since I had in mind to make a cage like that: a wooden frame with shielding fabric around it. An organic formed cage to rest in. To sleep in.
Back then I searched for these fabrics but they were too expensive and only available for industrial users. A few years have gone by and now these materials are retailed to costumers. But I didn’t know this. I did come to talk about this dream with two new friends of mine, Pimmie and Bloempje, who have plans to spin metal yarn and knit the fabric themselves.

My desire rekindled, I made a solid resolution: 2014 was going to be the year I was making myself a Faraday cage! I had no idea how but I’ve noticed that when I make resolutions like that somehow things fall into place.

Still I was utterly surprised when I met a wonderful lady who has shielded her whole house and her body because she is VERY sensitive. She showed me her travel-cage, for overnight stays (such as the wool spin retreat where Pimmie and I went and met her). She let me experience the cage. It was ok. A bit warm. I didn’t feel much relief of wifi but we talked and I learned a lot about shielding.
Then I left the cage.

My body bucked at the new exposure to the wifi (which was very strong at the retreat). I’ve never experienced something like that and I didn’t expect to. My hands became sweaty and red -a typical vegetal reaction of my body- and somehow my head clamped up, somewhere behind my jaws. Of course my blood pressure plummeted and I had to flop in a chair.
The Faraday lady was not surprised one bit!

Anyway. We talked and she gave me LOTS of information and she showed me the websites of retailers. I was so glad. My resolution was looking good to transfer into reality!

Back home, when I lay awake at night, I’ve started to ponder my cage. Dimensions. The experience I had and what to learn from it. The fabric I had tested and its characteristics. How to make a construction so it wouldn’t be too claustrophobic. (The right fabric is lined with silver which isn’t exactly transparent and doesn’t allow much fresh air trough)
And there’s the problem of my cat who insists on sleeping on my bed covers and greeting me at my pillow twice a night. Her claws could easily tear the fabric and a tear in a Faraday cage is much worse than a whole.

So I was just mentally playing with this puzzle, hour after hour. Without any hurry or worry because New Year is still a long way away and this is an interesting case.

Then I remembered I once bought some kind of collapsable playhouse…
Meant to sit in on Summer evenings in the woods here near the cabin, with a musquito net over it. Which of course I’ve never done.

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This could work as the frame of my cage! Cut away the fabric, use the structure. But it is a bit big. The fabric to cover it with is very expensive (about $117 for 3 yards)(86 euro per meter) so any yard I can save is money for free chocolate.

Well, this evening I’m playing some more … laying in it. Measuring it. Thinking out ways to cut the fabric as sparsely as possible. Remembering to allow for folded seams. Remembering how overlap to make a good cage. Thinking of combining it with a conducting floor mat of cheaper material. How to ground the thing. It’s a nice puzzle to play with for a sewist engineer!

And you know how playing goes in my house:

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Just a few more days and I probably have this puzzle solved.
Then I’m ordering the fabric. Which could mean that a early as next week I could have some crude Faraday cage to rest in!
And one 2014 New Years resolution to cross off!

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3 thoughts on “not a dress: Planning a Faraday Cage

  1. Very cool 🙂
    This makes me quite curious: would I feel it too? Would everybody notice the difference (either consciously or subconsciously)?

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