We received much more interest in the Tiki Tank than initially anticipated and had to weigh many factors when deciding on its new home. We spent many days getting to understand each interested crew, showing off the vehicle, answering questions and documenting our experiences. It was a pleasure getting to know other project-minded groups who share our ethos of inclusion and community.
There are numerous challenges in owning, operating and maintaining projects like this and we wanted to make sure everyone knew what they were getting into. In the end, we feel very confident we chose the right crew to take what we started and to continue building on it.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us over the years in building, fixing, running, modifying, re-engineering, unfucking our mistakes and providing every kind of support.
We also want to thank all of you who have participated as passengers, spectators, or have joined along on our adventures. Sunrise on the trash fence won’t be the same without you.
UPDATE: We have found new owners and are in the process of transitioning ownership
Tiki Tank Crew will not be going to Burning Man this year and we have decided to sell the Tiki Tank Mutant vehicle. We would like to find a passionate crew to operate and pass on the goodwill and reputation we have developed over the years.
It is currently registered with the Burning Man DMV for 2016 and any transfer of ownership will include coordination with their licensing.
The origin story
Burning Man 2010 was plagued with soft dust dunes all over the city and playa, making it difficult to bike around. After multiple bike spills, Jaq and I decided to walk around, hoping to jump on art cars whenever possible. Turns out many other people had this idea too and most vehicles were fairly overloaded. Our attempts to hitch rides were quickly shot down by excuses of “you’re not pretty enough” , “you’re not part of our camp”, “you don’t have the VIP pass”.
At that point we decided: “Fuck you, we’re gonna build the biggest art car we can and allow anybody and everybody on it”
2011: Playa Palace 1.0
Built in just a couple months, the design was very simple. Using primarily wood and LED rope lights it allowed us to ferry people around and provide a platform for entertainment.
2012: Playa Palace 2.0
Improving on the design from the previous year by building steel framing for an upper platform. This allowed more people to ride, but also taught us a lot about entertaining a larger crowd. Build goals included quicker assembly, easier egress for passengers, multiple event versatility.
2013: Tiki Tank 1.0
Complete redesign of the whole vehicle.
With the Cargo Cult theme announced, we knew we wanted to build a tank. Addressable LED’s were just becoming available and we designed custom electronics controllers to mimic rolling treads when the vehicle was moving. Permanent wiring harnesses with all wires pre-routed, making assembly plug and play.
2014: Tiki Tank 2.0
Continued refinement of the tank including reskinning all surfaces and much quicker assembly by improving design. New lighting electronics and controllers. All lights are now controlled via a tablet on wifi with a huge array of lighting effects pre-programmed. Custom web UI allows for changing of all segments and effects. Over 2000 hours were put into design and building that year.
2015: Tiki Tank 3.0
Focus on passenger comfort by improving shade and interior layout, including a bar. Additional lighting effects and further improvements in ease of assembly. Source code: https://github.com/hmflash/tikitank
Videos of the tank:
Located in Seattle.
1994 F350 Crew Cab
Steel construction framing and flatbed.
~9000 lbs empty
Custom electronics to read vehicle speed and render lighting effects.
All parts to assemble vehicle are self contained/transported within.
Vehicle has enough room to transport ~3000lbs of camp gear
The vehicle is street legal, even when fully assembled.
Multiple assembly modes ranging from 15 min to several hours depending on event and completeness. (shade, extra decorations, etc)
Holds up to 30 people
The vehicle takes 2 people to operate, 1 driver, 1 wrangler/entertainer for the back. The goal was to build the biggest, most impressive art car without the need for a huge support crew. Because it’s so simple to operate, we typically put on 200+ miles of driving around on the playa each year.