How To Build Your Own Trippy Meditation Pod

Need to escape modern life? Climb inside this '70s-era DIY lair from our archives.

Ignore the funny haircuts and retro clothing in this gallery: The Meditator is the perfect solution to the stresses of urban life in 2012. Made from 12 pentagons decorated with photo collages, this think tank is a collapsible happy place. But beware: "You may find the sensation akin to that mystical communion with nature that you experience when alone in a forest," wrote PopSci writer Ken Isaacs in November 1970.

Check out the slideshow for building instructions (and more hilarious-but-enticing photos of the Meditator.) Then, crawl inside your personalized lair and let the zen begin.

Your Very Own Meditator: November, 1970

"This project was conceived to make it easier for all of us to satisfy our need for occasional moments of private contemplation. Enter the Meditator and surround yourself with the graphics which cover its walls, and something begins to happen to you almost at once. It's difficult to predict, but you may find the sensation akin to that mystical communion with nature that you experience when alone in a forest - the sense of peace you feel in an empty cathedral. Or you may develop sudden insights as you study the picture-fragments of your world - be swept by the conviction that you're 'getting it all together' at last. " Read the full story in our November 1970 issue: Your Very Own Meditator.PopSci archives

Escape From The Pressures Of Modern Life

"Although the structure is simple to build, the secret of its effectiveness lies in the preparation of those graphics inside. You create them from pictures cut from popular magazines- pictures of any subjects you wish, but pictures to which you have a strong response. The random assemblage of such pictures is a technique I developed some years ago and which Look magazine christened 'pholage' - word coined from 'photo' and 'collage' (an art work pasted up from scraps). First you create 11 pholages (only the access panel is left bare), then discover the unexpected cross-referencing when you wrap yourself in the assembled panels. Beyond that, you'll be able to compare responses with your friends. And when you feel you've exhausted the potential of a given assembly, it's easy to paste new pictures over the old." Read the full story in our November 1970 issue: Your Very Own Meditator.PopSci archives

Inside The Meditator

" 'Bye for now,' says the man of the house as he retreats into think tank. Though it dominates a room, it can be quickly disassembled. At left, Isaacs contemplates interior collage. Interior face of each pentagon is covered with magazine photos chosen for response they stimulate in you. Apply them, overlapped, by brushing thick wallpaper paste on back of moistened page." Read the full story in our November 1970 issue: Your Very Own Meditator.PopSci archives

Building Your Think Tank

"How to lay out the pentagons: Cut each of the 4'-by-8' plywood panels into 4' squares; prepare your layout carefully, since all edges must be equal for assembly of dodecahedron. Use a beam compass - either the commercial type above or homemade version sketched at right (drill tight-fit hole near one end of 34" 1-by-2 for the awl; drill block for pencil and clamp to other end so distance between points of awl and pencil is exactly 25")." Read the full story in our November 1970 issue: Your Very Own Meditator.PopSci archives

Placing The Pentagons

"Assemble the pentagons with common corner angles spread to 117 degrees with vise and pliers. Machine screws pass through predrilled panels into washer and wingnut. To join at floor line, prop lower panels at proper angle." Read the full story in our November 1970 issue: Your Very Own Meditator.PopSci archives

Helpful Diagram

"Mark off vertical and horizontal centerlines on plywood square, locating horizontal 22" from bottom edge. Using centerpoint A, scribe circle (note that pencil goes off three edges). Reset compass for 293/8", set point at B and strike arcs right and left, intersecting circle at C and D as above. Using same setting, move point to C and mark off F. Move point to D and mark off E. As check, set point at E to see if arcs cross at F. Join points with straightedge and cut out first pentagon with fine-tooth saw. True edges with fine wood rasp and finish with sandpaper on a block (hold rasp and block at 90 degrees to face of panel). Use this pentagon as template for layout of other 11. Just mark points on plywood squares and connect with straightedge. Note that a small triangle (with Vh" base) is nipped off at each corner. Cut 12"-radius hole at center of one pentagon to serve as access door." Read the full story in our November 1970 issue: Your Very Own Meditator.PopSci archives

Light Up Your Meditator

"Light interior with reflector flood on a pivot arm of 3/8H-dia. aluminum rod inserted in 2-by-4 block bolted to one of lower panels." Read the full story in our November 1970 issue: Your Very Own Meditator.PopSci archives