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8' x 8' wall with door on wagon?

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by danl, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. danl

    danl Member

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    8' x 8' wall with door on wagon?

    i'm still very new to technical theater, but we would like to build a wall that can roll on and off stage, as well as be two sided (rotated on stage) with a passthrough screen door... one side would be interior of living room - other side would be front porch of house.

    what is the best way to use casters on this wagon if it must rotate??? how large should the wagon be to support an 8' x 8' wall???

    thank you for any help you can offer!!!

    dan'l
     
  2. control

    control Member

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    okay i had a similar problem when i was a feshmen and it was a wall that was suspended from the old rigging. there are a couple things that need to go under consideration and the first thing is how you are going to suport this huge wall becuse without a dout there will be one person that slams that door and making the wall fall. the way that i would go about braceing the wall is this

    i wound get metal strips and where the edge of the wall and platform meet i would put 5 screws i a alternating pattern on both sides

    next i would add a 2x4 and run it up the entire length of the wall and platform

    another option is for you to cut slots in the wall that wil be covered up by something like a porch light for the extior and a poster or pic. for the inside

    when the wall i not showing a board will be placed in the slot and the other end i a notch thus provideing the needed support.

    my last idea is to have to techies on eather side supporting the wall (which i did and was no fun)

    but any way be creative and try some thing but be safe about it!!!
     
  3. CHScrew

    CHScrew Active Member

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    Make sure you buy smart casters (they can spin in a circle).

    Another thing to do that will really help is this. Say you ares pinning it clockwise durring the scene change. When you bring it out on stage, bring it out at an angle and the turn it clockwise into position. that way the casters are facing the right way when it's time to spin it around..
     
  4. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    For constructing a wagon, consult a stagecraft book, such as The Stagecraft Handbook by Dan Ionazzi.

    The size for the wagon will be based on the stability needed for the wall, especially as actors pass through the door. Consider making the platform at least 6 feet wide (about 3 feet on each side of the wall) so that there is room to walk, step, and stand easily before using the door, rather than having to step over the threshold. (I'm assuming that the door is to be used by the actors.) And this should provide good stability for the wall. (But I like the removable bracing idea in the post above.) Or make the brace part of the scenery, such as a porch railing and column.

    For the casters, first consider when you move the wagon out, when and how often you have to rotate it, and when you move it off. How much of the activity will be seen by the audience, if that matters. Using pivoting casters, the unit can be moved and rotated easily, but may be a little difficult to steer. Or you could provide fixed casters positioned such that the unit will only revolve, and then use temporary dollies to move the unit on and off stage (If the revolve pivot is not true, it may be difficult to re-position/re-center the wagon after turning it). (Do you really have 8 feet of wing space?)

    Also, consider for the weight of the piece. In the end, it will probably weigh about 300 pounds. If you build this off site, consider how to move the pieces to the stage and that you will have to maneuver a couple large pieces weighing 100 to 200 lb.

    Joe
     
  5. jumpjet

    jumpjet Active Member

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    A word on casters. I have worked with cheap casters, and expensive casters. People will say "If you have the money, get the better ones." I'll go a step further. Don't even bother with cheap casters. They will cause you more in wasted time and headaches than you will ever save by going cheap. You can find the money SOMEWHERE. Mcmaster carr will get them to you in a day or so....
     
  6. danl

    danl Member

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    thanks for all of the suggestions...

    : our wing space extends an additional 15 feet off stage, so we'd have no trouble getting it off stage and removing it from the wings... our scene shop is connected directly to the stage on two sides, so we'd also have no problem getting it onto the stage...

    : so perhaps this project calls for a 6' X 8' wagon - i was figuring on 5' X 8', but if this would be better, i'll go for it...

    : we're supporting the wall on both sides in several different ways... we're using heavy duty elbow brackets to connect the wall to the platform on both sides... also to help stabilize the wall further, we're adding alternative forms of support... on the "exterior" side, we're using a small railing and metal scroll post... on the "interior" side, we're attaching a small entry table to the wall below a window... you can refer to some of the sketches at:

    http://www.revolutionfreedom.com/images/damnyankees/wall_exterior.jpg

    http://www.revolutionfreedom.com/images/damnyankees/wall_interior.jpg

    hopefully by viewing these, more ideas will come... thanks again for all of your help!!!

    dan'l
     
  7. danl

    danl Member

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    oh, and i forgot to add that the door will be a simple screen door... it's not in the sketches...

    dan'l
     
  8. jumpjet

    jumpjet Active Member

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    The screen door might look a bit strange in the interior without a real door...
     
  9. danl

    danl Member

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    > The screen door might look a bit strange in the interior without a real door...

    we thought about that, but a lot of the set is very stylized - so we're not too concerned... we were actually trying to come up with ways to make this piece as "un-realistic" as possible in order to fit in with the rest of the set... we figure that the solid door is a reasonable sacrifice... we'll try to keep things simple while, at the same time, having an obvious indoor side and outdoor side... perhaps i could use a fixed opened solid door as support instead of the small table??? hmmmm...

    setting is a very hot summer... lots of looking and acting through the screen door... otherwise i'd just use a solid door alone...
     
  10. kingfisher1

    kingfisher1 Active Member

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    i have no experienc ewith this but.........
    do you have to worry about the casters moving while the actors are acting on the peice?
     
  11. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Most wagons have brakes that keep them still. I have seen two types of brakes, both lift up one edge of the wagon so it is on the front wheels then the back is on the brake pad.
     
  12. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    One other suggestion would be to take the time to draw a detailed design drawing for this. (something like 1 inch = 1 foot, or 1 inch = 6 inches so that you can see the thickness of the wood and plywood) This will help in placing the wall on structural components of the wagon and will also help in determining exactly how you will attach the casters. (For example, consider the wheel diameter and the size of the "yoke" the the wheel is attached to.) Better to find this out on paper rather than when trying to build it.


    Joe
     
  13. danl

    danl Member

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    we've built plenty of wagons and are very familiar with how to do that... my main question was about having a tall wall supported on one and the placement of casters for rotating it easily...
     
  14. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    My questions are more in question of your understanding of why you are doing such things for support than if it's correct or not. In being very specific I'm curious as to the choices chosen or might in asking get you to further understand why on some things or in using something since it's safe it might be overkill. Posted here is more for education of all in questioning.

    How did you suspend the wall from the old rigging and what type of rigging was it? Granted for a portable wall such and option might or might not be available.


    If you are structuring the wall to prevent it from falling should someone slam the door, what happens if someone rough houses near it?


    Can you go into further detail about this? Seems important but reminds me of my 3rd grade recipy for French toast, something about adding the white stuff atop it when meaning powdered sugar. Or was that Flower, Corn Starch etc? We have five screws of some sort in detail about the screwing pattern (? So as to prevent...) but not much more than this.


    Why a 2x4, what's it's purpose and how's it attached? Would a 1x4 or even 1x2 do just as well or should for more strength you do a 4x4? What structural function does this 2x4 have in preventing the wall from falling down by way of sway bracing, or is it of other purpose?

    What is the slot's for, a bit unclear?


    Ballast is often nice but rarely something to depend upon for more than extra support.


    Again, I do not in raising questions with the method you present wish to belittle what you attempted to express. Instead It is hoping that you further refine what instruction you are providing for further understanding of it both by you and by others.

    Assume in writing something technical that nobody out there has the same frame of reference as you or is as well trained in an audience of readers. Imagine that in posting with specific items that you in taking the advice are than charged with both purchasing and installing those parts.

    Given the information above, you hopefully thus can see why further explination is necessary.
     
  15. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member

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    I get it! We need to explain the reasoning so that the knowledge can be applied. Like that old saying, I think its something like "Give a man a meal, feed him for a night. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime."
     

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