Building ramps with a 16 inch rise

mistyty

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Aug 15, 2019
Location
Pittsburg, CA
Can anyone give me advice on best practices for building ramps to get us up to a 16 inch platform? The ramps cannot be longer than 7 feet. They need to be 4 ft wide? We have to wheel set pieces up on to that stage.
Thanks!!

Misty
 

RonHebbard

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Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
Can anyone give me advice on best practices for building ramps to get us up to a 16 inch platform? The ramps cannot be longer than 7 feet. They need to be 4 ft wide? We have to wheel set pieces up on to that stage.
Thanks!!

Misty
@mistyty How heavy will your set pieces be? Do you foresee rolling any pianos up or down??
Let's use the Control Booth 'Bat Call' to summon a few of our more knowledgeable posters.
@bobgaggle and @Van Would you care to answer @mistyty 's query???
 
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bobgaggle

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Philadelphia, PA
Load on the ramp is your biggest consideration. at that size the easiest thing to do would be to rip a bunch (4?) plywood wedges from 0"-->15 1/4" over 7'. Add a deck and some blocking at the bottom. done.

And 4 wheels is better than 6 wheels on your scenery. You wont get the awkward see-saw action as it transitions over.
 

Van

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Ok, so everybody has addressed the, "Wow, That's really steep" factor. Depending on your loads your best bet to build 3 stud walls from 1x4. Cut each 'stud' with a square bottom and a beveled top. The bottom plate of the wall is going to be shorter than the total run of the ramp as you want the plywood top to hit the floor on the bottom end of the ramp. On the bottom of the ramp you can use another piece of 1x4 , cut it into a wedge shape to act as a transition between the floor and the ramp. on the underside of the plywood run some pieces of 1x4 across the plywood leaving a gap where the tops of the 1x4 stud walls are. Screw them in place from the front face of the ply wood and they will add some rigidity. That should do it. I could sketch something when I get home if this isn't clear.
 

NateTheRiddler

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Dec 27, 2018
Location
Arizona, US
I feel as though this might be a stupid question:
Is the ramp coming in perpendicular to the surface edge? Or would it be possible to run the ramp parallel to the edge, with a flat landing at the top of the ramp to allow loads to rotate onto the stage?
Horrible iPad drawing done during a boring class, included for your reference:
EE1AD846-5ED7-47A3-ABA4-91830045AF1D.png

Basically: green ok instead of red? Or am I misunderstanding what is possible in your space? I’ve built a few what I call “parallel 90º” ramps to accommodate longer runs with gentler rise, provided the landing at the top is large enough to allow the load to pivot/rotate onto the stage.
 

BillConnerFASTC

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Location
Clayton NY 13624
hard to beat the labor, be portable and easily stored, and be sure of engineering:

Yes - may need wider but concept is worth investigating IMHO.

The force to push a load is going to be roughly 20% of its weight - so a 500 pound piece on casters will take around 100 pounds of force to move or stop it.
 
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mistyty

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Aug 15, 2019
Location
Pittsburg, CA
Wow, you all are the best! Thank you so much!! Yes, I told my students that was very steep but they love to build impossible things. The build crew at the high school I teach in is quite driven and daring. They build things before I can even show/tell them how. They were trying to build Rapunzel's tower over the exit door of the theatre while I was in a faculty meeting. We are doing Into the Woods. The set pieces that we are rolling up and down the platform are lightweight and are on large casters so they roll very easily. They are 6'x6' made with 2"x2" and a piece of 3/4" ply as the floor board and and will have muslin drops painted as the exterior and interiors of the houses. They begin on stage and crew then roll them down the SL and SR ramps, then back up again. Thanks again!!

Load on the ramp is your biggest consideration. at that size the easiest thing to do would be to rip a bunch (4?) plywood wedges from 0"-->15 1/4" over 7'. Add a deck and some blocking at the bottom. done and 4 wheels is better than 6 wheels on your scenery. You wont get the awkward see-saw action as it transitions over.
Thank you, I am bringing this to my crew.

Ok, so everybody has addressed the, "Wow, That's really steep" factor. Depending on your loads your best bet to build 3 stud walls from 1x4. Cut each 'stud' with a square bottom and a beveled top. The bottom plate of the wall is going to be shorter than the total run of the ramp as you want the plywood top to hit the floor on the bottom end of the ramp. On the bottom of the ramp you can use another piece of 1x4 , cut it into a wedge shape to act as a transition between the floor and the ramp. on the underside of the plywood run some pieces of 1x4 across the plywood leaving a gap where the tops of the 1x4 stud walls are. Screw them in place from the front face of the ply wood and they will add some rigidity. That should do it. I could sketch something when I get home if this isn't clear.
Thanks, I would love to see a drawing of this if you could.
 

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mistyty

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Aug 15, 2019
Location
Pittsburg, CA
hard to beat the labor, be portable and easily stored, and be sure of engineering:

Yes - may need wider but concept is worth investigating IMHO.

The force to push a load is going to be roughly 20% of its weight - so a 500 pound piece on casters will take around 100 pounds of force to move or stop it.
Thank you, I was considering something like this.
 

BillConnerFASTC

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Jan 30, 2010
Location
Clayton NY 13624
So the ramp is a part of the set, correct? And its built and left in place foer the run of the production and then stored without a purpose or scrapped?

I'd probably do it with "joists" parallel with slope if the 16" high stage edge is strong enough to support the top end. Or do as bobgaggle suggested. With 2 x 4 joists the trick would be to build frame just right length - like around 5'-8" - so plywood top extends and sits on floor.
 
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Van

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Here's some jpgs of what I was thinking, and the whole thing in .skp.
 

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mistyty

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Aug 15, 2019
Location
Pittsburg, CA
So the ramp is a part of the set, correct? And its built and left in place foer the run of the production and then stored without a purpose or scrapped?

I'd probably do it with "joists" parallel with slope if the 16" high stage edge is strong enough to support the top end. Or do as bobgaggle suggested. With 2 x 4 joists the trick would be to build frame just right length - like around 5'-8" - so plywood top extends and sits on floor.
Yes part of the set and left in place for the run. We can use them again in future productions because we always use these wenger platforms to build the base of the stage. (I wish for a permanent stage).

I will give these measurements to the carpenters. I like the idea of the ply extending over the floor. I was worried about the connection between the ramp and the stage and how to secure it to the metal wengers. I thought if they were heavy enough they would not move. Thanks for your help! This is a fantastic site!
 

mistyty

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Aug 15, 2019
Location
Pittsburg, CA
Load on the ramp is your biggest consideration. at that size the easiest thing to do would be to rip a bunch (4?) plywood wedges from 0"-->15 1/4" over 7'. Add a deck and some blocking at the bottom. done.

And 4 wheels is better than 6 wheels on your scenery. You wont get the awkward see-saw action as it transitions over.
Thank you, I do believe this is what i will direct the crew to do. I so appreciate your help and I will post pics once done.
 

Van

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Thank you so much for this. I have downloaded to share with my students. I know the carpenters are going to be thrilled to get this.
Do you have Sketchup? it's free for gneral use highly discounted for Students and I think the pro version is still 500.00usd. Anyway, that skp is v8.
 
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Ben Stiegler

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Sf Bay Area
And wood likely quieter than the folding aluminum ramp ...
oddly, Misty, we are doing the same show at College Prep in Oakland right now. Love your design!
 
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Gobokat

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Jan 14, 2015
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Chicago
@mistyty, The construction of the ramp may not be your problem - if I'm understanding you correctly this "wagon" is 72" long, and have a 3/4 ply base. Is that what your casters will be bolted to? What I'm asking is what is the clearance between the bottom of the wagon's deck plywood and the floor. You need to be sure that as your 72" long board travels over the ramp (i.e. the dropping away floor) that the deck won't catch at the transition from the plane of the platform to the ramp.
You can add more wheels so that it stays level (going down) or inclined (going up) until most of the wagon has transitioned and then it will tip to the 'correct' orientation. Off-hand, unless I would say that a set of wheels every 2 feet along the direction of travel on the ramp would do the trick.
Also - you were saying that the wagons are 72" inches square, but your ramp is 4 feet wide? so I am guessing that there is not enough weight on the part of the wagon that won't be riding on the ramp to cause it to tip?