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Concrete Hardware

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by elite1trek, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    I am building a set that is rather tall for a show I am doing. There are several 12' flats that sit far upstage. They have a 3 foot clearance from the back wall. I need this clearance for a crossover. There is not enough room for jack-braces.

    I was thinking that I would cross-brace against the back wall for support, at about 10' out. I do not want to damage the wall too much, so those blue anchor screws are not an option. What I am really looking for is something that I can permanently mount into the wall, and then bolt into it when I need to. My mind immediately jumps to the "Improved Stage Screw", but I need something like that for concrete.

    I hope I was clear enough.

    If you think there is a better way to do it, I am open to suggestions.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Those "blue anchor screws" are most often called TapCons®, and seem the least intrusive. After the production, all that will remain in the wall will be a 3/16" hole (for 1/4" TapCon).

    If re-usability is desired (How many times will your braces be in the exact same place?):
    Is the upstage wall concrete or cinder-block (cement block)? I'd suggest lag shields, but they're not really meant for repeated use. Can you tolerate a permanent bolt sticking out of the wall? (Not advisable for below 7'--guaranteed to catch clothing or flesh.) If cinder-block, perhaps a lag shield and a hanger bolt, as inspired by this? If concrete, a Thunderstud®.

    edit: Another thought, Use TapCons to affix a long 2x4 flat against the wall and running the width of the stage. Paint to match the wall. Then standard L-brackets or hinges can be used whenever this situation arises.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
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  3. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    I knew they had a name!

    I am willing to go with the TapCons, if there is no other alternative. The upstage wall is cinder block, I should have made that clear earlier. I am definitely looking for something reusable, and I really dont like the idea of permananent bolts sticking out.

    Any other ideas?
     
  4. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    At my High School, when they hung TVs in the classrooms, they took some 2x8s and bolted them into the concrete, and then screwed the brace for the TV into the wood (they were the right-angle metal arm style TV holder.) If you are looking to do this permanently, you could get some 4x8s or something similar, bolt those to the wall, and paint the wood to match the wall. (I'm assuming the cinder block is painted.) That way, you could then set anchors anywhere on the strip of wood, and as the shows change you could change the location of the anchors without putting more holes in the cinder block. Then, when the show is done, you could putty and paint the wood to look nice again.
     
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  5. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

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    great ideas all around.

    I am still open to suggestions.
     
  6. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    If the wall is CMU ,
    < concrete masonry unit or concrete block to the uninitiated :rolleyes:>

    DO NOT USE TAPCONS!

    You only have two real choices when securing to a CMU wall.
    1. a "molly" or "Toggle" -bolt style connector.
    2 A through-bolt to the opposite side of the wall.

    CMU is manufactured with compression in mind, it's supposed to be able to stand up to a lot of pressure pushing down on it's top. They are not designed with lateral forces in mind. The wall of a CMU is extremely thin and for lack of a better word, brittle. it does not take a lot of force
    < relatively speaking> to cause the side wall to fail. The way tapcons work , going into a hole then pressing outward on a small scale, will cause the "granules" of the block to break up. If you look at a concrete wall and a CMU you'll know what I mean, CMU has a much more loosely packed structure.
    For a lighter load, such as bracing scenery, I think the toggle bolt style connector would work fine. I would suggest following Dereks suggestion, however, and permanently attach a 2x4 or 2x6, Heck make it a 2x12 every 24" OC from 4' up, to the back wall as you're are going to need a place to brace to a lot of times. I have done this same thing in both of our theatres.
     
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  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    So Carnegie Mellon University and Central Michigan University are incompatible with TapCons? Interesting, because here says:
    Tapcon® Concrete Screw - Applications:

    Light to medium duty in concrete, brick and block.


    I've done it many times without incident. I don't see anything on Buildex Tapcon® prohibiting the use in block, other than Tapcon anchors require a minimum embedment of 1" and a maximum embedment of 1-3/4", which would indicate making sure to hit the web, probably.

    Since you're close by, [user]Van[/user], maybe you can get a clarification from the Portland Cement Association?

    [user]elite1trek[/user], here's an product that doesn't involve drilling holes: Epoxy Masonry Adhesives - Edison Coatings, Inc.. Just glue your braces to the wall!:twisted:
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I just post what I know. In my years of connecting things to CMU walls I have always been told to through bolt or Molly/Toggle. I'll do some more research, but what I've always been told seems to make sense to me. As for adheasives? Never trust a chemical when you trust a physical bond instead.
     
  9. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    Great way to do it. I did this using Tapcons for the wood to wall for a bunch of stuff this summer on stage and in our shop. It works great, since the Tapcons are a bit less of a precise thing, since they're going into concrete. You can get them on the wall, then do your precise scenery attachment to the wood.
    Even using a Milwaukee hammer drill the taps were pretty fun, and then driving the screw itself was yet another fun thing... i was sore for a couple of days lol. But yeah - masonry bits for the pilot holes, then tapcons to screw the wood to the wall. I was piloting through the wood, which made it easy to line up, as well as doubled to pilot my wood too.
     
  10. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with you here. Used a Milwaukee hammer drill (best there is!!! :mrgreen:) to install some shelving (old countertops, actually) in the store room at my High school. It worked o.k. though, we had three people to take turns. No sore arms for minors! Tapcons are a lot of work!!! However, they were worth it by far, and sturdy as well. Or, at least, we thought... :eek:
     
  11. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    Yeah, I was installing cabinets and cable racks that I built for our audio room. Probably went through 3 bits too lol

    But yeah, they're rock solid ;) :mrgreen: (Pun completely intended :mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen: )
     
  12. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Since when!?:confused:

    If you're using the proper tool, Tapcons are incredibly easy to use. 1/2 inch lag anchors on the other hand, those can be a royal pain.:twisted:
     
  13. soundman1024

    soundman1024 Active Member

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    I spent a summer pretending to be an electrician. I blasted through about 8 inches of concrete using a 4 1/2 inch hole-saw style concrete bit once. Those big hammer drills get heavy, and it's so loud too. After that day I started bringing ear protection with me in case I was going to be doing a lot of hammer drilling.

    If you have a hammer drill for the pilot holes TapCons go in pretty easy. Just use a 5/16ths when you're putting the blue screw in instead of a flat blade and the process is pretty fast. It's faster than drilling into steel if you ask me.
     
  14. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I meant more of this than the actual installation... :oops:
     
  15. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    I find that it's not so much the weight of the hammer drill as it's the constant vibration that wears the arms and hands out. Thats why I wear leather gloves when drilling into concrete. They really help with the fatigue factor.;)
     
  16. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    Yeah, I was talking about the actual drilling of the pilot holes is more difficult, pretty tiring if you're doing a lot... And yeah... Sound designers! protect your ears!!
     
  17. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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  18. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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  19. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

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    As another idea for attaching to the block wall, you could use these zip anchor things. I can't remember their specific name, but basically you drill a hole through the block, stick the anchor in, and slide the front end down these zip tie like things until it's flush with the wall, and snip off the remaining bit of zip tie. They take bolts, and I believe are rated for something like 750 lbs in cinderblock. Once you take the bolts out, they're just a small white circle thats flush with the wall.

    Edit: Ok, I just looked them up and they're called "Snap Toggles Bolts".
     
  20. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Also manufactured under the name "Toggler" and great for securing to anything hollow including drywall.
     

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