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Courtesy Tabs

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Van, Dec 22, 2007.

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Dost thou useth the courtesy tab or nay?

  1. Yea,verily I employ-eth the tab

    58.7%
  2. Nay, For they do have a nastiness about them

    21.7%
  3. What manner of creature art the Courtesy tab?

    19.6%
  1. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Question for the masses;

    To courtesy tab or not ? that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind of the ME to leave a little hangy piece of tape, or to make it clean. For when it is time to shuffle off with the electrical coil, is easier to pull tabs of tape wrap or whip out the multi-tool and slicing end them? For who would tabs abide when thier inheirent nastiness doth give an uncomely appearence unto the cables of sound and light?
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Very goodeth polleth Vaneth!:oops:
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I teacheth each and every crewton of mine the art of the courtesy tab. For it dost maketh strike so much easier!
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    <Gasp> icewolf08 and I actually agree publicly on something!;)

    Not to mention the fact that it's nearly impossible to teach everyone that ETC Sensor racks are "mammary gland" down, and all ML Distro's are "mammary gland" up, so how many times has one had to remove and reposition the labels at the racks on the male ends of Socapex-compatible multi-cable? Or is this anality just me?

    Although I can't be positive, I'd like to think all the $8/hour shop guys and gals appreciate that I use courtesy tabs, each and every time. (Except for spike marks and floor taping, of course.)
     
  5. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    a courtesy tab, thats where the director feels bad about reheral running late and buys the drinks that night right?
     
  6. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Always. With one-offs where we're in and out, usually all in the same day, you better. We usually only use tape for booms, tho. Horizontal stuff we use pieces of tie line. Re-usable and just as fast.
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I use tie-line for most everything, the only time that I use gaff for electrics is when I'm temporarily labeling a Stagepin (black gaff, white paint pen), or taping down a cable to the floor. Then you can always lift the cable a tad to get the tape going, then take the piece of tape up. Tie line is also cheaper. So my uses of gaff don't require courtesy tabs. And it seems easy enough to find the end of the tape on the roll, too, so no need to put a tab there and waste more tape.
     
  8. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I use them on gaff tape for electrical connections on the deck level - Edison, 2P&G as well as ALL Twist-Loks. I also teach the newbies how to do it. We use it when we bulk roll back to store the dance floor on to the Big Cart Of Dance Floor. Pretty much any kind of tape where you know you need to find and release the edge. My wife and I even do this on our packing tape at home (she's in the business as well).

    Steve B.
     
  9. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    We use a lot of tieline too, but sometimes you just need to use tape. We tape all vertical stage pin connections even if they have a snug fit just so when some yahoo yanks on a cable on a boom the connector doesn't hit him in the head. The tricky thing is getting people to remember to tape the connection vertically as opposed to going around the connector.

    When we make hang tapes (black sharpie on white gaff on a marked & measured webbing) tabs are completely necessary, otherwise when we go to start the next show we spend forever trying to get the old tapes off. On an aside, my favorite thing about hang tapes is that before I started working at PTC they always used black gaff and a silver sharpie. Why? Because they thought that white gaff was more expensive, when it was actually costing them more on account of the cost of silver sharpies.
     
  10. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    can someone explain to me what a courtesy tab is?
     
  11. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    I second the motion.
    (I'm only an occasional squint)
     
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Courtesy Tab (just added to the Glossary)--The first 1" of tape folded over on itself to make a 1/2" 'appendage'. This allows one to easily remove the tape at strike or load-out, or for repositioning. Most often used with gaffer's tape when taping or labelling connectors, but can and should be used anytime (everytime) tape must be easily removed. Saves technicians from ruining their manicures. When taping stagepin (2P&G) connectors, tear off about a 6" piece of gaffer's tape, and fold each end over to create a 1/2" tab on each end, then place the tape in line with the connectors. Note that if the male pins fit loosely in the female connector, the pins should be split using a pinsplitter or knife before taping. For round connectors, tape around the circumference of the connector.

    Hang Tape (just added to the Glossary)--a temporary tape noting the location and often circuiting of fixtures attached to the hanging position to allow lighting technicians to quickly and accurately hang and circuit lights without having to refer to the light plot or use measuring tapes. Can be gaffer's tape applied to jute webbing with grommets and tielines, or adding machine tape, paper drywall tape, or unmarked yellow police caution tape. Once the position has been hung, circuited, and tested, the tape is removed.
     
  13. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    You should consider using mailing labels. You can export LW and do a mail merge in Word. Then print the mailing labels and stick them on. Even if you do it by hand, they're way cheaper than gaff. Also, you can write all the labels in advance, then stick them on the tapes.

    We use adding machine tape. It's a bit more wasteful, but for us it works very well. I used to hand write on the tapes, but now we have someone "tick" off a bunch of tapes on 12" or 18" spacing, then I build the tapes at the drafting table. Makes hang go very quick.

    Contact me via PM if you'd like more information, etc.

    --Sean
     
  14. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    First:

    I like to use tie-line in most situations. It can be reused, as soundlight said. However, I've come to throwing some pieces out lately. They were too old, crusty, and over-knotted.

    Now:

    What was this about using gaff on booms/vertical positions? And what is this about taping connectors? I thought the whole concept behind stage pin was that if scenery or a person snags the cable, it will pull apart. I had a connector get smashed backstage last year. I identified the circuit, and that it might be live... so I walked into the green room and asked for something rubber... I should have asked for something nonconductive... Vignette aside, isn't it less safe when you gaff the connectors? One of those rigging mishaps at my school proved to me that the wires will rip out before the gaff comes undone... raining down what used to be the female end of a cable...

    I'm glad I have my PinSplitterII. Yea, the cleaning thing does really rip apart the pins, but it's a good overall tool, and I'm always splitting things.
     
  15. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    This thread is about whether or not to use courtesy tabs on gaffer's tape, NOT whether to use tieline or gaffer's tape, that's a different discussion. But since I'm a nice guy (like Don Rickles;)) I'll attempt to educate.

    Arguably, using gaffer's tape instead of tieline leads to a neater appearance when dressing cable on a vertical position such as a boom. I believe that was len's point.

    Personally, I try to discourage the taping of stagepin connectors. If the pins fit loosely, they're going to arc, so taping a loose connection is a band-aid approach at best, and dangerous at worst. But some like to tape every connection to guarantee against accidental unplugging, particularly where the connection is vertical.

    Seems to me your first thought should have been "What is the quickest way to remove power?" Throw a circuit breaker, or unplug the other end of the cable, or bring down the Grand Master on the desk, or ?

    Good point. When a locking 2P&G connector was introduced in the 1970s, it was argued that the male connector's strain relief must be less than the female's, so as to prevent the exposure of live wires. To my knowledge, this argument never went anywhere. Today, with the proliferation of L6-20 connectors carrying 208V for moving lights, the problem is compounded. I think this is something ship, STEVETERRY, BillESC, or JD should weigh in on. And a good Master Electrician will do everything possible to prevent connectors in the air (not tied/taped to something on the cable side of each connector).


    Good boy. Keep it up. By the time you have split every pin in your inventory, it will be time to start over.

    We're always here to lend advice for you, Charc. Play safe! Work smart!
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2007
  16. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    That was my first thought.

    I identified the issue, informed the SM, and all crew and cast back stage right. I went to the board, brought the channel down, told the board op not to advance to the next cue, incase the circuit would go live. I then went back to the green room, asked for something rubber, got a lot of weird stares and a really awkward moment and some questions, then I went backstage, and pulled the pins out of the wall-plate with my hand through my hoodie sleeve.. (Wall-plate, correct term?) By the way, that thing is hanging on the wall by a thread. Some idiot classmate on mine freshman year smashed the %#[email protected] out of it repeatedly with a wagon.

    Edit:
    I have some locking stage pins...
     
  17. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    a bit unrelated, and something someone with poll making ability should set up, but does any aside from myself use chalk to mark of where lights will hang prior to changeover, seems a bit less hassle than taping spots.
     
  18. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Occasionally, but the advantage of a hang tape is the density of information.

    We put:
    Position name, unit number, fixture type, accessories (scroller, barn doors, top hat, etc), color, template, fixture orientation (US, DS, SR, SL), and of course dimmer/circuit number. That way ALL of the information needed is right there at the fixture.

    Also, since the tape is measured out in advance, you're only dealing with one person's interpretation of 18" spacing, not 6-12 people. Also, all you have to do is have center marked, and it takes just a minute to put the tape on the pipe (taped to the lift lines so the tape isn't in the way of clamps/cable).

    It involves a lot more prep for the ME, but it easily reduces the time to hang and circuit an overhead electric by 1/3 or more.

    --Sean
     
  19. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I second everything Sean said, except I prefer drywall tape as it's more sturdy (remember I use truss the majority of the time. Yellow caution tape is even more sturdy, but stretches so you have to be sure to mark the truss joints.) I love when ME's print out labels for the truss tape, fixture, and power connector.

    I still would have first thrown the breaker on the dimmer.

    Yet another reason for us to worry about your personal safety. This is a serious safety issue, and is not that expensive to replace. Contact your local stage lighting dealer. (Or send a picture to BillESC for a quote). Consider also a guard of some sort to prevent this happening again.

    Do your Locking Pin Connectors say "Harj-Lock" on them? Is the locking mechanism broken? Have you found any females the center pin won't fit into? Save at least one for your very own "Wall of Shame" to educate others on a good idea poorly implimented.
     
  20. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    My key is the dept key, not the dept master key. What's the difference? I can't access the dimmer room or costume storage.

    I'm not sure how easy this would be to replace. I'd need to drill new holes in the wall, but that would require re-spacing the current box. The solution has been gaff tape. I'm more concerned about the box back stage left which seems to have a miss-wired circuit. Perhaps It's worth flipping the breaker and opening up that box, though I'm not sure how to open up or correctly wire a wall plate.

    I don't know what my locking connectors say.
     

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