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Pivoting Large Screens

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Zurls, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Zurls

    Zurls Member

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    I am TDing a show where I am also building most of the set. Last week I made giant, lightweight screens (.75" x 2" wood frame) that are 9' tall by 3' wide. There are three that were intended to slide on three sets of stretched aircraft cabling. Easy-peasy, no touble so far. It turns out that the same three screens will now be used like doors. The three screens are lined up side-by-side, two open in together, like double doors; the third opens in by itself.

    Here is my problem - I have structure on either end to simply hinge the "door" screens or to put cabnetry pivots in top and bottom. The problem, I don't have any structure for the middle door. The screens are side-by-side, so it negates putting a 2x4 piece in from the bottom. The back wall is 20 feet away through masking curtains 10 feet away; The ceiling is 4 feet or so above the top of the screen.

    Oh theater geniuses, any thoughts? The wood of the screen is REALLY thin (since it was built to be suspended, rather than torqued). We are already over budget so re-building is not an option, neither is buying 12foot 2x4s. My original inclination was to sink metal pivot locks and have the top and bottom corner pivot on metal pegs/bolts.

    Qua?
     
  2. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    This is dangerously close to a rigging question... (Mods please kill this response if you deem it has crossed the line)

    I am making all sorts of rash assumptions about your space since no information has been provided about your facility. With that in mind, hang the panel from a pipe then hang that pipe from your grid, batten, or structure using a piece of swivel hardware rated for overhead use.
     
  3. TechSooth

    TechSooth Member

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    Okay Zurls-a-muffin,

    You want a real answer or just some ideas? Let's start with some specifics:

    What are they covered with? Are they opaque?

    When you say "open in" do you mean the moving edge pivots onstage?

    •*
    What color are the "masking curtains"? and what type of "ceiling" is it?

    The quickest solution if you have structure at either side is to run a batten (read 1x stock) painted to match your masking curtains along the top of all three screens and mount your pivot into it. Surely you can find enough scrap lumber to cobble together a length 10' long, even if you make it up out of 1' pieces with lauan scabs top and bottom.

    A second suggestion is to use either a stock flat or jack that can be mounted behind the screen and at a right angle to it, that is attached to the floor and painted to match the masking.

    Also, the use of a small straight wheel attached to the back of the screen on a block, whose axle is aligned on a diameter of the pivot point will relieve the suspended weight of the free end.

    Do you have the cable you were planning to use for the sliding effect? Another option is to stretch the cable taught and plumb between floor and ceiling for the pivot, and lift the free end with a second piece attached at the suspension point in the ceiling (this gets dangerously close to "rigging" which is a no-no on this site, but since we're not talking about anything off the floor, we may get away with it). Again, paint to match the masking.

    One other option is to attach the screen to the side of a small wagon that is pivoted on the floor and loaded with enough weight to balance the screen. This is clunky, but it will work.

    Maybe some of these suggestions will get your juices going. The wheel thing is probably going to relieve your issues of the weight of the free end most readily.
     
  4. TechSooth

    TechSooth Member

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    Oh, and by the way...

    I find that if I keep an effigy of the designer who decides to change the design after the budget is spent in my cubby, with a small lock of their hair or other personal item and a candle, I can make it seem as though we had planned to do it this way all along...
     
  5. Zurls

    Zurls Member

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    The screens are translucent and are covered with a white, gauzy, man-made fabric and stretched taut, then glued and stapled to the back. They are constructed out of .75" x 2" wood as a frame, with and extra piece of same across the top and bottom. It will eventuall be painted with a design, but will remain mostly white.

    The doors are stage left in a row and open out from the stage, toward the stage left wings. They specifically need to not be able to open into the stage area.

    The masking curtains are ancient black wing flat curtains that run floor to ceiling. The ceiling is 2x6 board on end and all screwed together (presenting innumerable 2" lines along the ceiling. It is also slanted to one end is about 13' tall while the other is about 12'
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I am a bit concerned here. I don't think you are going to kill anyone, but I don't think your stretched cable thing is going to work for you. You need some type of rigid track for the flats to ride on. Cable stretches, your not going to be able to prevent that. I also don't foresee getting the flats to open like doors without constructing a jamb of some sort. Also, your flats are going to take a lot of abuse and I simply don't believe that a piece of 1x1 will be able to take the abuse. If it was 1x1 steel it might have a chance. Your going to get some crazy buckling.
     
  7. TechSooth

    TechSooth Member

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    Okay, let's review...

    Correct me if any of these points are wrong:

    • The screens are now stationary and mounted SL

    • The two outer screens can be hinged along their outer edges to fixed scenery elements for their support

    • The screens need to open offstage and be prevented from opening onstage

    • The upstage two screens act as french doors, the dnstage is a single door.

    • The translucent nature of the covering prevents you from adding any more structure (i.e. corner blocks) to the screens

    So basically, if the above assumtions are correct, you now have a set of doors in fixed positions that simply need to pivot at their respective edges to open and close.

    I have uploaded a PDF drawing as an attachment with a cheep suggestion using carriage bolts as pivot pins. Hope it worked.

    The upper jamb can literally be cobbled together since the span involved is so short. See the attachment and let me know if it will work for you. I just find it much easier to work from images than verbal descriptions.
     

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