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Practical, "danceable" street lamps

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by FortTech, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. FortTech

    FortTech Member

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    :( Wow, now the dance director wants three street lamp poles, which are danceable (meaning a dancer will swing around them) ...but they have to be quickly installed, removed, because they are only used for one dance number; and I can't leave anything behind in the floor, because it is covered with marley... so if I try to fly them in and quick attach them to the floor...HOW ? If I put them on wheels or mini wagons.... how do I secure them? This is a tough one for me ... any suggestions?
     
  2. Chris Chapman

    Chris Chapman Active Member

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    I don't think you can fly them due to the rotational load the dancers will put on them. They will never be stable. (I say never, but with an unlimited budget there is always a way.) Even if the base is attached to the deck with stage screws or something, that is a lot of load.

    I did a similar gag where we used a lighting tree as the base of a flagpole structure, the base was hidden inside a scenic "box" so it looked like a large concrete and brick base. The base was loaded with additional stageweight. It had wheels on the back side, so to strike it you tipped it back onto the wheels. Wheels were only on the deck for movement. It worked for a flagpole, but for a streetlamp that large of a base won't read correctly.
     
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  3. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    (This sounds like I task I might get stuck with attempting some time.)

    I haven’t thought the whole way through this, just kind of brainstorming:

    Use a large, sturdy base (like 4’ x 4’ of ¾” plywood or maybe you need to build a bigger, common base/platform) and mount the lamppost in the center (Sorry, no ideas for that.) (Deep down inside, I think something involving welded steel is needed….)

    The big issue is what kind of swinging is involved. If it’s just the dancer holding the post with one hand with the feet close to the base and not too much speed, the above may work with the dancer’s weight holding the post and base down and the broad base to keep the whole thing from tipping. (Would also depend on the size of the dancer.) Or if it’s just holding the post, but dancing around it (an illusion of actually swinging), with the dancer’s weight on the floor, mostly, then the above should work.

    Now moving it will be a chore, but I like that tip-up-onto-the-wheels idea in the post above.

    Another consideration is whether the dancer will actually be swinging all the way around the post. That is, if the move starts from one side and only goes through, say, a quarter of the circumference of the post, you only need solid support from those angles. (Although, during practice, the dancers may try to do more with the post that intended.)

    [I’m not familiar with using marley, so the above approach may beat it up.]

    Joe
     
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  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    See this thread: http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/scenery/10335-braking-marley.html.

    I also like the "lots of weight in the base" and "tip back on two wheels to move" ideas.

    Most of these look like they could hold plenty of weight in their bases.
    [​IMG]

    Do they also need to light up? Either a cable trailing upstage/offstage; or for a wireless solution, see this thread: http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/7150-lantern-challenge.html.
     
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  5. FortTech

    FortTech Member

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    These are all valuable responses. After a lengthy discussion with the dance director involved today, I believe that I will attempt to create my own base with a wash tub (you know the type; metal ... ) I will use 4" (3") drain pipe centered in the basin, concrete set to hold it and provide weight, and before I do all that, attach a set of wheels to the bottom upstage side, so we can tilt it and roll it off stage. ... at the top of this pipe I will attach a pre-made plastic, "acorn shaped" light .. available from my local supplier ... it does not have to light, I think I will provide some down lighting from above to give that impression that it is lighting the street ... the wash basin will gve me a wider base ...isn't that the key? I would get an even better base and a better lookng finished product if I inverted the wash basin.... but how do I keep the concrete in?
    Does anybody follow me here?
    I appreciate the responses ..very helpful.
     
  6. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    How about cutting the bottom out of the tub and using plywood as the bottom of the mold? I think you may need some type of concrete release compound so the set concrete doesn't stick to the mold.

    Note that the typical density of concrete is about 150 pounds per cubic foot.


    Joe
     
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  7. loki

    loki Member

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    If you want it REALLY REALLY heavy or if you want to cut the size of the base down a touch, Try some lead diving weights in addidion to the concrete
     
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  8. FortTech

    FortTech Member

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    ALL great suggestions .... 150# per cubic foot? WOW ..., so I am guessing, with the size of the container i am considering .... this whole unit is going to top 200# .... not an easy task to manuever ... hope the wheels work out!
     
  9. scenerymaker

    scenerymaker Member

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    Go ahead and use the washtub as a form; just cast it upside down. Line the tub with visqueen before putting in the concrete as a mold release. After you tun it right side up, you can put concrete anchors in to hold the wheels and lamp post. If you wanted the light to light, you could even cast in a cavity to hold a car battery! If you played around with the visqueen, you could texture the OD of the base to make it look like something other than an upside-down washtub, or coat it with VSSSD. [plug] See other threads for Van's Super Secret Scenic Dope or ask Van for his current recipe. [/plug]

    When you use a heavy base with wheels only on one side, make sure that the handle to tilt it onto the wheels (the lamp post, no doubt) is strong enough to not break off in front of the audience....... Unless this is a comedy!
     
  10. FortTech

    FortTech Member

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    I was going to center the post (drain pipe) at the same time I poured the concrete in the tub ... I can't do that if I am casting it upside down; so I should leave a hole for the pole to be set in later? Do you think that generally, this is the best solution to my problem ...I have to make three of these lamp posts ...so I guess they are units I want to do right and have around for many years to come.
     
  11. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Use a piece of a larger diameter pipe as a sleeve for your pole, most likely, the next size pipe. If your pole is 1-1/4" ID, your sleeve would be 1-1/2 ID. Of course you want to verify this before you begin the concrete work.:rolleyes:

    Make sure you tape the ends of your sleeve so no concrete gets in the pipe. One challenge will likely be plumbing up the sleeve (A magnetic, electrician's bubble level would be very useful here). Your next challenge will be getting it to stay plumb when you pour the concrete. Hopefully someone else will be able to give you some decent instructions on how to do this.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  12. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Most combinations of inside diameters and outside diameters of PVC pipe don't match up very tightly. There would likely be some play. Maybe that could be overcome by some shims.

    Google PVC pipe dimensions and you'll find a chart of diameters for schedule 40 and schedule 80 PVC. You can also track down the diameters of drain-type PVC the same way. If there is some combination that is tolerable, be aware that hardware stores only sell a few of the sizes and probably only schedule 40.

    Maybe there is something out there that is similar, but for a different intent. For example, removable posts may be set in a special sleeve that fits standard steel pipe (also schedule 40).

    Joe
     
  13. scenerymaker

    scenerymaker Member

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    If it were mine, I would anchor the poles after removing the bases from the molds, then it would be easy to make them plumb.
     

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