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retractors

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gogotoovee, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. gogotoovee

    gogotoovee Member

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    I've been looking for cable retractors that don't catch and dont bind up on themselves when retracting and have had no luck. We've been using modified retractors from hardware stores on electrified flown scenic pieces. They arn't really working for us. They work enough, but I was wondering if anyone knew of a better product. We're in the round and we can't really swag cable because it will get caught up on the truss or the flown pieces themselves.
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Good ones will cost you some serious cash. The ones that are made for this are meant to support flying electrics/truss. You could mount a basket to the batten and let the cable pool in the basket. I assume you have disabled the locks on the cable reals? Putting PVC pipe in 5' increments on the cable and building a basket for it is also an option, it will zig zag in, but it works really well.
     
  3. gogotoovee

    gogotoovee Member

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    I've seen that done in procenium houses and it is so cool to watch those elecs fly out! That won't work in my house though. I need the line to fly in and out with the scenic piece. Maybe if I can find a way for the retractor itself to dump into a basket and still retract the cabel. Tricky, but you got me thinking, thanks!
     
  4. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Do your scenery pieces fly using hemp or cable? Also, how much travel is involved?
     
  5. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Got some good expensive ones at work. Forgot to look at the brand today.

    Ah' never mind, I did add it's link to my weblinks list. Reel Craft (cable reel mfr.) http://www.reelcraft.com/default.htm

    First question is what's your amperage assuming single circuit? That's a major factor.

    On the cheaper but ones, in the past I have used them for running DMX cable. Bought a Grainger a 16/3 metal shelled cable spool, removed the locks and swapped out the cable for a single pair XLR digital grade cable. Worked perfectly as long as I thru bolted where possible and added safety cable loops to the frame. You can pass DMX thru the brushes of a cable reel.

    Industrial doesn't always mean stage rugged. No matter what brand, make sure nothing can come un-screwed and that you have a seperate or hard point to rig the safety cable from. After that, thread locker is your friend.

    If you have the budget, could always do a scizzors lift that flys the scenery and power in from above. Has your multi-cable folding within the lift. Did that game for some tour last year - where I work made it's own so as to do a longer distance than otherwise available. Not cheap but that's a way of both sending the scenery/lighting down and powering them up all in one from above without having to worry about feeding the cable in with the scenery or lighting.

    Another option in doing the trip line concept as per a normal fly system would be to have a look at Lex Products - flat Socapex cable. Just saw a sample of it with the plug on it this week. That's cool - about 1/2" thick and would fold up well as per a belt of wire instead of cable. Potentially you could do some sort of narrow basket for the cable to fold up in or given it's flat cable it would fold in one direction instead of where ever the cable wants to coil up.
     
  6. gogotoovee

    gogotoovee Member

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    I'm in the round, so we don't have a counter weight system. I think the ropes we use are nylon? They're black whith a white core with varying dia depending on the weight of the piece that's all I know. I'm just a squint, I don't know nothin about no rope:) The lines for the flys are run from our flybays in the catwalk to up over the stage to the rigging points, then down to the scenic pieces. Everything has to be built to be as light as possable. My cable runs from the circuit up a t beam to the rigging point, where it plugs into the retractor. We have 17 of these points, and each gets it's own 15 amp circut. I'm not powering an electric with pars and s-4's and the like. I'm talking little practicle stuff, street lamps, chandeliers. The flys can fly in anywhere from 5'-20'. Thanks for that website Ship, I think that will help me out immensely!
     
  7. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    There was a time in summer theatre decades ago that we used shower curtain rings. The rings were wire tied to the cable on two foot centers with a bit of a twist and the rings were clipped around the rope. When the piece was raised, the cable simply coiled up behind the piece
     
  8. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Shower curtain rings are still used for Kabuki drop systems by some in preference to 18# cable ties. Others frequently cable tie and tape welded rings and other chain links or dog clips to the cable in clipping them to the various rigging.

    Anyway, should be much you can do that would allow multi-cable or single conductor feeing of power to the electrics or scenery. Question of rigging the cable so it picks up neatly such as in a chain glide system that could be used with rope, or in the cable reels as it were.
     
  9. gogotoovee

    gogotoovee Member

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    So I told my TD about the shower curtain ring idea, and he flipped! He went right out and ordered a box of 100 rings so we can mock something up before our load in next week. Thank you so much everyone!
     

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