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Revolving Stage

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by bobgaggle, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    A while ago I posted a thread asking for help on building a revolving stage for a production of Jekyll and Hyde. These are some things I've learned:

    1. Give yourself enough time. My high school's admin and various teachers were opposed to it because the revolve would impede the complete closure of some of the travelers. As a result, I couldn't get the thing done until a week before opening night.

    2. Don't design anything around cost. Sure its cool to have a budget, but don't cut corners. I bought dumb casters partially because it makes the stage more diverse in its capabilities, but also because they were cheaper. BIG MISTAKE. Once we got the thing able to spin, all was well, but once we put a set on it, it made the loudest squeaking and groaning imaginable. We had to jack the whole thing (All 379 square feet of it) up and crawl under with a few cans of WD-40.

    3. NEVER USE PARTICLE BOARD!!! Probably the worst stuff to use when building a multi-layered deck. I used two layers at 5/8" thick(glued and screwed) except that the one inch screws we tried to use stripped the wood every time we ran them in. another thing I didn't consider about particle board: it has a rough and a smooth side. I accidentally put the rough side down on the bottom layer, which just added to the rumble as at slid over the casters. Why did I use particle board? Because the good stuff was 4 dollars more per sheet. don't cut cost.

    4. Once again, I cut costs. I mounted the casters to 2x6 boards, which i then adhered to the stage (wheels up). unfortunately, the top plate of the casters were 6" (and we all know that a 2x6 is really 1.5 x 5.5) I could only put two screws into the casters, but figured since the axle wasn't hanging over the edge of the board I'd be fine. We lost 12 wheels when positioning the deck. Had to jack up again and crawl under there.

    5. Build your revolve in sections. I simply glued the whole thing together in one giant piece (24'x24'), slid part of it off the edge of the apron and cut out a circle (it took 50 people to shove it across the stage floor) I then had to get everyone to shove it off to the wings while I mounted the boards with the casters, then had to get everyone to shove the thing on top of the casters. BIG MISTAKE... one of the 12' boards holding the casters got ripped out of the stage and caught up under the deck as we tried to slide it on. Had I built the thing in sections and assembled on top of the casters, I'd have been breathing a lot easier.

    6. And last but most important...DO YOUR FREAKIN' MATH!!!!! the casters I got had a load limit of 100 pounds. I estimate the deck to weigh 1600 pounds. (assuming 50lbs per sheet of plywood, 36 sheets would be 1800, and I guess I cut off 200 while cutting out the circle). I used 69 casters, so 1400 divided by 69 is 23 lbs per caster distributed over the entire revolve. Add det to that, (a giant pyramid like thing, more heavy stuff etc etc.) and bam, my casters are overloaded, or getting close to it.


    Lessons learned, though. Sooner or later I'm sure i'll laugh at some strapping young man making the same mistakes as I just did.
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Did you follow the plans I posted on here ? If so maybe I need to update them with a few of these comments. All are good lessons learned but I wish I could have helped you through those.
    Particle board or LDF is good for one thing, underlayment for carpet. It has to be layed in on top of a plywood surface to get the support it needs so it won't crack or punch through.
    6" caster plate? typically I use a 2 - 3 " fixed caster with a much smaller plate on it.

    I'm gonna go dig up those plans and re-post them with a spec sheet this time.
    I'm sorry you had troubles, but thanks for sharing them with all.
     
  3. jrule

    jrule Member

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    I'm planning a 4 meter diameter revolve. I'm interested in your plans. I cant' find them in these threads. I understand the bottom part with the wheels. The top made in pie sections is sandwiched ? The Revolving Stage Company http://www.therevolvingstagecompany.co.uk/html/revolving_satge_8.html
    makes portable revolves with a curved channel under the stage. I'd like to make something like the Smartstage Co. http://www.smartstage.com/Turntable_15.577.0.html
    Still can't figure how the top is made.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2008
  4. lastmanstanding

    lastmanstanding Member

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    Thanks for the advice bob. I haven't done physics in a few years, but it looks like i'm gonna half to dust off that section of my brain. You make get the chance to laugh at a skinny young man who blazes whole new mistakes. maybe i'll post my errors here in another month.
     
  5. Conner8809

    Conner8809 Member

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    i could use the plans also if you wanna email em? [email protected]
     
  6. curtg

    curtg Member

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    Has anyone used a pallet turntable for the center support of a revolve?
     
  7. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Conner, PM me and I'll email you my turntable packet from work tomorrow. If you don't email me I'll forget as I have the attention span of a two year old.
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I have not but I see no reason why with the proper modifications something like that wouldn't work. That being said it is a bit of an expensive option. A quick view of Graingers inventory shows several models of pallet turntable ranging inprice from just over $300. to just under $1,300. The center point of the turntable that I expouse the virtues of is made of two pipe flanges and two pipe stubs and some plywood, probably around $50.00
     
  9. lastmanstanding

    lastmanstanding Member

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    The mcmaster-carr website has just the open ring with bearings running for $300, though it doesn't look like there's any way to attach to it. the other turntable pallet they sell indicates specifically that it's not for people. it's also freaking 2000 dollars.
     
  10. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    as long as there's a demand...
     
  11. NewSpace

    NewSpace Member

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    Considering creating a revolving stage and have bupkus tech background. Would greatly appreciate a copy of what you have come up with for ideas related to size, material and costs. Thanks...
     
  12. Arich

    Arich Member

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    Hi Van,
    I am looking into building a revolving stage that is not motorized but will be manually moved. I teach in an elementary school and am asking parents to do the building for me. I was just wondering if your plans might be applicable for me or if I need to speak to a contractor. I apologize for my lack of knowledge in this subjsect but I would love to have a couple of revolving platforms that I could divide into halves so I could have four revolving sets.
    Thanks for your input,
    Arich



     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  13. viking33

    viking33 Member

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    It really depends on how good your parents are. This is not a beginners project so I'm guessing it would be out of there limits. I would give a call over to UNC and see if they would have a tech that could help you out that has experience building one.
     
    Van and (deleted member) like this.
  14. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I think viking33 Nailed it. on a scale of 1 - 10 I'd assign this project a solid 7.325. I would be good to have at least a couple experienced carpenters working on it as you are dealing with curves and tight tolerances. and if the runners aren't laid out right on center it will make the straight casters try to wander and you'll wind up with all sorts of problems. FYI this revolve is great for dividing up. I've seen it done in half and in thirds. Dividing it into quarters might be possible but it would make masking the scenes not in use a major pain. If you do need to contract out and you need better plans or clarification please don't hesitate to contact me off-site or pm me with your email.
     
  15. lwinters630

    lwinters630 Well-Known Member

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    Arich,
    perhaps Pariactoids would also work for you. These can be simple as a rectangle or triangle base on casters with walls to your desired heights. This may be easier for parents to build (maybe a 5.168).;)
     
  16. ptero

    ptero Active Member

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