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Scenery Wheel Locks

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Hunter.tech, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. Hunter.tech

    Hunter.tech New Member

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    Location:
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    I'm working on a show that consists of 3 larger (7' tall) set pieces that come together to form one big piece of scenery but then can also be taken apart, spun, and used individually for other scenes. All three pieces will be built on wheeles and I need a way to lock the set pieces in place tso they are safe for the cast to limb on and easy to engage/disengage so the stage hands can quickly move the set pieces as needed throughout the show. I should mention that it's a cast of middle schoolers and the stage hands will be middle schoolers as well, supervised by volunteer parents.

    My speciality is lighting but I was hired as a technical director for this show so I don't have too much experience with set pieces and any advice you can give would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
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    Portland, Or.
    Can you install coffin-locks or Roto-locks into the edges/sides? two or three on a seam should be enough to lock it togethersure you have to have a small, 1/4" or so, hole in the face to insert the key but they are very positive locking mechanisms. AND it would give your technicians a cool tool to carry around.
     
    lwinters630 and RonHebbard like this.
  3. Dan Fischer

    Dan Fischer Member

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    Location:
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    The roto locks are a good idea for joining the multiple wagons (rolling set pieces) together. I never send any students up in any type of elevated wagon without pinning the wagon to the stage deck. This will prevent it from moving but also help prevent against the set pieces getting top heavy with actors on them. I suggest stage screws with matching drop stage plugs as well as using bent foot irons on the wagons to catch the stage screws. Here are a few links:

    http://www.rosebrand.com/product381...spx?cid=567&idx=1&tid=1&info=Scenery+Hardware

    https://shop.bmisupply.com/ProductDetail/04FI001_Bent-Foot-Iron-h2135

    Both parts can also be ordered out of the catalog at http://www.syracusescenery.com/2015Catalog.pdf
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Type "wagon brake" into the search box.
     
  5. Crisp image

    Crisp image Active Member

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  6. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    Van likes this.
  7. thecoin

    thecoin Member

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    If time and money are available to you i swear by air casters. Lift and set the unit where you want it. Haven't used a stage brake since buying these. :D
    http://www.afx.bz/AirPux_2.htm
    I've got a carpenter who's pieced his own as well for a local highschool. Parts are easy to come by on amazon/ebay
     
  8. Frank

    Frank Member

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    It seems to me that 7' isn't very high at all and might even be reached from the stage floor. I often use simple 3" hinges with the pin driven out and a bent nail to hook them together. Screw half of each hinge onto adjoining flats and you're done. There's a bit of slop in the system but generally it works quite well, cheap too.
     
  9. kendal69

    kendal69 Active Member

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    Try SPRING LOADED or RETRACTABLE casters. They will disappear and the set will rest firmly on stage till needed to move set.
     
  10. jdenora

    jdenora Member

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    I'm not sure how steady the pieces need to be, or how much looseness is acceptable, but you can go as simple as a couple of hook and eye latches. They will keep the pieces from moving away from one another, they are very easy for a middle school crew to use, no tools or pins to lose, you can get them anywhere, and the alignment of the hook and eye is not super-critical. With drop-pin hinges and coffin locks, you have to have perfect alignment, or they won't go together. I don't know what these set pieces look like, or how much climbing the cast will be doing, or how many cast members at any given time. If the pieces have to be rock steady, the hook and eye latches probably won't work for you. Hope this helps.
     
  11. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to come out against hook and eyes in any situation where failure could cause a safety risk. For several engineering reasons, they're not reliable.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  12. lwinters630

    lwinters630 Well-Known Member

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    One way to lock wagons is to use a squared off u-bolt. Take 3/8th steel rod or rebar, bend 1st leg 3.5"tall,top 3 1/8" inside between legs and 2nd leg 3" down. If your wagons are 2x frame with ply tops then slide two wagons together drill 3/8 hole so it just misses the 2x frame on each wagon. Drop long leg of the square u-bolt,then the 2nd leg in. Tap with hammer to mark. drill second hole. This clips the 2x wagon frames together quickly. Yes the top sets on top of wagon. so this may not work for all situations.

    When connecting your flats to the wagon, run through the deck like a newel post and bolt to the 2x wagon frame.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  13. Scott Chasey

    Scott Chasey New Member

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    Location:
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    Did 7 foot high pride rock that came apart and rotated for grave yard. Used heavy duty wagon locks on center piece and used these toggle latches to join the stair and ramp pieces each 6 feet high by about 10 feet long and 4 foot wide. Clamped together it didn't move and used two on each side and when time to rotate, flip latch spin around and they matched up and locked down nice and tight. Helped with alignment too. Used couple of quick bar clamps on upper portion as pieces flexed with cast dancing. Had two crew guys hidden in center to set toggles and bar clamps as drop came up and to start unlatching as drop came down to speed up changes. POWERTEC 20306 Latch-Action Toggle Clamp, 2000 lbs Capacity, 40341 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004K5YW0K/?tag=controlbooth-20
     
  14. Scott Chasey

    Scott Chasey New Member

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  15. manuallyfocused

    manuallyfocused Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Set Designer/TD/Carpenter/Painter/Photographer
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    We just did a production of Young Frankenstein, and ended up with a double-sided 10'-6" high unit that had to spin and be locked in place for an actor to climb onto. The solution was removable wagon brakes that worked pretty well- lock them down and they raise the unit off of its casters. Unlock them and they slide out from under the unit, ready to be moved and locked in place. The only downside was the one performance when the backstage crew brought the unit on and left them sitting on the downstage side of it, in full view of the audience. I ended up running onstage in a borrowed costume during a dance number to retrieve them and get them locked before the actor had to climb up!
     

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  16. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    I think manuallyfocused's solution is clever and I'll add the concept to my arsenal. However for posterity I want to express caution. The construction and implementation details on this would be very important in making it safe. It's taking a lot of force across a lever and putting possibly a lot of tension force on the screw joints, which they're not great at. And failure of this device could lead to a wagon becoming unexpectedly unstable; an unsafe condition. I'd say this is only for the pros. I think I'd only do it in steel.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  17. manuallyfocused

    manuallyfocused Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Nick is absolutely correct, I should have clarified that in our particular situation the actor climbing on the unit was doing so on a fake fireplace that was supported separately on its own wheels and connected to the main unit with loose-pin hinges, so at no time was that person's weight on the wagon brakes. The brakes were glued as well as screwed to add additional strength, and if they needed to support the weight of multiple actors, then steel would have been a much more appropriate material choice.
     

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