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The "Ultimate" Focus Tool

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I'm on the market for a new wrench (most of our previous wrenches have "walked away"...) and I was doing some research through the old wrench threads. In the end of one of the threads there was discussion of the ultimate focus tool. It looks like a pretty nice tool, but there was some discussion over the strength of the alloy used in the wrench. ( http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4833&highlight=stagejunk.com&page=3 ) I wondered if anyone has purchased, or had a chance to use this wrench yet, and could provide a more detailed description of how it handles.

    Thanks,
    Charlie
     
  2. bslproductions

    bslproductions Member

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    I have not used that wrench yet, although it does look good. I prefer the Lightspeed Wrench if I am not using a good ole c-wrench.
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Charc, you can have your $90+shipping tool all I need is a good old C-wrench. I recently lost my old one so I made my self a new one.

    Went to Sears and got the best 6" wrench they sell (cheap ones aren't machined as well and just suck over time), got some handset cord at the hardware store (for old corded telephones), a basic biner, and some larger shrink tubing.
    Cut the tubing and slide it on the cord, tie the cord to the wrench and biner, slide the tubing over the knots... mini-torch to shrink. It always fits, always works, it's safe, and looks kind of cool too...

    Edit: To measure your handset cord for cutting, hold on end at your waist while you stretch the other end out to the tip of your fingers as far as you can reach up... then add a few loops more to allow for the knots.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 9, 2007
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I am with gafftaper on this one. There is certainly no reason to spend over $90 on a wrench. You can get those "fit any nut" socket wrenches for less than that. But really, a c-wrench can never be beaten. In our world there are very few places the c-wrench can't go. Plus, when you lend it to someone else and it walks away, you won't be out $90. Also, you don't have to explain a c-wrench to people, they understand how to use it, those multi-wrench things are often not as easy to figure out.
     
  5. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Yup, but I prefer tieline instead of the coiled phone wire. I don't know why, just habit I guess. There are plenty of times an adjustable wrench comes in handy. There are often things to be loosened or tightened that are different sized and the fancy wrenches just won't work. When I am working on a job where I have to hire crew, I go to Harbor Freight or Northern Tool and Supply and pick up a bunch of C-wrenches for about $2.50 each. I put some tieline on them, a clip, and they use them all day. I usually only get about half of them back, but no big deal.

    (I also have a toolbox full of $.99 screwdrivers, $.79 scissors, $1.99 dykes - for cutting off zipties, $.49 razor knifes, etc... When there is a lighting crew, a sound crew, decorators, ice sculpture people, a DJ, a band, hotel/convention center staff, union labor, longshoremen, and more, tools tend to be "misplaced". This way, I am usually out about $15 a show, no big deal. I lose more money in gaff tape than tools.)
     
  6. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    For just focusing, I'm all for the Mega Handle as long as you don't have two sizes of fukit-nuts. It works great, and it's a no-brainer as far as using it. if it doesn't fit at first, shove it on farther. And they're cheap as multi-wrenches go. Our theater department has about ten of them, and they're all that anyone uses during hangs. The absolute best part about them is that they're so small that you can get a very short piece of handset cord, loop it through the hole in the handle, and tie it together, so that you can put it around your wrist. This is amazingly useful when you've got a light in position and you can't easily reach your pocket. You can just grab it from where it is, right at your wrist.

    http://www.thelightsource.com/products/9/view
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    You know I like my mega handle... I just wish it was a little larger. In an effort to make it pocket size, they have lost all leverage. For a guy with big hands like me, it's hard to even hold the stupid little thing. And when it comes to a stubborn bolt that needs a little talking too, the mega handle is so small I can't get the leverage of the entire grip of my hand as it's too short. If the mega handle was about 5-6 inches long I would probably be converted from my C-wrench.
     
  8. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure you guys are talking about the mega combo wrench, and if so, I do in-fact of one of those. I just keep it on the carabiner with my leatherman for those really desperate situations, but I really hate using the **** thing.
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah the Mega Combo is the correct name... it's essentially the same as a Mega Handle so it's a little confusing. Either way, it's a great tool but it's too small.
     
  10. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand why people are saying that it's too small. If there are clamps that are so tight that you can't undo them with a mega combo wrench, then you need to start cutting off the handles of people's c-wrenches so that they don't overtorque the bolts! I honestly don't see why you'd need anything longer than a mega-combo, and it fits perfectly in my hand (and my hands are pretty big compared to most). You just have to grab it differently. I always have mine right at my wrist, so I don't have to grab for it, which makes it just great!
     
  11. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    I have to disagree with you. Maybe you have a huge amount of strength in your hands, but it should take a bit of effort to lock down a unit when you focus it. I'm talking about the yoke bolt here (and the tilt bolts on PAR-64's, etc).
    The mega/mega combo wrench is fine for the clamp bolt, but not sufficient for locking down a focus. I used one every day when I was touring with a small TYA show that was in a different venue each day. Focus only had to hold for about three hours. It was fine for that. But when you have a show in the air for 6+ weeks you really do need to make sure they don't move.

    I love new gadgets, but there really isn't a good substitute for a 6" or 8" C-wrench in the hands of someone that knows how to use it.

    --Sean
     
  12. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I guess that I use it in a house where all of the fixtures have a proper hand knob (etc style wing knob) on the side, allowing tooless tilt adjustment.
     
  13. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    A scroller or barndoors on the front of a PAR-64, for example will cause the unit to drop over the course of a couple weeks unless you tighten both sides of the unit's yoke (the knob side and the bolt side).

    --Sean
     
  14. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Little off topic but we had a 6" fresnel with barndoors tilt straight down, while it was on, at a violent speed, during a performance. The audience was petrified. The C-clamp was on tight though. So was the hand knob side of the tilt adjustment. No one bothered to tighten the bolt side of the tilt adjustment.
     
  15. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Exactly.

    Though it's a bit less of a problem with newer-designed units, it's something to really be aware of. This is also why 5° Source-Fours come with "double clutch" bodies--a handle on each side. It's to help balance the nose-heavy lens tube.

    Incidently, a hint to those of you that do larger rentals. You can often request double clutch bodies for the units that are going to have scrollers, etc. I've done this a couple times from PRG. It sure helps when you're putting a 7lbs+ Aquaram on the front of a leko.

    --Sean
     
  16. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Alright so I've narrowed down my hunt for a new wrench to one of two possibilities.

    Both of the wrenches I'm looking at are Craftsman.

    The first is a 2 piece set of 6 and 8 inch ratcheting wrenches.
    Link

    The second wrench is a 6 inch beak jaw. I believe the same one gaff has.
    Link

    I'm tempted to go with the ratcheting set, because it's two wrenches for cheaper than the Beak Jaw. However, I do not have much faith in anything that ratchets, I feel like the more moving parts, the more likely it's gonna break on me. Does anyone have any experience with ratcheting wrenches, are they helpful in the workplace, or are they prone to failure?

    Thanks,
    Charlie
     
  17. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Well... I now have one (my girlfriend got it for me for my bday). I am going into a hang/focus for a large show on thurs, i'll let you know how it goes. I probably won't use it for hang because I know I am faster on a C clamp with my clench wrench, now when I am hanging 30' off deck on a focus track... that'll be the real test. I am also interested to see how the lamp checker works. Hell, I'll start a new thread and do a full little write up on it. I personally would not have spent the money on it, but as a gift (she also had my initials engraved in it) I don't think you can go wrong... If it even keeps my lamp check/pin splitter/wingnut wrench it has my vote. I doubt I will actually hit it on a clamp that much, but everything else it does will make it worthwhile.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2007
  18. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    Charlie....

    Get a regular 8" C-wrench. You don't get enough leverage on a 6" wrench when you really need it.

    Ratched mechanisms work fine--as long as you take care of them. The biggest dangers to them are sand/dirt inside the moving parts, and damage from being hit, etc.

    Either way, an 8" wrench WILL do the job for you.

    --Sean
     
  19. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    So, you would rather spend $20+ on glorified c-wrenches when you can get a regular c-wrench for under $10 anywhere? It seems highly illogical.
     
  20. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Haha, yes. But you don't know how I work. As soon as I spend a decent amount of money on something I hold on to it. I know it sounds absolutely stupid, but that's the way I think.
    For example, for years I bought cheapo 60 cent pens. I kept losing them, or having them all "walk away", I never got to use half the ink, or care about them. Well in about september I bought a nice ten dollar refillable pen, I still have it.
    For the past year 6 inch wrenches (what our theater uses) have walked away. Now I'll have a very unique wrench (no other electricians have rubber grips on their wrenches) that I'll actually care about.
     

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