Umbrella gun

NateTheRiddler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Location
Arizona, US
I normally don’t get involved with props discussions, but inspired by one of our resident experts from the great big north (summoning @RonHebbard ):

1) What is the actual problem you’re facing? Just carte blanche design work? Or do you have a specific issue?
2) What’s your budget?
3) What resources do you have access to? Is this going to be God’s gift to Umbrella Guns™️ or do you need to make it with popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue?
4) What’s your role in the show? Can we throw an entire lifetime’s worth of experienced terms at you and you’ll understand them all, or do you work in one specific discipline and will need help in various ways?

Information is power!
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
Never done it. Looks like a cool build!
1 I would build it after a Shotgun look rather than a rifle look. <give you a bigger (larger diameter) barrel to work with> use a piece of 1" or 3/4" PVC or ABS pipe.

2. Find a small umbrella that is an Automatic open type. Preferably one with the button to push to open it.

Find an old gun stock, or make one, engineer a lever that will push the button or release mechanism of the umbrella when you pull the trigger. You're going to have to build the 'Action' and the trigger mechanism but that's just simple metal work. I would guess your director is going to want to have the parasol be a bright color or have a happy face or something that will diffuse and highlight the tension. so you're going to need to be able to take off the existing fabric cover. I would suggest using a Silk to replace it as it will roll up extremely tightly.

That's a starting point anyway. Happy to help more, just holler.

***Thanks for the Heads Up @RonHebbard a 30" pipe would be way too big for a gun barrel, 3/4 is what I meant.
 
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packrat6

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Location
smithfield, virginia
I normally don’t get involved with props discussions, but inspired by one of our resident experts from the great big north (summoning @RonHebbard ):

1) What is the actual problem you’re facing? Just carte blanche design work? Or do you have a specific issue?
2) What’s your budget?
3) What resources do you have access to? Is this going to be God’s gift to Umbrella Guns™️ or do you need to make it with popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue?
4) What’s your role in the show? Can we throw an entire lifetime’s worth of experienced terms at you and you’ll understand them all, or do you work in one specific discipline and will need help in various ways?

Information is power!
Thank you for your response. I am sure that you know there is a pivotal scene in this show using an umbrella gun. We work is in community theatre and I am the director , set designer/builder and general problem solver for this production. The "actual problem" that I am facing is to provide an acceptable prop to facilitate this scene. I am open to purchase, rental and failing these, feel reasonable capable in building an acceptable prop.
Judging by your response, I am guessing you are heavily experienced in theatre stuff and problem solving. I am sure that your abilities and experience are well beyond my own. Thinking that if you got your head out of your butt you could probably be pretty helpful rather than just pontificating and puffing yourself up. Have a nice day.
 

packrat6

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Location
smithfield, virginia
Never done it. Looks like a cool build!
1 I would build it after a Shotgun look rather than a rifle look. <give you a bigger (larger diameter) barrel to work with> use a piece of 1" or 30" PVC or ABS pipe.

2. Find a small umbrella that is an Automatic open type. Preferably one with the button to push to open it.

Find an old gun stock, or make one, engineer a lever that will push the button or release mechanism of the umbrella when you pull the trigger. You're going to have to build the 'Action' and the trigger mechanism but that's just simple metal work. I would guess your director is going to want to have the parasol be a bright color or have a happy face or something that will diffuse and highlight the tension. so you're going to need to be able to take off the existing fabric cover. I would suggest using a Silk to replace it as it will roll up extremely tightly.

That's a starting point anyway. Happy to help more, just holler.
Thanks for the feedback......exploring solutions.
 

packrat6

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Location
smithfield, virginia
Never done it. Looks like a cool build!
1 I would build it after a Shotgun look rather than a rifle look. <give you a bigger (larger diameter) barrel to work with> use a piece of 1" or 30" PVC or ABS pipe.

2. Find a small umbrella that is an Automatic open type. Preferably one with the button to push to open it.

Find an old gun stock, or make one, engineer a lever that will push the button or release mechanism of the umbrella when you pull the trigger. You're going to have to build the 'Action' and the trigger mechanism but that's just simple metal work. I would guess your director is going to want to have the parasol be a bright color or have a happy face or something that will diffuse and highlight the tension. so you're going to need to be able to take off the existing fabric cover. I would suggest using a Silk to replace it as it will roll up extremely tightly.

That's a starting point anyway. Happy to help more, just holler.
Thanks for the feed back. exploring solutions
 

almorton

Active Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Location
Caterham, Surrey, UK
When we did it we slightly changed the scene to use a joke gun our props people had found in a toy shop which was a "blunderbuss" type thing with splayed trumpet shaped barrel which fired out a (captive) bouquet of flowers from the barrel when the trigger was pulled. So not an umbrella but the effect still worked. Maybe something similar could wok for you - use a little license.
 

NateTheRiddler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Location
Arizona, US
Judging by your response, I am guessing you are heavily experienced in theatre stuff and problem solving. I am sure that your abilities and experience are well beyond my own. Thinking that if you got your head out of your butt you could probably be pretty helpful rather than just pontificating and puffing yourself up. Have a nice day.
Actually, I'm no expert. I was merely trying to get a better feel for the qualifying questions before I offered ideas. Because, while I could throw 100 possible solutions at you, I figured I'd ask for some guidelines first, and then narrow solutions to those that fit your options. I apologize if I offended in any way; tried to lace the questions with humour so as not to pontificate or puff up. I suppose the questions could have been phrased more pointedly and dully. Apologies again for offending.

BONUS: Moving on, here is the post my local propmaster at my PAC referenced when making our umbrella gun for our showing of VW. He's included some helpful reference videos as well as pictures with step-by-step. The build itself is not terribly expensive, although it is a bit involved. I'm actually not certain how well our version worked, but it worked for the run, so I'm going to give it an A+ for final result.
 
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Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
Thank you for your response. I am sure that you know there is a pivotal scene in this show using an umbrella gun. We work is in community theatre and I am the director , set designer/builder and general problem solver for this production. The "actual problem" that I am facing is to provide an acceptable prop to facilitate this scene. I am open to purchase, rental and failing these, feel reasonable capable in building an acceptable prop.
Judging by your response, I am guessing you are heavily experienced in theatre stuff and problem solving. I am sure that your abilities and experience are well beyond my own. Thinking that if you got your head out of your butt you could probably be pretty helpful rather than just pontificating and puffing yourself up. Have a nice day.
Just as a general guide, a LOT of folks will pepper you with questions when you post a question on a build. Some people interprete this as people being Snarky, or pedantic. Mostly it really is about getting a feel for a persons experience level. Se I say things like " Then you build the trigger assembly" which to me is perfectly reasonable but then I know how to Mill, shape, form, and weld; a lot of folks don't.
Nate was seriously trying to tailor an answer and be humorous. He's just not funny. Some of us have a way with words. Others.... No have way.
;) :dance:
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Thank you for your response. I am sure that you know there is a pivotal scene in this show using an umbrella gun. We work is in community theatre and I am the director , set designer/builder and general problem solver for this production. The "actual problem" that I am facing is to provide an acceptable prop to facilitate this scene. I am open to purchase, rental and failing these, feel reasonable capable in building an acceptable prop.
Judging by your response, I am guessing you are heavily experienced in theatre stuff and problem solving. I am sure that your abilities and experience are well beyond my own. Thinking that if you got your head out of your butt you could probably be pretty helpful rather than just pontificating and puffing yourself up. Have a nice day.
Rule #2 of theater... Don't be "that guy." Nate was trying suss out the design goals and needs. Your reply was not helpful to us in helping you.
 

Benjamin Fink

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Location
Morris Minnesota
If you don't have the budget and/or metalworking resources to build along with the link Nate gave, it might also be worth checking with other theatres in your region. If someone has done Virginia Woolf recently, they may still have the prop and might let you rent it for your performance, and/or might be able to give you recommendations through the process. I'd start looking at college theatres, community theatres, and professional theatres in your city and working outwards. It'll take some leg work, but you may be able to find the prop for a small rental fee, a couple gallons of gas, and a special thanks in the program.

When you reach out to those theatres, it would be helpful to include information about your project and resources available (i.e. the answers to those clarifying questions Nate asked above). You'll find that people are more willing to help you out when you make it easy for them and are courteous. Here's a link to "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way". It's written about some best practices to get useful answers specifically on software and hacking forums, but I think it should be recommended reading for everyone online.

EDITED TO ADD: There is an old thread on this forum with a link to a rental house that has this specific prop. Here's one from Weapons of Choice, and here's another company that might be able to rent to you. Many more results are a Google search away.
 
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NateTheRiddler

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Location
Arizona, US
He's just not funny.
MY LIFE IS A LIE. My mom always said I was kinda funny... I guess that’s not what she meant, eh? XD
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Location
Waterdown, ON, CA
If you don't have the budget and/or metalworking resources to build along with the link Nate gave, it might also be worth checking with other theatres in your region. If someone has done Virginia Woolf recently, they may still have the prop and might let you rent it for your performance, and/or might be able to give you recommendations through the process. I'd start looking at college theatres, community theatres, and professional theatres in your city and working outwards. It'll take some leg work, but you may be able to find the prop for a small rental fee, a couple gallons of gas, and a special thanks in the program.

When you reach out to those theatres, it would be helpful to include information about your project and resources available (i.e. the answers to those clarifying questions Nate asked above). You'll find that people are more willing to help you out when you make it easy for them and are courteous. Here's a link to "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way". It's written about some best practices to get useful answers specifically on software and hacking forums, but I think it should be recommended reading for everyone online.
@packrat6 Every time you contact a group asking if they have an item you're seeking ALWAYS ask if they can point you towards any other theatres (Pro, regional / semi-pro, and / or amateur) in their area known to have produced the production you're interested in.

In my portion of Ontario, an organization identified as the: "Western Ontario Drama League" serves to link approximately 90 amateur groups each of which have nurtured contacts within their own smaller areas.
The regional / semi-pro theatres are well interconnected with their kin when it comes to borrowing / trading resources, be it hardware, dimmers, service manuals, tech' support contacts, costumes, props, all manner of designers, you've got the idea.

The pro' theatres and amateur theatres are similarly interconnected at their levels of the 'food chain"

ALWAYS ask, it NEVER hurts to broaden your search area and / or your contacts.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard