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Why pipes and not unistruts?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Chris Pflieger, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Chris Pflieger

    Chris Pflieger Active Member

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    I got to thinking, "Why are lights always hung from round pipes and not unistrut?"

    It seems like that would be ideal - easy and inexpensive to mount and move and the lights can be closer to ceiling.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Ok, Old Guys, Who was the manufacturer that made a Plug strip that had an integrated uni-strut type rail on the bottom? I cannot remember.
     
  4. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Van I'm recalling several in my area; Electro Controls being the first that comes to mind.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
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  5. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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  6. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    No problem with unistrut style mounting, as long as you have some Track Tamers or similar style adapter. Otherwise mounting to track is a pain. For instance, if the yoke is parallel to the strut, it likes to get stuck in the opening. This is prevented with large square washers which often get misplaced.

    But yes strut can definitely save inches where it counts, like on dance towers or box positions.
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  8. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    When you are on top of an A frame, trying to hang a fixture, I would much rather slip a c-clamp over a pipe and tighten down the screw than try to balance the fixture as I try to thread a screw through a hole and into a "hopefully" spring held nut that may or may not be solidly clicked into it's channel. There are low-ceiling locations where uni-strut makes sense, but not my choice at any distance up.
     
  9. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I rarely use unistrut because the stage electricians I've met and talked to about it almost universally detest it. I do think its what JD points out - that its easy to transfer the load immediately with a c-clamp than it is with unistrut. I think more costly as well and not black - but obviously those could be addressed.

    Ziller profile anyone? Round aluminum extrusion with a unistrut like channel- top and bottom IIRC? Clamp or bolt lights to it, use it as a curtain track,and a very nice lift line attachment. Seemed like I saw it at a USITT in the 1980s.
     
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  10. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @JD Agreeing with you and adding. If you pass the appropriate length 1/2 - 13 Hex bolt through the fixture's yoke at ground level and start your strut nut on the bolt's exposed threads, it's often appreciably easier to deal with at the top of the ladder than having to try to engage the threads while holding the lamp over your head with one hand and trying to start the threads with the other. Not as quick and easy as a C-clamp but often easier in comparison. Also, the length of the 1/2-13 bolt is somewhat critical, if it's too long it can bottom out in the channel prior to the yoke being tightly clamped but then this can happen with a C-clamp as well.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  11. AudJ

    AudJ Active Member

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    Side related question - how do you safety-cable a fixture hanging on flush unistrut? Do you need another unistrut nut? Special cable prerhaps?
     
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  12. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I specify there be eye bolts and hardware required. About the only place I use it is recessed in a ceiling under a box seating position.
     
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  13. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @AudJ If you have two, or more, fixtures fairly close to each other, you can always safety them to each other for redundancy. It's less than ideal but a start. If / when going with separate eye-bolts for safeties, be sure you're employing rated eye-bolts, possibly forged, shouldered, rated eye-bolts.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
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  14. Ron Foley

    Ron Foley Member

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    the channel mount that is refered to was originaly made by Electro Controls
    when Strand Lighting purchased Electro Controls in the 80's the product was manufatured in the Strand factory in Ontario Canada
    the channel mount is still manufactured today by Arkadium in Guelph Ontario.
    it is an extruded aluminum . the channel slot has no rating, so you can not use it to hang fixtures
    the channel slot is there as part of the hanger
     

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  15. Ron Foley

    Ron Foley Member

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    now as far as using Unistrut.

    the nut inserts have to be propery allined to have a secure connection.
    to do this you have to look into the open side of the channel and assure the spring nut is in the proper position

    not easy to do in a dark theater

    looking up with the fixture and yoke masking the spring nut

    not a suggested use of the product
     
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  16. Ron Foley

    Ron Foley Member

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    Arkadium in Guelph Ontairio now manufactues that channel mount. the licencece was passed from Electro Controls to Strand Lighting Canada and is now owned by Arkadium
    manufacturing as we speak.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2018
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  17. Ron Foley

    Ron Foley Member

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    see attached for more hanger options
     

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  18. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    I've done a bizarro double strut/wire way and hanger all in one. It's small, simple for general contractors to install, and good when the lights almost never move around. Elementary school!
     
  19. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Thats exactly as they were/are installed at my university's theatre, circa 1974. The job sheets are still taped to the junction boxes.
     
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  20. geoffrey hugh

    geoffrey hugh Member

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    historically (well, in my history), in new york city, theaters did not come with pipes, only a hanging system. so, we prepared our pipes in the shop. sometimes we would mark them up (using a paint marker like welders used), then send them over to the theater. other times we would pre install c-clamps so that spacing was already in place. then we’d mont the lamp to the c-clamp at the theater. we did the same with booms.

    my guess is that pipe was available, cheap, easy to handle, no special tools, etc. and because new york shows then toured, pipe became ubiquitous.

    my further guess is that it took time to standardize pipe. in other words, prior to inch and a half black gas pipe (as we called it), it took time to sort through, and eliminate, all the other options. anyone here around in those days?

    i began working in new york in the early 70s.
     

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