Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Building A Lighting Rig

Today's post is another photo essay. I got the parts for the new lighting rig/half booth for indoor venues with small spaces.

This is the design from last week. The pipe lengths are approximate. I knew that I might change them when I had a real, live rig in front of me. The only requirements are the 8x4 footprint and the 102 degree angle.

This is the box that arrived in the mail yesterday. These joints are sturdy, versatile, and cheap.

And this is a stack of 10' long 1" conduit waiting to be cut. There's the pipe cutter starting on the first one.

Since I didn't know what height I wanted it to be without seeing it full-scale in person, I put together the 8x4 rail first. It held up full-length pipes so I could get a feel for an appropriate back wall height.

There's no place here with 10' ceilings and level floor to let me build the rig this way so I paid a visit to the retreat center where I lived last year. It was nice to see the folks again and to work on this project in a warm, dry indoor space.

I'm glad I got to experience a full-scale mockup before making crucial cuts. An 8' back wall was waaaay too tall. I went for 7' instead.

Once I had that pipe cut, I put on the 102 degree joint and used duct tape to secure the next joint to the front upright. This let me take a direct measurement instead of needing to trust my geometry.

And then it turned out that a 4' overhang felt like too much. I went with 3' instead, using the scrap from my 7' back verticals.

At this point, my hands were killing me. I've cut lots of copper before, and quite a bit of 3/4" conduit, but 1" is a different beast. It's thick! Each cut took about 10 minutes and a lot of hard work. I decided that I would keep going until I saw the beginning of a blister. (Even my rubberized gloves weren't protecting me all the way.) In the worst case, I'd need to make a few cuts at home later. It was the measuring that needed a level floor and high ceiling.

Well, I got it done with only one small blister appearing at the end of the last cut.

And here are all of the pipes laid out:
2 - overhang sides
4 - side pieces, 2 on each side
2 - back verticals
2 - front verticals
4 - width pieces, 3 on the roof, 1 across the back

Here it is, all set up and ready to decorate! This is a fantastically versatile and durable rig that permanently solves the problem of how to suspend lights in front of the booth. The whole thing cost less than $150, including the canvas sleeves I'll be sewing up this week. If the better lighting helps me sell just one garment, it will have paid for itself.


Artchie said...

Can you tell me where you got the box of joints for the lighting rig?

Blossom Merz said...

Yeah. It's called Yuma's Bargain Warehouse. http://ysbw.com They've got all kinds of pipe joints, tarps, bungees, and stuff. If you're building this kind of structure, they've got the best prices I could find. Enjoy!

Artchie said...

Thank you so much! That is exactly what i've been looking for!!