Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

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Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby Doug Price » 11 Feb 2011, 12:20

I am looking for a way of getting a very light weight fit up made for myself. I have at present the normal fitup made of Aluminum, but this has proved extremely heavy to cart around. Has anyone of the Prof's got any suggestion for making a fit up of a very lightweight material.

Made up the John Sharp fold down fit up, worked very well but will not fit in the boot of my car.

I am open to suggestions, and diagrams for ideas - Would like to buid this in the very near future, as at present each time I go out to do a show my back goes into a spasm from lifting the weight of the canvas carry bag (in the same shape as a golfbag), in and out of the car and in and out of the venue. All suggestions will be welcome. Doug.
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby Tony James » 11 Feb 2011, 15:55

You will find full details of what you are looking for in the Extended Frame File - look for Joe Beeby's frame.

http://www.arcadypress.co.uk/paypalshop ... _Judy.html
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby Chris » 11 Feb 2011, 19:04

My standard outdoor booth - lazy tongs - is very light. It's made in wood, and I have found it more sturdy than aluminium, it is still in use after more than thirty years. It is certainly less weight than the panel booth designed by Eric Sharp. It is made to the standard George Blake via Edwin recipe. Have you tried that. I have several booths in different styles and materials but that is the lightest.

I'm surprised you can't accommodate your Eric Sharp booth in your car. I've never had a car I couldn't get it in, behind the front seats if not in the boot. I had a little Triumph Herald at one time and could accommodate a roll on table in the boot, my puppet bag and and magic case on the backseats and the Eric Sharp booth in the well in front of the back seats. I think I had to have the amp on the passenger seat alongside me.

But if you want a really lightweight booth have you looked on this website? It is always a good idea before posting a question to have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions and the Punchman's tips. I know that there are a couple of booths, and somewhere there are details of the aluminium booth Tom Kemp used. As I remember this was a very minimal affair since he had to carry it up and down stairs a lot. Perhaps that is what you need.
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby Doug Price » 16 Feb 2011, 12:52

Hi Chris,
Thanks for this information. I live in Cape Town South Africa, and my problem is that on a number of occassions I would leave home with say two shows to do. The distance between the shows does not allow me to return home. I would leave one show - stop for lunch - here is where the problem occurs.

In SA you never ever leave you car unattended with items on the seats or behind the seats.
When you return to your car you would find your window broken and all the items in the car have gone missing, hence we have to make sure that if anything is left in the car it needs to be left out of sight in the boot.

Also when driving you make sure your seats are clear of parcels or equipment, or your window is smashed and the items on the seat are grabbed whilst you wait for the traffic lights to change.

This is another reason besides the back ache that I am looking for a very lightweight theatre that can be in my boot out of the sight of prying eyes. Rgds. Doug.
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby James » 16 Feb 2011, 13:13

How heavy is your current booth Doug? My wooden lazy tongs including canvas and proscenium is only 13kilos.

If lifting the booth is causing problems wouldn't the easiest option be to put it in two or three bags?!
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby Doug Price » 18 Feb 2011, 12:44

Unfortunately - in my wisdom I thought that using aluminum square tubing my lazy tongs fit up would be lighter. This has proved not to be the case. My fit up in thye golf canvas bag with curtaining comes to between 28 and 30 Kg. Hence why I am looking at going lighter. Also it would last a lot longer than wood, yes it has but this has compounded the weight.

What type of wood is good to use for the lazy tongs?

What is the diameter measurement for the lazy tong uprights support poles?

What size or thickness would the battern strips be.

Chris suggested that I look at the Geoff Felix booth and I find this is exactly what I would like to make. Thanks for your reply to my mail.
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby Chris » 21 Feb 2011, 16:47

I thought I suggested you consider the Tom Kemp booth? Geoff Felix designed his booth to be particularly compact rather than light. He travels by public transport, but uses a little trolley to wheel his fit-up around. You are using a car so some of Geoff's refinements will not be necessary.
But if you make a classic lazytongs booth to the George Blake plans out of wood as suggested and to the sizes suggested, it will be very light in weight and will fit in a car boot. You needn't bother about particular woods, just use battening you buy for general use. Obviously don't use lignum vitae. But whether its pine or whatever it's not going to make all that much difference, but if you have a choice between two different types just weigh equal length battens in your hand. It will not only be lighter than aluminium, it will also be stronger. In wind I would trust a wood frame over an aluminium one any day.
I appreciate your problems about things being vulnerable to thieves if visible in your car. To probably a lesser extent that is true in Britain. But when I have an Eric Sharp panel booth lodged in the well behind the front and back seats I feel there is little chance of it being snatched through a broken window while I am stopped at traffic lights.
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby CvdC » 21 Feb 2011, 21:03

The uprights of a booth need to be 1" square. 3/4 " is too small. The wood can be anything as long as it is clear and straight of grain. The lightest wood (the best weight to strength ratio) is red cedar. It has problems with screws and splitting at the ends but these drawbacks can be dealt with.
Geof's lazy tongs are 15mm wide aluminium. which is quite light but the vertical leg of the triangle is not very high. If you use wood you need it to be about 1" x 3/8". I have made booths with this and had problems with it breaking. I think the problem was caused by the holes for the bolts being too tight. I think they may need to be a smidgen larger than the bolt on which they pivot. Anyway I replaced them for aluminium 20 x2mm.
I guess the only other way to reduce weight would be to use a light weight ply for the proscenium and stage.
As Chris points out the lighter the booth the more likely it is to blow over and wobble. You need to have guy ropes or lead shot bags. Perhaps even something attached to the booth that you stand on while performing.
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby Chris » 21 Feb 2011, 22:44

In Britain an outdoor lazy tongs booth always needs to be tied down. Having a baseboard to stand on to give stability is a fine idea, so long as you never need to leave the booth for any reason. Most humans need to eat or drink occasionally, go to the toilet etc and what happens to the booth when you step out? Also weights won't work in real windy conditions, unless they are very heavy indeed - and then don't only tie them to the base of the booth, use guy ropes and use the weights to mimic tent pegs. The support needs to come from the top as well as the bottom. A booth, in wind, is under tremendous pressure and acts, once the tilt is on, effectively as a box kite. On one occasion I used two heavy railway sleepers and actually screwed the booth uprights, via angle brackets to these. Between shows I wandered away and returned to find that a gust of wind had blown the booth over despite the sleepers size and weight. The booth was on its back, the sleepers stuck in the air like giant skis.

My uprights are 1" square planed wood (which is less than 1", nearer three quarters. The folding parts are half inch x three quarters. They are bog standard battening. This booth is at least 30 years old and is in constant use every summer when I use it for 90% of my outdoor shows. It has been used regularly in very windy conditions and is still going strong. As far as transporting is concerned it is the lightest of all my booths. Certainly easily lifted, complete in golf bag cover, by one hand.

But if lightness is a big concern then forget about using aluminium (which is heavier if you want it sturdy enough to resist twisting and bending) but think of the weight of the accessories. Chris vdC is spot on to mention the proscenium and the playboard as being places where weight is easily added, but also things like metal brackets, plates and other fittings can also add quite considerably to the weight. For example I have another lazy tongs booth, beautifully made, which is a combination of wooden uprights, metal folding battens, sturdy wooden playboard and all vulnerable places are metal clad. Its a lovely job, but about five times the weight of the booth I regularly use. When folded and put in its wood-reinforced purpose made canvas bag with its heavy duty wheels it is quite a weight for me to lift in and out of the car.

Also another place to save weight is in the tilt. Just because others use it, do you really need that heavy canvas? That adds considerably to the weight in the bag. Certainly it is probably waterproof, but is that an essential quality? I have a much more lightweight cover with only the roof of heavy waterproof material. OK, it often gets very wet - but the lightweight tilt quickly dries in sun and wind. Of course in the event of very heavy rain I have to remove the puppet bag and amplifier to the safety of the car.

And of course we shouldn't overlook James suggestion of splitting the equipment between two bags. That is a very effective solution, especially if the problem is lifting in and out of the car. Then again carrying two smaller suitcases, one in each hand, is easier than carrying a single bigger suitcase.

You can save even more weight if you only do indoor shows. Jay Marshall had a sit-down fit-up designed for air travel and John Alexander's invaluable The Expanded Frame File shows other compact solutions.
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby johnstoate » 22 Feb 2011, 13:56

You don't mention whether You work 'Hands above' or 'in front' - It occurs to me that if the former, You might consider an open top booth, given that you are based in warmer climes! - This would mean that you could dispense with the majority of the proscenium, and have a much wider playboard area. I understand that this may have been the design of early rigs, and used to have a friend who used such a booth for medieval re-enactments. The tilt for this was a one-piece canvas with pockets for the uprights (Rather like a big windbreak) The uprights themselves were in three sections, and made of the light steel tube they use for frame tents. The top & bottom rails were a four-piece fold out with a cup-and-pin arrangement to lock onto the uprights. On the subject of anchorage, I would suggest the use of suitable waterproof canvas bags, these can be filled with water, sand, soil or whatever else is available 'on site' to provide weight, but weigh comparatively little when empty for transportation purposes.
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Postby CvdC » 23 Feb 2011, 00:14

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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby johnstoate » 23 Feb 2011, 00:22

Yes, but I understand that Mark has now stopped using his braces as guylines, and now refrains from the toasted baked bean sandwiches for lunch!! :lol:
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Re: Very Lightweight Punch Fitup

Postby Doug Price » 08 Mar 2011, 12:42

Hi,

Thanks for the assistance, and a lot of food for thought. I see I will need to go the route of porability and e light weight for the fitup. You have all given me a lot to think about and to go back to the drawing board. I use the method of Hands in front of the face.

Thanks for the assistance.

Doug.
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