Aluminium strip and box section

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Aluminium strip and box section

Postby billywand » 13 Jun 2007, 01:28

Hi All,

As I am making up a new lighter booth in aluminium, jus thought i'd let you all know where I got the stuff from.

My new booth is practically an exact copy, just a bit narrower, than what I use now, and every section of wood is available in atuminium from.....

www.mkmetals.co.uk

based in milton keynes, and very helpfull
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Billy Wand

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Postby Tony James » 13 Jun 2007, 16:41

is this for an indoor or outdoor frame?
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Postby billywand » 13 Jun 2007, 18:52

Hi Tony,

It will be for an outdoor booth. As I don't drive, and like Geoff Felix use public Transport to get around. I want my new booth to be lighter to cary than the one I use at prsent.

The booth I use now is a lazy tongs design, with wooden uprights, roof supports etc made from 1"sq, and 1"x1.5" pine, varnished for protection.
The lazy tongs parts on the bottom and top sections are 3/4"x1/8" ali strip, lengths calculated using Bob Sacco's formula. This is a great booth, and has withstood all weather conditions. There are pictures of it on the allsorts gallery, courtesy of Chris.

The ali strip for the lazy tongs parts has weathered well, I am simply rebuilding with a 36" wide pros instead of 40" and using lighter ali box section for uprights etc so I am now all Aluminium, rather than a hybrid of wood and Aluminium.

If you have any construction tips to pass on I would be gratefull, and thank you for your interest.

Please don't confuse me though, I'm only simple !!!!!!!!
.
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Postby Professor Eek » 13 Jun 2007, 19:04

Aha - someone having a go at it so I can then say 'How did you do that Billy Wand?' and it will all be so much easier for me as you'll have done all the thunking and experimenting
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Postby Tony James » 13 Jun 2007, 19:22

No. i can't help. Just curious.

The first ali frame I came across was the type George Wallman used to built and supply and as in those days I had only a passing interest in Punch I never looked over closely.

There's an interesting ali frame of Joe Beeby's in the later Expanded Frame File which john Alexander sells. I imagine you have that book.

And the only other was that very big and heavy - by comparison with what you are building - ali frame which Eric Sharpe illustrated in his book.

I've just looked at John's book again and Joe's frame was 4mm thick flat ali x 1/2 inch wide throughout except for the uprights which are angle ali. I presume that these uprights are also 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 4mm thick though I can't see if that is specified anywhere.

I just wondered how thin and light you can go with an outdoor frame. The wind I've experienced this spring has been vicious and a light frame would have bent.
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Postby johnstoate » 13 Jun 2007, 21:33

Billy, I don't know how far on you are with the design & construction, but have you considered a 'cantilever' booth in a box?? - I built one for schools jobs, and it worked very well, only problem was one of weight, since I built it from 3/4 " steel box as I had it in stock. The design would work well in aluminium though.
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Postby Tony James » 14 Jun 2007, 14:21

I don't know what a cantilever frame is. Some years ago someonelse told me they had a 1920s cantilever frame and tried to explain it but like Billy I'm easily confused!
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Postby billywand » 14 Jun 2007, 15:08

Hi all,

Thanks John for your interest, and help. As, like Richard, you are a guy who actually makes his stuff rather than uses "shop bought" stuff I appreciate advice from someone who knows. Your advice re fixing hinges has been noted and acted on. Ta very muchley !!!

Tony, once again thanks for your interest. I will keep you updated how I am getting on. I experimented to see how light I could go without the frame too flimsy. One thing I soon found out was that Ali angle is not too good tor the uprights as it tends to twist.

Will let you all know how it goes. I can't post pictures 'cos I don't have a camera, but it's my birthday in August so maybee.......... (hint hint) !!!!!!!

Incidentally I don't know what a cantilever booth is either, but don't let on !!!!!!
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Postby johnstoate » 14 Jun 2007, 16:08

OK, OK, I'll try and explain, The basic is a box about 3' square by 18" deep. It splits in the middle of the 18" all round to erect, and has castors fitted on one edge (This is the back when erected) The inside consists of two side scissor hinged trellises, and a shorter one for the front below the playboard. the whole thing is probably best described as an old-fashioned wooden clothes airer of the fold-down type. The playboard and hookboard are combined in one unit, which is hinged into the top (Inside) The tilt can either be a fixed, one-piece job in lightweight cloth, or a more substantial canvas which hooks on the outside. The topboard is then flap hinged onto the topbox, or done as a push-fit into holes or brackets for the purpose. The one I built was great for indoor & school jobs, but would have been just as useful anywhere requiring a quick-up and down rig, ie; busking. The main problem is one of height, which is limited to about 6'6" using the above dimensions for the 'box'. It could be made larger though, without much difficulty -Hope that clarifies things a bit. :D
ps, Billy, you can strengthen the angle by pop-riveting two pieces together to give you double thickness. But stagger the holes for the rivets so as not to create a weak point!
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Postby Chris » 14 Jun 2007, 17:39

A couple of points:
Aluminium is not very strong. Duralumin, or known under other names, is stronger. I think someone may have posted about this on Punchman's tips.

A couple of "fit-ups in a case" along the lines John is describing are illustrated and described in one of the books - may well be "The Frame File" or possibly "Staging the Puppet Show".

I made a fit-up of of aluminium with weight in mind. It proved very little lighter than its wooden equivalent and was nowhere near as robust in windy conditions - in fact it distorted quite badly and I reverted to wood.



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Postby billywand » 15 Jun 2007, 13:34

Weight for weight the aluminium is about 1/3 the weight of it's wooden equivlent, at least that's what it seems to be working out to in my case.

One advantage of Aluminiun is that it bends rather than snaps, when something drastic happens.

I had a kid on one of those little scooters ride straight into my booth on one occasion, thankfully not when the show was on. The wooden strut he hit snapped ad had to be bound up till replaced at home, the ali I just bent back into shape and was good as gold
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Postby Tony James » 15 Jun 2007, 20:24

I see in John Alexandr's Expanded Frame File that Joe Beeby's frame is described as made of Duralumin.

I wonder what the difference is, apart from the advantage of additional strength. Is it an alloy with some other metal?
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Postby billywand » 15 Jun 2007, 21:27

The Aluninium I am using seems to be strong enough, but obviously I won't know till It's made up and has experienced the horrors that British weather throws at us.

Duralumin is as you rightly say is an alloy of aluminium, copper magnesium, and I believe zinc. This makes it stronger, but apparantly the copper makes it more liable to corrosion by the elements, which is something I did not like the sound of.

It is used in aviation, for its lightness, but has to be treated to stop the corrosion. It was invented by a German bloke in the early 1900's, and is named after where he made it.

Not a lot of people know that, so if it comes up in a pub quiz, now you know !!!!!!!
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Postby Tony James » 15 Jun 2007, 21:57

Now that is interesting. We holiday in Provence near a place called Les Baux de Provence (pronounced bow as in hair ribbon) which is where they mined bauxite from which aluminium is derived.

What kind of treatment do they give it? Some form of coating or anodising?

I wonder what effect wiping the metal over with a cloth with WD40 on it would have? It seems to work on other metals.
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Postby Richard Coombs » 18 Jun 2007, 09:17

Billy points out that , section for section , Aluminium is only a third the weight of wood. This is a good point.

Depending on what you 'final- aim' is , this leads to a couple of possibilites when building an aluminium frame:

** If you 'aim' is purely to reduce the overall weight of your pack ..then I guess you build a booth which is -section for section -identical to the woooden one you already use ( asuming that you already work in a wooden booth , and are not building an ally-frame as your first ever theatre, if just starting out as a punchman)

** If your aim is to build a theatre that is better euipped to handle getting wet , or just want to build in ally , coz it looks nice ... and the weight reduction in itself is not you main priority... then you can perhaps build a frame which has more strengthening struts / cross braces / or lazy tongs sections (particularly in the upper half) ...and still have a lighter booth than you would if working in wood.

In that case , I would reccomend looking through both editions of " The Frame File "...and any other book on puppet staging ( for glove puppets OR marrionettes) and mix and match any ideas you like from different theatres to give you the strongest booth you can build.

Another way would be to build the sort of booth you already have . and simply add extra corner cross braces (to the upper sections particularly).

With ally it is easy to drill holes and put long bolts through and keep them in place by use of nylock nuts . This leaves you a fixing point for a diagonal brace ( a simple flat strip of ally ).....And much as I loathe the things , you can secure this with wing -nuts.

Wing nuts are fiddlesome and get lost ...but the point is you only ever need add the extra bracing to your booth on the windier days. You can even add them to the booth half way through the day if the wind picks up expectedly.

All you are carrying spare in your kit are perhaps have a dozen flat bits of metal and a dozen or so wing nuts. ( tho bolts stay on the frame at all times ) very negligable extra weight to carry : but lots of extra strength added to the frame , as and when needed.

If you have any wings nuts as part of your booth , carry spares , as they do reduce in number : they never seem to breed .

--- A good tip from my mate Prof James Gordon of Cornwall ---
Gloss Paint your wing nuts red , as they show up very easilly when dropped in grass .


Chris ( S) has pointed out that an Aluminium booth might not have the same strenght as a wooden booth.
But because of the lightness of Ally , you can afford to add any extra sections you want to make it well braced and strong , and still be quids-in on weight.

The same would apply if you wanted your new Ally booth to be a few inches bigger all round than your current wooden one...a bit of extra room inside is always nice ...and in ally the difference in weight would be negligable...... theonly downside is you would need a new cavass cover as the one from your wooden booth wouldnt fit.


Just a thought
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