Puppets and Stuff

Puppet Construction => Tutorials => Topic started by: geobryan on July 01, 2010, 05:05:22 pm



Title: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: geobryan on July 01, 2010, 05:05:22 pm
I found this while I was searching around. I didn't make the tutorial but I know people who have used it and I'm planning on using it.

http://www.dougledbetter.org/howto/puppet_stage/


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: dacostasr on July 01, 2010, 07:04:00 pm
Nice FIND!

Dennis


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: MsPuppet on July 07, 2010, 07:38:28 am
Just my opinion, but 2" pvc is overkill. Especially if you want to move it around.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: StiqPuppet Productions on July 07, 2010, 06:58:40 pm
It is an great find and will be very useful for some......

.....just some farther thoughts......

.......Pvc is very heavy to carry around and takes up a lot of room especially as a one person show with a car.....just so people know before they spend all this money and find out it is hard to bring around or pack.

Daryl H


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Na on July 07, 2010, 11:17:04 pm
Actually, there a couple of versions of how to make PVC stages out there. I've made a list of free patterns/tutorials on building sets for puppetry:

http://www.schoolofpuppetry.com.au/tutorials.php/free-puppet-theatre-patterns

Personally, I prefer the lightweight hollow square aluminium tubes (translate to US: aluminum). Very easy to put together, with plastic joints, and can be put in the back of any car with no trouble. ... Of course, I've never used PVC before, so what do I know? ;)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: geobryan on July 08, 2010, 12:21:48 am
Just my opinion, but 2" pvc is overkill. Especially if you want to move it around.
I agree which is why I personally am going with 1 1/2" tubing

@ Darrel  I don't disagree with you, but its nice when you don't have $600 to spend on an aluminum stage (see one way street catalog)



Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: StiqPuppet Productions on July 08, 2010, 03:57:42 am
@ geobryan In no way am I debating that  :)  I am just giving people a heads up....some get excited by the idea and it ends up not being practical for them....just don't want people to spend money and not get something they can use.

Daryl H


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Angel in Tx on July 09, 2010, 05:04:14 am
We have a couple of PVC stages.  One is 1/2" and one is a 1".  You don't need the 1 1/2" really.  The 1" has held up for years already.  And I didn't know of any tutorials at the time.  We designed it ourselves!  I've added to it over time and it has grown.  PVC pipe and the fittings are very economical and can be replaced and reconfigured, to your heart's content.   It isn't as on-sight adjustable as the One Way Street Stages, but dollar per dollar, they just can't be beat. I have cut the pipes to make adjustments before, and if you need to put them back you can use couplers. 

Just make sure you label your pieces before you disassemble.  You think you won't forget where they go, but you do! LOL

We lucked out and someone gave us a huge bolt of black fabric for the curtains, but you can use black sheets from Wal-Mart, they have to be doubled though.  In light you can see through them. 


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Angel in Tx on July 09, 2010, 05:05:35 am
I forgot to say that we initially spent under $50 for our stage that will hold a dozen performers.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Snail on July 10, 2010, 01:33:24 pm
Our first stage was that huge PVC with the wooden footings, the footings did not work that well, wobbled, and the children used the pipes as a jungle gym and it broke, we were lucky it did not hurt them. Made a new rule never leave stage set up if you cannot lock it up.  Heavy and hard to take on the road.  One Way Street has book on building stages $12  www.onewaystreet.com/product/123/staging, easy to follow directions.  Tricky joint top front corners, sides are slightly higher than the front.

One thing we learned from many years with the pvc stages is that you do not need to glue or even tape the vertical joints, gravity holds them in place, but you DO need to glue or tape the horizontal joints. We keep the end joints on the long pieces so it saves time and we number the pipes for each joint.  You don't have to have footers for even the one inch pipes, the 3-D shape of stage holds them in place if you have a pipe across the back that makes it a square. For outdoor portable stage we made half full cement buckets with handles that had slightly larger piece of PVC embedded in cement for footers, added benefit that one person can set the stage up since the buckets hold up the legs.  Our puppeteers kept growing and correct height positioning is always an issue.  We saw another stage with the slightly larger PVC pipe footer where they drilled holes thru the PVC at intervals and put a nail thru holes to make legs adjustable for height. Sorry no pictures just gave my last PVC stage away to another new team.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 06, 2014, 11:29:51 am
HI Guys, I am in the middle of building a stage setup for a group. I am doing it in 1/2" PVC, which is working, and that is what was requested, but I am concerned that there is a lot of sideways movement. It has to be light and small enough to taxi and carry, as transport is an issue here. However, is the consensus that 1" is a good middle ground size for tube? (for future reference)  I have  used stages made of 2" tube and I do think it is overkill, and is more work to transport on your back. I am  jointing the pipes and joints with some short internal elastics, much like a  blind man's cane, or  some tent pole setups. This  makes assembling  much easier. The  question now is diagonal bracing. I have  used adjustable chords on occasions, but they get a little  messy in rapid pack away situations, and they  can get tangled when you are in a hurry. To a degree the cloth covering can be sewn so that it  can be tightened and  give  support....but anyhow... Any suggestions?


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Snail on September 06, 2014, 01:17:37 pm
One inch is the smallest I have used and it seemed to me that there were different thicknesses of the pipe itself, some thinner were weaker.  I used the thicker 1 inch that was stiffer. Because we had a back cross bar it was very stable, but we did have to duck under it. So our stage was a complete rectangle on the top bars, we liked to have a curtain to hide our backside when we were in the park. We used two different lengths of pipe when we wanted smaller or larger stage width. Having a joint in the middle of pipe that was not supported by a leg did not work for us. The weight of the curtain pulled it down. We had 8 foot 1" pipe for front with no joint and it stayed straight Ok.  Those cement bucket footers really helped with stability and made set up faster but they were heavy, it helped that we found cheap small buckets with handles, about the size of paint can.  One time we put bags of beans in large coffee tins then inserted the poles to weigh them down and that worked. So do you have the end joint connectors on your pipes or is only the elastic holding them together with no joints?


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on September 07, 2014, 03:01:31 pm
I think 1/2" is a little light for stage setups and you'll always get a bit of movement using 1/2". Now what you can try and we used to do this even with 1". Instead of a single rectangle we would use a T on the upright so that we could have the rectangle cut into more of a square. Seemed to help with stability. We also always would glue either the vertical or horizontals together instead of just relying on the pressure to hold them together. That seemed to help stability but it could still be broken down into lengths of pipe they would just maybe have a T in them.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 07, 2014, 04:49:58 pm
Thanks Snail and Shawn. Snail, Yes, here we generally have two thicknesses for each kind of pipe too. One takes more pressure than the other. I think you are right in the 1 inch pipe. If I made one for me, I would probably use 1".
   Shawn, In the case of this setup, the show is an indoors one, as it has lighting etc, and also it is a 'puppeteers visible' dressed in black thing, so the stage is shorter at the front, only 1.2m tall. I did notice that once I attached the corners and T's permanently (a short screw rather than gluing, so as to render it dismantle-able reusable/re-adjustable in the future. One I saw, they used pop rivets) to the uprights, it did stabilize things a bit (plus some anti twist stability in the panels), and the thing has 6 panels of 70cm wide (in a U shape with wings) joining them with some nifty PVC clips that I saw, I think on an Argentinian based stage, which then give you a double upright every 70cm width, so it sorta works. We will see how it works once the cloths are on, then see if I don't have to add another horizontal tube with its T's half way up the rectangular panel to give more stability, or replace the middle joints in the panel, with T's.
   Snail, the elastics... At the moment the uprights have a fixed elbow on the bottom, and a fixed T at the top of a 1m length, so that it will hopefully fit into a bag a tad over a meter, to go in the back of a taxi. The extra length for the height of the stage, and the 70cm horizontals, which are in 2 pieces are attached with internal elastics so that they pop out of the sockets to fold away (top one folds downward the bottom one upwards) and are all attached so they assemble in a flick of wrist type of thing. The bits never get separated to get confused with each other.The elastics also help hold the pipes into the sockets but a snug push in fit is also necessary and the elastics are not strong enough to be the sole sustainers of the joint. The cloths also help to keep the pipes in their sockets/joiners. The 70cm horizontals are split in two with a flange on one (softened over heat to make) of a couple inches to give the stability or solidity in the joint. A joiner is too short, and costs, and less than a couple inches does not give the lateral strength needed to stop splitting or stretching of the joint. I am putting a short wooden plug into each pipe end, to help combat long term compression of the tubes in the sockets, as they tend to compress or shrink in over time and get loose in the joint.........maybe a quick video tutorial might explain things a bit better. :)
thanks for your input.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Chris Arveson on September 07, 2014, 05:58:05 pm
I used 1-1/2" pipes when I used PVC pipe stages. I found them inherently unstable when relying on friction to hold the pieces together. I ended up cementing the various joint pieces to vertical pieces, and used quick release pins to hold the horizontal pieces in place in the joints That added a lot of stability.

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=32999 align=left) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=32999)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 07, 2014, 08:34:58 pm
Aha , Thanks Chris. Good idea. Did you loose many pins?


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Chris Arveson on September 07, 2014, 08:39:36 pm
No, because I tied a nylon line around the cross piece and to the ring on the pin. Everything was sized closely enough that the sleeve of the curtain covered it up. It made for pretty quick setup and disassembly.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 07, 2014, 10:28:23 pm
Sounds like I will have to try it Chris, maybe  make some smaller ones.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on September 09, 2014, 07:05:37 am
I like the idea of the quick release pins.

Phillip, I follow pretty well what you are doing, but yes if you have time some pics or a short video of it assembled would be great!


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 18, 2014, 06:28:18 pm
Hi Shawn, sorry for the delay, but here is what I was doing with the PVC pipes. One inch would be even better, but a lot bulkier and  heavier to transport. I had to use a trailer behind my bike once the 3/4 inch pipes got more and more, when the 1/2 inch pipe stage part  was carriable on the bike We definitely found the 3/4 inch pipe sturdier than the 1/2 inch tube. I am sewing up cloths, after  alterations to the design of the stage once technical rehersals  got under way. But it is close to  being used in public.
http://youtu.be/LdS-1kRuIYg (http://youtu.be/LdS-1kRuIYg)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Snail on September 18, 2014, 08:05:03 pm
Wow! This is one of your best yet, so many new ideas that I can use.  I was worried about your fingers as you held that over the fire and used that saw.  Those fingers are too talented to hurt. I have a long pair of heavy tweezers that would help you fish out that elastic, here is website with pictures.
http://www.ambercity.com/vantage-dressing-forceps-3-1-2-89-cm-v96-1-miltex.html (http://www.ambercity.com/vantage-dressing-forceps-3-1-2-89-cm-v96-1-miltex.html)
The flanged out connector is genius, how do you think of these things?  I am building a PVC playhouse for my new granddaughter and I am having trouble finding a certain joint, now maybe I can figure out how to use a flange there.  We used a small bungee cord with hooks around our slippery PVC pipes.
Oh and those clips are great, they are so snug.  I wonder if they could hold some light props on the stage edge, like flowers or bushes?


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 18, 2014, 08:29:04 pm
Yes Snail, you can use clips for clipping light props. We are going to use single pipe clips, not the double ones, and shorter also, to clip the cloths on, and  also clips to hang puppets on, and we did have a fold down table/platform, but they did not need it in the end. The technical rehersal generated a few little tricks. The great thing with the double clips is you use the frames, in any order or combination or angles you want, and the setup I made for these guys they just zig zag it shut and lean it against a wall out of the way after rehersal.
 Yes, the heavy tweezers look good.  .. and my fingers are fine. Had them for 52 years.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on September 19, 2014, 07:04:05 am
Great tips in this one! Those clips are impressive. Not sure I would have the patients for the elastic joints. :)  It did get me to thinking about alternative ways... I wonder if you could use a wooden plug with the elastic to make it easier. Drill hole in center of two wooden plugs. Thread elastic ends through each then tie of and knot. Could also put glue on knots. So now you have two plugs with elastic between. Slide the plug into one to the same point where you drilled holes and then put in a small nail or screw. Repeat on other pipe. If you used a screw you could always take them out in order to replace the elastic. 


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Chris Arveson on September 19, 2014, 09:04:02 am
I'm a member of the pagestep007 fan club. Great engineering. The initial construction takes a bit of work, but saves so much work once the construction is complete and you are assembling and disassembling the stage.

I, too, wonder where these ideas come from, and how long it takes you to work things out to the point that you show them to us.

Shawn, I like your alteration using the wood plugs with the elastic. I don't think I could ever be coordinated enough to do all that fishing with the elastic cord. I was looking forward, in the video, to see how the last knot would be tied. Unfortunately, in that kind of situation, I have more thumbs than fingers. :)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on September 19, 2014, 04:12:06 pm
.... I have more thumbs than fingers. :)
Me too!  That is why my brain started turning over other ideas. :) I would have lost the elastic back into the tube at least 20 times I think.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 20, 2014, 10:46:30 am
Shawn, great thinking. I suppose the plug idea is worth trying. The reason I did not do it was that the plug´s function was to stop the tube compressing over time inside the T and elbow joints. Sliding it in further would defeat that purpose, and add weight. If you  did it at the T or elbow joint, it would work, but I wondered if you would get enough stretch in the elastic.... but it is worth trying. I will give it a go on an extra frame they want added. It is easier doing the elastics by using longer bits of elastic and trimming them, but I was too miserly and wanted to have as little waste as possible. Also maybe a piece of nylon fishing line might be better as the pull through loop thing, as it will be stiffer. I just did not remember that I had a piece in the string box. Anyhow, it is a lot of work doing all the joints, but it looks like it will be a HUGE time and brain saver over the long term. Trials will confirm that.(I am hoping you are right Chris) so far it is great. Oh, using a screw instead of a nail...yes,  good point. Once again  I was being cheap. (I am not being paid enough, and I have exceeded the expected level of effort by a factor of at least two already)A screw would be  better as you say, to replace elastics some day.
   The clamps are a copy of one I saw here, except the creator of it used a small washer on one side of the rivet, and did not flatten the rivets, so they did not fit as snug. We are not sure where the idea originally came from. Not my idea, but works really well.
   
These ideas...there is a verse in the Bible which says that nothing is new under the sun. A lot of what I do is just using   concepts already in use. I think that many woodworkers, and engineers are disgusted by my feable attempts at entering into their  field of expertise. I am but a bush carpenter at best, and a level entry engineer, and through economic necessity have to make do with what I can find for really cheap or free. The experts have studied long and hard to gain exceptional levels of perfection in their fields but  that  is  all they do. I tend to have a little bit of knowlege in a wide range of areas, so  I  can  combine  concepts and fabricate things  to  a workable degree. But, and  many  gringos in particular  put it,  it tends to be very 'ghetto'.
   


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on September 20, 2014, 11:27:22 am
I personally think "Jack of all Trades" is a very honorable title. I would challenge those "experts" to be able to survive in your environment.  That by no means discounts their worth but I consider your skills just as worthy. :)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Chris Arveson on September 20, 2014, 01:56:35 pm
I second Shawn regarding Jacks-of-all-trades. Clearly you use anything, and waste nothing. I love how you pull something out of a stack from previous projects and give it a whole new use. Being low budget isn't bad, it requires far more ingenuity.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 25, 2014, 08:38:38 pm
HI Guys, I did a few experiments with plugs and elastics. The above tutorial with elastics for each joint, was for a general joint without much regard for particular designs, but  here are a few findings for particular situations. Shawn, I tried securing the elastic into the plug before  putting into the tube. The screw is definitely a good idea,(the plugs pack a hard whack on the  knuckles if they ping out under tension without the screws ::) ) as you can disassemble them when you want to, for repairs later on. You must be careful to countersink the screw though, so it fits into a flange if it is to go into a flange. I used some flat head screws, and also tried some little screws from old audio casette tapes. They are round headed, but work fine if you countersink them enough.
 (http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=33045) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=33045)

The plug in one end of the pipe, like the one to go into a flanged pipe or socket is fine, but you need some length in the elastic to give enough stretch. If you are not worried about weight, nor worried about shrinkage inside a joint, then you can do two plugs, tie your elastics through a hole in the centre of the plug, secure one into the pipe, then insert the other plug into the other pipe and with a stick, push the plug into the pipe until the tension you want is reached, marking the stick to guage where the plug reaches, or is up the pipe, then screw the plug.
   I decided to put a plug into the end of the second tube which would go into a socket, so I  attached a piece of string to the elastic to economize, and went through the same process. I tied a knot in an elastic end, fed it through the second plug before screwing it, then fed the elastic through the T jointer, and attached in the usual manner.(using nylon fishing line definitely is easier to thread through holes.)



(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=33042) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=33042)

Howevcer the easiest method, was using just string and elastic, but you would have to figure out on an individual basis depending on your design, how you would arrange it and  if  you are  going to use plugs. With a rectangular frame I just tied a string, to a loop of elastic, then another string, then elastic, a few times, then threaded it through the outer frame with a stick, then pulled to tension and tied the strings togerther. Then I only had to contend with the middle crosspiece. If you are going to use plugs you need to thread the string and elastic through strategecally placed plugs with holes in their centers, or put them in later as in the video above.

(http://puppetsandstuff.com/2008gallery/?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=33048) (http://puppetsandstuff.com/community/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=33048)

I learned a few other tricks on this job, which are likely to be enough for another video.:)

Oh by the way Chris, I forgot to answer you question about how long it  takes to figure out things before sharing them. Some things are not my ideas, or slight adjustments on someone else´s idea, so it does not take much as it has been proven to work and adjustments are few or sure. Others are things that I have been doing repeatedly for years, so I know they work, and others are a little more untested over the long term, but I am fairly sure they work. If I am unsure, I will chew it over for a while before sharing it, or I will say that I am not sure. Occasionally I get enthusiastic and share something prematurely and it is not the best version, lacks some points or is just slack, but in such cases , if it  is really bad I will delete the  vid, or if it  is  not too monumental, do an update to add new findings, as with the above video... there is probably more stuff to find out. It´s a bit of an adventure.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Chris Arveson on September 25, 2014, 09:06:54 pm
The adventure is part of the fun, is it not? I often find that after finding womething that works, I will share it, and then, almost immediately find an improvement that I wish I had thought of earlier. Ah well, that's part of the fun!


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 26, 2014, 08:50:26 am
Yes indeed Chris.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Snail on September 27, 2014, 03:22:42 pm
Phillip I work with engineers in my job each day and they could not hold a candle to your bush skills. And the best thing about you sharing your new ideas is that they often will spark a similar new idea in someone else. You may never know all the people you have helped by sharing.  No one will ever be able to pay you as much as you are really worth.  I think we need to give you an honorary Engineer of Puppetry degree.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 27, 2014, 06:06:03 pm
Ha ha ha, Snail, thanks for the compliments. The only degree I have, is a 37 degree body temperature :). Some might say I am a couple degrees off plumb... anyhow, I'm glad to be of service.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Chris Arveson on September 27, 2014, 07:26:37 pm
Quote
The only degree I have, is a 37 degree body temperature

 :lol


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: galofdreams on September 28, 2014, 09:06:57 pm
Hi Everyone,
Thanks for all the great ideas.  :hearts:  The video was priceless!! I have built PVC stages before, but my husband hates the stuff because it is hard to pack and carry loose and it is heavy in a bag (2" PVC) and since he is the one who usually has to help pack it up and tote it around, I have let him build some from his own design. They are built to last, but out of steel and heavy stuff. We could easily perform with elephants on most of them, but I cannot move them by myself and he will be going in for knee surgery this week so I need to put together something I can manage. I love the elastic idea so I will know exactly which rod goes into which joint. I have two show right now that I will need to do on my own so I better get busy.
Did I mention that you all are a God-send?   ^:)^
Thanks a bunch,
Galofdreams


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on September 28, 2014, 09:40:24 pm
Great, excellent, and you are VERY welcome. I hope your shows go well, and that your husband recovers quickly.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on December 14, 2014, 06:42:45 pm
Here is a vlog entry where we get to do the first show with the stage I made in Sept and october. There are a few little tips at the  beginning. I thought you might  like to see how it  worked out.

http://youtu.be/GMHI4UYd264 (http://youtu.be/GMHI4UYd264)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Chris Arveson on December 14, 2014, 07:43:18 pm
There's a lot of ingenuity in that stage, particularly using the pvc clips in so many different ways. My congratulations to you, the stage looks wonderful.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on December 15, 2014, 07:19:23 am
Great stage set up!  Thanks for sharing the final outcome.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on August 05, 2015, 08:47:08 pm
Hi, I recently did some experimenting to see if I could come up with an alternative to  PVC Pipe joiners. I made some in wood, and although they have not been extensively trialed, I did this  video showing you how to make them. I expect after trialing them in the  workplace we will find out  how well they work and what  idiosyncrasies they may have.
http://youtu.be/dgsNf5x4H6M (http://youtu.be/dgsNf5x4H6M)

(by the way Shawn, how does one make the video show instead of just the link?)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on August 07, 2015, 07:42:27 am
Phillip,  It is supposed to be automatic.  Right now I think the issue is that YouTube has switched to serving securely everything via Https.  I need to look at the code and update it. I'll try to get to that today. :)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: pagestep007 on August 07, 2015, 05:55:15 pm
OH cool... Shawn , the  vids are showing up now. :)  Thanks.


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on August 08, 2015, 11:13:17 am
Well I had to manually edit your post but I am close to making this automatic. I've found the issue just have to figure out the right code so it won't fowl something else up. :)


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Chris Arveson on August 08, 2015, 07:24:00 pm
Code that fowls up other stuff is for the birds. :spin


Title: Re: PVC Puppet Stage
Post by: Shawn Sorrell on August 09, 2015, 07:57:12 am
Cute one Chris. :)