Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by pagestep007 on Sep 06, 2014
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?
Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by Snail on Sep 06, 2014
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?
Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by Shawn on Sep 07, 2014
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.
Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by pagestep007 on Sep 07, 2014
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.
Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by Chris Arveson on Sep 07, 2014
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.

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Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by pagestep007 on Sep 07, 2014
Aha , Thanks Chris. Good idea. Did you loose many pins?
Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by Chris Arveson on Sep 07, 2014
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.
Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by pagestep007 on Sep 07, 2014
Sounds like I will have to try it Chris, maybe  make some smaller ones.
Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by Shawn on Sep 09, 2014
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!
Re: PVC Puppet Stage Posted by pagestep007 on Sep 18, 2014
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.
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