Christmas Piled Stage Design

Christmas Piled

Greg Springer from First Christian Church in Norfolk, Nebraska brings us this Christmas design.

Inspired by Twinkle Pallet Trees, they came up with this design. A couple of Greg’s stage team members built and installed these in about 8 hrs. They lit them using a ADJ RGBA mega bar on each of the 4 largest trees, and a ADJ rgb megabar50 on the smaller 2 trees. They used cedar dog-eared fencing materials in 4′ and 6′ lengths and a 2×4 on edge for the center support. To lay out the trees, they took gaffers tape, and taped out their triangles on the floor, layed out the boards and used the tape as cutting guides. The wood was very easy to split using a wonderbar and a hammer to give it some rustic feel. Be careful on your screw choice as the ceder is very soft and if screw head is too small it can be pulled through the board.

The center panel was inspired by Glow Grid. They used kitchen vinyl wall panel (bought at Menards), with rgb strip lighting on both top and bottom edges resting in a notch cut into 2×4’s. The key to the design was curving the vinyl as it seemed to even out the light distribution across the whole panel instead of just the edges. The notches also aimed naturally blocked direct view of the LED’s. The six sections were all self contained and will be seperated and flipped to be used as pillars in an upcoming design.

Hints: The RGB strip adhesive is not very sticky, so they bought double sided tape to attach it. The notch allowed not only a spot to attach the rgb strip but the other side of the “V” notch was used to staple the vinyl to. Be careful with the RGB strip, it’s cheap because it is several pieces soldered together, and so is fragile during installation, but very cost effective.

Materials List:
Trees: $150 Not including lighting
2×4′ in 10′, 12′, 14′ Lengths for center supports
2×4’s for support legs
4′ and 6′ lengths of Dog Eared Cedar Fence boards
4 ADJ megabar RGBA
2 ADJ megabar50 RGB

Materials for Grid Wall: $600 ($200 of resusable infrastructure included, dmx decoders, power supplies)
6 DMX Decoders: 1 for each horizontal row. (These have 8A supply per channel R,G,B, which is more powerful than most, and can handle larger loads, AKA longer rgb strips)

2 12V 30A power supplies (instead of using a lot of wall transformers):

Supernight RBG Light Strip: 6 rolls @ 16.5′ per roll

Vinyl Panel $14 for a 4×8 sheet (1/2 sheet per box) bought at local menards (check by wall paneling)
2×4’s for framing, painted black
2 sided 3m tape for rgb strip. Might try automative trim tape, it might work better.

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8 responses to Christmas Piled

  1. Nice job!! I like how you created the trees! And the multipurpose wall to pillar is a fantastic idea!

  2. the power supply you used was capable of a 30A load. but your DMX boxes were 24 each. how were you able to run more than one dmx box on a power supply?

    • Sorry for the delay Jesse, the update got caught in my spam. Good question about the power supplies. The DMX boxes have a max output of 24 Amps (8A per channel, R,G,B) This doesn’t mean that they will always draw that, it depends on how much rgb strip its having to light (for our strip it is 1Amp max per meter of strip (thats 1A total for RGB at full)) In the situation that we were running, I was using one 5 meter strip per DMX box, so 5A per dmx box (or 1.66 amps per channel RGB). Each power supply handled 3 dmx converters, so each power supply was running right around 15 amps max (If we were running white at full). So you are correct there is a chance that you could blow up your power supply if you don’t calculate the loads correctly. Also watch out that you don’t try to connect too many strips together in series because the electrical runs on the RGB strip aren’t designed to handle the amount of current needed for the long length of strip, so look at the instructions on the package, and try to do shorter sections in parallel. And remember that even though the power supply is rated for 30A multiply that by 80% and that’s safe working capacity. If you have any other questions let me know.

  3. Very nice! How tall were your trees?

    Thanks,

    Jen

  4. How did you create supports to get the trees to stand?

    • We are blessed that we can put screws in our stage, so we simply cut a couple of feet using a compound miter saw so that they angled up and back to each side and anchored them to the center 2×4. The bottom front cross board acts as a vertical stabilizer, so make sure you get it on straight. If you can’t drill into your stage, then you will probably need some sand bags and a little more structural support. There might be a better way, but it worked for us.

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