lined-lightly-stage-design

Lined Lightly

Walter Halliwell from The Well in Geneva, IL brings us this great use of LED tape.

Details from Walter:

Overview:

I started by getting a ton of measurements of the stage. Unfortunately, the stage brought many challenges when it came to measuring everything since we have an uncentered baptismal tank (essentially nothing is centered or makes sense). But once I measured everything, I drew out plans for each section of the design on half-inch graph paper. Once the plans were drawn out, we started building. Everything else was either bought on eBay (LED spools, DMX controller, transformers, etc.) or Home Depot (wood, hardware, paint, etc.) and some materials were already on hand.

Keep in mind, the arrow design under the projector was meant for easy removal since the baptismal tank is underneath it and we have baptism services.

Supplies:

  • (x11) 5M spools of RGB 5050 LED Waterproof IP65 Strips
  • (x6) 24ch. DMX Controller
  • (x6) 100W Power Supply (DC 8.3 Amps)
  • (x6) Rubber Grounding Plug
  • (x45) DIN Connectors – Male
  • (x45) DIN Connectors – Female
  • (x50) PCB Connector Wire (5050)
  • (x20) PCB Straight Connector (5050)
  • (x40) Everbilt Closed Screw Hook
  • (x8) 12-Guage L-Bracket
  • (x25) 1x2x8 Wood (for lights) [don’t get cheap wood or it’ll bow!]
  • (x17) 2x4x8 Wood (for frame)
  • (x2) Rust-Oleum Black Spray Paint (to paint any silver metal)
  • (1 Gal.) Black Paint
  • (75 ft.) Black Jack Chain
  • Black Cable Tie
  • Hot Glue
  • Black Electrical Tape
  • (1000 ft.) Cat 5e cable (depending on sizes of your stage)

Building:

1. CUT 1×2 wood to correct sizes below and paint black:

  • (x12) – 6’ fixtures
  • (x20) – 4’ fixtures
  • (x4) – 2’ fixtures
  • (x8) – 2’4” fixtures [for the floor: 4 having a 1’ LED strip and 4 having a 2’ LED strip centered on the wood and secured to floor w/ L-Bracket]

2. CUT LED strips to proper sizes and glue/tape on to black wood. Use black zip ties for extra security.

3. CLAMP PCB connector wire (except when using beginning/end of spools since wire is already soldered to LED) to LED strips and then to female DIN connector:

  • PIN 1: +12v [white or black]
  • PIN 2: —skip—
  • PIN 3: B [blue]
  • PIN 4: G [green]
  • PIN 5: R [red]

4. HOT GLUE all soldered connections (female DIN connectors, direct solders to LED strip, etc.)

5. TAPE all connections with electrical tape (including wire from female DIN connectors to LED strip)

6. MAKE CABLES to run from fixtures to DMX controller out of Cat 5e to the size you need. Clip blue striped, green striped, and orange striped wire. Then strip remaining brown, brown striped, blue, green, and orange wire and solder to male DIN connector as follows:

  • PIN 1: +12v [brown and brown striped twisted]
  • PIN 2: —skip—
  • PIN 3: B [blue]
  • PIN 4: G [green]
  • PIN 5: R [orange]

(The other end of these cables will just screw directly into the DMX controllers so no need to do anything other than cut and strip at the other end)

7. MAKE DMX CABLES (six) out of Cat 5e to the size you need. Clip orange and orange striped wire and strip/twist together the remaining wire as follows:

  • PIN 1: Ground [blue and blue striped]
  • PIN 2: D- [green and green striped]
  • PIN 3: D+ [brown and brown striped]

(Keep in mind, you only need to solder to a male XLR if you are coming from a light/DMX amplifier or something. The rest are just twisted together and screw right into the DMX controller)

8. LABEL channels on all DMX controllers

9. SET DIP SWITCHES to proper DMX channels on each controller

10. TEST everything before you start putting it up for good!! I tested by just plugging each light into DMX channel 1 and testing RGB from ShowXpress.

Rigging:

The ones on the left and right side of the projector were hung w/ black jack chain in pairs of 2 from clamps on the truss. The ones on the bottom half were hung w/ black jack chain from the fixtures hanging above them and then secured to the floor. We put a support beam on each section of 5 fixtures to prevent them from spinning using a nail gun (careful that the nails aren’t too long or they’ll break the LED strips!).

The frame for the arrow design on the baptismal platform was made of 2×4 wood and was screwed into the floor with legs to prevent it from falling back as shown in the picture.

The 8 lights at the bottom were screwed into the floor with L-Brackets.

Use black zip ties for cable management

What We’d Do Differently Next Time:

Direct solder and not use PCB connectors – just directly solder 5050 PCB wire from LED strips to DIN(f) connectors for a better connection (Building Step 3 – SOLDER instead of CLAMP connector wire)

Buy extra DIN connectors just in case

Don’t just use adhesive that comes on the LED tape, actually use some sort of stronger glue that holds well with heat

Totals:

Cost – around $1,000
Hours – around 50/60
Fixtures – 44
DMX – 132 channels

all-bars-2 band-silhouette chart custom-dinf-3 custom-dinm-2 custom-dinm-3 custom-dinm-4 custom-dinm-bulk-2 custom-dmx-boxes custom-dinf-2 custom-dinf-4-tape custom-dinm custom-dmx-box full-stage-red full-stage-blue-ls-edited jerry-core-4 jerry-unqualified l-brackets rigging-1 rigging-2 rigging-3 rigging-4 rigging-7-wiring rigging-6-din-close support

2 responses to Lined Lightly

  1. Yeah, our biggest issue getting into the LED strips was how to get them to stick to the wood. Hot glue doesn’t work that well, and makes it difficult to “re-use” the strips. We found a stapler at Home Depot that electricians use for wiring that the staples were just a little wider than the normal staple gun and this works like a champ! The staples hold down the lights and can be easily removed by prying with a screwdriver. Anyway, your stage looks great!

  2. Best explanation/illustration I’ve EVER seen! Thank you!

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