Traffic-Light-Blinders

Traffic Light Blinders

Steven Hall from Journeychurch.tv in Norman, OK brings us these awesome light bars.

Their concept was to build some blinder type fixtures that they could use for an amazing glow. They like to call them 4 Bars. They were essentially a linear 4 light blinder. Although they are technically a blinder type fixture, they used them for a glow 95% of the time. It was very rare that they got dimmed higher than 30%.

They wanted something that could stand alone or be modular and linked together. The lights consisted of four 8.5″ clamps lights, 2 MDF panels, and some 3/8″ hardware. They drew out a layout in Vectorworks that placed all the lights evenly within a 4′ x 1′ panel. They made sure in their layout that the spacing was even for when the panels were set next to each other. There was a 1’ gap between each lamp.

Part of the challenge of this set was time. They designed, manufactured, and installed this set in a 2-week period. In this time line, they knew it would be overwhelming to try and cut all these piece by hand. Also with their desire to make the fixtures modular and symmetrical, they decided it would be best for someone other than Steven to cut them. They had their friends at Boss Print Design cut the panels with their awesome CNC machine. They had the pieces cut from 1/2″ MDF. They ended up using 10 bolts per light, to better sandwich the fixtures.

All of the panels were exactly the same, which  made life so easy building and hanging them. They painted each of the 48 panels Flat Black and all the hardware with black paint.

To manufacture the lights, they used the 2 MDF panels to sandwich the clamp lights into the openings. They used 2″ bolts, washers, and nuts to tighten the panels together, which kept the lights in place. Each light had 10 bolts, so there was a ton of hand tightening! They found that a gator bit on a drill made life a ton easier.

A big part of what they wanted to accomplish was to make this set easily repeatable. With many sets of this type, the cable gets run out, turns into spaghetti, and takes hours to sort out…. Also, a lot of times the frames are built for a one time use and/or are flimsy. They wanted to stay far away from that and still have the capability to individually control each fixture. With that in mind, they made a huge deal of keeping all the cable on the lights tight and clean.

To accomplish this, they made 4 circuit looms to power each of their bars. These were made from lamp cord and ada-tap connectors. They wrapped them in 1/8″ tech flex to keep them clean. They made all of them at a length of 25 feet. Even with the extra length, their cabling was pretty clean considering they had over 400 connections onstage.

To help them individually control each light, they purchased Light-O-Rama dimmers to dim each clamp light. They purchased the commercial 2 x 15 amp series. That way, in the future, they could run 200 watts per dimmer channel if needed. There were a few oddities they found with these dimmers, but they work pretty well for the cost. ($400ish) If you run power on a three phase system, you have to keep all the dimmers on one leg to eliminate weird data issues.

The layout was more of a guess and check sort of thing. Steve laid it out in Vectorworks 3 or 4 times before they found something that worked well. He wanted to make sure he had some levels with his Mac 700s, so he placed them and their 101s first and filled in the gaps with the blinders. Once they were installing they did make some adjustments to fit the fixtures in easier with our rigging. Since the fixtures were pretty light, they used balling wire and tieline to hang them.

For a list of materials, check out churchlights.blogspot.com.

_MG_1180 _MG_1473 _MG_1492 _MG_1494 _MG_1496 _MG_1604 _MG_1611 _MG_1633.CR2 (1) _MG_1649.CR2 Capture IMG_4399 IMG_4400 IMG_4403 IMG_4404 IMG_4409 IMG_4412 IMG_4419 IMG_4424 plot

10 responses to Traffic Light Blinders

  1. what are the movers that you are using?

  2. Hey Steven. what type of trussing/pipe are you using around your screen to get the different level heights?

  3. sweet design ….. one of the best ive seen … bravo, way to not suck

  4. John, We are using a combination of Mac 700s (spot type fixtures) and Mac 101s

    Desiree, We used lots of Schedule 40 pipe that was painted black. A lot of ours is 1.5″ rigid galvanized conduit from Home Depot that has been painted. We used Spansets http://www.versalestore.com/c129/Span-Sets.htm?CFID=3454130&CFTOKEN=55538047 and shackles to create most of the levels. For the pipe that sits right behind the screen we used VER locks (which are steel wire with fittings that can easily be adjusted up and down.)

    Alan, Thank you sir! Always shooting for Not Suck!

    ,Steven

  5. Giovanni Guidicelli May 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Hey steven! Love your setup. We’re looking at doing what you came up with for our look. Can you explain how you connected the Light O Rama with power? Is the unit plugged into a wall outlet at 20amps?

    Also, is the dmx on the unit like a conventional dimmer? Where you set the starting address to the unit then each channel in the unit gets assigned its subsequent address. For example: Unit Starting Address is 1. Unit dimmer channels 1-6 have address 1-6

    • Giovanni,

      Thanks. We really enjoyed this set. The Light O Rama dimmers plug into any standard outlet. The dimmers are just like a conventional dimmer pack. You set a start address (example addresss 1 is dmx 1-16) The only thing to keep in mind is you will need to buy DMX to Cat 5 adapters from Light O Rama when you purchase the Dimmers. I would suggest going with either the LOR1602W or the LOR1600W. They make addressing easier and seem to be built sturdy. Hope this helps!

      ,Steven

  6. What type of bulbs did you use n your panels??

  7. What type of lighting fixture are you using for the blinders and where were you able to purchase them in such a large quantity?

  8. We purchased ours through a Do-it-best hardware place in WV I think. I have since lost the website. I would suggest to purchase them through Home Depot (it was the second cheapest I could find and they are black instead of white.) If you talk to your local hardware store they can probably order them in have them at the store in 3-10 days. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial-Electric-150-Watt-Incandescent-Clamp-Light-CE-300PDQ/100354511#.UizwZMasiSo

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