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Christmas Light show Mega Tree kit opinions


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#1 Softball Shawn

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:15 PM

I am looking at the Christmas Light show 20' Mega tree kit for $250. Anyone buy this and have any opinions on it? I was going to make one on my own but considering the time, and cost of materials it seems like this is an affordable option to be done with it without the hassle of designing and fabbing it up.



#2 Ron Boyd

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:34 PM

I actually plan on the base only from them. Here's a link to the one I am in the process of building:http://www.magicchri...as_news_003.htm It's nit hard to build and the cost will be a shade under $200, including the CLS Base kit.

 

The only PVC I'll have on mine is the base. I had some PVC failures this passed year and I am going to try a different material for all props.

 

Just food for thought and another option. The only reason I posted is because of the PVC failures. Being in CA though, you may not have any problems with the PVC getting brittle


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#3 Max-Paul

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:29 PM

This is my opinion, take it or leave it. There are those who will tell you that they have had no problems using PVC piping. But I wonder how many will come back and tell you a year or two later how the PVC has failed? And there are those who will tell you of their failure using PVC the first time. I highly suggest that you use PVC for water or exhaust on the high eff furnace. But no way would I use PVC for a high weight or wind load such as a mega tree. Doing so is a clear invite to a failure. I dont even like fence post or top pipe. But each to their own and some have to learn the hard way. Frankly I suggest the galvanized 1.25" pipe.



#4 Ron Boyd

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:50 PM

1.25" Galvanized is what is in my near future with the Portable Hole linked above. Max, you must have read my mind. 


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#5 thevikester

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:36 AM

I have used the CLS 20 footer the past 2 seasons with zero issues. THe PVC is for the base only, & is a nice element of support. You use 20 feet worth of steel pipe for the center pole. Between the the steel pipe, the 4 guy wires, there is really minimal stress to the PVC portion of the design. I live in florida, so not dealing with cold weather that could leave it brittle. I endorse this product based on MY history and satisfaction.
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#6 caniac

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 12:19 PM

1.25" Galvanized is what is in my near future with the Portable Hole linked above. Max, you must have read my mind. 

built a portable hole last year and it worked great!!  we had a couple days of really bad wind, so much so we took down all our inflatables, it stood tall.


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#7 Gary Levelius

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:00 PM

built a portable hole last year and it worked great!!  we had a couple days of really bad wind, so much so we took down all our inflatables, it stood tall.

 I also highly endorse the Portable Hole. I've used it for our 12 foot mega the past three years with zero issue. In fact, I think some of the enhancements to it were ideas I'd suggested to Walter the first year he previewed it at Light-Up Ohio (I built it that summer).

 

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#8 Max-Paul

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:33 PM

For a base. First I have to say that my mega tree could only go into one part of my yard that it would not interfere with other show elements. I bought two 10' sections of galvanized pipe and cut off 3' of one pipe. Dug a hole so that the top would be about 3" below grade. Drilled a few holes  into the pipe and installed a few 4" bolts. installed the 7' piece of pipe and poured in some concrete to about 6" below grade and plumbed the pipe. Few days poured in a couple inches of gravel for help with drainage. Got a 6" PVC glue to screw pipe end. Got the service cap also. I might redo this next part. I drilled abt 4 small holes in the glue part and ran some long deck screws into the pipe. Did this to help keep the connector from twisting in the dirt. I take the service cap and turn it upside down and screw it in a turn or so. Remember the tapper is now backwards and you wont be able to screw it all of the way in. It is now flush and you wont twist your foot in the large opening if it was left open. I also have a coupling on the bottom pipe. So I really greased it up with axle grease to keep it from rusting. I did get the Arrow head anchors that CLS sells. That baby was in some strong winds this year. And I best have it up well, cause the wife's new car would be just east of the tree. You know who would be in the dog house if it fell on her car.



#9 Ron Boyd

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:58 PM

Brother, you may be in more than just the doghouse on that one my friend. That doghouse may be filled with something else besides you. Whew! I don't even want to think about how much trouble I would be in. My wife knows Taekwondo.


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#10 Max-Paul

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:42 PM

Dang Ron, I suppose the dog house is better than the hospital bed. I feel like that comedian Bill Engvall. And just when I thought I had done the dumbest thing in my life. I went on and taught my wife how to shoot. :(



#11 plasmadrive

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:04 AM

I have used the CLS 20 footer the past 2 seasons with zero issues. THe PVC is for the base only, & is a nice element of support. You use 20 feet worth of steel pipe for the center pole. Between the the steel pipe, the 4 guy wires, there is really minimal stress to the PVC portion of the design. I live in florida, so not dealing with cold weather that could leave it brittle. I endorse this product based on MY history and satisfaction.

I have had this same set up for the last two years as well.  No issues with it in the wind either.  People like the skirt that the PVC makes for the lights.. It is not really needed, but it looks good I think


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#12 Softball Shawn

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:47 PM

Thanks for all of the opinions, much appreciated.



#13 Dennis Cherry

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:12 PM

I actually plan on the base only from them. Here's a link to the one I am in the process of building:http://www.magicchri...as_news_003.htm It's nit hard to build and the cost will be a shade under $200, including the CLS Base kit.

 

The only PVC I'll have on mine is the base. I had some PVC failures this passed year and I am going to try a different material for all props.

 

Just food for thought and another option. The only reason I posted is because of the PVC failures. Being in CA though, you may not have any problems with the PVC getting brittle

 

Ron that is exactly the same one I built. Love it and makes it a  one man job to put up and take down, but do recommend still having an helper.

 

Cost is around $200, now my 4th year using one and not a problem one with weather.

 

Maybe you will see it in July.


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#14 Ron Boyd

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:09 AM

Hey Dennis, or anyone else who may know the answer,

I know this thread is a couple of weeks old now, but I have one more question. My tree will be ~18 ft. high. Using this portable concrete hole I have built and the anchors it uses, will there be a need for guy wires up top? The center pole will be in 2 sections using the CLS Pole Pin (12")


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#15 caniac

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:16 AM

Hey Dennis, or anyone else who may know the answer,

I know this thread is a couple of weeks old now, but I have one more question. My tree will be ~18 ft. high. Using this portable concrete hole I have built and the anchors it uses, will there be a need for guy wires up top? The center pole will be in 2 sections using the CLS Pole Pin (12")

don't know if they are needed but I used them mid-way (old habits).  We had a couple nights of really strong winds but it stayed put.


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#16 plasmadrive

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:27 AM

Hey Dennis, or anyone else who may know the answer,

I know this thread is a couple of weeks old now, but I have one more question. My tree will be ~18 ft. high. Using this portable concrete hole I have built and the anchors it uses, will there be a need for guy wires up top? The center pole will be in 2 sections using the CLS Pole Pin (12")

YES.. you will need the guy wires at the top.. I have not used them in the center and have had no issues.. but up top.. OH YEAH... very important! 


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#17 thevikester

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:36 AM

 [quote name="plasmadrive" post="251280" timestamp="1364916459"]
YES.. you will need the guy wires at the top.. I have not used them in the center and have had no issues.. but up top.. OH YEAH... very important

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#18 caniac

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:18 AM

I didn't use them at the top but the way I connected the pipe is a little different than most of you.  I started with a 2" rigid conduit (10ft) and inserted a 1 1/2 piece (10ft) inside that about a third of the way.  I then took three eyebolts and drilled them thru where the two pieces intersected (a third the way around for each one), was pretty solid.


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#19 Dennis Cherry

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:37 PM

Hey Dennis, or anyone else who may know the answer,

I know this thread is a couple of weeks old now, but I have one more question. My tree will be ~18 ft. high. Using this portable concrete hole I have built and the anchors it uses, will there be a need for guy wires up top? The center pole will be in 2 sections using the CLS Pole Pin (12")

I have not used guy wires at all on 4 years.

 

BUT, my tree was close to the house and helped block any high winds.  Walter claims you do not need them but it is up to you.

 

I have not heard of one person in 4 years on theses forums, claiming their JUMP tree came down from high winds. Build it to Walters Specifications and you should be fine, change to cheaper or lesser material and you are open to problems.


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#20 Ron Boyd

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:58 PM

Thanks folks. Appreciate the replies.


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#21 caniac

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:37 PM

I have not used guy wires at all on 4 years.

 

BUT, my tree was close to the house and helped block any high winds.  Walter claims you do not need them but it is up to you.

 

I have not heard of one person in 4 years on theses forums, claiming their JUMP tree came down from high winds. Build it to Walters Specifications and you should be fine, change to cheaper or lesser material and you are open to problems.

You got that right, thought I could get away with 2" PVC and the thing lasted 15mins before bending and snapping!!   Better half said "I told you so" and off to Lowe's I went to spend the extra $15 per section on rigid EMT.


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#22 hawgfan

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:12 PM

What if I were to use a power pole in my yard the light's at their highest point will be appx 2 feet below the power lines I am not sure of the exact height yet, I just wanted to get some thought's on my  idea and how I should attach the light's to the ground and to the pole.


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#23 Max-Paul

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:43 PM

A power pole? Like are we talking about one of them wooden pole that power and telephone wires are strung on? You going to use gafts to climb it each time you put the lights up and take them down? As for the base, there are two common methods that I know of. One is two hoops of PVC pipes Horz to the ground with more pipes to hold the 2nd hoop off of the ground. This makes the lights go under the top hoop and back towards the pole. 2nd Method is a a single PVC hoop to anchor the ends of the strings so that the tree looks like a cone. Anchors in the ground and tied to the hoop. Use good anchors cause the wind will pull on those anchors, ask me how I know. LOL

What if I were to use a power pole in my yard the light's at their highest point will be appx 2 feet below the power lines I am not sure of the exact height yet, I just wanted to get some thought's on my  idea and how I should attach the light's to the ground and to the pole.



#24 hawgfan

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 10:17 PM

A power pole? Like are we talking about one of them wooden pole that power and telephone wires are strung on? You going to use gafts to climb it each time you put the lights up and take them down? As for the base, there are two common methods that I know of. One is two hoops of PVC pipes Horz to the ground with more pipes to hold the 2nd hoop off of the ground. This makes the lights go under the top hoop and back towards the pole. 2nd Method is a a single PVC hoop to anchor the ends of the strings so that the tree looks like a cone. Anchors in the ground and tied to the hoop. Use good anchors cause the wind will pull on those anchors, ask me how I know. LOL

Yes, not the real tall ones though it might be 30' so I am only going maybe 15-20 ft and using an extension ladder, I hope to make it work with 1 controller this year maybe more after that, I could only start out with 3. I am just trying to get things organized right now.


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#25 LORisAwesome

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:24 AM

I bought a CLS mega tree kit for my first year and used it as designed.  It worked well and could be put up by one person.

 

My problem is that my front yard is not level, this makes the CLS mega tree lean because the base sits on the ground.

 

I liked what CMOORE60 had done with his.  He has a 2 foot deep hole in which the center pole sits in.  He also has permanent anchors for the guy wires.  These anchors are set low enough for the lawn mower to clear.  When he puts his tree up he uses turnbuckles to tension the guy wires.  The nice thing about this is that you can get the wires nice and snug.  You can also use a level and adjust the turnbuckles to get the pole straight.

 

My second year I copied what he had done with the hole and guy wires.   The down side is that it takes two people to set the center pole.  I still use the winch, center pole, pole pine, top, and PVC base from CLS.

 

If I had it do over again, I would probably buy a 20 foot center pole instead of two 10 foot poles and not use the pole pin. 

 

Jerry



#26 indi

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:15 AM

LORisAwesome:

I have the same problem. I have decided to build my base using 1-1/2" pipe and fittings. I envision making an I shape out of pipe and tees. The center tee will be left lose enough so I will be able to adjust the  plumb and have holes drilled into the legs so I can pin them to the ground. Then use my guides. I am only going about 12' or some, so I hope I will be able to raise the center pole by myself. Don't know if this is will work or not, but when the weather gets warmer and the ground drys out. I'm going to give it a try.


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#27 LORisAwesome

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:38 AM

LORisAwesome:

I have the same problem. I have decided to build my base using 1-1/2" pipe and fittings. I envision making an I shape out of pipe and tees. The center tee will be left lose enough so I will be able to adjust the  plumb and have holes drilled into the legs so I can pin them to the ground. Then use my guides. I am only going about 12' or some, so I hope I will be able to raise the center pole by myself. Don't know if this is will work or not, but when the weather gets warmer and the ground drys out. I'm going to give it a try.

The problem that I have with the center pole is this.

 

The star and CLS top (tie down connection point and pulley) adds a weight to the top of the pole. As you try to raise it, you quickly get past the balance point. Without someone holding the lower end, the top comes crashing back to the ground.  I am dealing with a 20' center pole though.

 

If you try to lower it by yourself, you are already past the balance point before you start, and it is not possible to lower it gently.  This happened to me once before I realized what was happening.  I was lucky that it didn't ruin my star.

 

If you stick with the CLS base, it is farily easy to put up by yourself.

 

If I understand what you are describing, it sounds like it will work.  The CLS base is just a cross, the I shape sounds like it will allow you to get it straight in one direction.  As you raise your center, one side will tighten while the other loosens.  Probably not a big deal becasue it is only turning about a 1/4 turn.  As long as you use guy wires you will probably be ok.  It might be a little interesting getting the guy wires set without it coming back down.

 

I highly recommend using guy wires with turnbuckles.  If you skip the guy wires, you will probably regret it at some point.

 

Here is the anchor that I use.  http://www.truevalue...Anchor/9527.uts  They come in different sizes and can be set low enough so the lawn mower doesn't hit them.

 

Jerry



#28 indi

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:56 PM

.Those earth anchors are great. But, in my yard I have to use a pick just to plant flowers. Every-time it rains, I get a new crop of rocks. I've lived in this house for 30 years, and they just keep growing. I have to use rebar that I drive in at a pretty steep angle. If I hit a boulder, I have to move the anchor point. I am thinking about building me a portable hole and build it with the center on an angle. I'll wait and see what happens.


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#29 Max-Paul

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 03:05 PM

But even a portable hole needs to be staked to the ground. At least thats what he showed us a few years ago when he came to the HAM meeting in KC. indi, maybe you should be using those devices that rock climbers use. Either the pins they hammer in or those spring loaded ones they put in cracks. Didnt know that it was so rocky down around J.C.



#30 Klayfish

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:27 AM

I'm going to resurrect this thread. I'm gathering all my supplies I'll need to build for this year. I'd like to build a mega tree. Due to a limited number of channels, it'll likely be static this year, but that's fine. I want to use the portable hole, which looks easy enough to build. I was also planning on trying to build the Monkhouse Jump tree. Since I've never built anything remotely like this (while I'm not a complete idiot, I haven't done a lot of handyman building in my past), I was wondering if there was a step by step build instruction somewhere? The instructions on the website give a lot of diagrams and some pictures, but not a "step by step" walk through of building it from scratch. I want to make sure I'm doing this right, both for safety and visual appeal purposes.

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#31 Ron Boyd

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:47 AM

I'm going to resurrect this thread. I'm gathering all my supplies I'll need to build for this year. I'd like to build a mega tree. Due to a limited number of channels, it'll likely be static this year, but that's fine. I want to use the portable hole, which looks easy enough to build. I was also planning on trying to build the Monkhouse Jump tree. Since I've never built anything remotely like this (while I'm not a complete idiot, I haven't done a lot of handyman building in my past), I was wondering if there was a step by step build instruction somewhere? The instructions on the website give a lot of diagrams and some pictures, but not a "step by step" walk through of building it from scratch. I want to make sure I'm doing this right, both for safety and visual appeal purposes.

If you're going less than 20' you can use This and just use 2 sections of rigid conduit. Your center pole will need to be 1 1/4" and then make the mods to the portable hole. Use 1 1/4" stuff instead of 2". It's what I'm doing this year.


Edited by Ron Boyd, 16 May 2013 - 08:49 AM.

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#32 Paul M Krupa

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 01:40 AM

I am going to build my first mega tree this year and have really liked all the info on this thread. The one thing that I would like opinions on is for whether or not to support the light strings. I plan to use 70 count m5 leds that are aprox 23 feet long and we do have some wind in the
Columbia Basin. Should they be supported by 1/16th cable or something similar?

Thanks,
PMK

#33 caniac

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:22 AM

I am going to build my first mega tree this year and have really liked all the info on this thread. The one thing that I would like opinions on is for whether or not to support the light strings. I plan to use 70 count m5 leds that are aprox 23 feet long and we do have some wind in the
Columbia Basin. Should they be supported by 1/16th cable or something similar?

Thanks,
PMK

not really, as long as you have guide wires in the middle and at the top you should do fine (3 at each location).  Mine is 20ft and holding up 48 strands of C6's, we had a couple of days of strong winds (so strong we had to take our inflatables down) but the tree handled it. 


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#34 Max-Paul

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:40 AM

PMK,

 

Back a few years ago I was reading a lot and researching the best I could on the subject of Mega trees. Seems that I was coming across post of people talking about the wires stretching and then the copper inside would snap. But not all where complaining about this. I am German (2nd gen born here in the states) and got a lot of my build it strong and twice needed specs from my Grandpa. Also I feel like I am one of those people plagued by Murphy, kind of like Jimswinder.  So, yes I used the 1/16" cable with a green coating of some sorts. And wire tied my Red, Green, and White super string to the cable. Did a little loop at the top with the cable and did not run the wires over the hook head, just the aircraft cable on the hook to minimize strain and wear to the wires.

 

Thats what  I done and it works for me. Easier to find the center and dont have to worry about any change to that point of center either.



#35 chipwdw

chipwdw

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 09:00 PM

another bump on this.... have used the CLS 20' kit (& the 4 guy wires) for 3 years now. live in tampa fl area, so no snow but few good thunderstorms, its held like a champ! modified the PVC base a bit to fit my liking, but its all based from the kit. i have 6400 minis + 25-30 strobes on tree and works fine, its is poss to set by myself, but usually get few family & friends (bribe with food if needed) and have everything up from storage to fully running in half day. tear down takes me about 5-6 hrs solo if i have to (again bribe with food). biggest problem is storing 2 10' steel & few 10-12' PVC poles. GREAT set up and looks awesome, easy to adjust.


the last thing heard at the party ... 'hey watch this'