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Speedster

Suggestions for building Leaping Arches and Starbursts

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Posted (edited)

This year I'm planning to add 2 8-channel leaping arches and 2 8-channel starbursts (using strings of LED lights) to our Christmas display.  I've found a few videos suggesting how to make leaping arches, but they're several years old so I'm wondering if there is a newer/better way to make them.  I plan to make each arch out of a 10-ft PVC pipe, but wasn't sure if I can make each arch out of just one 10-ft pipe, or if I need to use the "sleeve method" and cut 8 sections of a bigger diameter pipe (equal lengths of course) and slide them over the smaller diameter10-ft pipe.

For the starbursts (which I would like to be about 6 feet tall), I'd like to have 7 channels for the column of the starburst and the 8th channel for the star on top.  Unfortunately I haven't found any videos that show how to make these.

I'm hoping to start making them this weekend, so I'd appreciate any advice you have on how to build these (what materials to use, the length & thickness, what to use to anchor them (rebar?), where to get the stars for the starbursts, etc).   Thanks in advance.

Edited by Speedster

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Posted (edited)

I would like to touch on the leaping arches. The videos of the "Older Style" arches may be all you are going to find. With the rising popularity of pixels most have switched to pixels as they are easier to build and offer more options in color and control.

Building the arches with sleeves has its ups and downs. Without the sleeves it takes less material and can build quicker. With the sleeves it would be easier to replace lights should a section go bad but you use more material. It just comes down to your preference.

Edited by Mr. P

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This year is my first time using a light controller system. I also looked to find how people built there arches. I couldn't see making them with sleeves and all. where I don't have a lot of controllers I made my arches with 4 channels per arch this year hoping to make them 8 next year. what I did was laid out the 10 foot piece of 3/4 pipe and divided it by 4. drilled holes and zip tied the lights and had my daughters turn it as I held the lights. I seen where people would pile lights on I only used 100 count LEDs per channel. I think they look great. as for my star tower I used 2 inch pipe mine is only 5 foot tall with 4 strings of lights I did red then green then red and green. I welded up a double star to have 2 channels on the star. so with 2 arches with 4 channels and I star tower with 6 that covered al most a controller then I added 2 homemade trees to go in the middle of the arches. 

I too would love to go with pixels in the future but just starting out with Light O Rama controllers. I want to learn how to build and start shows before just jumping right in to RGBs.

I'm not sure if I helped you any.

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1 hour ago, Mr. P said:

I would like to touch on the leaping arches. The videos of the "Older Style" arches may be all you are going to find. With the rising popularity of pixels most have switched to pixels as they are easier to build and offer more options in color and control.

Building the arches with sleeves has its ups and downs. Without the sleeves it takes less material and can build quicker. With the sleeves it would be easier to replace lights should a section go bad but you use more material. It just comes down to your preference.

Agreed. Just would add since the LED strands are so much more durable and life expectancy is decades, forget the sleeves. 

Also, stand them up and use as firesticks. I use both and get many more comments about the firesticks than the arches. They program the same way. If can’t do both - do sticks. 

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Thanks for the info & advice everyone.  I like the idea of the firesticks, so instead of starbursts I'll make 2 8-foot firesticks out of PVC and line the 2 front corners of our house with them.

It'll be awhile before I get into pixels, so for now I'll make 2 "older style" leaping arches.  To save time and money I'll build them without the sleeves.  Can I make them out of 10-ft PVC pipe that is 1/2" in diameter and anchor them with rebar?  Or should I use 3/4" PVC?

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I also echo much of what has been said.  I have a "Fountain" we call it, with an even older version of building using incandescent lights still.  I used the sleeve method as I liked taking it apart and putting them in a box for easier storage.  I used 1/2" pvc as the base with 1" as the sleeve cut into 1ish foot lengths. My Fire stick is about 7' tall with 6 sections and a 3 channel star.  Here is a video of how I did mine.  It says they are 6' and 8', but since I made the video all the arches are now 8 sections.  Check around the 2:00 mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5i2F72IyBY

 

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I built 4 led arches (2 color) about 4 years ago, before pixels. They were a pain to build and when one of the strands went out, it was a pain to change.

I have since converted all arches over to pixels. Much easier and the result is MORE better!

I used Matt Johnson's video and copied what he did.

I would suggest doing exactly that!

 

 

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5 hours ago, Speedster said:

  Can I make them out of 10-ft PVC pipe that is 1/2" in diameter and anchor them with rebar?  Or should I use 3/4" PVC?

1/2” will be too flimsy. 3/4” minimum. I used 1” and have been very pleased with them. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the great suggestions/advice everyone!  Heading out to Menard's this afternoon to pick up four 1-inch diameter 10-ft PVC pipes to make 2 leaping arches and 2 firesticks.  The firesticks will be about 8 ft tall and will line the 2 front corners of our house to the left and right of our kitchen window.  Will have to use strings of LED lights since I haven't gotten into pixels yet.  Since I'm still boycotting the NFL I'll have lots of spare time on Sundays to get everything made and in place by Thanksgiving night. 

Thanks again y'all!

Edited by Speedster
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Posted (edited)
On 10/5/2018 at 6:32 PM, Mega Arch said:

1/2” will be too flimsy. 3/4” minimum. I used 1” and have been very pleased with them. 

I was wondering if you used rebar to keep your arches in place.  If so, how much of it has to be inserted into the PVC?  I'm afraid the PVC will break if I bend it too much, so how tall should the arch be, and assuming that rebar is used, what should the angle of the rebar be?  Based on my initial test bends, looks like the rebar should be pounded into the ground at about a 40 - 45 degree angle.

Edited by Speedster

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13 hours ago, Speedster said:

I was wondering if you used rebar to keep your arches in place.  If so, how much of it has to be inserted into the PVC?  I'm afraid the PVC will break if I bend it too much, so how tall should the arch be, and assuming that rebar is used, what should the angle of the rebar be?  Based on my initial test bends, looks like the rebar should be pounded into the ground at about a 40 - 45 degree angle.

I actually attached mini-clamps to the ends. Then drive a gutter nail thru the mini into the ground. In the middle of the arch, drive a 4 ft rebar and zip tie the arch to hold it upright. About 34” tall arch if I remember, using full 10ft sticks.

https://www.electricalsupplies.com/ProductDetail.asp?InventorySys=954069

See both firesticks and arches here:

https://youtu.be/QHpS4E5N6u8

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3 hours ago, Mega Arch said:

I actually attached mini-clamps to the ends. Then drive a gutter nail thru the mini into the ground. In the middle of the arch, drive a 4 ft rebar and zip tie the arch to hold it upright. About 34” tall arch if I remember, using full 10ft sticks.

https://www.electricalsupplies.com/ProductDetail.asp?InventorySys=954069

See both firesticks and arches here:

https://youtu.be/QHpS4E5N6u8

Looks awesome!  Thanks for the info, I think I'll try the rebar method for anchoring each end first, then if that doesn't work I'll try your method.

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On ‎10‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 2:50 PM, Mega Arch said:

Also, stand them up and use as firesticks. I use both and get many more comments about the firesticks than the arches. They program the same way. If can’t do both - do sticks. 

I made the 8-ft tall firesticks out of 1-inch PVC and 8 strands of lights.  Do you have any suggestions for attaching them to the brick exterior of a house?  I couldn't find anything on the Menard's or Home Depot websites that would allow me to anchor the PVC pipe far enough away (about 2 inches) from the brick so the lights aren't touching the brick. 

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Speedster, this may sound dumb, but I am thinking that 1"pvc for your arch, if sch40, may be hard to get a good bend out of it when placing it over the rebar anchors.  I actually heat my arches up one at a time with a hairdryer (blow it one end out the other) just before I take it outside and install it.  That way it doesn't crack.   Which I learned the hard way.  A 10' pvc pipe will bend nicely to a gap width of 7'. 

My 4 ten foot 1" pvc leapers with eight sections each are anchored over top of a3/4"- 8' rebar hammered into the ground three feet.  I slide them over the rebar straight up!  I left a foot at the bottom of the pvc for snow coverage.

 

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1 hour ago, Speedster said:

I made the 8-ft tall firesticks out of 1-inch PVC and 8 strands of lights.  Do you have any suggestions for attaching them to the brick exterior of a house?  I couldn't find anything on the Menard's or Home Depot websites that would allow me to anchor the PVC pipe far enough away (about 2 inches) from the brick so the lights aren't touching the brick. 

The same clamps I mentioned above. Then a 1/4” anchor in your mortar. Then a 1/4” rod coupling and then however long a machine bolt you want. Have done it many places. 

https://www.electricalsupplies.com/ProductDetail.asp?InventorySys=954069

https://www.electricalsupplies.com/ProductDetail.asp?InventorySys=969525

https://www.electricalsupplies.com/ProductDetail.asp?InventorySys=974577

https://www.electricalsupplies.com/ProductDetail.asp?InventorySys=974334

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@Crimson Lane Lights Etown  I found 3/4" blue 10-ft PVC that is already somewhat curved, so I'll probably use that for the arches since it appears they won't snap in the middle or break off at the ends.  I can make a slightly taller, more curved arch that way.

@Mega Arch  Wow, that's some expensive hardware!  I'm on a very tight budget this year so I'm gonna have to see if I can come up with a cheaper way to fasten the firesticks to our mortar.  Then maybe next year I can implement your suggestion.

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2 hours ago, Speedster said:

 

@Mega Arch  Wow, that's some expensive hardware!  I'm on a very tight budget this year so I'm gonna have to see if I can come up with a cheaper way to fasten the firesticks to our mortar.  Then maybe next year I can implement your suggestion.

You misread. The $27 is per hundred. They are only a few bucks each at Home Depot or wherever. 

https://www.homedepot.com/s/Acc%2520pipe%2520hanger?searchtype=text&NCNI-5

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On 10/17/2018 at 3:15 PM, Mega Arch said:

You misread. The $27 is per hundred. They are only a few bucks each at Home Depot or wherever. 

https://www.homedepot.com/s/Acc%2520pipe%2520hanger?searchtype=text&NCNI-5

Thanks, despite spending over $500 on new eyeglasses recently, I'm apparently still blind as a bat!!!  Maybe I should return the eyeglasses and use the money to buy more lights and LOR gear!

I picked up the conduit hangers and all other necessary anchoring hardware for the firesticks at Home Depot today.  Thanks again for your help!

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7 minutes ago, Speedster said:

Thanks, despite spending over $500 on new eyeglasses recently, I'm apparently still blind as a bat!!!  Maybe I should return the eyeglasses and use the money to buy more lights and LOR gear!

I picked up the conduit hangers and all other necessary anchoring hardware for the firesticks at Home Depot today.  Thanks again for your help!

Good luck & post some videos when done...

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NEW TO LOR LOOKING TO MAKE LEAPING ARCHES WITH PIXELS. CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT HARDWARE I WILL NEED LOOKING AT PURCHASEING THE FOLLOWING TO START WITH BUT NOT SURE ABOUT LIGHTS AND ANYTHING ELSE I MEET NEED. WILL ALSO BE USING AN FM TRANSMITTER.

PRO Series 16 Channel Starter Package  

Residential Series Addon CTB16PC-ReadyToGO

NOT SURE ABOUT THESE LIGHTS.

(NEW CCP+) Cosmic Color Controller II with 2 Strings of 100 Bullet Pixels

NEW CCR+) Cosmic Color Controller II with 2 CCR-II Ribbons  

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On 10/8/2018 at 11:02 AM, Mega Arch said:

I actually attached mini-clamps to the ends. Then drive a gutter nail thru the mini into the ground. In the middle of the arch, drive a 4 ft rebar and zip tie the arch to hold it upright. About 34” tall arch if I remember, using full 10ft sticks.

https://www.electricalsupplies.com/ProductDetail.asp?InventorySys=954069

See both firesticks and arches here:

https://youtu.be/QHpS4E5N6u8

@Mega Arch Are those arches 5 channel?

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48 minutes ago, JPat said:

@Mega Arch Are those arches 5 channel?

I used (3) 5-channel sticks one year. No pop. Need at least 7-channels. The arches and sticks in the linked video are all 8-channel. 

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