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Jumping Arches questions/tips


cluebbe
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Newbie here who is just getting into the Light o Rama fun.  I will be posting a series of threads to get members feedback on how they recommend easily going about putting up different components of their display.  My first topic is leaping/jumping arches.

 

I have watched and researched leaping/jumping arches for quite some time.  It seems as though there are many ways to go about it, but most videos share a few commonalities: using PVC pipe for the lights, using a potato peeler, drill or some other tool to rotate the pipe to more quickly string the lights.  My questions are:

 

1) What is the best sized PVC to use for an 8 channel arch with 100 lights per channel?  

2) What is the optimal length of PVC to use?  I was thinking of having a 12 foot arch with the bottom 6 inches of each to not have any lights so that I can keep them out of the grass and/or snow.  Unfortunately none of the local home improvement stores carry more than 10 ft sections.  Are there are any disadvantages to using two 6 foot sections and splicing it in the middle?

3) If using more than 1" diameter PVC how do you bend it without the use of a heat source?

4) What means to folks recommend to support the arch?  Sticking with the thought process of using 2-6' segments I was thinking I could use a piece of PVC down from the splice to support the middle and then a guide wire on each side.

5) What is the optimal length for each section/channel?  If I were to do a 12' arch with 6" left off each end that would give me 16.5" per section/channel?  Is that too big, too small or just right for 100 lights?

 

Any other tips and or suggestions that folks have to offer would be great.  I am looking for ways to optimize the initial build effort and also ease of set up for the following year.

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by cluebbe
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Well, let me jump in first and probably get in trouble.  I do believe they are normally called Leaping arches, second, why an even number of channels?   With an odd number you get a very nice flow over the top.  And lastly, I think the sleeve method is the only way to go.   Just my opinion, don't hate. :)

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Thanks guys for the feedback!  I couldn't correct the subject of the post to reflect leaping arches.  

 

Regarding the # of channels, I will admit that since I am getting a late start with putting my display together that I don't have much time for programming, not to mention that I also have other projects ongoing at our house too (mainly staining a deck and clubhouse).  As a result I have found several good free sequences out there that use a 16 channel configuration.  For ease I have used those as my basis for putting together my sequences.

 

What size of PVC do you recommend using for the inner arch?  What size for the outer segments?  

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I use "1/2x'10 Sch40 PVC and like others, rebar into the ground to stake them. I divide into 8 sections each with 100ct lights in each section. Seems to work just fine for me. I do think that using couplers and doing individual sections would make it easier to repair although mine aren't that way.

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my suggestion would be to use a CCR. when you figure in that your going to need a controller, lights and lots of SPT wire & plugs you might as well spend $250 for a CCR and have multiple colors (versus just one color). That's how I created my leaping arches a few years back and have never looked back.

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I'm also an advocate for an odd number of segments.  My arches are 7 segments and my poles are 9.  I've sequenced both for clients - odd and even number of channels - and there's SO much more you can do with a single channel on top in the center of the arch as opposed to having two channels (one on either side of center) at the top of the arch.  I would encourage you to give that a bit more thought - it's easier and quicker to make them the way you truly want them in the first place rather than having to change your sequencing in every song to add more channels per arch later on.

 

My arches and poles are all made with all the lights wrapped around one contiguous length of PVC and zip cords extending the plugs to the end of the arch.  (The sleeve method hadn't been invented yet when I made mine.)  If I had to do it over, I'd do it the same way.  Yes, it's a hassle when a set of lights goes out, but the arches and poles look so clean with no cords dangling from the middle.  IMO having all those extension cords hanging down would be an eyesore.  Even if the viewers didn't notice, I'd see them every day and it would make me crazy.

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Newbie here who is just getting into the Light o Rama fun.  I will be posting a series of threads to get members feedback on how they recommend easily going about putting up different components of their display.  My first topic is leaping/jumping arches.

 

I have watched and researched leaping/jumping arches for quite some time.  It seems as though there are many ways to go about it, but most videos share a few commonalities: using PVC pipe for the lights, using a potato peeler, drill or some other tool to rotate the pipe to more quickly string the lights.  My questions are:

 

1) What is the best sized PVC to use for an 8 channel arch with 100 lights per channel?  

2) What is the optimal length of PVC to use?  I was thinking of having a 12 foot arch with the bottom 6 inches of each to not have any lights so that I can keep them out of the grass and/or snow.  Unfortunately none of the local home improvement stores carry more than 10 ft sections.  Are there are any disadvantages to using two 6 foot sections and splicing it in the middle?

3) If using more than 1" diameter PVC how do you bend it without the use of a heat source?

4) What means to folks recommend to support the arch?  Sticking with the thought process of using 2-6' segments I was thinking I could use a piece of PVC down from the splice to support the middle and then a guide wire on each side.

5) What is the optimal length for each section/channel?  If I were to do a 12' arch with 6" left off each end that would give me 16.5" per section/channel?  Is that too big, too small or just right for 100 lights?

 

Any other tips and or suggestions that folks have to offer would be great.  I am looking for ways to optimize the initial build effort and also ease of set up for the following year.

 

Thanks in advance!

1 I recommend 3/4"   Any larger and you will have difficulty bending it.  I also like odd number to have a section at the top.

2  10'    I also have cut some 6 inch spacers that I drop over the rebar to raise the arch off the ground.   Using 2 shorter pieces will cause a lot of stress on the joint when the PVC is bent.

3  Don't recommend 1" unless doing a larger arch.

4  Using 2' rebar with about half in the ground will give the arch plenty of support on it's own.

5  The length of each section is simple math. divide the total length by number of sections and just wrap your lights to fit.

 

In the six years I've had arches I have had few problems with them.  Just light bulb maintainence.  I have not considered changing over to sleeves.   They store nicely in the rafters in my garage.

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1) What is the best sized PVC to use for an 8 channel arch with 100 lights per channel?  

I used the sleeve method for my arches.  I used a 1/2 gray pvc and 1" well pipe for the sleeve.

2) What is the optimal length of PVC to use?  I was thinking of having a 12 foot arch with the bottom 6 inches of each to not have any lights so that I can keep them out of the grass and/or snow.  Unfortunately none of the local home improvement stores carry more than 10 ft sections.  Are there are any disadvantages to using two 6 foot sections and splicing it in the middle?

you can use any length you like but, usually pvc comes in 10' lengths and is easier just to stay with that.

3) If using more than 1" diameter PVC how do you bend it without the use of a heat source?

The gray pipe bends on its own nicely. 

4) What means to folks recommend to support the arch?  Sticking with the thought process of using 2-6' segments I was thinking I could use a piece of PVC down from the splice to support the middle and then a guide wire on each side.

All I have ever used is 2' rebar pounded into the ground.  Never needed any support lines for wind.

5) What is the optimal length for each section/channel?  If I were to do a 12' arch with 6" left off each end that would give me 16.5" per section/channel?  Is that too big, too small or just right for 100 lights?

 I went with the odd channel method(7 channels).  just pick the total length you want the arches to be and divid it by the channels and you will be given the length of each sleeve.

 

This year I am switching over to CCR type arches....  We will see how that goes real soon...

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Lowes carries 20 foot PVC out in their garden area so you could do that if you wish or just use a connector and pvc glue and extend one end of 10 foot pvc. I do recommend Sch40 since its a lot thicker, therefore stronger, but that's me.

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...  Yes, it's a hassle when a set of lights goes out, but the arches and poles look so clean with no cords dangling from the middle.  IMO having all those extension cords hanging down would be an eyesore.  Even if the viewers didn't notice, I'd see them every day and it would make me crazy.

 

 

If you see cords dangling in the middle you did it wrong.  The cords from my sleeves are only visible/accessible near the 2 arch ends.

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I used a 10' 1/2" SCH 40 Pipe, and I attached it by hammering in two rebar rods into the ground at an angle, bending and sliding the pipe over the rabar. They are small but they look good.

I made a small 8' arch 7 years ago with mini lights from walmart, still works good never had to replace any lights on it. 

Even though the sleeve method is time effective and easy to maintain, to my eye it has too much of a gap between channels, and you have to play around with the lights to get them nice and close to each other.. Just my two cents...

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I'll jump into the fray with over 100 arches built. I recommend -

3/4" dia grey pvc conduit (flexible and 10' sections can be easily connected to form a 20' arch.

Sorry George, I'm a fan of 4 or 8 channels. You can accomplish the top channel effect by combining the 2 top channels. Sequencing in 4s and 8s is much easier than an odd number. Cut and paste mega tree effects on to your arches.

Does anyone build odd number mega trees? Why not?

 

Bottom line, your audience will not see the difference, take the path that is easiest for you.

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I'd like to jump in...

I'm about to start installing my 3 arches into the ground outside and not sure about using rebarb pounded into the ground.

I'm building them as we speak and having diffucalt time with the idea of using reberb. Got any great ideas to less the stress???

Thanks

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Rebar works real nice. I suppose it would also depend on what angle you are bending the pvc too...keep it reasonable and the rebar a good foot or more in the ground or so and you should be fine. I was concerned about it too last year, being my first year and it turned out to work well for me.

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Do I need to bend the rebar?

I have 3 that reach 36inches high on a 10 foot pipe

 

Nope, Just hammer the straight rebar into the ground at an angle that you think looks best to you generally around 55º

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.... Sequencing in 4s and 8s is much easier than an odd number. Cut and paste mega tree effects on to your arches...

 

No right or wrong. Only a matter of personal preference.   I have no issues programming my 5 channel arches/fire sticks.

Edited by Liberty-Laser
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