Jump to content
Light-O-Rama Forums

Lets talk PEX ....


bob_moody

Recommended Posts

Well, I am officially 6 months behind (there's some news .. right? ) ..

This year I bought 13 strings of pixels (12 for a tree and one to grow on.. )

I have seen a lot of the GREAT ideas the community comes up with for building pixel trees and I'm hoping that someone can offer some advice.

I have a unique platform to build our tree on. Its an 8' hay ring turned upside down that I have a platform built on to run a G-Scale train "under the tree"...

So the 8' diameter ring is the base of the tree. We are going to build a 12 string 180 degree pixel tree.

I'll have to build a new support mast and use a different topper (3G creations is on deck for this)

I've basically come up with a modified version of the strapping tape/string method (the latter is similar to Brian of SuperStar design) but instead of using wire loom I want to use 1" PEX (The pixels are to large for 3/4 which is what I use for the leaping arches... those use strips inside the PEX)

Here is the main issue.. I have a 5' piece of 1" and the effect appears to work pretty well.. however, because of the final length (which I am not 100% sure of yet) I will either have to use a 10' length (if I can find it) a coupler and a 5' (or part of it) to fully enclose the pixels.

The other option is to buy the PEX in a 100' roll. the word ROLL is the issue.

Lets say for the sake of argument that I need the pieces to be 11'. Does anyone have any ideas on how to cut an 11' section off the coil and get it to straighten out?

I thought about putting a 1/2" piece of conduit inside and let it sit in the Texas sun for a week or so and see if that would take the set out but I was hoping someone might have some ideas or experience with this.

I'm open to any and all suggestions ..

I appreciate you reading the post and thank you in advance for all relies.

Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DO NOT BUY THE PEX IN A ROLL!!!!!!

CAPS intended - I AM shouting..

I bought 2 100 foot rolls of 1 inch PEX about 15 months ago for the same purpose you are thinking. I tried everything I could think of and never could get it straightened out. I'm going to use part of it for some arches this year. Figure that the curve will work to my advantage. I will have 50 CCP pixels in each 11 foot length.

BTW, I tried a variation of your let it sit in the Texas sun. I put the PEX under several hundred pounds of pull to straighten it and let is sit in the southern California sun for a month in the middle of summer and as soon as I released the tension it went right back into the coil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Will verify tomorrow, put it looks like I can get 20' straight sections from the plumbing supply company.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay .. I called a local plumbing supply company here in town .. (Coburns)...

I can get 20' lengths of 1" white PEX .. for right at $23 a stick ... (YIKES!!!)

Of course, now that I have Tie Wrapped the pixels to get the final length .. they come out to 11' 9" (141") ... ARGHHHHHHHHHH...

This means I can cut 7 pixels off and make the strings 43 pixels (to the best of knowledge there isn't a rule that says there HAS to be 50 pixels) but that makes the tree 10' tall sitting on an 8' base (remember the hay ring base? )

OR ...

By 12 of the 20' PEX pipes and cut off 9'3" (waste) ... ends up being around $276 for the PEX ..

What to do .. what to do ..

Then there is the nylon strapping tape method... or

Brian B's wire loom... since I'm only 12 strings @ approx. 12' that 144 feet .. call it 150 .. comes out about $211 with shipping ..

Just an update .. not sure which way to go ..

Bob

Edited by bob_moody
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please note...this is my opinion based upon some intial testing I have done with pixels.

 

I believe that while Pex is good for enclosing pixels for things like arches and background lighting such as house eaves, windows, and such, I do not like it much for pixel trees or matrixes. Here is why...the Pex tends to spread out and blur the light from each individual pixel. This actually improved the light in an arch or window surround as it make the light appear more continuous. But for pixel trees and matrices, especially if you are going to run images, shapes, or drawings, the the blurring effect works against you and blur the distinction between adjacent pixels when they are different colors.

 

I am going to use the strapping tape method with my pixels in order to maximize the quality of the images displayed on my tree.

 

Take with a grain of salt,your mileage may vary, etc....just wanted to put this out there.

 

-Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,

After posting last night I went out to the shop and did some testing.

I can confirm your opinion/observation regarding the softening/blurring of the PEX. Our leaping arches and candy canes depend on the glow ... but the tree would certainly lose definition.

I can also confirm the between pixel color mixing (unintentional as it may be). I observed, for example a red pixel and a blue pixel left a purple glow between them.

After talking with Sandra, I think we are going to utilize the strapping method as well.

Although the tree wont be overly pixel dense (12 string, 180 tree on an 8' base) I think it will look better.

I appreciate you (Ron and Jim) taking the time to respond and offer your experiences, observations and opinions.

I downloaded Walter's PDF on his pixel tree.. lot of good info ..

Thanks again..

Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oddly enough a missed comma makes my thank you look bad... I meant to thank Paul, Ron and Jim for the feedback....

Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pex in a roll is great for building a base for 10 foot trees. Once ends are connected the pex will keep the circle shape with no issues. I have five trees that I will test this out on this year. 16 bolts have been installed for 16 emt pipes. I drilled 6 holes straight and will pin to ground with gutter nails that are 10 inches long.

 

Jeff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never thunk of using PEX for the base Jeff. I might have to give that a try this year. It will go along with what Darryl has done over at CLS. Supposedly, he corroborated with Walter and they came up with some new stuff to help build these trees. All sorts of new goodies for creating a pixel tree: http://www.christmaslightshow.com/home.php?cat=119

I have already ordered some of the stuff and still have a couple more items to get.

 

Now, if Matt (rainyoregonchristmas) can get his pixel clips done, a pixel tree will be about as easy to build as a mini tree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay .. I called a local plumbing supply company here in town .. (Coburns)...

I can get 20' lengths of 1" white PEX .. for right at $23 a stick ... (YIKES!!!)

Of course, now that I have Tie Wrapped the pixels to get the final length .. they come out to 11' 9" (141") ... ARGHHHHHHHHHH...

This means I can cut 7 pixels off and make the strings 43 pixels (to the best of knowledge there isn't a rule that says there HAS to be 50 pixels) but that makes the tree 10' tall sitting on an 8' base (remember the hay ring base? )

OR ...

By 12 of the 20' PEX pipes and cut off 9'3" (waste) ... ends up being around $276 for the PEX ..

What to do .. what to do ..

Then there is the nylon strapping tape method... or

Brian B's wire loom... since I'm only 12 strings @ approx. 12' that 144 feet .. call it 150 .. comes out about $211 with shipping ..

Just an update .. not sure which way to go ..

Bob

This is what I used for my 12 CCR mega tree. Easy to install and it's going to take a crazy storm to break it. One roll was enough for 1 CCR plus about 5-6ft leftover and I paid around 7CDN for a roll. The width is perfect for CCR ribbon and it has ridges on the side so zip ties have somewhere to grab hold of. 0f824744-2554-4da0-91c2-cad95ee94416_300 The roll in this pic doesn't have the ridges on it but you get the idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oilmoney, what about rust?

Good question, I just had a look, nothing yet.... :)  I've been storing it outside elevated off the ground and under a tarp so I'll check it out through the summer and let you know of any changes I see. I'm wondering if this stuff is galvanized??? I also built my frame out of treated 2x4. The other little surprise I found was that the tension of the bands is easily adjusted by pressing the screw down into the wood, using the leverage of the screw to increase the tension and then screwing it down. I split the tree into 2 pieces for easier storage and had to re torque a couple bands, took about a minute each to adjust. Worst case scenario if they do start to rust is that they're relatively cheap and easy to replace. I'll be the guinea pig on this one!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use black 1/2 nylon flat webbing that is the same size as the ccrs. i use clear heat shrink to attach them to the webbing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • The topic was locked
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...