Author Topic: RGB MegaTree strapping style  (Read 4015 times)

Offline RichM

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RGB MegaTree strapping style
« on: March 04, 2014, 04:56:18 PM »
Here are a couple of photos of my megatree strapping.

1. I use a blowtorch and a nail as the punch to melt the holes in the strapping.  The nail is 8 inches long and I used vice grips to hold it (no need to burn your fingers).  I can usually burn about 5-7 holes before needing to reheat the nail. 
2. The strap is folded at the top and a loop sewn closed with a D ring enclosed.  I have 3 inch spacing from the top to the first node.  With the strap folded, one strap is both an up and down segment.
3. The bottom has a loop sewn into it that a small bungee can slide through.  I then attach the bungee to a pipe that circumferences the base of the tree(not pictured).  I have 6 inches from the last node to the end of the strap.
4. Sample of the strapping with holes spaced 3 inches apart.  The strap is 1 inch wide nylon from Rochford supply. http://www.rochfordsupply.com/shop/Webbing/Polypropylene_Webbing/Webbing_-_Heavy__1_inch_Poly/index.html
I use Ray's pixel nodes with regular spacing no custom length needed. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/100-node-LED-pixel-string-DC12V-input-new-model-IP68-TM1804IC/701799_495658159.html
With 3 inch spacing my tree is 13 feet tall.  I have 50 pixels up and 50 pixels down.
5. The topper is made of two 1/2 inch thick plywood pieces glued together with 12 inch diameter.  There are 24 cup hooks, with each D ring hooking onto 2 hooks.  12 D rings total = 24 sections.  The top of my pole has 2 inch pvc reducer that this wood circle slides over.

I use 12 ports from a Falcon 16 to control the tree.  1200 pixel nodes total.
I burned my holes out in the garage with the door open.  Do Not do this indoors!

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« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 05:06:07 PM by RichM »

Offline David Pitts

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 06:41:10 PM »
Very nice Rich. I find this method to be very good. Don't forget to use a fan to blow horizontally while you burn.
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Offline danj

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 06:58:08 PM »
Thanks very much for posting this "how to".  Info greatly appreciated!!

Offline ron

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 09:12:12 PM »
Rich what do you use for the main tree pole?

Offline RichM

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 06:27:35 PM »
For the 13 foot tree, I use a 3 inch diameter pvc pipe.  A 10 foot section on the bottom a coupler and a 3 foot section topped off with a 3 inch to 2 inch reducer.
I also made an 18 foot tree in a similiar manner but used a 4 inch pvc pipe for the main tree pole.  I used a spacing of 3.5 inches between pixels giving about 15 feet lighted and a 3 foot dark section at the bottom of the tree.  I have other decorations in front of this one so you don't even notice the dark section.

Rich

Offline danj

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 06:45:24 PM »
Rich--the rochford site says the strapping comes in 50 yard rolls.  So, you had to cut it and put in the 'D' rings for each up/down?   Not sure I am getting this..  I am missing something I am sure.  Thx!

Offline RichM

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2014, 07:54:46 PM »
I used about 1 1/2 of the 50 yard rolls for the 13 foot tree.  I laid out my measurements on the garage floor using masking tape and a sharpie.  Then I had a hook at one end of the measurements that I placed the D ring on.  At the other end I placed the roll.  I would pull one end of the roll up to the D ring, loop it through then go back to the the roll.  I then went down the strap for each side and made all my marks where the holes for the nodes go using a sharpie.  Then I cut the strap to length using a hot knife (a solder iron with a flat tip).  I gave myself 8 inches of extra length on both ends for sewing a loop with a 6 inch tail (the bungees go on these ends).  I pinned the D ring in place just using a fabric pin until I could sew it in.  I hung the strapping from a hook in the ceiling using the D ring while I was melting the holes.  This way I could put some tension on the strap while forcing the hot nail through. 

I hope this helps,
Rich  ;D

Offline RichM

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 07:21:22 PM »
Here are a few pictures of my trees in the 2013 display.  ;D
1. 13 foot megatree.  The tree makes a 180 degree angle at the base with an 8 foot diameter
2. 13 foot megatree second view
3. 18 foot megatree.  This tree is flat at the top and only has a slight curve/arc at the bottom.  The base flares out 4 feet to each side and comes out 2 feet in the front.  I used a 10 foot section of 3/4 inch pvc and bowed it similar to how I bowed the arches using a string (like a bow and arrow).

Rich

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Offline FireMedic4Christ

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2014, 12:37:08 AM »
. . .  Then I had a hook at one end of the measurements that I placed the D ring on. . . .

I hope this helps,
Rich  ;D

Now that it is complete, do you think the D-ring was necessary to spread the weight load across the strap or could one just melt another hole thru both strands and be okay. I suppose a grommet would work if the cost was about the same.
Brian

Offline JonB256

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2014, 05:50:56 AM »
I think I'd be likely to run some horizontal strapping at 4 or 5 points to reduce twisting.

sent from my Galaxy Note


Offline RichM

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2014, 09:20:57 PM »
Brian,
The D ring is not necessary to spread the weight load across the strap.  It does however make it very easy to hang on a hook.  You could just melt a hole or use a grommet but then you might be fighting the strap while trying to push it onto the hook.  The D ring on 2 hooks helps reduced the amount of twisting the strap wants to do.

Jon,
I thought about some horizontal strapping or even sewing in a few loops on each strapping and using pvc to make some horizontals straighteners.  In the end I was too cheap and didn't want to spend the time making each one perfect.  Using the pixel nodes the brightness is almost the same at 180 degrees as it is straight on.  None of my straps twist around 360.

With that said here are a couple of things I noticed:
1.  My tree held up in the 40-50 mile an hour wind gusts but the straps whipped around pretty violently.  I was nervous a couple of times and thought something would break but the worst that happened is a couple of bungees unhooked at the bottom.  I just had to put them back on.  Also 1 pixel node out of the 1200 popped out of it's hole.  I just pushed it back in when it was safe to climb the ladder again.  I didn't use any glue to hold them in place.  :P
2.  When the winds were blowing, my images were distorted as the straps moved around.  :-\

I will probably replace the 18 foot tree in another year or two.  At that time, I will go with something similar to what Sean is using (emt with strip lights).  I like the fact that the lights won't move in the wind and I will be going for a higher pixel count (more resolution).  When I was originally planning on building a megatree it was a tough decision between the two designs.  I went with the strap method because of storage issues.  Trying to find a place to store 16 foot long emt sections is not easy.  All of the straps fit neatly into a 30 gallon tote.  Also, the strap method came out cheaper to build at the time.

As for the 13 foot tree, I am very happy with the strap style and will continue using it for many years.

Rich

Offline poolprousa

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 10:29:12 PM »
1- how do you sew this stuff, or is there a different way to bond it together? (I don't own a sewing machine)

2- looks like Ray sells 128-node strings also; would 1 channel of a F16 power 128 nodes if I kept the controller real close to the MT?

Thanks for sharing the method!

Offline RichM

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2014, 07:08:24 PM »
poolprousa,
1. I used a sewing machine.  You could just use a needle and thread but that will take longer.  There should be some other ways of bonding but I can't think of them at the moment.  A grommet or rivet might work.  ???

2. 1 port on a falcon16 can power 128 nodes.  Then if you fold once, you would have 64 nodes up and 64 down.  With 3 inch spacing, you would get 16 vertical lighted feet  on a megatree.  Just as a note, you should be able to power up to 150 nodes from 1 port on the falcon16 without having to power inject.  (As Ray doesn't have 150 node length, you would have to solder two lengths together to get 150.)  I use 10 foot wiring from the controller to the strings.

Rich

Offline poolprousa

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2014, 04:44:36 PM »
So these are the lights I am looking at:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/128-node-LED-pixel-string-DC12V-input-new-model-IP68-TM1804IC/495658226.html

Could someone please verify-

1- they are a good choice for 16' MT
2- if I buy 10, I can create 20 up/down 16' strands
3- 10 of these will take up 10 outs of F16 or Falcon Hub, leaving me 6 outs for my star on MT

I'm not doubting any prior advice, I'm just wanting verification that my noob brain is processing all this information correctly

Offline jnealand

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Re: RGB MegaTree strapping style
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2014, 07:06:51 PM »
My nodes are 2 years old, but I only got about 30ft with 128 nodes.  That would give you about 15ft per strand and that will be on an angle so your tree may be a little shorter than you are thinking.  I would get the nodes first and measure the actual length before you start building your tree's support structure.  Other than that caution I think all your other assumptions are good.
Jim Nealand
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