Thursday, October 1, 2009

Breaking strength of copper wire vs. steel cable - Gee, which one would you choose?

This scenery flat was found attached to a utility batten with a loop of 12 gauge stranded copper electrical wire. Copper is a soft metal that has little strength when loaded structurally. The director usually doesn't want the performers to wear hardhats during the performance, so eliminating the possibility of scenery falling on them really can work-out well for the wardrobe department.

The use of proper scenery attachment clamps, and securing flats at the bottom as well as the top can improve the safety. By attaching suspension cables both places, the flat framing is loaded in compression, rather than in tension, greatly reducing the likelihood that the flat could be pulled apart at the seams / joints should it snag on something when it is going up (flown-out).
Thread the suspension cable through this at the top of the flat.
Terminate the suspension cable at the bottom with a bracket like this.

Components shown found on Doughty Engineering web site (

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