I had posted a question on one of the Christmas forums about building leaping arches using pixel based lights. I particularly was interested in using strips similar to the Light-O-Rama Cosmic Color Ribbon.
I had heard about using a PVC type of pipe called PEX tubing. Usually found as water lines in mobile homes and travel trailers. I had done a test already and found that a light strip inside the tube really looked great. It had a nice glow to it.
I got back several suggestions from the forum inquiry, but what I was really looking for was to place the strip inside the tube. Some told me that they had done that, but I was confused on how you would mount the arch if there was something inside the tube. In original variations of the leaping arch, people would wrap incandescent lights around the outside of PVC and stake out the arch by slipping it over rebar.
I was talking to Jim last night, a forum friend from California, and he showed me what he did which was a variation of something he discovered from other display builders. I saw that and a big light went off in my head ... OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.....
So I headed off to Home Depot and picked up a few CPVC couplings and a long piece of PEX tubing and took it home. Literally, five minutes later, I have a glowing arch. I used a "T" and 2 45 degree fittings. The PEX goes into the 45's which gives a really nice height to the arch and the "T", I will put a piece of PVC in the bottom and slip it over a piece of rebar in the ground. Easy Peasy ...
Here are some quick picks of the testing. I'm using dumb RGB strip connected to a 12V battery for simplicity and testing..
Basic concept.. is a GO !!
There are a lot of things coming down the pipe. I finished phase I of the train project. The new LGB train runs like dream now. It has been carefully packed and put away.
I started the Candy Cane project. Sandra and I changed our approach to the project. We were going to make a template, buy and cut out the coro and build them from scratch. Then David at Holiday Coro (http://www.holidaycoro.com) put his CoroCanes on sale and after doing the math it was probably better for us to buy from David. I placed the order on 01/28/13. They should be here this week!!! We have the pixel modules in house and the pixel controller. Keep watching for more on the "PixelCanes"
Be sure to check our Calendar of Events for upcoming happenings. There is a model train show coming to Houston on Feb 16th and then there is ....... LoneStarHolidays and .... THE ACADEMY !!!
Keep watching and reading... oh yeah .. and YES .. I will post what FEW pictures we have of the 2012 display before it got destroyed... and YES .. I will EVENTUALLY get the HowTo's up to date.. I actually need to delete a few since they no longer exist and are being reworked (Merry Christmas Sign :-( ... )
TRAIN UPDATES: Waiting on the last of the parts (smoke stack and cow catcher). Then there are just a few things left to do for this part of the train project. Check out the Calendar of Events to see the tasks in this project. Another "train project" will be coming when we redesign the hay ring/MegaTree stand. This will include the track platform.
Candy Cane Project: This is a new project just coming online now. I havent even updated the task list or calendar for this one. However, I purchased a 1/4 sheet of MDF to make a template out of and then plan to use my router to cut out the candy canes from sheets of Coro. We received 200 rectangular pixels (individually controllable) on Monday (01/21/13) and are waiting for J1Sys to reply with our pixel controller order confirmation. I will lay out the pattern and start getting thing ready while we are waiting. If we hit a snag or delay .. then we fire up the next project ...
FULL SPEED AHEAD !!!
Train arrived last weekend but had a little damage in shipping. I contacted the seller and he graciously refunded me $25.00 which was what it cost for the replacement parts. Great Ebay seller.. Which leads me to my next Ebay encounter that was also equally awsome!!!
LGBDUDE2013 had ALL the parts I needed to put the new train back into perfect condition. Whistle, Snowplow (these were broken in shipping) and a new smoke stack which I knew was missing when I bought the train and the cow catcher... ALL the parts needed to put the LGB 2017 back into out of the box condition...
Did I mention it RUNS like a dream? Set up the track and took her for a spin... NIGHT and DAY to the Backmann Annie... WOW...
My friend Jim out in California sent me the couplers to mount on my first Bachmann passanger car so i can pull with the LGB .. THANKS JIM !!!
Smoke Stack and Cow Catcher should be here maybe this weekend.. will snap a picture and post the newest edition to the display ...
Still excited .. wish I could put the train out now .. LOL ..
Other than Christmas vacation ending and having to start back to work this week its been a GREAT week...
We won a new train on Ebay for 2013. We upgraded from the Bachmann Annie to an LGB train. Major step up !!
We won a HECK of a deal on some 12V power supplies that we will use to power several new display elements for 2013. We got a lot of 5 BRAND NEW 12V 12.5Amp supplies for a whopping $26 (thats for the LOT .. not each !!)... They arrived today !!
We ordered RGB pixel modules last night for the CoroCanes. There will be plenty left over to experiment with. We are looking at using either the modules or the RGB strips (like LOR Cosmic Color Ribbons) for the arches.
We got some GREAT news on the pixel controller as far as what we need and how many etc ...
Its really getting pretty exciting for only being January 2013... Sandra is keeping me on track, I have the desire and motivation to keep it alive...
We know what the layout for next year is going to be so I can even begin laying out and sequencing...
Wow .. that was a LOT to happen in just the first week!! .. Keeping the spirit alive !!
After the disaster to the display that was Christmas Day... the new year is starting off GREAT ... We are working on rebuilding existing elements and designing new ones...
This past weekend we found TWO great buys off of Ebay. The first was a 5 pack of 12V 12.5 amp power supplies that we can use in the RGB elements... These will come in handy and for the price, we couldn't have done better.
Our friend Jim from California (My go to train guru) called Sunday and pointed out a great LGB train that was on Ebay. Sandra and I talked about it and with 3 hours left in the auction decided to go for it. Turns out, I was able to snag it in the last 10 seconds of the deal. So we have a new train for the display. This will be a major addition to the setup as this isn't the cheap-o Bachmann we were running.. This is a top of the line deal !!
I'll sign off now. I have to start getting our pre-order together for Illumimax (Thank you Jeff) and figuring out our pixel, DMX and light strip needs...
Stay turned.. Sandra has told me we are going to stay focused this year .... and she MEANS IT !!!
Bob and Sandra Moody.