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Thread: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

  1. #1
    Junior Marlow Wilson's Avatar
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    DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    I'm looking to build some small 4x4 risers (Possibly a few 4x8 too) for assorted applications. I hope this is an okay forum (I figured I'd leave the staging (etc) forum for real staging...)



    So, I'm thinking about using these ($9.50 each - available at BMI)



    [img]index.php?t=getfile&id=51&private=0[/img]



    But I'm hoping to go a notch above the 2x4 on plywood theatrical type riser.



    I was thinking about using better quality 5/4 boards and using plywood edging router bits to get hardwood around the top edge.



    I have a full shop (Jointer, planer, bandsaw, shaper, proper cabinet saw, etc) and access to much better wood then the hardware store variety at much better prices. The main constraint is keeping the time and materials involved in check with commercially available stages. I don't DIY much with pro audio stuff because it hasn't been worth it for me. New commercial 4x8 decks are about $700 with 18'' or 24'' legs. This will be for wedding DJ's, drum riser, and maybe the occasional small acoustic DUO. They need to look decent as well or it's not worth the trouble.



    Any ideas are great things you've seen over the years?
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  2. #2
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Marlow Wilson wrote on Tue, 11 January 2011 16&#58 View Post
    I'm looking to build some small 4x4 risers (Possibly a few 4x8 too) for assorted applications. I hope this is an okay forum (I figured I'd leave the staging (etc) forum for real staging...)



    So, I'm thinking about using these ($9.50 each - available at BMI)



    [img]index.php?t=getfile&id=51&private=0[/img]



    But I'm hoping to go a notch above the 2x4 on plywood theatrical type riser.



    I was thinking about using better quality 5/4 boards and using plywood edging router bits to get hardwood around the top edge.



    I have a full shop (Jointer, planer, bandsaw, shaper, proper cabinet saw, etc) and access to much better wood then the hardware store variety at much better prices. The main constraint is keeping the time and materials involved in check with commercially available stages. I don't DIY much with pro audio stuff because it hasn't been worth it for me. New commercial 4x8 decks are about $700 with 18'' or 24'' legs. This will be for wedding DJ's, drum riser, and maybe the occasional small acoustic DUO. They need to look decent as well or it's not worth the trouble.



    Any ideas are great things you've seen over the years?


    Weve got the same basic design for drum risers etc. For our legs we used threaded 2'' pipe that screws into a threaded flange. I dont disagree with the design in your post at all, Just another idea. I included a picture of a similar flange. We built 8- 4x8 risers and have had zero complaints about then thus far. they are light enough to assemble move and shim by yourself.

    [img]index.php?t=getfile&id=70&private=0[/img]



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  3. #3
    Senior Jeff Babcock's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Those leg-a-matic's that you point out look pretty reasonable, and I'd expect you could DIY yourself something easily as durable and safe as some of the commercial quick assembly stages. The main area where you won't be able to compete is weight. A good solid 4x4 or 4x8 deck will need to be reinforced to ensure it minimizes flex and resonation etc. The weight adds up quick.



    I'd build a prototype before committing to a design to make sure you end up with something you're going to be happy to haul around long term.



    Make sure to use a non-slip surface paint or something similar. Carpet will drive you nuts.



    Marlow, having known you for a while I know you'll make sure it's safe. So just find the option that is going to make things most convenient for you. Stages are a nuisance at the best of times.



    Sorry if that's not a particularly helpful post. Hopefully some others will continue to chip in with additional ideas.

  4. #4
    Junior Marlow Wilson's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Babcock wrote on Wed, 12 January 2011 05&#58 View Post
    Those leg-a-matic's that you point out look pretty reasonable, and I'd expect you could DIY yourself something easily as durable and safe as some of the commercial quick assembly stages. The main area where you won't be able to compete is weight. A good solid 4x4 or 4x8 deck will need to be reinforced to ensure it minimizes flex and resonation etc. The weight adds up quick.



    I'd build a prototype before committing to a design to make sure you end up with something you're going to be happy to haul around long term.



    Make sure to use a non-slip surface paint or something similar. Carpet will drive you nuts.



    Marlow, having known you for a while I know you'll make sure it's safe. So just find the option that is going to make things most convenient for you. Stages are a nuisance at the best of times.



    Sorry if that's not a particularly helpful post. Hopefully some others will continue to chip in with additional ideas.


    The one nice thing about those leg-o-matic's is that they provide bracing for each corner (as well as for the middle cross section on a 4x8 deck). They look perfect for a quick and dirty riser, but I'm thinking I can step up the finish quality a bit.



    Here is the plywood edging bit I use to make furniture and cabinetry. With a proper shop adding this edging takes very little time and makes a huge difference for durability. With birch ply and the edging I'm confident in the lid durability. I will definitely coat it with a non-slip paint.



    [img]index.php?t=getfile&id=71&private=0[/img]



    In terms of DIY decking in general, here are some useful sources to throw in the mix(Articles #1 through #4 in particular):



    http://hstech.org/index.php?option=c...amp;Itemid=405



    (Keywords: Parallel platform, open corner parallel, continental parallel, lid, frame legs, psf, triscuit, texas triscuit, bracing)

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  5. #5
    Junior John Halliburton's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Look into using LVL lumber:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminated_veneer_lumber



    I sort of think of it as construction style Baltic Birch plywood.



    Using 1.5''x3.5'' as direct replacements for 2x4's should produce a stronger more consistent deck that won't be susceptible to twisting or warping nearly as much.



    The Weyrhauser Microlam LVL is available in 3/4'' thickness and greater too. I suspect you could build a deck framed and braced in say something like 4-5'' wide 3/4'' Microlam and plywood decking, have it all shot in-you guessed it, Line-X truck bed liner, and have a pretty robust riser.



    Best regards,



    John

  6. #6
    Senior Jeff Babcock's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Looks nice Marlow!

  7. #7
    Junior Marlow Wilson's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by John Halliburton wrote on Wed, 12 January 2011 06&#58 View Post
    Look into using LVL lumber:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminated_veneer_lumber



    I sort of think of it as construction style Baltic Birch plywood.



    Using 1.5''x3.5'' as direct replacements for 2x4's should produce a stronger more consistent deck that won't be susceptible to twisting or warping nearly as much.



    The Weyrhauser Microlam LVL is available in 3/4'' thickness and greater too. I suspect you could build a deck framed and braced in say something like 4-5'' wide 3/4'' Microlam and plywood decking, have it all shot in-you guessed it, Line-X truck bed liner, and have a pretty robust riser.



    Best regards,



    John


    My experience lifting LVL's in home construction is that it is HEAVY, though I will look into the weight/cost considerations. My hippy wood mill doesn't likely have them either, but I can live with that. Looks like I'll be making some phone calls today.



    PS, Jeff, those router bits are from Lee Valley - a bit pricey but I love them.

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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    This is ''ancient history''; but in past production:

    Our group used similar screw flanges ( shown above ).

    Threaded pipe ( off the shelf ) was used with another flange at the base for a wider ''foot''

  9. #9
    Junior Philip LaDue's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan Hunter wrote on Wed, 12 January 2011 01&#58 View Post

    Weve got the same basic design for drum risers etc. For our legs we used threaded 2'' pipe that screws into a threaded flange. I dont disagree with the design in your post at all, Just another idea. I included a picture of a similar flange. We built 8- 4x8 risers and have had zero complaints about then thus far. they are light enough to assemble move and shim by yourself.

    [img]index.php?t=getfile&id=70&private=0[/img]


    The only problem with the threaded pipe and flange is wear.

    Especially if it's not just you putting them together all the time you run the risk of mangled threads.


  10. #10
    Junior Marlow Wilson's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip LaDue wrote on Wed, 12 January 2011 13&#58 View Post



    The only problem with the threaded pipe and flange is wear.

    Especially if it's not just you putting them together all the time you run the risk of mangled threads.


    I was hoping you might drop in Phil.



    For what it's worth, these will see only occasional use by me for the most part. For real staging needs I will still rent real staging. The problem is that the closest staging rental shop to me (one of the bigger ones in the country) has a $150 minimum. I often just need two decks so the return trip to another rental shop and back is a monumental PITA. Because it's only occasional, the thought of buying a bunch of new staging seems nuts and the used pro staging is generally beat to death.



    DIY would appear to fit the bill provided I can keep the quality reasonable and the cost in check. I'm ordering some birch ply for another project so I just might try a prototype.



    Cheers,



    Marlow

  11. #11
    Junior Steve Milner's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    A local shop here built themselves some 4x8 decks using the leg-a-matics that you posted... and they are great!



    Having used them a few times, I believe they are the way I would go every time versus a threaded solution. They do an excellent job bracing the decks and are WAY WAY WAY WAY faster to put together then dicking around with a bunch of threaded flanges.



    I also had the displeasure of working with a band recently who had made their own drum & horn risers using flanges and threaded pipe... the amount of bounce and flex in the decks they had was unacceptable in my opinion. They just didn't have the same lateral stability when you walked onto them as a properly corner braced and supported deck would.



    Just my experience... I am sure there are plenty of guys who have built GREAT decks with flanges and threaded pipe... It just wouldn't be on my list of things to do.

  12. #12
    Junior John Halliburton's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Milner wrote on Wed, 12 January 2011 15&#58 View Post
    A local shop here built themselves some 4x8 decks using the leg-a-matics that you posted... and they are great!



    Having used them a few times, I believe they are the way I would go every time versus a threaded solution. They do an excellent job bracing the decks and are WAY WAY WAY WAY faster to put together then dicking around with a bunch of threaded flanges.



    I also had the displeasure of working with a band recently who had made their own drum & horn risers using flanges and threaded pipe... the amount of bounce and flex in the decks they had was unacceptable in my opinion. They just didn't have the same lateral stability when you walked onto them as a properly corner braced and supported deck would.



    Just my experience... I am sure there are plenty of guys who have built GREAT decks with flanges and threaded pipe... It just wouldn't be on my list of things to do.


    Threaded flanges worry me due to a lack of lateral support vs. the Leg-a-Matic brackets. If the deck starts shifting, it doesn't take much to for the shortcomings of the flange to make itself known.



    The Leg-a-Matic brackets actually increase the strength of the deck by tying together the two frame members they attach to.



    Best regards,



    John

  13. #13
    Junior Philip LaDue's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Milner wrote on Wed, 12 January 2011 16&#58 View Post
    I also had the displeasure of working with a band recently who had made their own drum & horn risers using flanges and threaded pipe... the amount of bounce and flex in the decks they had was unacceptable in my opinion. They just didn't have the same lateral stability when you walked onto them as a properly corner braced and supported deck would.
    In the end strength and deflection (or lack thereof) really comes down to geometry and many diy'ers don't bother sitting down and planning well in advance.



    Another important factor is fasteners.

    Nails generally tower over screws in terms of shear strength. (which means they won't break as easily with impact)



    Screws however displace more material and tend to fit more snugly.

    (ever notice how prying out screws is not an easy task?)




  14. #14
    Junior John Halliburton's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Phil,



    Also the rigidity of the deck will be improved by gluing the frame together, and then the deck onto the frame. Nails for sheer strength or screws. Use both-the screws will draw the pieces together sometimes where nails won't, allowing for a proper glue joint.



    A second sheet of plywood underneath would form a type of torsion box of the deck, improving the strength and rigidity even more.



    Typically I see home brewed decks that are not framed out enough underneath, causing a lot of the flex problems.



    Best regards,



    John

  15. #15
    Junior Steve Milner's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip LaDue wrote on Wed, 12 January 2011 17&#58 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Milner wrote on Wed, 12 January 2011 16&#58 View Post
    I also had the displeasure of working with a band recently who had made their own drum & horn risers using flanges and threaded pipe... the amount of bounce and flex in the decks they had was unacceptable in my opinion. They just didn't have the same lateral stability when you walked onto them as a properly corner braced and supported deck would.
    In the end strength and deflection (or lack thereof) really comes down to geometry and many diy'ers don't bother sitting down and planning well in advance.



    Another important factor is fasteners.

    Nails generally tower over screws in terms of shear strength. (which means they won't break as easily with impact)



    Screws however displace more material and tend to fit more snugly.

    (ever notice how prying out screws is not an easy task?)




    I agree, those decks were 100% amateur hour, as far as how they were built and a HUGE part of their problem is how far in from the corners they decided to place the flanges...



    If they had built the same decks with doing nothing different other then using the Leg-a-matics, they would have at very least got the legs positioned in the right place and added a bit of corner bracing while they were at it. I'm not suggesting it would have solved all of their problems, but it would have helped them a LOT.

  16. #16
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    An interesting approach I've seen used in theatrical settings to reduce the ''drum'' effect of platforms is to build the deck in 3 layers. The bottom layer is 3/4'' plywood, and provides the structural strength of the deck. Atop that is a layer of 1/2'' homasote, which provides some vibration damping. The whole assembly is topped off with 1/8'' masonite (hardboard), providing a durable, paintable surface. Heavy and thick, but it sounded and felt like a proper floor when you walked on it.

  17. #17
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    If you plan on going on uneven surfaces you may consider adding Scaffold screw jacks and if you go any higher than 2 ft a cross brace or to interlock some coffin locks



    http://www.norcostco.com/coffinlock.aspx

    http://www.scaffoldexpress.com/8-x-1...-p/psv-323.htm

    http://www.scaffoldexpress.com/Searc...amp;Search.y=8


  18. #18
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan Hunter wrote on Tue, 11 January 2011 22&#58 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marlow Wilson wrote on Tue, 11 January 2011 16&#58 View Post
    I'm looking to build some small 4x4 risers (Possibly a few 4x8 too) for assorted applications. I hope this is an okay forum (I figured I'd leave the staging (etc) forum for real staging...)



    So, I'm thinking about using these ($9.50 each - available at BMI)



    [img]index.php?t=getfile&id=51&private=0[/img]



    But I'm hoping to go a notch above the 2x4 on plywood theatrical type riser.



    I was thinking about using better quality 5/4 boards and using plywood edging router bits to get hardwood around the top edge.



    I have a full shop (Jointer, planer, bandsaw, shaper, proper cabinet saw, etc) and access to much better wood then the hardware store variety at much better prices. The main constraint is keeping the time and materials involved in check with commercially available stages. I don't DIY much with pro audio stuff because it hasn't been worth it for me. New commercial 4x8 decks are about $700 with 18'' or 24'' legs. This will be for wedding DJ's, drum riser, and maybe the occasional small acoustic DUO. They need to look decent as well or it's not worth the trouble.



    Any ideas are great things you've seen over the years?


    Weve got the same basic design for drum risers etc. For our legs we used threaded 2'' pipe that screws into a threaded flange. I dont disagree with the design in your post at all, Just another idea. I included a picture of a similar flange. We built 8- 4x8 risers and have had zero complaints about then thus far. they are light enough to assemble move and shim by yourself.

    [img]index.php?t=getfile&id=70&private=0[/img]






    Here is a picture of the underside of the ones we build using the threaded pipes/flanges for support. Weve got 8 of them and they satisfy B level touring acts without and stability problems. They are also light enough for me to move and cary by myself.

    [img]index.php/fa/231/0/[/img]



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  19. #19
    Junior John Halliburton's Avatar
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    Quote Originally Posted by Evan Hunter wrote on Mon, 17 January 2011 18&#58 View Post

    Here is a picture of the underside of the ones we build using the threaded pipes/flanges for support. Weve got 8 of them and they satisfy B level touring acts without and stability problems. They are also light enough for me to move and cary by myself.

    [img]index.php/fa/231/0/[/img]




    Evan,



    They may ''work'', but this is exactly the kind of engineering shortsightedness I was talking about. You need at least three cross members there(24'' O.C. if that's an 8' length of plywood, and I think it is). I'd prefer every 16'' O.C. for more rigidity. I'd also prefer using 2x6 lumber at least.



    The flanges are mounted into the deck-the plywood is not meant to handle the shearing force that can be applied to this mounting scenario. If I were going to use the pipe flanges, I'd glue and screw another layer of plywood, triangular, 12'' on each side, in each corner that a flange goes. I'd then add a diagonally cut piece of the 2x4, sized to lay against the edge of the triangular plywood piece, and glue and fasten it all.



    Then I'd use carriage bolts coming down from the top of the deck and bolt each flange to the now double thick reinforced deck corner.



    Best regards,



    John

  20. #20
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    Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

    http://lordarbus.com/THEA142/8_Scene...rms_Stairs.pdf



    Here is a link to making stages, including using parallels.

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