DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

Jan 11, 2011
350
0
0
31
Houston, Texas
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

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.



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




I dont disagree with you at all and I even recommended reinforcing where the flanges are mounted. But the people above me didnt want to hear it. That being said the two decks we keep in house are used almost 7 days a week for 6 months now with zero issues. In fact weve gotten more compliments on them that I expected. If they were my own I would definitely make them more heavy duty. But sometimes ya got what ya got and as long as its not a real safety issue I make it work.
 

Jay Barracato

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
1,528
2
38
Solomons MD
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

I keep looking at these and thinking about the extra rigidity at the crossmembers a dado joint would add. 1/2 inch inset at either end would add quite a bit for very little work.
 

Marlow Wilson

Junior
Jan 11, 2011
307
0
16
Montreal/Ottawa
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

http://lordarbus.com/THEA142/8_Scenery_Walls_Platforms_Stairs.pdf



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


I like that document.



I might build some of the 'Continental Parallel Platform', for a stage system.


+1 on the document being a useful resource, but I will warn you that I have three continental platforms that I picked up from a friend for similar uses and while they work they are not what I consider to be a professional solution for mobile production. They are nice and light, but the issue in my experience is how you fasten the lid to the frame. Beyond this, they have a homebrew look that can be hidden behind a skirt, but still doesn't look extremely professional from a client perspective. Real decks cost $22 to $29 per deck for me to rent ($22 is for a day at one shop, $29 is for one day and up to one week at another), so it hasn't been worth saving a few bucks to roll up with a DIY stage. I think I can strike a balance between the two.



Here is one of my little ghetto decks butted up against a small stage I rented for this very last minute and low budget community fundraiser. I was only providing the stage and PA, (Their 'sound crew' did much of the setup, including using their behringer vocal mics on just about everything) but when it became clear 4 decks wasn't enough I grabbed one of my little decks last minute. The company I rented from only had 4 decks at their retail location and the production warehouse/office was too far to get to in time.



*EDIT* I just looked at that photo and thought I should explain that the mess of cabling was not done by me, and those orange extensions are not mine. I provided a 100' of feeder, a trunk of NL4/NL8 cabling, a 50 amp distro, amp rack, Loudspeaker system, stage and nothing else. Certainly no orange AC or rats nest mic cables!






 

Chris Gruber

Sophomore
Jan 11, 2011
152
0
0
Rodgers-town, Wisco
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.


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.







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=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=61&Itemid=405



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


This is cool. I haven't seen it before.

 

frank kayser

Junior
Jan 11, 2011
290
1
18
Maryland suburbs of DC
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

Aside from the leg design issues (I'm not terribly fond of the pipe-collar type...), all these are hollow boxes.



How does one control the foot noise and possible unwanted bass resonance these are sure to produce. I'm guessing carpet may not be all that practical. I guess if the top is rigid enough or has two layers with some type of decoupling (foam - fiberglass), or maybe some spray-foam insulation in the cavity.



Maybe I'm worrying about nothing. Maybe the stages I've seen locally are just built poorly.
 

Graham C Mellor

Sophomore
Jan 16, 2011
104
0
16
Lil' Rhodey
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

I wish I had a pictures, but I'll try to describe.



My decks are build out of 2x4 lumber, with the 2x4 frame being 3'-11 1/4'' by 7'-11 1/4'' . Length wise, there are two additional 2x4's 16'' OC, with Simpson ties at either side. On one of the long sides, I ripped a furring strip in half, and made a ''groove'', on the opposite side, a placed half a ripped furring in the middle as a ''tongue''. I did the same on the short sides. When you screw plywood to the top, the dimension of the deck is 4x8, with the tongues extending 3/4'' off of two sides. For the bases, I made circus blocks, 16x16x height, 14x14x height, 12x12x height, and 10x10x height. The decks sit on the blocks in the corners, so the weight is bearing not on the plywood, not on the side of the 2x4, but on the bottom. These have been in service for 5 years, and another rental house with the same design has decks that have been in service for nearly 20 years.
 

Matt Duncan

Freshman
May 9, 2011
61
0
6
Concord, NC
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

I know this thread has a little age on her, but it has been a good source of information. I'm looking at building my own drum riser, as the cost of a 8x8 pro riser is rather prohibitive right now. I've been comparing the DIY riser to the pro decks - outside of cost, I see weight being the other huge difference. That brings me to my question - what is the general consensus on using marine plywood for the deck? A 4x8x3/4 sheet of okoume marine plywood is about half the weight of regular wood, albeit at a much higher cost, but still less than an aluminum/wood pro deck & probably even less weight. I don't know much about what types of wood are harder/stronger/lighter than others so hopefully y'all can shed some light on it for me.

Thanks!
 

Steve Hurt

Junior
Jan 31, 2011
432
0
16
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

I wish I had a pictures, but I'll try to describe.



My decks are build out of 2x4 lumber, with the 2x4 frame being 3'-11 1/4'' by 7'-11 1/4'' . Length wise, there are two additional 2x4's 16'' OC, with Simpson ties at either side. On one of the long sides, I ripped a furring strip in half, and made a ''groove'', on the opposite side, a placed half a ripped furring in the middle as a ''tongue''. I did the same on the short sides. When you screw plywood to the top, the dimension of the deck is 4x8, with the tongues extending 3/4'' off of two sides. For the bases, I made circus blocks, 16x16x height, 14x14x height, 12x12x height, and 10x10x height. The decks sit on the blocks in the corners, so the weight is bearing not on the plywood, not on the side of the 2x4, but on the bottom. These have been in service for 5 years, and another rental house with the same design has decks that have been in service for nearly 20 years.
Marine plywood is what you would get if you took A/C fir plywood, and plugged and filled all the layers, not just the "A" face.
Weight is almost exactly the same as A/C fir plywood.
It's called marine because there are no voids to hold water. (It will still rot in a heartbeat if not painted/sealed.
(fir plywood is lighter than yellow pine if that's what you were comparing it to)
I wouldn't spend the extra cash for marine. Rather spend more money on good hardware for the legs
 

Steve Hurt

Junior
Jan 31, 2011
432
0
16
Re: 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)

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?

Local place has platforms that are
3 - 2x4-8's running the long way
2 - 2x4-4' one on each of the short ends
2 - 2x4-2' across the middle splitting the long span in half (staggered just enough to nail into the ends of the 2x4-2's)

They use 6 brackets per deck bolted on w/ 3/8" carriage bolts/washers/nylon lock nuts.
1 bracket at each corner and 1 at the halfway point on each long side

Brackets are designed roughly like my drawing.
3 pcs of steel probably 3/16" or 1/4 inch thick.
Guessing on size here
1 pc 3-1/2" x 5" (short side)
1 pc 3-1/2" x 8" (long side
1 pc 5" x 8" (top)
and a piece of 2" pipe 3-1/2" long
Hole drilled in the pipe and then a 3/8" nut welded over the hole
brackets are welded up locally.

1-1/2 Pipe sections slide into the pipe.
(He keeps several lengths in stock)

Bolt goes in the welded nut and secure the leg pipes.
They rent for about $1/ft you pick up or $2 ft if they deliver/setup/tear down

Building would be easy.
Get a high school welding class to make a mess of brackets.
Cut some boards, pound some nails, drill some holes, and bolt on the brackets.
10 platforms in a day easy. Done

What stops me from building them is: set up/deliver/tear down/storage
 

Attachments

Silas Pradetto

Graduate Student
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

Local place has platforms that are
3 - 2x4-8's running the long way
2 - 2x4-4' one on each of the short ends
2 - 2x4-2' across the middle splitting the long span in half (staggered just enough to nail into the ends of the 2x4-2's)

They use 6 brackets per deck bolted on w/ 3/8" carriage bolts/washers/nylon lock nuts.
1 bracket at each corner and 1 at the halfway point on each long side

Brackets are designed roughly like my drawing.
3 pcs of steel probably 3/16" or 1/4 inch thick.
Guessing on size here
1 pc 3-1/2" x 5" (short side)
1 pc 3-1/2" x 8" (long side
1 pc 5" x 8" (top)
and a piece of 2" pipe 3-1/2" long
Hole drilled in the pipe and then a 3/8" nut welded over the hole
brackets are welded up locally.

1-1/2 Pipe sections slide into the pipe.
(He keeps several lengths in stock)

Bolt goes in the welded nut and secure the leg pipes.
They rent for about $1/ft you pick up or $2 ft if they deliver/setup/tear down

Building would be easy.
Get a high school welding class to make a mess of brackets.
Cut some boards, pound some nails, drill some holes, and bolt on the brackets.
10 platforms in a day easy. Done

What stops me from building them is: set up/deliver/tear down/storage
Steve, hate to inform you, I build 10 decks exactly like you describe (sold them to Marlow), and it took me and Adrian a combined 100 hours or so to do them. The welding alone, to be done right, plus cutting out the parts with the plasma cutter, grinding them smooth, etc, takes forever. Plus the decks have to be painted, and there has to be some way to attach the decks together. If Marlow could post a picture, my final design came out really good and fast, with hooks to attach adjacent decks, but it wasn't worth me keeping it...

If it sounds easy, triple the time and cost and then you'll be about right...
 

Marlow Wilson

Junior
Jan 11, 2011
307
0
16
Montreal/Ottawa
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

Steve, hate to inform you, I build 10 decks exactly like you describe (sold them to Marlow), and it took me and Adrian a combined 100 hours or so to do them. The welding alone, to be done right, plus cutting out the parts with the plasma cutter, grinding them smooth, etc, takes forever. Plus the decks have to be painted, and there has to be some way to attach the decks together. If Marlow could post a picture, my final design came out really good and fast, with hooks to attach adjacent decks, but it wasn't worth me keeping it...

If it sounds easy, triple the time and cost and then you'll be about right...
I'll try to grab a pic. Most of the decks are in Ottawa in a small trailer and four are getting regular use here in Montreal. Buying them used from Silas was a better deal than going the DIY route myself and while I got more than I needed, it gives me some leeway to scale up for an investment of what two new decks would have cost. As anticipated they've helped me win a few small shows being able to do a full package, but I know their place a wouldn't hesitate to rent professional decks, stairs and railings for larger productions.
 

Matt Duncan

Freshman
May 9, 2011
61
0
6
Concord, NC
Re: DIY mini-stage/riser/platform

Marine plywood is what you would get if you took A/C fir plywood, and plugged and filled all the layers, not just the "A" face.
Weight is almost exactly the same as A/C fir plywood.
It's called marine because there are no voids to hold water. (It will still rot in a heartbeat if not painted/sealed.
(fir plywood is lighter than yellow pine if that's what you were comparing it to)
I wouldn't spend the extra cash for marine. Rather spend more money on good hardware for the legs
Thanks Steve!