Sunday, August 14, 2011

UPDATE: Auditorium Fly System Renovation: Towing the Line

As with many construction projects, the infrastructure - that stuff that we can't see but we need for every thing can work smoothly - has to be done first, and it takes a lot of time. Our project is no different. The additional steel, the electrical work, and the repositioning of equipment is finally done, and now more visual aspect of the project is coming together. This week was all about rope and cable lines.

The weight arbors that have spent the past few weeks on the floor are now in place, and the control lines have been rigged. In this photo, the arbors on the far right are in the up  position - and those magnificent rope locks featured in the last update are holding the weight as advertised - and the ones to the left are in the down position. No counterweights have been added yet, but this allows the steel cable lines to be extended down all of the way.

And that looks like this: a veritable forest of steel cables. From this angle, it looks like they are hanging in random fashion, but there is order in this chaos. Each batten will be suspended by five cables spaced evenly from the grid. They will line up with the arbor that they are attached to, so what we have right now are several rows of five cables. This photo shows about 1/3 of the cables rigged, but most of this was completed in a day.

Evidence of one of the many improvements: automatic winches for the electrics. As stated in earlier postings, none of the electrical battens will raised or lowered by a hand line. Here is the control box, placed prominently on the rail. With the push of a button, hundreds of pounds of lighting instruments can move into position with accuracy.

Along with our lighting battens, the new fire curtain - WHICH WE HOPE WE NEVER HAVE TO USE - will also have an automatic control. Without getting into specific fire code rules and regulations, manual releases and automatic recovery systems need to be in place. According to ATD Ben Godwin - who knows a little something about fire alarms and prevention systems - the curtain will likely need to be tested on a regular basis. This will allow the curtain to be reset with relative ease.

The project is progressing as planned, and by the first day of school, the auditorium will be ready to use. We will have a training session during the technical theater clinics and safety seminars during the second week of school - plan accordingly! The next update will feature the battens, the curtains ... and whaddaya know, the project will be completed! Whoo HOO!

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