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Studio Platform
Old 12-01-2006, 02:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have a 12' x 18' tiled spa with a 7' octagonal sunken hot tub off the master bedroom. The lip of the tub is 4" high off the floor. I want to build an 8' wide x 8' (maybe 12') long x 4" high platform which I can easily set up and take down for photography sessions. I need the platform because the tub is in the center of the room, I need the model to be at least 5' away from the backdrop, and the camera needs to be at least 8' away from her to avoid any optical aberation. Right off I see that I can use off-the-shelf 2x4s and plywood sheets to quickly build such a platform, but I want it to be lightweight and temporary. I have a place on our pool deck to store our hurricane shutters right outside the exterior door to the spa and that will be where I store the platform when it is not in use. I'm heading to Lowe's this afternoon to check out aluminum 2x4s and look at alternatives to plywood. In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions on lightweight materials other than wood?

Thanks in advance,
Doc

PS Yes, I use the hot tub for photos!
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Re: Studio Platform
Old 12-01-2006, 02:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Seeing as how you are dealing with one person standing on this platform and it is supported underneath by a floor, you could easily get by with 1X4 instead of 2X4 and probably use 1/4 inch wafer board or cheap decking plywood (usually 3/8" I think). Most home centers have what they call "whitewood" which is pretty lightweight. Aluminum is going to be high since scrap prices have been twice the regular price lately.
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Re: Studio Platform
Old 12-01-2006, 05:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tips. I'll check out the whitewood. The platform will be supported on 12" - 18" centers except for the tub area, so I may have to build some sort of support there. Also there will be props, stools, chairs, etc., so the weight to support will be more than just one person. My fallback position is wooden 2x4s and 1/2" to 3/4" plywood attached with bolts and inset nuts.

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Re: Studio Platform
Old 12-01-2006, 06:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Build it in 4' x 4' sections, and use 3" u bolts that are flat, not rounded, at the bottom of the u. That way when you drill a hole just inside of the outer 2x4 support, you can use that u bolt to connect 2 platforms that are side by side. When done, pull the u bolts out, and move the 4x4 sections outside and stack them. Much easier to move at that size. you might want to take a router and cut a channel from the hole to the edge, so that the u bolt will be recessed when the platform is assembled. I hope i am clear enough on this, if not ...pm me and i'll try to explain better.
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Re: Studio Platform
Old 12-01-2006, 06:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Oh, stupid me, just realized that you are going to use it to cover the tub. I was thinking raise the floor to tub. Time for more coffee.
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Re: Studio Platform
Old 12-05-2006, 08:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm interested to hear how you made your platform. Here is another idea that will reduce the weight and reduce the storage space. For the legs, use 4 or 6" PVC pipe on ends that mounts to the decking via a flange. The legs could be removed for storage and longer legs could be used for inside-the-tub support (these could have padded feet to keep from scratching the tub). For the decking, consider some of the man-made materials (a form of plastic) used for decks and fencing. It would resist the weather better and is about as easy as wood to work with.
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Old 12-05-2006, 09:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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in the tub not over it.
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Re: Studio Platform
Old 12-05-2006, 11:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you're a woodworker, you can go with a torsion box design - overlapping 2x4's into a grid, say on 12 inch centers, with half-lap joints that can be made or broken without glue or connectors (for portability). That should support 1/2 or possibly 3/8 sheeting - I'd be very wary of 1/4 sheeting - it MIGHT be suitable on 12" centers, but it won't support 100 lbs or more on 18 or 24" centers for any time without sagging.
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Re: Studio Platform
Old 12-05-2006, 12:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I didn't catch that you were going to cover the tub also. I gathered that you were going to use the tub in the photos. I go along with other suggestions about building it in sections you can take apart. The 1"X4" over the floor should be sufficient and I admit that you would need 2X4 over the tub area at least. You may need to research wood stress levels to be sure, but you may consider using a thicker plywood (such as 3/4 inch) and not have to have as much bracing underneath. My initial sugestion of thin plywood was based on the idea you would be building a raised floor over another floor and your subjects would weigh less than 200 pounds. Rick from Arkansas
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