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studio setup - platform
Old 12-17-2004, 06:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
MarcoF
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Hi all,

I am going to build a studio in my garage (who doesn't [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]).
I was thinking of building a platform of say 20cm high, with semi-transparent plexiglass, to use for lighting from below.
But, plexi-glass can't carry much weight over big surface, and I think if I use beams to support the plexiglass, I will see the beams as shadow?

any tips for this??

thanks!
Marco [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: studio setup - platform
Old 12-17-2004, 09:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Disclaimer - I am no contractor, nor a structural engineer.

You're right, ordinary Plexiglas or other acrylic in ordinary thicknesses will not support 40-70 kg over a 2 m span. But, AFAIK, neither will most other flooring. Here in the US, floor joists are typically 16" apart and spanned by 3/4" plywood or similar material.

You're trying to accomplish something rather special. You CAN secure glass in thickness of more than 2.5 cm, but it'll cost you, it'll be very heavy, and it'll require some special consideration in construction.

Just a thought, but if you're trying to achieve a glowing floor, as opposed to a transparent floor, maybe you should think about highly diffusive materials to spread the light "around" the subflooring supports. I can envision a torsion box design that would probably meet your needs in this fashion, but a transparent floor is another kettle of fish.
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Re: studio setup - platform
Old 12-17-2004, 09:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Two ideas suggest themselves, and a few caveats...
First, you can get cast acrylic sheets as thick as 2", but anything over about 1/2" gets really expensive; think $300-$400 for a 4'x8' sheet at 1/2". You should be able to span 2' safely with a 3/4" sheet, although I would be inclined to find a structural engineer to check on that...
Also, the joists can be laminated up from the same acrylic. You will still get some light distortion, but less of it.

The other thought is to cast the surface and joists yourself in one piece; a monoblock will eliminate a lot of the distortion effects, and be a bit stronger. Be sure to get a heat-resistant resin, and I would be inclined to add venting fans, too.

Bear in mind that you will scratch the heck out of the surface in no time; if it's thick enough, you can polish it out, but still...

Would your needs be served by building a stage, and putting acrylic panels around the edges to light through?
--Sam
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Re: studio setup - platform
Old 12-17-2004, 12:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i've constructed a riser in my studio (about 30" high, 8' long, 4' wide) and thought about doing exactly what you're suggesting... until i investigated the cost of thick-enough plexi to carry the load with minimal joist support...

i came to a simple, one-word conclusion...

roseanne rosanna danna said it best: "nevermind."
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Re: studio setup - platform
Old 12-17-2004, 06:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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JimmyD is correct, I was looking into until I got some quotes on 1"+ plexi and acrylic. Best solution is to shoot on white and PS the shadows out to give the effect. Sorry, not the best answer I know, but if you want to shell out $1200 plus bucks... let us know how you make out (ouch)

-Craig
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and not only that...
Old 12-17-2004, 10:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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...but its really HEAVY. My ex-studio partner had a piece of Plexi that was 4'x6' and 2" thick, he used it for exactly what you have in mind. It was so heavy it took four strong guys just to stand it up on one end. How many assistants do you have? Of course, he needed it thick to support the body builders he used to shoot, but I'm thinking you'll need at least 1" thick to support a model of reasonable size. I'm not aware of any other way to do what you want, unless you made the supports out of clear plexi too. You'd still probably get some kind of shadow or indication that the support is there, but it might not be too hard to PS away.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: studio setup - platform
Old 12-18-2004, 04:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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thanks all for the answers. Seems it is a bit steep budget wise.
But, I have some resources and will try to make it possible anyway, with less money.. I'm not that easy to give up on something [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
if I get it arranged, of course I'll keep you posted here..
 
 
Re: studio setup - platform
Old 12-18-2004, 03:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ya' know, the trick is that either you need a really thick strong material to span a wide unsupported space, OR you need transparent supports. The suggestion to cast them was reasonable, although in my (limited) experience, it's difficult to cast resins with anything like optical clarity, and I for one wouldn't be able to estimate the load strength of such a beam.

I alluded earlier to a torsion box design - it's like a panel with internal supports lenght- and cross-wise jointed like the spacers in old-fashioned egg crates. I've built furniture strong enough to support adults using ordinary corregated cardboard using this method. Look up "torsion box", woodworking" for more info. If you were to use 6 mm acrylic as the skin panels AND as the internal supports/spacers, you'd be able to shoot up through it, although you'd have a pattern from the supports.

Another idea - use segments of clear acrylic pipe as the internal braces. If you take a 6 mm panel, say 1.3 x 2.2 m in size, and literally cover it with 3-5 cm lengths of pipe, then glue another 6 mm panel on the other surface, you'll have a panel about 4-6 cm thick, it'll be much lighter than a solid 5 cm panel, and - if you fitted and glued the pieces carefully - it'll be about as strong as the solid 5 cm panel.

Of course, you won't get any photography done while you're doing all this building.

Good luck, Marco.
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No worries
Old 12-21-2004, 03:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry it took me so long to reply, I was...Um...Distracted by your avatar LOL

I'm designing/building a transparent floored shooting platform myself. I'm using a 4x8 foot sheet of 1/4" clear plexi, supported uniformly around the perimeter by an angle iron frame. In my center support shadow casting tests with lighting from below at a close proximity, 1/16" cold roll round stock (tension welded to the perimeter) doesn't cast appreciably, neither does the main element from a dead bedspring. Implementing either of the above for relatively quick setup and breakdown, however, is proving to be something of a challenge (though I'm leaning toward the cold roll route, barring tests with separate vertical supports).

When I have it completed and acceptably functional, I'll post the print for it (and results).

Cheers!
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Re: No worries
Old 12-21-2004, 03:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
1/16" cold roll round stock (tension welded to the perimeter)

[/ QUOTE ]

hmm.. since english is not my first language.. what is "cold roll round stock" ..??
:-)

anyway, post charts, prints, pics, anything you have once done [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

happy holidays,

Marco
 
 
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