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PlanetChristmas Magazine July 2012

pouring from the motor. Seems mixers are designed to mix cake batter and not turn 10’ water pipes. I ended up trashing the mixer and using a standard battery operated drill by attaching it to the mixing paddle already inserted in the plastic pipe. Wrapping a pipe by hand takes a little over an hour. Wrapping a pipe spun by a motor can be done in about 20 minutes. It’s worth the effort to motorize. Now you have a straight 10’ piece of pipe wrapped in lights. It should be easy to bend it into an arch. I wish! I tried all kinds of ways anchoring each end in the ground to create the arch. Let’s just say that thin water pipe prefers to be straight and constantly fights being bent. At one point I bent the pipe a little too much and crimped it. Word to the wise: don’t bend the pipe too much. Cheater wire in place to arch the pipe In the perfect world the top of the leap- ing arch is 32 inches off the ground. You can probably beat the pricing with minimal effort. shoot for 36 inches but you’ll probably suffer It took me about two hours to build an arch so “crimped pipe syndrome.” I used a couple of value your time accordingly. right angle brackets and electric fence wire to Are there leaping arch alternatives? make up a cheater wire exactly 96 inches long. Winterland (http://winterlandinc.com/PC) has I insert one end of a right angle bracket into metal arch frames (instead of plastic pipe) and each end of the pipe (flexing it a bit of course) will even put the lights on for you. Wow Lights and you end up with a perfectly curved leap- (www.wowlights.com) has complete packages ing arch you can actually carry around. When of larger arches. Check around and you might done, flex the pipe a bit, remove the cheater get lucky. wire, the pipe becomes straight and you can Already tired of leaping arches? There’s a new easily store it. trend of using “leapers” in displays. Instead of How do you mount the leaping arches in bending the water pipe into an arch, the straight your display? I use a 4’ piece or rebar, pound it pipe is mounted vertically so lights shoot up and in the ground and lean the arch against it. Use down. Put a strobe light at the top to add a real a big tie wrap to secure everything together pop. Coooooool! Now that’s a versatile design and you’re good to go. piece for any display. The leaping arch is built but what about the Can you build your own leaping arch? Sure! animation part? It’s beyond the scope of this article to teach the sequencing but it’s easy. You have eight circuits that simply chase one after the other. Light-O-Rama sees the poten- tial and even includes leaping arches in their Master Controller Layout concept at http:// lightorama.com/SequencesStandards.html How much does a leaping arch cost? $3 for the pipe. $10 for lamp cord. $16 for plugs. $25 An ugly duckling during the day but this finished for lights. Grand total for parts: $54. You can leaping arch adds drama to your display! July 2012 | PlanetChristmas 57


PlanetChristmas Magazine July 2012
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