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Author Topic: Coroplast light towers  (Read 612 times)

Ben Rink

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Coroplast light towers
« on: January 08, 2019, 08:55:28 am »

I am one of those "helper Dad's" for my kids activities and have been asked by my daughter's high school show choir director to make some light towers to sit behind the risers at their competitions.  To say I have "lighting experience" would be false, but I am fairly handy and usually am a pretty good problem solver.  I just don't have any experience working with different lighting products.

Looking for some feedback on using coroplast to make four sided (1' sides) light towers.  My plan is to use one 4x8 sheet of white coroplast and fold it in on itself to make a square tower.  A stage light (LED) will be mounted on the bottom of it and I will put a reflective top on the tower to bounce light around inside.  I'll probably weld up a thin external frame for the tower to sit in so that it is more rigid and can handle being moved around from competition to competition.

My question:  Is white coroplast translucent enough to work as a "lighting effect?" or do I need to use clear?  I'm not sure the brightness of the light we are using to mount inside the tower, but I know we don't need to actually light up anything with it, but looking more for a colored effect.

Thanks in advance!

Ben
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 09:06:46 am »

The standard "frosted" sheets you can get are perfect for light columns, anything more opaque than that won't let enough light through (ie yard sign material), and the "clear" sheets you can get don't diffuse the light enough to make an even effect.

We made several for a local convention to use as door markers outside each room. A standard LED par uplighting them from the bottom makes for a really nice effect. No need for a reflective top. We did sacrifice part of one sheet to make square toppers, but if you make your own from wood/metal then they can all be the same height. When folding them, cut through ONE side of the material, this will effectively score it so that you have a nice looking edge on the outside. We simply used clear packing tape to stick the ends together and made sure that corner was always against a wall, you can't even see it until you're a few inches away.

I will say that transporting these will be a huge PITA unless you have a large vehicle. Even when flat you're talking about a floppy 4x8 piece of material, and if you leave them assembled they'll take up most of a small u-haul depending on how many you're making.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 12:51:48 pm »

If you taper them so they are slightly pyramidal, they can stack inside each other for transport.
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Jason Glass

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 03:00:04 pm »

I am one of those "helper Dad's" for my kids activities and have been asked by my daughter's high school show choir director to make some light towers to sit behind the risers at their competitions.  To say I have "lighting experience" would be false, but I am fairly handy and usually am a pretty good problem solver.  I just don't have any experience working with different lighting products.

Looking for some feedback on using coroplast to make four sided (1' sides) light towers.  My plan is to use one 4x8 sheet of white coroplast and fold it in on itself to make a square tower.  A stage light (LED) will be mounted on the bottom of it and I will put a reflective top on the tower to bounce light around inside.  I'll probably weld up a thin external frame for the tower to sit in so that it is more rigid and can handle being moved around from competition to competition.

My question:  Is white coroplast translucent enough to work as a "lighting effect?" or do I need to use clear?  I'm not sure the brightness of the light we are using to mount inside the tower, but I know we don't need to actually light up anything with it, but looking more for a colored effect.

Thanks in advance!

Ben
You may want to research the material's fire retardant properties and be cautious when using it in a set element or lighting fixture.  A zealous fire marshal will shut down a show over that sort of thing.

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Tim Weaver

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 04:18:14 pm »

Weirdly, I use a coroplast top on my fish tank and I use an LED strobe light (basically a flood light) as a light source. I can shine the LED through the coroplast and it will knock off about two thirds of the light output of the LED. I do that for morning/night lighting and I have a hole cut out for mid day lighting.

So yes, they will light up from the inside, but if you have lots of ambient lighting on stage you won't see them. If the stage is dark for this effect they should glow nicely, assuming you use a failry powerful LED inside.

FWIW, it's this strobe... http://prodjsoundlighting.com/Blizzard-Lighting-SnowBlind-FX-Strobe_p_5389.html
They are discontinued now. I have two of them and they make fantastic work/flood lights. Fairly bright for home use. They grow aquarium plants well! lol
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 06:40:41 pm »

Weirdly, I use a coroplast top on my fish tank and I use an LED strobe light (basically a flood light) as a light source. I can shine the LED through the coroplast and it will knock off about two thirds of the light output of the LED. I do that for morning/night lighting and I have a hole cut out for mid day lighting.

Interesting application Tim.  Is this freshwater or saltwater, and if salt, do you grow coral under it?
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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 07:27:13 pm »

Here are some photos of the ones we made:


These are just 1x3 strapping and white coroplast from home depot stapled inside the frame, no top, plywood base. One of the panels we made a sliding frame so we can slide up the coroplast to access the light. Just a single cheap dmx wash light like these on the botttom facing up. They are awkward to move by yourself and take up a lot of room in the truck but look amazing with a dmx light show.

Here is a photo of some that another crew brought in:


These were collapsible for transport. The pyramid ones looked good in person. They also painstakingly cut out stencils out of chip board and made a few designs. A 90 degree rotation of the column and you had a new look, again dmx color controlled with a single cheap Chinese dmx par can.



« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 02:21:14 am by Len Zenith Jr »
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 10:13:27 pm »

Interesting application Tim.  Is this freshwater or saltwater, and if salt, do you grow coral under it?

Freshwater. It's a 29 gallon tank and the COB strobe grows plants well. I have no idea how it would do with coral though. I've never kept saltwater, but I've pretty much always had a freshwater tank since I was about 12....
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 01:14:31 am »

Freshwater. It's a 29 gallon tank and the COB strobe grows plants well. I have no idea how it would do with coral though. I've never kept saltwater, but I've pretty much always had a freshwater tank since I was about 12....

Interesting.  I was just curious after having spent $$$ over the years on LED lighting that can grow coral if this was a much more budget-friendly alternative.  I'm mostly an eel wrangler but like the diversity of corals too.  Unfortunately the corals are far more demanding than eels.  Fun stuff!
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Jim Layton

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Re: Coroplast light towers
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 10:09:02 am »

Interesting.  I was just curious after having spent $$$ over the years on LED lighting that can grow coral if this was a much more budget-friendly alternative.  I'm mostly an eel wrangler but like the diversity of corals too.  Unfortunately the corals are far more demanding than eels.  Fun stuff!

What a crazy side road for this topic. I've worked in the aquarium industry for 30 years. I've developed a lot of aquarium products under many brands. For those familiar with Ecotech Marine...makers of specialized LED lighting for growing corals....they're factory is down the street from my home. They've done some cool things with LED technology. US company. I freelance for Marine Depot, reviewing products and writing video scripts.

https://ecotechmarine.com/radion
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