Tracking Table on a Curve

NB-tracking-tableThe table had to track downstage and pivot at the same time.  Two of the legs of the table were each in a separate track.  The motion was driven by the leg in the curved track, and the other leg travelled straight, acting as the pivot point when it reached the end of its track.



Ascending Railing

ascending-railing-d1This railing rose up out of the deck for a scene, the descended back into the floor for the rest of the show.  It was supported by a custom-built scissor lift, and powered by a pneumatic cylinder.


The railing in its extended position.


The scissor lift when the railing was up.



The top of the railing was flush with the floor and completely hidden from the audience when not in use.




Tracking Piano

tracking-piano-d1This pianoforte had to track onstage remotely, with the hardware hidden as much as possible.  The casters I attached to the bottom of the legs had one leg of the frame that extended down into the track to function as a knife.  The rest of the hardware was hidden below deck.



Pneumatic Recliner


The staging in this production of Tuesdays With Morrie required a recliner that could be remotely adjusted. I removed the existing springs and levers from a cheap recliner we purchased and designed a system of pneumatic cylinders that moved the footrest and backrest into three different positions.


The first cylinder installed controlled the footrest, either fully extended or fully closed.


The next two pairs of cylinders controlled the backrest, one set moving it to a halfway position and the other set moving to the completely reclined position. Here all four cylinders are extended, pushing the backrest to its upright position.


Here is the recliner in its upright position on stage.


And shown here is the chair on stage fully reclined.

Magic Gate


Beauty and the Beast requires a gate to “magically” open and close. This is the mechanism we used to achieve this effect. Compressed air extend the rod of the cylinder, and the attached chain causes the sprocket to turn a fixed distance (in this case, 90°). The pivot point of the gate is attached to the center of the sprocket, so that every time the cylinder extends and retracts, the gate opens and closes.


The structure of the gate was 1″ or 1″x2″ box tube steel, and the rods were 3/4″ conduit (to minimize weight).


The cast finials were tack welded to the conduit.


This drawing shows the different components of the mechanism: blue for the cylinder, green for the angle iron and chain, and red for the sprocket.


This drawing shows the placement of the mechanism in relation to the closed gate.


The scrolls on the finished gate were lauan cutouts. The gate opened offstage, or toward the camera.


A close-up on the mechanism hidden in the rocks at the base of the gate.