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Building the Overhead Studio Lighting Grid - Installing Gutters and Downspouts

January 2,2012 - Happy New Year! It is really amazing that a year ago we had just finished setting the 11 cargo containers, and today we are down to just a short punch list of items to get the building finished. Over the past couple of weeks we got the rest of the trim done, and turned our attention to installing gutters and downspouts and building the lighting grid for the studio.

The Aluminum Composite Panels from Mitsubishi and Grupo Daissa.made a great deal of difference to the building. We have learned to work with the material and have devised ways to use it for all kinds of things. For example, with the two panels we had left over from the job, Adam and Cliff fabricated a custom gutter system designed to channel all the water from the big roof away from the building. This is actually a big deal as we learned the hard way.

Before installing the gutters, the rainwater from the roof would fall to the ground and wash away the topsoil. We have moved the soil from the parking lot back to the front yard several times over the past few months. This is time consuming and hard work. The gutters now take the water to downspouts and to underground pipes that run directly to the parking lot. Although we have been in a drought for the past year, that won't last for ever. The next time the heavens open up, we will be ready for Mother Nature.

We also picked up some light weight 2" diameter tubing for the lighting grid we are building for the studio. Along with some 1" square tubing used for diagonal braces, we were able to fabricate the 6 trusses needed for the grid. We wanted to be able to raise and lower the grid so lighting could be added safely from the floor instead of a ladder. We looked at several hoisting methods, and settled buying and modifying a boat lift for the job.

We ordered the 3/4 hp motor and gear assembly from Boat Lift Distributors, and had them add a "dead-mans" switch to the assembly. This will require that a person manually keeps the switch on during the raising and lowering of the grid. Take your hand off the switch, and the motor stops. The shop where we got the motor has some demo units set up which we took pictures of for reference purposes. The folks at Boat Lift Distributors were very helpful, and they have several sample installation models in their showroom in Katy, TX that showed typical configurations.

We decided to use high strength straps to hoist the grid up and down. Next week we will use steel elbows and tees to join all the trusses together. Our budget for the grid is $1,000, and right now we are at about $1,300, which seems just about right.

We also made a couple of additional trips to the scrap yard and to date have sold about $400 in steel which really helps. On a conventional home, the builder would be paying a container company to remove the waist from the build, but in our case, we can make a few bucks from the scrap.

Next week we will build the lighting grid, finish the gutters and downspouts, and add a small addition to the roof in the back of the building. Our summer kitchen counter top also needs to be finished, and with some luck, we can get that checked off the list as well.

Posted by on January 07, 2012

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The first of 5 overhead light grid trusses are fabricated.

1 inch square tubing was tacked, then welded in place for structural support between the rails.

After the grid was built, the metal was cleaned, then painted black.

A second coat of paint was added to the lighting grid.

Front of the building in the afternoon sun.

The trusses were moved into the studio.

Close up of grid with one of the tees we will use to join all the sections together.

We looked at using wire rope, but opted for 2 inch strapping.

We raised two of the rails up so they could be used for a scheduled video shoot later in the week.

We got a boat lift from Boat Lift Distributors. We took some shots to understand how to design our lift.

Inside shot of the boat lift demo unit using wire rope.

Adam and Cliff unpack our boat lift unit.

We placed an ad on Craigslist for help with finishing the summer kitchen, but opted to do it ourselves.

We have two joints to finish and the entire edge profile.

The man made granite is a little over 1.25 inches thick.

We fabricated gutters from some of the Aluminum composite panels sections we had left over from the job.

The gutters are over sized to handle the large amount of rain from the roof.

Adam uses gutter bolts and metal protective sleeves.

The last section of the gutters goes up.

The first section of downspout was installed.

To get the water away from the building we had to bore under the sidewalk.

We used a heavy duty drill to bust through the concrete.

Trench for the 4 inch water pipe runs out to the parking lot sewer drain.

We made several more trips to the scrap yard.  On this we I got a flat tire and had to be towed.

The truck was loaded on a flatbead...

...and the tire replaced at Sams Club.

After using it for 8 months, we returned Chris Larimore's panel saw this week - Thanks Chris!

Our fire pit is all ready for the cool weather.