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 remaining 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 how 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 forever. 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. 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.

Category: Container Building,