Monday, November 2, 2009

HomeMade Gear: Doorway and Pipe LightJack

Here is a nifty little thing I've been tinkering with. I call it my 'LightJack'. It is a versatile mixture of very inexpensive objects ranging from 2x4s to C-Clamps. I recently came off of some doc style work where I was in charge of carrying out lighting/gripping orders: there is always that point where the stands are to cumbersome or Cardellini clamps can't mount properly.

Cardellini clamps are great. BUT when it comes to surfaces they can't fit on everything and they don't adjust as much as I'd like.  Perhaps the biggest drawback for me personally is the price $65-$85 (depending on where you look).

For slightly under $35, I came up with two distinct lighting accesories than can be used individually or in tandem.

First, we have a "Cortez Clamp" with a 5/8 stud mounted on by small heavy duty tube clamps. It is not welded but could be at some point soon; the clamp can fit on most doors and small trim. The 5/8 stud is also height adjustable due to the thread and socket (you can raise or lower the height from 1 to 6 inches. I made two of these bad boys: one mounts vertically, the other horizontal.

Next, we have the 2x4s which I DID NOT purchase because I have an abundance of scrap wood lying around my home. I cut a 6inch (A) and 5inch (B) piece that have rubber buffers lined and mounted on one side (I try not to destroy things). I used a metal joining bracket (also had one of these laying around) to mount a smaller 2.5 inch board at a 90 degree angle on (A). Then I purchased a large Heavy Duty Clamp that open from 0 to 24inches to connect (A) and (B) to whatever I needed. I also purchased a ratcheting strap to mount (A) to round objects with any depth of width (then I'd attach my "Cortez Clamp").

The LightJack holds lights under 20 pounds easily. If I weld the connection points and reinforce the boards it can easily handle more weight. But then again, most of my lights fall well under that weight.
Overall, the beauty is all these parts (ratchet straps, clamps and boards) can be used for other duties so I have various tools that can be combined or used solo.

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