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Thread: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Hey everyone. At the last TASL meeting I mentioned that I was building some leaping arches out of PEX and wanted to share pictures of the first part of construction. I'm following the build tutorial at Moody Christmas. He didn't post pictures of all the pieces so this may help someone. I can confirm that his 8' length to cut the PEX is spot on.

    Because the 15m length spans two arches you will loose 1 or 2 pixel sections in the middle. They will not shine through the T and elbows. If you don't like this you can cut the 15m strip in the middle and add 4" or so of bridge wire. I didn't do this because I wanted the flexibility of using any 15m strip and like Bob says you really can' t tell.

    What I have here is the construction of two arches using one smart 12v WS2811 strip from Holiday Coro. Any 15m strip will do but HC is having a pre-season sale right now and you can get theirs for as low as $22.99 ea. Holiday Coro 15m 12v smart pixel strip - 50 pixels. I bought enough for a 12 strip mega tree, two strips for arches, and one extra as a spare.


    Below are the two 8' sections of PEX pipe, 3 T elbows, and 4 'street' 45 adapters. Make sure you try your fittings on the PEX. You can't use regular old PVC fittings, you need CPVC and it may be in another section. The 'street' 45's have a male fitting on one end and female on the other.
    -photo-1.jpg


    This is one 15m pixel strip but it makes two arches. I used some 18g single strand wire to help me pull the pixels through. Just feed it through the fittings and the pipe, tape it to the end of the pixels, and carefully pull it back through. Here's a tip - if your strip has a big ol square piece of gel at the end of the sleeve like mine then wrap it with one or two pieces of painters tape so there isn't a flat section for grabbing stuff as it goes through the PEX. Since this was just a test fitting nothing is glued but based on the way this thing was bending all around on me I will be gluing it permanently. I may leave one connection in the middle un-glued to make storage easier.
    -photo-2.jpg


    Since this was only a dry run I used more of that 18g single strand to pull in the ends so I could see what the arches look like. When they are put in the yard I will use wood and stakes like Bob Moody.
    -photo-4.jpg


    Here's a test with some color. PEX really does a great job of diffusing the light. I really didn't have much of a problem with the strip twisting on me but even if it did I don't think it would be a big deal. One person mentioned using the metal strips that you hang HVAC duct work up with to keep their pixels straight. They mounted the pixels to the metal banding and then pushed it all through the pipe. I'm not going to worry too much about it.
    -photo-5.jpg

    That's as far as I've gone on the build. This was very easy to do. Later in the year I will finish the construction with the steaks, boards, and gluing so I can do a trial run in the yard. Plus this is only two arches and I've decided I want 4 now. Hope you all enjoyed and let me know if you have questions.
    Likes scottmcl liked this post

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    Rebuilding for 2017 :-) kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Very nice project. And great to share your details !
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Moving to Xlights for 2017 with multiple Falcon Pi Players

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    Registered User Samj435's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Looks amazing! You have the cogs in my head turning.
    2014: Lights - 75,000; Channels - 500 Renard AC, 75 Renard DC, 10,000 Pixels; Vixen 3.0

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Resurrecting this thread because I actually finished them this year, lol. I wanted to use the better tubing but missed the bulk buy. Here's a few picks of the build with PEX pipe. -imageuploadedbytapatalk1450057387.914932.jpg-imageuploadedbytapatalk1450057404.648243.jpg-imageuploadedbytapatalk1450057417.598712.jpg

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    Rebuilding for 2017 :-) kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplett View Post
    Resurrecting this thread because I actually finished them this year, lol. I wanted to use the better tubing but missed the bulk buy. Here's a few picks of the build with PEX pipe. -imageuploadedbytapatalk1450057387.914932.jpg-imageuploadedbytapatalk1450057404.648243.jpg-imageuploadedbytapatalk1450057417.598712.jpg
    Why is the middle base block different from the 2nd and 4th ?
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Moving to Xlights for 2017 with multiple Falcon Pi Players

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    Mighty Mini RGB Spots, Pixel Strips, Pixel Nodes, CoroFlakes with Pixel Modules, 10" RGB Ornaments, 2 pixel matrix 16x25,
    TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Pixel RGB RBLs, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    I'm feeding them from the middle. The wires enter there. Then I reversed the pixels for one in the Sandevices E6804. Each arch is 25 pixels or half of one strip. I guess if you were running them end to end or not injecting power it wouldn't be necessary. For me it is easier to run them separate. Plus it makes assembly easier. You really can't tell there is a little wider gap in tweet arch 2 and 3. -imageuploadedbytapatalk1450109814.722029.jpg-imageuploadedbytapatalk1450109851.423945.jpg

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    Rebuilding for 2017 :-) kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplett View Post
    I'm feeding them from the middle. The wires enter there. Then I reversed the pixels for one in the Sandevices E6804. Each arch is 25 pixels or half of one strip. I guess if you were running them end to end or not injecting power it wouldn't be necessary. For me it is easier to run them separate. Plus it makes assembly easier. You really can't tell there is a little wider gap in tweet arch 2 and 3. -imageuploadedbytapatalk1450109814.722029.jpg-imageuploadedbytapatalk1450109851.423945.jpg
    Very nice. I agree with avoiding power injection where possible. Although many of the new controllers are able to drive huge numbers of pixels .. But at the same time you need a lot of power injection. Dariusz made a separate power injection box for his front pillar pixels.

    Will you store these tubes with the pixel strips in them, or can you slip them out ?
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Moving to Xlights for 2017 with multiple Falcon Pi Players

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    I can slip them out but yet to decide if I will. I have room to store them with strips inside. At the risk of harming them by taking the strips in and out I probably will just leave them in.

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    Registered User FrankP's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Quick question:

    Has anyone tried using the HDPE from McMaster-Carr?
    McMaster-Carr

    Matt Johnson seems to prefer this product over PEX.
    https://youtu.be/4pjHDMx92TI?t=40s

    Maybe because he is selling a kit? LOL
    HDPE Arch Kits...

    Just curious..

    Thanks in advance.

    Frank

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    Registered User Tripplett's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Yes. I believe petr's are like this and I prefer those as well. Next year if I can get about 40 feet I will be switching.
    Thanks FrankP thanked for this post

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    Senior Member mpurser's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    the pex looks good.mine are permanent my strips,are slid into clear milar tubing and wire tied to 3/8s re bar mountsi don t take them off unless a pixel needs replacing have not had any go bad in 4 years the archs are stored hanging on my shed walls.


    are you sure we checked every bulb?why is that one pixel staying on
    www.thelightsonpurserroad.com
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    Stay-Puft! rcktpwrd's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplett View Post
    Yes. I believe petr's are like this and I prefer those as well. Next year if I can get about 40 feet I will be switching.
    Petr uses white pex that he cleaned the writing of off.
    Joel


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    Rebuilding for 2017 :-) kidcole's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pleshe View Post
    Quick question:

    Has anyone tried using the HDPE from McMaster-Carr?
    McMaster-Carr

    Matt Johnson seems to prefer this product over PEX.
    https://youtu.be/4pjHDMx92TI?t=40s

    Maybe because he is selling a kit? LOL
    HDPE Arch Kits...

    Just curious..

    Thanks in advance.

    Frank
    I see a lot of people moving to HDPE but I am not sure why. There are probably a ton of posts on this topic on DIYC DoItYourselfChristmas.com. That would be the best place to get their reasoning.
    Thanks,

    Denny Cole
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cole...ristmasLights/

    Moving to Xlights for 2017 with multiple Falcon Pi Players

    256 Channels Lynx Express, 108 Channels DC DMX, 2 E681 & 4 E6804 Sandevices, 1 PiCap Falcon Controller,
    Mighty Mini RGB Spots, Pixel Strips, Pixel Nodes, CoroFlakes with Pixel Modules, 10" RGB Ornaments, 2 pixel matrix 16x25,
    TIR Destiny RGB Spots, RGB Blowmolds, Pixel RGB RBLs, Wireframes, and Inflatables with External Light Control
    Thanks FrankP thanked for this post

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    Registered User EricR's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    My personal opinion, mainly from youtube videos, is I like the HDPE better than Pex. I think it has to do with the size of the tubing more than the material. The big diameter HDPE spreads the light more evenly and you can visualize the color changing effects better. If you are just doing a chase, the Pex looks fine. This is all my opinion, and either way I love the arches!! I think it's a personal preference like many of the things we do.

    If anyone is interested. I am going to order some HDPE this year (likely April?). I talked about picking it up on my ATL work trip but after talking to the sales people I could have some problems putting into the back of an SUV depending on how many people want it. Shipping for 50 ft is $8. I will need 35-40 feet. If people want to combine the order, I can find out if it will reduce the shipping cost.
    Likes FrankP liked this post

  15. #15
    Newbie Extraordinaire... scottmcl's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX pipe & pixel strip leaping arches

    I'm going with pex mostly for storage reasons. While not much bigger in diameter, it's twice the room of a 3/4 pex. At scale, I can't store those.
    - Scott M.
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