View Full Version : Pixel strings and strapping idea, need more knowledge

12-28-2012, 10:36 PM
I was thinking that a great way for mounting pixels (for my use anyway) would be to sandwich tubular style pixels between two strands of flat plastic strapping tape (also called banding). Think of the loops on a cartridge belt, but symmetric, with the pixels like the cartridges and more space between the loops.

In particular, large boxes often have these straps around which the plastic strapping is bonded by melting (calls seal-less). Wikipedia and some browsing shows that this is done via hot knife or friction sealers. I was thinking to melt the two tapes together between spaces where the pixels could be inserted. As the strapping was tightened, the pixel tubes would be gripped more firmly. The two bands could be melted together for just a short space on either side of the pixel pockets, or continuously between pixels.

Has anybody tried this? If not, does this seem workable? For example, is the plastic strapping strong enough, can the welds deal with being "spread open" by the pixel bodies (vs pure sheer forces), will it be flexible enough to bend?

Unfortunately, it looks like the tools for melting the strapping together are pretty expensive. I'm not sure if I can find any local rentals. The other option might be to find some company which uses these in shipping and would be willing to let me spend a few hours making DIY christmas rigs when they were not using them. Any ideas?

One application, by the way, besides a megatree, would be some hanging loops which will curve by gravity (ends supported, middle drooping)while keeping the pixels more or less facing in the same direction . (I'm not sure if this would have enough tension to grip with pixels)

If this is a bad idea, I don't want to waste more time on it.

12-29-2012, 12:21 AM
I don't think it's a bad idea, but I just don't see the value added over some of the methods that have been used. For instance, what is gained over Angus40's methods (at least I think it was him) that used a single strap?

That said, I would think some Hot Channel Locks/Pliers can do a sufficient DIY job of welding to hold the tension required.

12-29-2012, 02:16 AM
I built a tree using strapping this year using GECE pixels. Compared to last year's tree, it was a significant improvement, mostly because each pixel was accurately placed and facing directly out (from the center of the tree). It would be more work (perhaps) but more secure (probably) and require just a small investment in specialty tools - use standard shippping band seals. I bought 1000 of them and a sealer (tool) for under $100 (IIRC).

12-29-2012, 02:31 AM
Yes it was I that used single run of strapping backed by a length of cat 5 solid . I used the ladder locking clips to secure the tension .

I will do a revised how to if any one would like details .

For 2013 i will swap out the cat 5 and use recycled spt christmas light wire or buy some 1/8 cable .

the short fall to cat5 solid is that it retains a memory and tries to re-coil itself back up .

Pixel strings require 2 things to suspend nicely a rigid spine and tension .

using a netting behind them was completly out of the question for me as my tree consumes the majority of my yard .

I wanted as much visability through my mega tree as possible for the rest of my display , hence my own design .


12-29-2012, 02:59 AM
What would you do if a pixel were to fail?

12-29-2012, 07:09 AM
ez repair as i had to replace 1 .also very ez to swap out an entire string with my pole design .

12-29-2012, 07:19 AM
What would you do if a pixel were to fail?

Order more from Diyled express .......... ofcourse ! :)


12-29-2012, 10:26 AM
Walter Munkhouse (sp) made a great write-up on using banding too.

Sent from my SCH-I500 using Tapatalk 2

12-29-2012, 01:46 PM
I bought a roll of 1/2' strapping and used the Munkhouse method for attaching my pixel strings. Here's a link: http://www.magicchristmasnews.org/magic_christmas_news_002.htm. It worked great! Plan ahead for it me and 2 helpers almost 45 hours to mount 36 strings! I used D-Rings on the end that attaches to the tree head and a D-Ring and ladder locking clips (thanks angus40) for tension.

12-29-2012, 06:06 PM
Did you use the round or the flat one like these (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/ws2811-chip-full-color-led-smart-pixel-node-DC5V-input-50pcs-a-string-with-all-black/701799_722335377.html)? I think the flat ones would be much easier and thus faster to mount on banding.

12-29-2012, 06:20 PM
Did you use the round or the flat one like these (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/ws2811-chip-full-color-led-smart-pixel-node-DC5V-input-50pcs-a-string-with-all-black/701799_722335377.html)? I think the flat ones would be much easier and thus faster to mount on banding.
I tried to buy these from Ray as these appear to be the tape/strapping solution. However, he does not want to supply (suspect due to production problems getting consistent backfill with no cable protrusion)
His 3001 units are square and cables come out back but can be taped by 90 degrees i.e. Using a snaking of the interconnects

12-29-2012, 06:51 PM
That's strange. Let me check with him and find out what the story is. I'm planing to do a sizable order with him about mid year and these were going to be part of it.

01-05-2013, 01:48 AM
As best I can see from the pictures and description, the monkhouse method places the tubular pixel node at right angles to the strapping tape, with the in and out cables bending at 90 degree angles from the back of the pixel to lie flat along (parallel to) the strapping tape. Then electrical tape is wound around the flat cable and strapping tape on either side of the pixel to hold it in place. Right?

What I was proposing would hold the pixel tube sandwiched between two layers of strapping tape (again, think of cartridges in a cartridge belt, but symetrical). The wire would not be used to support the pixel or to orient it, only to carry signal and power between pixels whose tubes were held & oriented by the strapping tape.

I had a different application - I was considering hanging a loop of pixels (inverted arch shape, or rather a catenary curve) beside the walkway, close to visitors coming to the house. The pixels would face towards the walkway, horizontal to the ground. The wires would go from pixels to pixel, on the outside of the strapping (away from the walkway). The two layers of strapping tape would be above and below the pixels (flat side parallel to the ground), allowing the assembly to flex and curve with gravity.

The pixels could potentially be held in place by friction, augmented by the squeeze put on the pixel tubes from any tension on the banding.

Using the monkhouse method, my pixels would be either facing the sky or the ground (because the flat side of the strapping tape would have to be horizontal), and would stick out a long ways from the strapping tape.

And of course flat pixels with wires coming out the sides rather than back, would a different matter entirely. The good part is that they would not stick out as far from the strapping tape. But they would still face up or down in this "hanging loop" application, rather than facing horizontal to the ground.

AND this is just one format I'm considering for one part of the display; I'm also interested in other methods of pixel mounting.


Hot pliers is an interesting idea, tho keeping just the right temperature and pressure might be tricky. Too little melt and it comes apart, too much and the strength is compromised (or worse).

And I suppose that one could use conventional sealers between the pixels instead of the melting process, but I don't know how that would work out mechanically (in terms of flexibility/bending locations, pixel spacing limitations, etc). I'd love to hear some experience with this.

01-05-2013, 01:56 AM
Yes it was I that used single run of strapping backed by a length of cat 5 solid . I used the ladder locking clips to secure the tension .

I will do a revised how to if any one would like details .

I'm still wanting to learn more about your methods, especially since the pictures in the first post of your other thread seem to be gone. Besides, you are improving them.

01-05-2013, 01:58 AM
I am not a fan of the square node/modules for a tree . In regards to mounting them there would be no difference .

Also if your tree is only visible to viewers from 180 - 240 degrees and your doing a full 360 tree having your pixels perfectly aligned is not required unless your

scrolling text or animated gif's

especially on the back of the tree , you will want the pixel to fall left or right for the best effects visibility to the viewers .

If you tree is 360 and in a wide open area that viewers can see from any angle that is a different ball game .

all details during construction must be considered.

This is just my opinion .

01-05-2013, 02:14 AM
Zeph , i will be doing a complete tutorial for this tree . I will only be changing the front 16 strings on my tree and aligning them perfectly straight .

I have learned a litte bit about this so far and the back strings fall perfectly to one side or the other to enable visibiliy from all directions .

However i will want to try text and gif's so i want those strings perfectly lined up .

i will also be adding 8 - 10 strings to the front 180 of my tree these will be used during text and gif effects only , they are not required for general effects .

The tree is almost to bright already . the added strings are for density when using gif's or text .

01-05-2013, 10:20 AM
Angus40, thank you in advance for the upcoming tutorial. Really looking forward to making some firm design and purchasing decisions on an MT for this year.

01-07-2013, 02:11 PM
I am not a fan of the square node/modules for a tree

Why is that?

01-07-2013, 06:44 PM
Hi Timon

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I used the round ones bought in the group DIY Express group buy last January. Had to spend extra time water proofing the strings though. I have about 8000' foot of 1/2 polyester strapping that I'll probably brake down into 1000' rolls and offer for sale later in the year.