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Thread: The cheapest and best way to build arches

  1. #1
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    Default The cheapest and best way to build arches

    This is a guide to building the arch itself not the lights. You will need to purchase smart pixel lights and a controller. Lights and controllers you will need first before building the arches

    Many such as me and others that get mesmerized by the magical glow of Christmas lights see leaping arches of lights and stare in amazement at the visualizations. But, when you had no prior pro lighting experience and don't even know what is DMX, we all scour for days searching for info on how to build light arches. First off expensive doesn't equate when building your light show or even just a few arches in your yard. So, for those that want to get more out of their dollar get 3/4 white pex pipe and 3/4 pvc pipe fittings is the best monetary option for those that are looking to build multiple arches. When I became a member here, I first looked through the "Wiki". It is great for understanding what components are needed in order to create a display or light show. But getting building ideas on arches seems vague and this scares people that have an interest of joining others that build light shows. So, I want to post this here and hope this brings answers for those that are seeking how to build those illusive pixel arches with common pex and not break your wallet at home depot or lowes. You can order or pickup 50ft of white 3/4 pex pipe for less than 30 bucks. I would suggest buying 3/4 pvc fittings in quantity packs such as a pack of 10 3/4 pvc tees and a pack of 10 3/4 90 degree pvc elbows. That is going to be your linking system and your anchoring system.


    Arches: I cut pex pipe into 3 - 5 feet pieces. You can cut them larger or smaller this is all depending on the pixel string length. I use 5 feet sections because the strip is 16.5 feet long. I came up with 5 feet by equating 12 inches being covered by pvc fittings. If, your string is larger be sure to subtract the inches fittings will cover so you can determine arch length.

    Anchoring: The system is very crude and efficient compared to buying the metal anchoring systems seen in light arch videos. Not affordable for some people so I wanted this to be done on absolute shoe string budget.

    For each arch you have you will need to have the following fittings:
    2-3/4 pvc tees and 2-90 degree pvc elbows.

    Use a hot glue gun to glue the pvc pipe, this allows you to break the pieces down after the season is over.

    What ever size of arches, you decide. You need to have enough pex pipe left over for creating one and a half inch inserts to connect elbows and to tees. You also need pex left over to make stakes that will driven in the ground and insert inside each 3/4 pvc tee. If, you are raising your arches higher than 6 inches from the ground to the bottom of the tee, you need to insert something solid in the stake due to higher an object is the higher the center of gravity becomes and makes it easier to topple. Remember the center branch of the tee must be pointing to the ground when coupling more than one arch. If, you are only making one arch I suggest pointing the center branch of the out towards where your connection wire needs to run through. What this does is stabilizes the arch ends when put in series and alone.

    Here is my video showing the three arches I made so you can visualize and see the finished product. I took my LED flashlight and pointed to the end of the first arch so you can see how I linked them.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: The cheapest and best way to build arches

    Well it may be the best and cheapest PEX arch, but I would not call it the best and cheapest arch build. My landscape edging arches are much easier to build and I suspect cheaper as well. It all depends on the type of look you want for your arches. My spouse and I do not like the diffused look of HDPE or PEX arches. Tried them one year and quickly sold everything off before the next season.
    Jim Nealand
    Kennesaw, Ga

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: The cheapest and best way to build arches

    Funny you mention that Jim. I'm thinking about using landscape edging this year. Got any pics or a write up?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnealand View Post
    Well it may be the best and cheapest PEX arch, but I would not call it the best and cheapest arch build. My landscape edging arches are much easier to build and I suspect cheaper as well. It all depends on the type of look you want for your arches. My spouse and I do not like the diffused look of HDPE or PEX arches. Tried them one year and quickly sold everything off before the next season.

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: The cheapest and best way to build arches

    I also used the landscape material my first few years and liked the results. They were made up of 5 segments of 10 dumb rgb nodes pushed into the material . But decided I wanted a more defused look plus the added effects smart pixels could offer so I went with 1" shark bite from HD and have very pleased with the results.
    I still have them in my shed. Looking to get rid of them but shipping these thing would be killer. Lol.
    Video below is of the landscape material arches.

    https://youtu.be/iY17ihrZv18
    Last edited by Cdanna77; 08-25-2017 at 10:21 PM.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: The cheapest and best way to build arches

    Quote Originally Posted by Kev7274 View Post
    Funny you mention that Jim. I'm thinking about using landscape edging this year. Got any pics or a write up?
    I do not wish to clutter a topic up with a totally new topic. You can PM me for details or start a new thread asking for info about using landscape edging. I'm not the only one who likes them.
    Jim Nealand
    Kennesaw, Ga

  7. #6
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    Default Re: The cheapest and best way to build arches

    Nevermind. Ill figure it out myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by jnealand View Post
    I do not wish to clutter a topic up with a totally new topic. You can PM me for details or start a new thread asking for info about using landscape edging. I'm not the only one who likes them.

    (1)Falcon PI Player (Running the show)
    (1) Falcon F16V3
    (1)E682
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    (1)E1.31 Bridge
    (1)EDM-LCD-CS-EP
    (20)P10 Panels


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  8. #7
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    Default Re: The cheapest and best way to build arches

    Quote Originally Posted by downsouth View Post
    This is a guide to building the arch itself not the lights. You will need to purchase smart pixel lights and a controller. Lights and controllers you will need first before building the arches

    Many such as me and others that get mesmerized by the magical glow of Christmas lights see leaping arches of lights and stare in amazement at the visualizations. But, when you had no prior pro lighting experience and don't even know what is DMX, we all scour for days searching for info on how to build light arches. First off expensive doesn't equate when building your light show or even just a few arches in your yard. So, for those that want to get more out of their dollar get 3/4 white pex pipe and 3/4 pvc pipe fittings is the best monetary option for those that are looking to build multiple arches. When I became a member here, I first looked through the "Wiki". It is great for understanding what components are needed in order to create a display or light show. But getting building ideas on arches seems vague and this scares people that have an interest of joining others that build light shows. So, I want to post this here and hope this brings answers for those that are seeking how to build those illusive pixel arches with common pex and not break your wallet at home depot or lowes. You can order or pickup 50ft of white 3/4 pex pipe for less than 30 bucks. I would suggest buying 3/4 pvc fittings in quantity packs such as a pack of 10 3/4 pvc tees and a pack of 10 3/4 90 degree pvc elbows. That is going to be your linking system and your anchoring system.


    Arches: I cut pex pipe into 3 - 5 feet pieces. You can cut them larger or smaller this is all depending on the pixel string length. I use 5 feet sections because the strip is 16.5 feet long. I came up with 5 feet by equating 12 inches being covered by pvc fittings. If, your string is larger be sure to subtract the inches fittings will cover so you can determine arch length.

    Anchoring: The system is very crude and efficient compared to buying the metal anchoring systems seen in light arch videos. Not affordable for some people so I wanted this to be done on absolute shoe string budget.

    For each arch you have you will need to have the following fittings:
    2-3/4 pvc tees and 2-90 degree pvc elbows.

    Use a hot glue gun to glue the pvc pipe, this allows you to break the pieces down after the season is over.

    What ever size of arches, you decide. You need to have enough pex pipe left over for creating one and a half inch inserts to connect elbows and to tees. You also need pex left over to make stakes that will driven in the ground and insert inside each 3/4 pvc tee. If, you are raising your arches higher than 6 inches from the ground to the bottom of the tee, you need to insert something solid in the stake due to higher an object is the higher the center of gravity becomes and makes it easier to topple. Remember the center branch of the tee must be pointing to the ground when coupling more than one arch. If, you are only making one arch I suggest pointing the center branch of the out towards where your connection wire needs to run through. What this does is stabilizes the arch ends when put in series and alone.

    Here is my video showing the three arches I made so you can visualize and see the finished product. I took my LED flashlight and pointed to the end of the first arch so you can see how I linked them.

    How did you anchor your arches to the ground from the "T"s?

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

  9. #8
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    Default Re: The cheapest and best way to build arches

    In Europe, it might not be easy to find white HDPE (all HDPE seems to be black), or PEX (as we mostly have ALUPEX, and I think the aluminium layers is not very translucent).
    I have been experimenting a bit this weekend, and found out it's relatively easy to use 32mm white PP or PE pipe. Obviously, this pipe is rigid when you buy it, but relatively easy to bend when you fill the pipe with sand, and heat the pipe with a hot air gun, or even with a weed burner. Although I was a bit hesitant that the thickness of the pipe might not be translucent enough, it works out great.
    Still, I have decided not to build the arches for this year's display, but take my time to properly do it for next year. By that time, I'll post some pictures/vids of them.

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