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Thread: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

  1. #1
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    Default Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    I currently have 23 arches outlining the yard, done with pixel strips zip tied to PVC. And although this looks great, the pixel strips are starting to show their age and I've lost 5 arches this year. Plus the rabbits really like that silicone tubing for some reason. I plan on replacing with individual pixels for 2019. Since the arches are viewed from multiple angles, I'd like to keep the pixels at the top of the arch or the bottom of the arch, but not the front (ruling out the boscoyo arches).

    Should I drill the PVC to accept the pixels? Any preference to top or bottom? Would the bend in the PVC cause issues with the pixels with pinching? I was going to do 1" spacing, but wonder if that many close holes would compromise the integrity of the pipe when bent?

    Or should I just attach the pixels with a bazillion zip ties? If going this route, any preference to bullets vs square pixels? The pixel strips tend to rotate themselves around the pipe when it's warm outside as they stretch and loosen. Of course, I don't have a zip tie every inch either.

    I'm sure I'll do a test arch, just looking for opinions or others experiences.
    Gary
    [URL="http://www.NeverEnoughLights.com"]NeverEnoughLights[/URL]

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    Have you thought about putting strips in HDPE or PEX tubing?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    Yeah, I don't think I want to go that route. Initial plans are for 100 count pixel strings 1" spacing, add a couple inches on each end of the pipe. The current strips are about that spacing, maybe a tick less and I like how they look. I'm just thinking drilling would help manage the extra wire better.
    Gary
    [URL="http://www.NeverEnoughLights.com"]NeverEnoughLights[/URL]

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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    I haven't tried this so this is just my opinion but drilling the PVC and then bending it will cause the holes on the inside radius to pinch and the ones on the outer radius to elongate. Depending on how tight a bend you try to put into the PVC, it's going to kink and not in a uniform way. To do what you want, I'd say square pixels zip-tied to the PVC would work best. I also don't think you need to go as tight as 1" spacing with this approach but it depends on viewing distance and the ultimate look you are going for.
    Ed
    Happily retired

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    I know I tried this 25 years ago with some incandescent minis. Drilled the holes, inserted the lights, bent the pipe and all the lights broke. Wasn't really looking forward to ziptieing 2300 pixels, but like you said 1" spacing maybe overkill. The arches go around the property line, so the front arches will only be some 8 feet from the cars on the other side of the road. But it still maybe good enough with 2" spacing. Not like I'm trying to play an HD movie on the them. Just need the jumping chasing fading effects to look ok.

    I'll play with it. I some square/bullet pixels in the basement, maybe I'll see which is easiest, handles the excess wire the best, etc.
    Gary
    [URL="http://www.NeverEnoughLights.com"]NeverEnoughLights[/URL]

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    My arches have square pixels taped to them. A strip of white electrical tape on each side of each pixel. Simple. Does not look the greatest in the day time with red, blue and white wire but at night you can't see anything other than the pixels. My windows frames are done the same way, As well as gutters and house outline. Black painted pvc with black wiring and black tape may be better at looking ok during the day.

    I would be concerned that with so many holes so close together the pvc would break from so much material missing.
    Thanks,
    Brian, your friendly site Admin.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    Quote Originally Posted by ezellner View Post
    drilling the PVC and then bending it will cause the holes on the inside radius to pinch and the ones on the outer radius to elongate. Depending on how tight a bend you try to put into the PVC, it's going to kink and not in a uniform way.
    bending PVC is very very easy. Hot sand method works great. You need to bend it before you drill. You have to learn the correct temp because PVC doesn't take a great deal of heat to bend it. You can get it warm to hot and bend it like a wet noodle. the sand inside keeps it from kinking, collapsing.


    Look at This Post and you can see how tight of a radius I bent this PVC and it is uniform. This picture was taken before I drill the holes but I spaced them every 3 inches.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    Quote Originally Posted by Macrosill View Post
    My arches have square pixels taped to them. A strip of white electrical tape on each side of each pixel. Simple. Does not look the greatest in the day time with red, blue and white wire but at night you can't see anything other than the pixels.
    Hi. New here and just reading through a few posts so far. You are my first post on the forum . So, just curious... with electrical tape being as cheap as it is, why didn't you wrap the wires with the white tape to conceal most if not all of the colored wire? Not that the daytime pleasantry viewing is required.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    I agree, it would look better during the daytime hours but it would make changing a pixel in freezing weather more difficult.
    Thanks,
    Brian, your friendly site Admin.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pixel arches - to drill or not to drill

    I drilled holes in the pvc when I created my arches. 10' pvc with holes drilled every 2". Works well for me. One warning however, if you bend too much especially with 1" spacing the pvc may break. Two years ago when putting them in the shed I bent one of them too much and it snapped at one of the holes. Easy solution was to get pvc connection joint to connect back.

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