Hey all. I'm thinking of putting up a homemade grid. I am wondering what materials would be best suited. Steel pipe seems to be the norm, but I am concerned with it being too heavy. I will be putting up some lightweight PARs and MAYBE my 2k fresnel if I know it's not going to pull the whole thing down.
Next, what is the standard size/gauge for the pipe? Is it something I could pick up at Home Depot, or will I need to order it specialty?
And before you start to ask, yes, I have a cleared out room to use as as A dedicated studio. I'm not doing this in my bedroom.
Steel pipe is the norm... but if you know it is only going to support relatively lightweight instruments you don't have to go that route.
Electrical conduit will work nicely.
One trip to Home Depot, and it's dirt cheap. Look at what they have and judge what size will work best for you. Probably 1" would be sufficient, but you might want to go up or down one size depending on your exact needs.
Criss-cross the pipes into your grid and join the intersections with U-bolts the way most grids are made... or you can drill holes through them where they cross and bolt them together.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc. fantasticplastic.com
Don't try to use plastic pipe. And be sure you know how to hang this stuff while tying it into the proper structure of the building; grids usually get heavier over time, not lighter, and expansion anchors in drywall just won't cut it.
The standard grid pipe is 1 1/2" Schedule 40 black pipe.
Considering your instrumentation you may very well be able to get away with conduit. You could also use speedrail, since all the necessary hardware is accessible and simple to use.
Do NOT use pipe less than 1 1/4" diameter or the bolt on the standard pipe clamp of your lighting instruments won't tighten all the way.
Frankly, considering the scale of your project (and the probable low height of the room), I would recommend using unistrut or kindorf ... and replacing the pipe clamps of your fixtures with 5/8" receivers (bale blocks or TVMP's) that will easily mount onto 5/8" baby unistrut pins.
If you have no experience in rigging, carpentry, or home construction I would recommend you do not undertake this venture on your own. Have this work done by someone experienced or you will be sorry.