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Technical Design Solutions for Theatre by Don Harvey, Ben Sammler

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A Pipe and Ball-Bearing Pivot

Vicky Peterson

I recently had the opportunity to repeat a technical solution that worked so well in both instances it seemed time to write about it. The technical solution was a ¾″ ball-bearing placed at the end of a½″ schedule 40 black pipe to create a low-profile and low-friction pivot.

The first application occurred at the American Repertory Theatre for a production of The Chairs, designed by Anita Stewart. See Figure 2. Anita had designed a very tall and almost free-standing set of double doors that needed to open DS magically. Because there was no place to hide an operator the doors needed to be activated remotely. I also didn’t want there to be any visible lever arms or strings. What I needed, I surmised, ...

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