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Technical Design Solutions for Theatre by Don Harvey, Ben Sammler

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A Control Rig for a Down-Opening Trapdoor

Randy Steffen

A 1999 production at the Yale Repertory Theatre required a large, down-opening trapdoor that could open and close quickly. Its 175# weight and its size — 7′−0″ on the hinge side by 3′−0″ — made manual operation awkward without some mechanical advantage. Since the trapdoor was part of the show deck, it had to lock quickly and securely. Figure 1 illustrates the solution described in this article: a fast, reliable approach to locking, and a custom counterweight arbor.

image

FIGURE 1: OVERVIEW

THE LOCKING SYSTEM

See Figure 2 for details of the locking system. The door was locked in place by three ...

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