Automated Trucks 2013
The brief is simple; to create an automated truck that can move from SL to SR and back again. The challenge comes from only being allowed to use one winch to control the truck. Below is a detailed explanation of how to create this effect and how to improve it for a show.
The setup for this system is very simple and you don't need a lot of equipment. Listed below are the steps to follow to create your automated zip up tower / truck.
- 1. Make sure your stage is clear of any obstructions where the truck is going to run.
- 2. Move 1 winch to either SL or SR so that the drop of the automation is going through the gap within the grid. Be sure to follow the SSOW for moving the winches
- 3. Run the line down to stage level.
- 4. Divert the line to run accross stage using the divert pulley shown below.
- 5. Using a 1T strop, shackle and masterlink, attach the automation line to your truck.
- 6. Using a 1T strop, shackle and masterlink, attach your return line (manilla) using a Bowline or Double Figure of 8 to the other side of your truck.
- 7. Attach a pulley to the deck to divert your return line to the bar you will be using. (you may need more than one pulley depending on where the bar and truck is)
- 8. Fly in the bar you want to use to create the return system.
- 9. Using a clove hitch, attach the return line to the bar you have chosen to run the return system.
- 10. It may take some trial and error to get the bar in the correct position in relation to the position of the truck.
- 11. Weight the bar running the return system to anything under 200KG. We only used 5 1/2 weights because the truck was not to carry any weight.
- 12. Take the break off the allocated bar and let it take up the slack in the system.
- 13. Make sure you leave the break off the bar or else the system wont work!
- 14. The system is now ready to be tested.
Below is a full diagram of what the system was like.
1 x Stage Technologies BigTow200 winch
1 x Bottom half of zip-up tower (to be used as truck)
1 x divert pulley
1 x wedge socket
2 x master links
2 x 1T shackle
2 x 1m strop
2 x pulleys
1 x length of rope NOTE: For our system we needed a minimum of 20m. However, in a different setup, a far longer length may be necessary
1 x counterweight bar (We used bar 30)
5 1/2 x fly weights
The programming of some cues can be quite lengthy and errors can cause a lot more work. It is important to take your time when programming and make sure you know what you are doing before you start, keep up to date during the programming, then know what will happen when you run the cues.
The programming for this truck was relatively simple because it was just one AXIS where the drift moved IN and OUT as it would be on a normal flying line.
This is a video of one of the programming sequences that we created with this setup. Youtube
Hints and Tips
We decided to use a ratchet strap around the zip-up tower as a safety mechanism due to the opposing forces that could have been exerted on the structure.
If doing this for a show it would be advisable to build the stage up so that you could not see the automation lines. This would also have the added benefit of reducing any potential trip hazards / health & safety issues. Also you could use a track and claw method to minimise the space on stage affected by the truck.