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Mini Leaping Arches


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Christmas! DIY Mini Leaping Arches
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Lawrence Lawrence

This is an idea I had at the end of Christmas 2008.


Originally I intended to make them work on a four
channel controller I built out of a string of incandescent
chaser lights but the design changed a bit when I made
the jump to LOR. It should take about an hour to put one
arch together, I spent about 8 hours on the prototype but
it will go faster the more you make. The plans that follow
outline how to make the brackets between each arch and
the arch itself. This design is not completely my own, lots
of people have different designs and I sourced them all

1 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

when I came up with this. Thank you all for your


feedback!

MATERIALS LIST
2 1/2" x 1/2" PVC elbows $ .90 each
2 1/2" x 1/2" PVC cross $1.07 each
1 2' section 1/2" Scedule 40 PVC pipe $ .84 each
1 can PVC Cement, no idea on cost I had it already...
5x30 bulb White, LED strands, mine came from Wal-Mart,
$3.50 each
50 feet 22 guage wire, similar to lighting strand, I salvaged
mine from old incandescent strings I tore appart but Radio
Shack and Ace carry it as well.
1 56" long section of PEX tubing $3.00 each
1 can Black, plastic bonding spray paint $5.00
1 roll black electrical tape $2.00
1 package small zip ties $1.00
1 package heat shrink tubing, available at Ace Hardware
$3.00
6x Salvaged male/female plugs (can come from the LED
strings)
TOTAL COST PER ARCH ~ $30

TOOLS NEEDED
Needle Nose Pliers
Wire Nippers
Butane Torch
Soldering Iron with pointed tip
Flux core solder
Exacto or other utility knife
Sharpie Marker
Tape Measure
Jig Saw or other saw

STEP ONE

2 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

This is a diagram of the overall assembly of the Mini


Leaping Arches. The design is made to be expandable so
your first step is to decide how many arches you want.
The materials list is for one arch and two brackets so
adjust your materials to however many arches you want
to make. From bracket to bracket these arches span
about 4' and they stand about 2' tall. The brackets hold
the arches to a more perfect circle but could probably be
adapted to a lower arch if desired by swapping the 90
degree elbow for a 45 degree one.

STEP TWO

3 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

The main component of this design is the PVC bracket so


we'll make those first. I actually made two different kinds
of brackets, one for the meeting of two arches and one for
the termination at the last arch. The "stake" at the
bottom of the bracket is simply an 8" piece of 1/2" PVC
pipe cut to a 45 degree angle.

STEP THREE

4 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

The bracket is made up of three PVC fittings. Notice the


elbows are a 1/2" male to 1/2" female fitting so I didn't
need to use bushings to connect them. I actually made
two different kinds of brackets, one for the meeting of two
arches and one for the termination at the last arch. The
"stake" at the bottom of the arch is simply an 8" piece of
1/2" PVC pipe cut to a 45 degree angle.

STEP FOUR

5 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

This is an example of the assembled bracket. I glued the


fittings together with the PVC cement. A little tap from a
rubber mallet helped them fit nice and tight. Here's
where we face a challenge. The outside diameter of the
PEX tubing is 1/2" while the inside diameter of the PVC
pipe is 1/2" and the inside diameter of the fittings is
3/4". This means that we do need a bushing in the top
end of the elbow so that the PEX tubing will fit tight.

Here you can see a top view of the bushing in the elbow,

6 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

the unchanged cross, and the PEX tubing in a bushing.


The bushing is nothing more than a piece of 1/2" PVC
pipe cut off flush to the top of the fitting. I took a little
time to sand the edges so there were no sharp corners.

STEP FIVE

Now it's time to prep the section of PEX tubing. Each


section is 10" long and will be loosely wrapped with 30
white LEDs. If tightly wrapped a full 60 bulb string will
fit but barely. Depending on the bulbs and counts you
choose you may need to adjust the section lengths. I left
3" on each end of the arch for the PEX to fit into the
brackets so the overall length of the arch is 56".

STEP SIX

7 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

Now it's time to begin wrapping the jump wires on the


PEX. These are the wires that the LED strings will
connect to. I actually started at the last arch and worked
my way back to the plug end. I actually wrapped 6 sets of
jump wires under black electrical tape, 5 sets for the five
channels on the arches and a sixth wire for the candy
canes that will go between each arch. A diagram should
explain this easier than a photo can.

=-----+---------------------------------|-|-|-----+---------------------------
=-----------+---------------------------|-|-|-----------+---------------------
=-----------------+---------------------|-|-|-----------------+---------------
=-----------------------+---------------|-|-|-----------------------+---------
=----------------------------+----------|-|-|----------------------------+----
=---------------------------------+-----|-|-|---------------------------------+
Female Plug String Attachment
Bracket Jump Wire String Attachment

This way of wiring does only take up 6 channels on LOR


however, it does not allow you to control each arch
individually, they are all wired in series so when section 1
on arch 1 lights, section 1 on arch 2 also lights and so
on...

STEP SEVEN

8 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

I wired just a female plug on the sixth channel at each


bracket. This will allow me to plug in the Candy Canes
and will allow me to change them out for something else
in the future if I want to. For those of you who decorate
for more than one season this lets you adapt your arches
for other holidays. You can also see the wrapped section
between the two arches. These are the other 5 sets of
jump wires. I left a little extra here for some flexibility so
that I could stack the arches accordian style for storage.

STEP EIGHT
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STEP NINE
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STEP TEN
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9 of 10 11/13/2010 11:51 AM
Mini Leaping Arches - Light Up Lawrence http://sites.google.com/site/njstreetchristmas/Home/how-to-1/mini-arches

STEP ELEVEN
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STEP TWELVE
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