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Tension when using sleeve method for assembling arches

10 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

I have a question...I'm getting ready to build 2 arches for this year's display, and I've spent a little time in Lowe's looking at the PVC and the plastic conduit for electrical wiring. Just for argument's sake, let's say we're going to make 10 foot arches. I like the idea of the arch sleeve concept for ease of assembly and maintenance. But here's my question...most of this stuff seems to have quite a bit of tension when you bend it to the shape that we would use for an arch. For this reason, it makes concerned about using the sleeve approach. I have visions of the sleeves coming apart because of the tension and then flying up into the air in random directions. Or worse yet, hitting a passerby and then having to deal with those consequences. The last thing I want to do is spend hours on a display element only to see it self destruct in seconds. So is this a legitimate concern, or has the sleeve approach been proven to work without coming apart? Any suggestions for what to do to prevent sleeve separation, or is it not something I should be concerned about?

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Posted · Report post

It's pretty much a non issue. Use either poly pipe or thinwall PVC for your sleeves. The majority seems to use 1" diameter pipe when doing the sleeve method, including myself. For your actual structural "arch" piece use SCH-40 (thick walled) PVC or grey electrical conduit. I used 1/2". I'm not sure how well 3/4" would work or if they would be too tight on it.

Only time you might have to worry about the PVC breaking is when you are bending it the first time. Not all PVC pipe you find is very "fresh". It does get a little brittle with age, and if it's been outside in the sun it can turn VERY brittle in just a year or so.

If your arch explodes and no one was jacking with it, and a segment baps someone in the head, you probably should go by a lotto ticket! Chances of hitting the big jackpot are FAAAARRRR higher than exploding arches hitting someone!

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Posted · Report post

I don't believe the sleeves will go flying, When you put the sleeves on the conduit starts to sag due to wieght of the lights on the sleeves so no worries with flying sleeves

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Posted · Report post

I went back and looked at the original posts about sleeves, and what I think I missed the first time was that there is actually an inner PVC tube that runs the length of the arch that is *inside* of all the sleeves which make up the arch. This approach makes more sense to me, and leaves me less worried about the sleeves coming apart. But what it does tell me is that with two layers of PVC running the length of the arch, there's going to be a lot of tension at the ends where the arch goes in the ground so better put those stakes in pretty far!

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Posted · Report post

I built 4 arches using 1/2" pvc for the arch and 1 1/2" for the sleeves, 12" rebar with 6" hammered into the ground to hold them up. tension is entirely dependant on how tight you make the arch. My 4 arches are 6' at the base. I pre-bent the arches, tied them "bent" with twine to hold the arc stored in my garage during the summer (abt 110F temps). Untied them and the arc held in place. I actually had to flatten out the arch to slide the 8 sleeves on.

The sleeves cant go flying away as the cord would restrict it "leaving the premises". Like Jason said, if it happens, better go buy a Powerball ticket!!

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Posted · Report post

6' at the base, what is the length of the pvc prior to bending into the arch? Is that a 10 foot section?

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I made my arch sleeves 15" and 5 sections per arch. The width of the arch is 50" and they stay up pretty well. I used the black water sprinkler pvc 3/4" and 1 1/4" (I think) and no problems for 2010. Best creation I've ever made.

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Posted · Report post

I'm using 1" black water line for the sleeves and 1/2" grey plastic conduit for the arch. Here's the winding:

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Should I be concerned? Most of you are using a good size pipe. This is my first year with arches. I used 3/4 black Flex sprinkler pipe cut into 2ft sections (piece of cake to hand wind) over a 1/2 pvc. I wrapped a 100ct micro-mini LEDs on each section.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Should I be concerned? Most of you are using a good size pipe. This is my first year with arches. I used 3/4 black Flex sprinkler pipe cut into 2ft sections (piece of cake to hand wind) over a 1/2 pvc. I wrapped a 100ct micro-mini LEDs on each section.

I used the same method except my sections are 18" in length; but I don't think it makes any difference. I've had them setup several times with no issues. To keep the tension of the sections (i have 8 sections on each arch); i took a hose clamp to one end of my 1/2" grey flex pipe (inner pipe). The other end didn't need it since the grey pipe has the molded coupling on that end.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202309385/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

If you have any questions just PM me. I can provide pictures in more detail

Edited by Paul D

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