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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Building a ZigZag??? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

briansmagic
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USA
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I am interested in building my own ZigZag but before I do I had wanted to know if anyone who has built one before has some tips or pointers for me, some helpful hints, what to watch out for, special advice, etc. There are several things I am unsure about: how to make the middle box slide very easily, how to finish the outside of the box, and how large I need to make the hiding place once the center is zagged over. Anyone have any advice?....feel free to PM me. Thanks!
ClintonMagus
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Southwestern Southeast
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"The Magic of Robert Harbin" is the book that has all the details about Zig Zag. There are also a couple of tips in "The Genius of Robert Harbin", I believe.

Since the "Magic" book is very hard to find and VERY expensive, Paul Osborne publishes a set of plans for it that you might refer to. These plans are not "authorized", but I have used them to build one in the ancient past. It is a pretty good starting point, but you have to check and re-check the dimensions carefully.

Amos McCormick
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
Chance Wolf
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Brian,
I have built 3 Zig Zags over the years. The first being built mostly with small power tools and use of a Table Saw for the large panels. As a new builder, back then, it was much tougher than I expected. You see a LOT of home built Zig Zags out there but I am sure most of them do not work as well as you think. I can only advise that you have a GOOD shop available with all tools handy and a GREAT set of plans or you will have an Illusion that might look good but work poorly. The tracking system, for the middle box requires a lot of thought and subtle touches to have a smooth slide. Too much to list, regarding how to achieve this.
To avoid problems with the middle box...make it SOLID! Do not attempt to make this "break down" or you will end up with binding during the slide.
Another note. I dumped the side hinging and went for pin hinges in the corners of the lower and upper boxes. It may not be as fast to break down but it was easier to build and has a nice clean finish.
Check my "Tips" posting for finishing/painting the cabinet. You may choose to use laminates as well with Vinyl Graphics.
I hope this helps a bit.
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
martini
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delta, pennsylvania
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Brian, as a builder, I personally would not recommend a Zig-Zag as your first built prop, but that is me talking. As Chance had pointed out you do need a good shop and equipment to build this right. I am not saying it cannot be done, but it is one prop that has discouraged more first time builders than any other.
If you still want to go ahead with it, The Osbourne plans are about all that you can really get. The Harbin book is now so hard to find and so expensive that you could just about buy a Zig-Zag for what the book will cost you. Also in the Harbin book, the original Zig Zag is much different than what is being built today. For one thing there is a bar on the front of the middle box that the assistant has to duck under, and the roller blinds will give you numerous headaches as well. The Osbourne plans make it somewhat simpler to understand but I do not recommend making any of the boxes to break down. You will need to use the best plywood you can get in this, Do-Not try to do it on the cheap, any warpage and bowing will prevent the prop from ever working correctly. I use half inch 5 ply cabinet Birch AA grade which if you check is very expensive plywood, I would also recommend Apple ply in 7 ply half inch as well. The sliding front to the middle box is to put it bluntly a B**** to make right. The top and bottom of the middle's face has to be rabbeted to accept the angle material that will create the sliding frame for the facing, and your facing really should be hard plate aluminum as it will never warp, or bow. It also will take aluminum solder to attach the hinge needed for this part of the prop.
Like I said there are far too many variables to consider as well as we have not even gotten into the correct size. A little known fact is that one size does not fit all, and anyone trying to make it work with one size will find a very uncomfortable assistant. You can make adjustments depending on the girl's height and upper chest measurements. If you are going to go through with this project, contact me with your assistants sizes and I will go to my charts in the workshop and tell you the adjustments if you are following the Osbourne plans. I do wish you luck here, but strongly advise thinking this one through if you are serious about building it. I know I will offer whatever help I can and advice, and I'm sure Chance will as well, and probably others that have built these. So think about it, look over the plans fully for a couple of weeks and then if you still want to proceed, we are here to help.
All the Best
Marty
ClintonMagus
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Marty and Chance,

Do you know whether Owen offers plans for Zig Zag? As I said earlier, I built one years ago from the Osborne plans and with hand power tools. I know it can work, but I agree that it is probably not worth the effort, especially with the large number of them on the market right now for pretty reasonable prices.

Although I have built a good many illusions through the years, along with cabinets, furniture, and other stuff, I am not a "builder", except as a hobby. Brian, I would heed the professionals' advice in this matter, especially if you want to perform it. If you are building for the sake of building and to gain experience, I say "Go for it".

As information, there was someone selling Zig Zag and Sub Trunk plans as a set on eBay several months ago. I know nothing else about them. Needless to say, they are not "authorized" plans, either.

Amos McCormick
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
martini
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delta, pennsylvania
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Greetings Amos; Owen's do not sell plans on the Zig Zag. The only plans that I know of for a Zig Zag are those in the Harbin Book, the Osbourne plans, and a set circulating on E-bay from time to time from someone in Kansas. The set that is popping up on E-bay is actually the plans that Paul Osbourne put in Genii to celebrate I think his 100th. blueprint for Genii. It was also in his black book as well. Since Brian does not have the Harbin Book, his best alternative would be to use the Osbourne plans that Paul sells individually at $25 a set. The last time I was in England, I checked with the Origami society (Yep, that is who Bob Harbin gave the rights to) about reprinting the book, but they have no desire to do so, nor to let anyone else do so either. What a shame, there are so many good things in that book that illusionist today could use and benefit from. I personally like Little by Little and the Walk Away Suspension from the book, and while you do see the Walk Away Suspension from time to time or variations of it, you almost never see Little by Little performed today. Sad.
Remember Brian, we are all here to help you, so feel free to ask, that is what is so great about the Café.
All the Best
Marty
m.ruetz
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Peoria Arizona, USA
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There is a lesser known book called "Modern Illusions - Plans - Secrets" published by O'Neal Magic. It has the ZigZag and includes a measured drawing. I haven't built one but I imagine the Osborne plans would be far superior.
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Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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I have one in the Los Angeles area, built as per the Harbin book. I would sell it very reasonably, but you have to pick it up. It is in Monrovia, CA in the office I used to work at... but I don't wish to go there for personal reasons (unless the boss is on vacation)!!!
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
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