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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Building Andrew Mayne's "A Frame Illusion" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Brian Tanner
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Hi everyone.Just got the book,Solo-X.I'm going to attempt to build A Frame.Instead of a mirror,I thought I'd build it with a piece of sheet metal.Thus giving the illusion,a somewhat"industrial"vibe.I plan to have the metal welded to a metal frame.Then I want to attatch flange to the frame,and attatch the frame,to the base.I was thinking a nut and bolt attatchment,of the frame to the base,so it can tear down,for transport.But,I welcome any and all suggestions.If anyone,out there has a different idea,I'd love to hear it.Actually,if anyone has any comments,on my ideas,I'd like to hear those too.Thanks.
Brian
GuySavoie
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Brian -

How are you planning to transport this? In a case, or in the back of a minivan or pickup? That will make any advice more relevant to your needs, since a metal prop is going to be pretty heavy, and the design/breakdown will vary depending on your needs/ability to transport.

--- Guy
Brian Tanner
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Hello Guy.I do have a pickup truck.I plan to also make a transport case/crate,to move the illusion,as needed.I am also fortunate to have a brother,who is a welder and metal worker.The metal I plan to use is a 20ga.sheet metal.It is very ridgid,as well as being light-weight.I'd consider using a plexi mirror.However,they are very costly,and prone to scratching.The sheet metal may add some weight,but,it will last forever.Especially once it's sanded and treated with a polyeurethyne.This will be to prevent rust.If you have any ideas or suggestions,I'd greatly appreciate them.Thanks so much.
Brian
GuySavoie
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Hi Brian -

In terms of suggestions:

* Be aware that going for the highly polished metal look might not be ideal; if it's going to cast a nasty glare in the audience, you might want to consider something with a pattern, like diamond plate. It's also going to have a more industrial look, which may or may not be a plus for you. And, if you did, you could also use one of the plastic based diamond plate lookalikes that look just like chrome plated steel, but at a whisper of the weight.

* Your assembly options are limitless, but design your illusion safely and professionally. With the Mayne design, make sure that you have enough bracing at the base so the sheet/frame does not wobble, especially with the weight of metal. A couple of bolts extending through a base is not going to cut it. Design in a triangle brace or two so it doesn't wobble.

* Don't cut corners with the casters you choose. With a large metal prop, make sure your casters are large, with plenty of weight tolerance to spare, since you will be standing on it as well. Don't be surprised if it costs you $80-$200 for proper casters, and don't be surprised if you have trouble with $6 casters. Be sure to put them out as wide as you can on the base for stability, since you will be moving around on it.

* Don't cut corners on your packing case. A quick stop in your pickup with a poorly designed or unsecured crate will cost you a lot of money in repairs to your prop *and* your truck.

* Yes, you can design your prop to last forever. Consider the reality that in a few years, that might turn into a bad thing, when you can't find a new home for it Smile

* Built a prototype from 1x2s, a 2x4 sheet of 3/4" plywood for the base, and staple some cardboard in place as the sheet metal proxy. Practice with this before you even think of building it for real. You might not like the effect in real life. Then, after you've practiced it for a month or two, ask your worst magic critic (girlfriend, mother, father, friend, etc.) to watch you perform it.

Ask them for their ruthless opinion. When they give it, listen.

Then, ask them how they think you did it... You might be surprised; and not pleasantly.

It's better to find out that you need to tweak the design of the prop before you build it to last a lifetime.

Good luck!

--- Guy
Paradoxical Stranger
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Hi Brian
I suggest you take a look at this book Illusionary Departures by JC Sum.It offers a variation of A Frame which instead of a mirror uses metal poles so you see the magician till the very last moment before he passes through.The book offers 2 ingenious ways which you could perform this illusion surrounded plus it also gives you a totally new design of the original gimmick.Hope this helps.
jcsum
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Hi,

To add on to the above posts. My 'A-Frame' rework in 'Illusionary Departures, titled 'Visual Displacement' is designed to address stability, weight and transport issues. The total reworked design on the actual prop allows this. It is essentially a vertical reverse A-frame that has slots to lock four 7 ft steel bars in place. It folds in half to allow the bars to be slotted in as well as to fold flat for packing, has detachable triangle-shaped side supports and has an option of mounting the entire unit on a base with castors.

I had two of these built, the first one being a prototype that we used for a couple of shows and helped us understand what needed to be improved.

The overall presentation of the effect is strengthed by the audience participation element of the illusion. After examining the steel bars, the audience 'builds' the solid barrier that you penetrate through. This is a throwback to Houdini's original walking through a brick wall illusion.

Here are some suggestions to apply the above redesign to Brian's material choice:

1)Go with the diamond plated steel sheets. To reduce weight plus give the prop an interesting design; use two thin steel sheets and have different-sized circles cut out throughout the surface of both pieces of sheet metal (varying sizes of 3" - 6" in diameter. (The circle cut-outs should be identical and line up together when the sheets are placed back to back. Glue or rivet the sheets together but sandwich a piece of Lycra (spandex) between the sheets. If the Lycra is any colour but silver, it will create a very nice contrast with the plate metal. It will also give a aesthetic 3-dimensional texture to the dominant surface area of the prop. Plus, it reduces the weight of the metal. (Obviously, the number and size of the circle cut-outs have to be controlled so as to not affect the strength integrity of the sheet metal.

From a performance presentation point of view, it also allows an added element which is aesthetic and adds to the psychology of the illusion. When you are standing behind the frame prior to penetration, you can press your hands, feet, knees etc against the various Lycra holes, creating the image of something trying to press through the prop.

2) As per my 'Visual Displacement' design, you can cut the entire frame and sheet metal in half and have them hinge and lock in place. Actually, the bottom half must be about 6" longer than the top half so that the top half can fold down flat against the bottom half, without hitting the floor. Use the largest and strongest stainless hinges you can find for the exterior frame and steel plate. The frame is locked in place with locking clasps. Again, you will need strong stainless steel clasps here.

3) At the base of the frame, you will need two triangle support legs (detachable) as pointed out by Guy. Bolting the A-frame assembly into a base will not work. The weight and height of the frame will just rip the frame out fo the base. Having triangle support legs will also eliminate the need for a base, if the A-frame assembly is not too heavy to carry easily.

4) If you do intend to have a base with castors because your overall prop is too heavy, I suggest adding a 5th caster at the bottom of the center of the base. This allows the prop to revolve easily if necessary as part of the choreography of your presentation. More importantly, it takes your weight as you step on the base behind the frame during performance. The 5th center caster also means that you do not need to go have a heavy 2" thick base to prevent sagging - again helping to reduce weight.


A regular-size A-frame built as suggested would be able to fold down and pack into a single case abotu 40" x 28" x 8" (assuming there is no base)

My 'Visual Displacement' frame packs into one fiber case 38" x 26" x 8" and the steel poles, front cloth and surroundable back curtain pack into a custom heavy duty canvas case measuring 75" x 6" x 6".

The entire illusion packs quite efficiently and we have travelled by excess baggage to several different countries with it without encountering any problems.


Hope this helps!

Best,

J C Sum
J C Sum

Project ONE: The Solo Illusionist
http://www.SoloIllusions.com

The World's Largest Free Online Illusion Resource
http://www.IllusionBooks.com

The World's Most Comprehensive Resource on Kabuki Drops
http://www.MagicKabukiDrop.com

Creating Highly Successful Entertainers
http://www.BackstageBusinessAcademy.com
Brian Tanner
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Guy and JC.I want to thank you both for your input,and suggestions.I'm going to revise my design,based on the information you've shared with me.I also believe that making mock-ups,before the actual illusion will be extremely beneficial.JC,I'm going to get your book and check out your designs,as well.Thanks again,gentlemen.Perhaps,once I build this illusion,I'll post some pictures of it,for any who may be interested.
Sincerely,
Brian
jcsum
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Hi Brian,

Glad to have helped!

I e-mailed you pics of my 'Visual Displacement' prop to see how you can adapt your material choice to my design.

As an Event Illusionist, I know how important weight and portability of illusions are.

Best of luck!

J C Sum
Singapore
J C Sum

Project ONE: The Solo Illusionist
http://www.SoloIllusions.com

The World's Largest Free Online Illusion Resource
http://www.IllusionBooks.com

The World's Most Comprehensive Resource on Kabuki Drops
http://www.MagicKabukiDrop.com

Creating Highly Successful Entertainers
http://www.BackstageBusinessAcademy.com
Brian Tanner
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J C,I recieved your file. The illusion looks great! I ordered your book,this morning! I wish to thank you for taking the time to advise me on this project. I would also like to thank everyone here at the forum for their help and ideas as well. I'd like to post some pictures of the final product. I will take my time in building the illusion and will make preliminary mock-ups before committing to the final design. An once of prevention...............

Thanks again to all who offered their expertise. I appreciate it very much!
Sincerely,
Brian
GuySavoie
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Brian -

Put me on the list of people looking forward to seeing some photos.

Best of luck with your project. With the care you seem interested in taking, it can't miss!

--- Guy
Brian Tanner
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Thanks for the kind words guy. It's folks like you, JC and other members of the Café, that bring out the best,in both magic and magicians. I feel so lucky to have the ability to talk and share with so many knowledgable and kind people.
All the Best,
Brian
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