Sunday, November 08, 2015

Backdrop Storage System

My wife is a photographer and has a growing collection of backdrops that are basically just sitting around getting ruined. She saw the following image on Pinterest and asked me to build one.


It seemed simple enough. Just some PVC pipe screwed into some 2x4's hung on the wall. I measured some of her backdrops while they were rolled up and 3" PVC seemed like it would do the trick. I didn't think 2x4's were required and they would stick out too much so I went with 1x3.

It turns out the 3" pipe caused me a bit of an issue. I've got an old dewalt radial arm saw but its only 10" so I can't cut through the pipe in one shot. Luckily some careful blocking on the saw makes it so I can get a pretty good cut. I cut the pipe into two inch sections.



I figured the easist way to mount these would be to drill a hole all the way through so I could get a drill and screw in from the top. This would also make sure that everything was true and would result in a nice mount. Like the saw my problems came down to tools. My drill press only has a two inch throw so I can't drill down through a three inch pipe in one shot. I ended up just drilling a hole in the top so I could screw them in. I just let the screw do the work making the other hole.


I made a simple jig on my drill press to make sure all the pieces had the hold drilled in the same place. The long piece of wood was to stop the pipe from jumping up when the bit broke through. It worked pretty well and I got through all 28 pieces much faster than I expected.


Some #8 3/4 inch screws hold the pieces of pipe to the 1x3's. Ideally I would have liked to get the holes counter sunk a bit so the screws were flush with the inside of the pipe but I had no good way to do that. The screws sunk in a bit and they have no sharp edges so it seems like it'll be ok.


Here is the finished project.



There is some space at the top and the bottom of each board so I used some 2 inch screws to screw them into the studs. The spacing worked out OK since three studs are 48 inches apart and that was the minimum size required for the smallest backdrop she had.

I didn't finish the outside of the pipe or boards, my wife didn't care and it saved me a bunch of time. Originally I was going to hit the PVC with some Krylon fusion white paint and maybe stain the pine but if she's good with it, so am I.

I'm pretty impressed with how it turned out. I really think if I had a 12" saw and a bigger drill press I could have made a much cleaner product. Good enough for a weekend project.
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