Apparatus Builds


A pair of stilts were needed for a stilt ballet in the show. These were built as a reconstruction of a pair of Bigfoots that were originally designed by Gary Ensmenger. Gary’s stilts are a truly remarkable type of articulate stilt and his design far surpasses any recreation that I could make. My design, by necessity had to be modified using aluminum square tubing instead of rectangular and was also modified to use the ratchet straps of a pair of Marshalltown Skywalkers and a sturdier version of the Dura-stilt braces.



Slack Line Rig

I built a few versions of a slack line rig. I used instructions from this Instructable to build the A-Frames and set up the first prototype using anchor points at our rehearsal space. Because we would not have anchor points during the show.

I then proceeded to build a version of the rig that would be able to stand alone and withstand all the tension within the system. I added another piece of metal in the bottom hole of the A-Frame and created a 20 ft. beam that acted as a spacer as the slack line pulled both the top and bottom of the A-frame towards the center of the system. Ideally, the beam would act as a solid unit, but I made a version using some extra 2x4s and some nuts and bolts that could be taken apart and transported in a car. I added a couple pieces of PVC pipe on the harsh corners of the wood that the line rested on to help preserve the integrity of the ratchet strap. The weakness of this system was a lack of support on the top and bottom of the beam, which caused bowing as the slack line forced the edges of the beam towards the center. The bolts and 2x4s made the unit more of a hassle to set up than I would have liked and pushed the length limit of each piece for my Subaru Forrester. It also required two people to set up the system.

In the third iteration of the rig, I removed the 2x4s and the bolts and replaced it with a thick, hollow, 4×4 fence-post that slid on like a sleeve. This greatly cut down on setup time and storage length, effectively cutting off about a foot of the length of each beam while it increased the support on all sides of each break in the beam. With the new system, only one person was required to set up the rig.