Aerial Equipment Part 6: Portable Aerial Rig *1 Year Outdoor Review

**I am NOT an aerial instructor or rigger. I am NOT a professional. My ideas on safety may not be the same as yours or what a professional aerialist/rigger/instructor recommends. Please refer to a professional if you have questions. Facebook Safety in Aerial Arts Group is a great resource.**

It has been over a year since I purchased my Ludwig Aerial Rig. I still love it and I’m glad I have it. It has been kept up outdoors the entire time. Recently, I took it down and inspected it, then put it back up. I took photos of how it has weathered over the past year.

Ludwig Rig

Purchased and first installed February 2016.

Complete inspection March 2017.
(I do regular inspections of the legs, tie downs, rope, and climb to the top to visually and physically inspect pulleys and connections on every use.)

My biggest concern was to look for rusting on any of the welds on the rig and to make sure all the screws were tight on all connections on rig.

  • There was NO rust on any of the welds.
  • All screws on the legs pieces were still screwed down. There was one screw on the header leg that was not super tight but it was still secure. All quick connects (the buttons) were in place and secure. The header eye bolts were tight (unmovable) and free of rust.
  • There was some surface rust on the inside of the tube of the header and on parts of the legs that were inside the other pieces of leg. There was not not a huge amount of rust. I will continue to monitor it.
    Note: My Fiancé used some grease on the connection legs to reduce friction and be another barrier to prevent rusting (likely not needed but he wanted to do it).
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One year: Surface rust on the leg beam where it was inside of other beam.

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One year: Surface rust on inside of header beam.

  • The area with the most rust were the tie down cleats. These are untreated steel and get wet almost daily from our sprinkler system. I cleaned them with Navel Jelly (soaked them for 15 minutes then scrubbed them off with a green scrubber, did this 4 more times-soaking for 15-25 minute intervals & then scrubbed them before they were clear of the rust.) Then I sprayed them with Rustoleom Clear Primer to slow down future rust.
    Note: I also ordered a brand new set just to have available, if needed. 

Before and after: Tie off cleats.

Soaking cleats in Navel Jelly.

One year: Rust on leg from cleat.

Pulley System

I decided I was going to change out all the hardware on the pulley system when I took down the rig for inspection. I did this for 2 reasons:

  • I was concerned about weathering of the pulleys, carabiner, quicklinks, and rope. The labeling on the carabiner & pulleys say: “For intense use the pulley should be replaced every 12 months, for normal use the pulley should be replaced every 24 months.” I was not intensely using it. (I consider something like zip line use all day long to be intense use. I was only using it to pull aerial equipment up one or twice a week and on the equipment for a few hours at a time.)
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    Pulley labeling.

    But I wasn’t completely comfortable with leaving them out in the elements (sun, wind, and rain) all year and not taken them down for cleaning/thorough inspection.
    AND on my regular inspections, I’d noticed that the top carabiner had some rust on it that concerned me…

  • Aesthetic purposes: I found that Fusion Climbing had come out with all black pulleys. I like that look so much more than the Blue/purple/orange pulleys and the price wasn’t much different on Amazon.
    Note: I confirmed with Fusion Climbing that the Amazon “Shop For Lifestyle” fulfillment company was a licensed distributor. Fusion Climbing also sent me additional information about the pulleys so I was able to confirm the packaging & product was legit.)
    Fusion Matte Black Pulley Flier

    I purchased a new all black rope. The old rope had a yellow stripe in it that I didn’t really care for.

I adore having the pulley system because it is so easy to switch out apparatuses and to take down and store equipment. But it is definitely a piece that requires more inspection and maintenance than if I didn’t have it. That is something to consider when putting together a portable aerial rig system.

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One year: Eyebolts, side pulley and quick links.

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One year: Middle eyebolt, carabiner, and double pulley. Note the rust on the carabiner.

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One year: Side eyebolt, quick links, and pulley. Note how the top quick link doesn’t look like its all the way tightened.

During my big inspection I was curious to how they weathered. This is what I found:

  • The quick links weathered phenomenally. No rust. No damage. I noticed that one wasn’t fully screwed tight. It was closed and the threads engaged but just not fully tight. See above photo.
  • Pulleys
    • The pulley’s color (blue, purple, orange) had faded from the sun.

      One year: Paint color faded.

      One year: Paint color faded.

    • The spinning mechanism did not stick at all. All of the pulleys moved freely. Only slightly less freely than the brand new pulleys.
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      New and one year old pulley: side by side.

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      New and one year old pulley: side by side.

    •  

      The only rust on the pulleys was a small amount on part you clip into where it was being rubbed metal on metal. Other than that the pulleys were very clean after being left up outside all year.

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      One year: Small amount of rust and wear.

    • I cleaned, dried, then lubed/oiled the old pulleys with silicone oil. They now run smooth as ever. I bagged them and will store them for later use.
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Silicone oil. Bought off of Amazon.

  • Top carabiner = Rusted.
    • This was the piece I was most worried about. It was the most ugly. I had noticed it getting rusty about 2 months prior to taking down the rig but did not realize it was as bad as it was until it was off and in my hands. The shine had disappeared. There was visible rust. However, the triple locking mechanism worked fine and was not fused shut and it opened and closed fine.
    • I cleaned it up and lubricated it with graphite. Then I did some research. I found that this rusting is called “Surface Oxidation.”  It is a steel carabiner and they are plated finish to prevent this. After time that coating wears off and they do begin to rust. See last paragraph of this link to Fusion’s Carabiner Information.
    • I’m keeping it for minimal use (I.e. I used it when rigging for an underwater photoshoot.). I think it is fine to use but it is kind of ugly so it won’t be used every day.
      Note: I was also informed that I could use clear nail polish to protect it.
    • I initially replaced it in the pulley system with the same type of steel carabiner because that’s what I had on hand. I have now changed my pulley configuration and have a Maillon Rapide Quick Link 10mm to take its place.
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      New and one year old carabiner.

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      One year: Wear on carabiner.

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      One year: Rust on carabiner.

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      One year: Wear & rust on carabiner.

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      One year: Carabiner after cleaning and oil.

  • Rope.
    • The old rope is still in excellent shape. There is no deformities, breaks, bends, kinks, or abrasions to the outside sheath.
    • It does feel slightly stiffer than the new rope but I think with a wash it will be back to normal.
    • I did research on climbing ropes. Here is an “How to inspect a climbing rope” guide.
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One year: Rope.

Final Thoughts

First question:

I have heard people ask if they can keep their rig up year-round.

My opinion:

For the Ludwig rig in Florida is YES

  • BUT make sure you are constantly inspecting it for wear, rust, screws that are loosening, etc.
  • Ludwig has also commented that he has kept a rig up year round in Colorado and it has not had issues. If you have more questions, I refer you back to the makers of the rigs. Please read all the info on his website about his rig. Ludwig Rig
  • There is also a lot of information on the Safety in Aerial Group on Facebook. Please join and use the search function to look up questions. (Outdoor, aerial rig, portable, pulley, free standing = these are good places to start.)

Second question:

Can the pulley system be kept up year round?

My opinion:

For my pulley system in Florida is also YES with a few considerations.

  • Think about how much use and weathering the pulleys and the rope are taking. My rig was used only by myself for a few hours once or twice a week (so not that much use). You may want to change out parts or the entire system once a year or do a complete inspection/cleaning of the system and evaluate replacing the system (at least once a year).
  • I feel like with cleaning and lubrication of the pulleys and cleaning of the rope I could continue to use the old system. I have changed out my system for aesthetic reasons not purely because I needed to retire the other system.

Note my shed that holds all my mats and other aerial and circus equipment.

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Trial 3 DIY Aerial Costumes: Tie Dye

I’ve figured out that I am a lot better at tie dye than painting. Especially if you have the right tie dye products.

In the past few years I knew I wanted to create more costumes either by painting/embellishing/dyeing,  I bought some white cotton leotards, biketards, and dance shorts from Aliexpress. They were made in China and took over 40 days to be made and arrive. I bought 5 of each and the price added up but they were all under $12-14 each.

NOTE: That when buying from China sizes run VERY small and the arm straps are NOT made for aerialists. Be prepared to make alterations.

I was at CVS and saw a tie-dye kit on sale for about $5. The colors were bright and it had everything included: dye, bottles, rubber bands, instructions and gloves. Tulip One-Step Tie Dye Kits
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I have a new little nephew who lives half a country away. I wanted to make him something personalized from me. I went to Target and bought a 5-pack of white onesies to include in my tie-dye session.

I ended up tie-dyeing 9 items at once. This made things so much easier. It took about 1.5-2 hours to do the actual tie-dyeing. Then I left them to set overnight and rinsed and washed them the next morning (this took about an hour to do).

  • x4 baby onesies
  • x1 large leotard
  • x1 biketard
  • x1 leotard and x1 dance shorts (matching)
  • x1 old tank top (as a tester)
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I did a Pinterest search on different ways to tie-dye. I used a few different methods.

Wet or Dry Method:

I tried both the wet and dry method. Having the fabric wet/damp (I ran them through a quick wash/spin in the washing machine) made applying the dye a lot easier and less messy. The wet fabric soaked up the dye easier and had a more saturated look. The dry fabric the dye would bead up and went everywhere. I had to be slower and wait for the dye to soak into the fabric. The final results with the dry fabric had a lot more white area. The first baby onesie was done dry and the last one was done wet.

This link show several different tie-dye methods.

Spiral Method:

This one is my favorite. I grabbed the fabric in the center and spun it around in a circle and put rubber bands around the entire thing. It makes 6 triangle/pie pieces that you soak with dye. (I later learned that you can use a fork to spin the fabric around…like spaghetti. This might make this easier. I’ll try it next time.) I did the first and last baby onesies with the spiral method.

Heart Method:

I wasn’t as successful at this one. BOO! This was harder than I thought. I also used a permanent marker to draw a heart on the fabric. Next time I probably won’t use permanent marker…Now I on the leotard that has the heart on it I’m going to need to either paint or do something else with it because I don’t really like the random heart… The second baby onesie was done with the heart method. It worked out a bit better than the leotard.

Bulls Eye Method:

This is a tried and true method. It leaves a big circle bulls eye on the fabric.

Stripes Method:

There are so many options on this one. You can use one or many different colors. I love it! I did the third baby onesie with this method.

Wrap up

I think tie-dye is a great inexpensive idea for aerial costumes. Especially for a less formal event.

I’m visualizing an aerial/circus tribe at a festival with everyone having different but cohesive tie-dye costumes. Either in same colors but different methods or different colors but same methods, etc.

Or for a studio Open House or Student Recital that the performers want matching custom costumes but don’t want to spend $$$ on a custom costume.

Or for an aerialist who just wants to jazz up their practice leos… (which is what I’m probably going to use these for)
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Trial 2 DIY Aerial Costumes: Fabric Paint and Rhinestones

This is my second attempt at making an aerial costume. I had a white cotton unitard with wide legs (not tight like I would want for aerial routines) that had been laying around for a few years because it was an “On SALE” mis-order that I couldn’t return. I finally decided to give fabric painting a try.

  1. I started the by sketching a pattern of what I wanted my swirls to look like then I colored them in.
  2. I put the unitard on my inflatable mannequin (bought off ebay $25) and took a pencil and drew outlines of the shapes.
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  3. I put Jacquard Water Based Resist in a Jacquard 1/2 ounce squeeze bottles with stainless steel tips (see below for list of supplies) and outlined my design.
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  4. I used Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow to fill in the design. I put the paint (which looks and feels like fabric dye) in the small 1/2 oz squeeze bottles. I used a very small amount on a paint brush and applied it to the fabric.
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    It spreads very quickly and you need to be very careful that it stays in the lines.
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    NOTE: I should have made my water resist lines thicker because the paint (dye) bled out quite a bit.
  5. I had to “fix” all these areas where the paint bled through. I took white textile paint and touched up the design. You can sort of see the paint but from a distance it looks OK.
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  6. Next, I took Jacquard Textile paint and outlined the design and made some high and low-lights around it.
  7. Then I ironed to set the paint into the fabric.
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  8. Time for some rhinestones. I separated them by color and size.
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    Then I planned out the order that I wanted to attach them and put them into lines.
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  9. Attaching rhinestones is very easy. I watched a few You Tube videos on How to Embellish Dance Costumes. I used E600 and a Jewel Setter (a stick with a bit of wax at the tip. You can get them at Michaels or a craftstore and they help A TON!).
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    Finished product:

I like it. It isn’t professional and I wouldn’t use it for a paid performance but it was a great learning experience. I now know how these paints work on stretchy fabric. I learned about water based resist, dye-na-flow, and other design aspects. It still needs some work but …I like it.

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Supplies I’ve acquired during the past few years.

Fabric paint:

Some I had purchased in 2014. I’m not sure how much I paid for it. The new paint I’ll put purchase prices for reference. Fabric paint isn’t cheap unless you know the exact colors you want. Otherwise it all adds up pretty fast.

Jacquard Textile: For Natural Or Synthetic Fabrics

  • 122 Black. Very thick paint. Used about 6 months ago to paint over the logo on my bouldering crash pad. It covered the bright orange in two coats.
  • 123 White
  • 111Sky Blue
  • 114 Turquoise
  • 155 Fluorescent Blue
  • 151 Fluorescent Yellow: very light, could not be seen very well on white fabric.
  • 153 Fluorescent Pink. (2.25 oz.) Amazon $7.96
  • 156 Fluorescent Green. (2.25 oz.) Amazon $5.72

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Jacquard Lumiere: Light Body Metallic Acrylic

  • 561 Metallic Gold: 2 bottles purchased about 10 years ago for a Wonder Woman costume. One bottle opened and 2/3 empty. The paint was very thick but it still worked fine.
  • 567 Super Sparkle
  • JAC9901 Halo & Jewel Colors Lumiere Exciter Pack, 9 Color (0.5 oz. bottles): Halo Pink Gold; Halo Blue Gold; Halo Violet Gold; Pearlescent Turquoise; Pearlescent Green; Pearlescent Magenta; Russet; Pewter; Sunset Gold. Amazon $9.99

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Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow: Free Flowing Liquid Color For Natural or Synthetic Fabrics

  • 830 White
  • 801 Sun Yellow
  • 824 Azure Blue
  • JAC9908 Dye-Na-Flow Exciter 9-Colors (0.5 oz. bottles): Chartreuse; Turquoise; Periwinkle; Violet; Magenta; Scarlet; Bright Orange; Golden Yellow; Sun Yellow. Amazon $11.65

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Jacquard Water Based Resist

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Other stuff

Tulip Glitter Spray Fabric Paint – 40 oz. Michael’s $7.49 (on sale $5.99) *Looked great when I tried it. It was a sheer glitter but I’ve been told that it doesn’t hold up well when washed.  It was easy to do so maybe this is for that costume that you wear once and then have time to re-spray after washing for the next use.

Tulip Glow in the Dark Spray Fabric Paint – 40 oz Michael’s clearance $2.99

Jewel Spinner with Rhinestones – Michael’s $2.99 (on sale $2.40)

Tools:

  • Cardboard
  • Water bowl
  • Paint brushes- assorted
  • Foam brush
  • Pencil
  • Scissors – Michael’s Bent 365 $12.99 40% off = $7.79 (to be fabric only scissors)
  • Jacquard 1/2 ounce squeeze bottles with stainless steel tips
  • Bead pick (plastic stick with wax on tip to place rhinestones) – Michael’s $4.99 for 3 (on sale $3.99)
  • Stencils
  • Paint pallet with cover -Michael’s $1.59
  • Mannequin – Inflatable Female EBay

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Trial 1 DIY Aerial Costumes: Fabric Paint, Cutting, & Rhinestones

This blog goes through some trial DIY aerial costumes. The first is just an old tank top that I test painted. The second I had an old unitard I was going to throw away. I re-dyed and cut, painted and rhinestoned to make it special and customized.

Intro:

I don’t know how to sew and I never had a nack for drawing or painting. Soo…I thought it would be a great endeavor to make myself some aerial costumes. (I don’t know why I always think I can do these crazy things…) I started by brainstorming ways to create…since I cant sew I needed to start with a pre-made base.

I was looking discount leotards, unitards, and biketards (I didn’t know if I was going to be any good at costume making so I wanted to keep it cheap). I did a web search and pinned a bunch of potential items. I tried to keep it “cheap” cotton, white or nude. Here is my Pinterist page.

NOTE: I had been thinking about making a costume a few years ago but never actually got around to doing it. I had 2 cotton white unitards (one has tight legs and the other has wide legs (the wide leg one was a mis-order & not what I wanted for aerial but it will be a good trial piece). I also already had a good base of fabric paints in metalics, blue, yellow, white and black. (And I was slowly buying more and more. I need to stop my visits to Michaels and my late night Amazon shopping binges.)

I’m also creating a list of awesome aerial costume makers/websites because although I am loving costumes that I make myself sometimes you need a professional costume. Please leave a comment if you have other DIY costume ideas or know an awesome aerial makers.

Trial tank top:

First I started by drawing some different ideas out on some paper. I was trying some swirls and other patterns. I have little or no artistic talent when it comes to drawing…but I’m going to see where it goes.

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Then I took an old tank top that I was going to throw away and put some cardboard between the layers and sketched some lines with a pencil. Then started painting.

Meh, not that great but that’s why its an old tank that I was just testing my skills on. It does look better on than on the table…

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Trial Unitard: Old light pink cotton unitard

It was stretched out and faded and has a few holes starting in the leg and crotch. I was going to throw it away but then I stopped and thought it would be a great piece to start with because if I ruined it I wouldn’t feel bad…I’d just have wasted a ton of time. It took me an afternoon to dye, cut, and paint (we went out to dinner while the front was drying and I finished painting the back that evening). Then the next morning I ironed and added rhinestones (which took less than an hour).

Ombre Fabric Dye:

I wanted to refresh the color and I had a package of Dylon Flamingo Pink fabric dye that I had purchased 6 or 7 years ago and never used. This is the video I tried to follow. Ombre fabric dye video.

  1. Wash without using fabric softener.
  2. I put the unitard on and marked it with safety pins where I wanted to gradients to be (chest, hips, knees).
  3. I found a hanger and some ribbon and I used my laundry room cabinets to make “hooks” so I wouldn’t have to hold the unitard all the time.
  4. Then I got the unitard wet and rang it out.
  5. I set up my bucket in the sink. I also set out the dye, salt, measuring spoon, scissors, plastic spoon to stir on the counter.2016-04-02 14.38.55
  6. I heated water up in the microwave in a plastic bowl and dissolved the fabric dye and added the salt.
  7. I made sure the tap water was very hot and started filling my bucket in the sink. Then I added in my fabric dye mixture.
  8. I submerged the unitard up to the waist and kept dipping it from waist to knees for about 20 min.
  9. Then for about 10 min I dipped it from chest to waist.2016-04-02 14.38.22
  10. Then let it sit for about 10 more minutes hanging with just the knees to the bottom in the bucket.2016-04-02 14.39.10
  11. Then I rinsed the unitard until it ran mostly clear.
  12. Then put it through my washer and dryer. 2016-04-02 15.58.38

Cutting:

I’ve seen some instagram posts and a YouTube video by Adam Slacks with a unitard that has been cut up and I really liked that look. I wondered if I could do it myself. I had tried to cut a t-shirt before and it turned out OK…so I decided to give it a try.

I used pins from Pinterest for inspiration:

Steps:

  1. I put the unitard on and kept the safety pins in to mark body landmarks (chest, hips, knees).
  2. Then I took a pencil and marked where I wanted to make my cuts.
  3. I used a piece of cardboard inside the unitard to help stretch it out and keep shape.
  4. I used a ruler to help keep the lines straight but I ended up eyeballing most of the cut.2016-04-02 17.30.12
  5. As I braided I used the safety pins to hold the final braid in place.
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  6. Then I just used a simple thread and needle and sewed the end of the braids together with knots.
  7. I bought an inflatable dress mannequin from ebay for about $25
  8. I kept it on the mannequin for the painting and rhinestones.
  9. I used a pencil to draw some swirls then painted some silver and pink swirls. With the silver at the top and the pink towards the bottom to keep with the ombre feel.
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  10. Then finally I put some rhinestones on it with the clear crystals at the top and the pink crystals towards the bottom.
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  11. Finally, I put it on and tried it out on my hoop. Fiphone - 24Fiphone - 29

NOTE: Cutting will make the size change sometimes smaller and sometimes larger. The S curve cut/braid really pulled the fabric out of line and it was too small for me. It ripped on my first trial. Nothing that couldn’t be fixed because…well its already cut up. But I suggest a few trial runs before using a cut unitard in a performance to make sure the cuts don’t rip in inappropriate areas.

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Aerial Equipment part 5: Rust on my Lyra (Cleaning, Painting, Re-taping)

II’ve had my Lyra for over 8 months. I’ve brought it into studios and used it on my outdoor rig. I still love it! Most of the time it is stored inside in my dance room which is air conditioned yet about 2 months ago it started to rust through the tape. I live in Florida where the humidity is very high. It is possible that I set my hoop down in wet grass or something. I’m not exactly sure why it is rusting. I’ve been busy but it has reached the point that it is time to clean off the rust on my hoop and re-tape. Basically, make it pretty again.

These are the “before” pictures as I was taking off the tape. It was really pretty disgusting.

I needed to start my research again to figure out the best way to do this…

I opened Facebook on my laptop and went to the Safety in Aerial Group. I knew I had read about ways to clean and re-tape your hoop in some of the posts. I plugged “rust” into the search bar and started reading.

This is what I found:

Yes, other people have this problem. Probably, the best way to solve it is to have it powder-coated (or to have bought a stainless steel or aluminum hoop to begin with…). Well, I’m not ready to make the powder-coating leap yet. So I’m going to start by cleaning it.

Suggestions for cleaning it:

  • Use steel wool to clean the rust off (Grade #0 Fine did not work)
  • Use 200 grit sand paper to clean the rust off (When I spoke to one of my aerial instructors this is what she has done in the past. This is also what worked the best for me.)
  • Use 3M Scotch-Brite General Purpose Hand Pad to clean the rust off (This helped get the dirt grime off but didn’t really see it get rust off.)
  • Use Navel Jelly to dissolve the really stubborn rust off (You can buy it at Home Depot. Use gloves & do it outside. I did not actually need to use it but its good to know & have on hand.)
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Cleaning supplies

Keep it from rusting:

After cleaning it there were several suggestions on how to keep it from rusting again.

  • Powder-coating (I’ll look into this in the future but right now I’m trying some other things)
  • Oiling/lubricating (It would probably work but I’m having a mental block about putting oil onto an apparatus that I’m going to be hanging from…):
    • Sentry Solutions Marine TUF-CLOTH to stop the rust
    • T-9 Boshield to protect the metal from rust. This was copied from the Boshield website “T-9 dries to a waxy, waterproof finish without leaving a sticky film.” (you can buy it at any woodworking store)
    • FYI: W-D 40 does not protect from rust.
  • Spray painting (use Rust-Oleum or Kyrlon Hammer Finish)
  • Taping and putting a coat of acrylic paint over it

I decided to try to clean it the best I could. Use Rust-Oleum to paint it. Then re-tape it. I read that several studio owners do this but they need to re-do it about twice a year. I will try and and report how it does in future posts.

My process

Cleaning the hoop

  1. I took all the tape off
  2. Then I started cleaning. I took it outside and started with the steel wool.
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    Steel Wool.

    I went through 2 pads before I realized it wasn’t really doing anything. I was using the “Grade 0: Fine” steel wool. Maybe this wasn’t tough enough.

  3. The steel wool was actually sticking to the left over adhesive. So I went and found some GOO GONE and a rag and started wiping the adhesive off. That really helped.

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    GOO GONE!

  4. That’s when I noticed that the cement pavers on my patio were scratching my metal hoop so I found an old towel to put down to protect it.
  5. Not to worry because I switched to the 220 grit sand paper and that really started to clean it up. The sand paper cleaned off the rust and a lot of the black dirt. It also filed down any of the scratches that were rough. My hoop started getting shiny.
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    Protect the hoop from scratching on concrete.

    This was extremely dirty and my hands, arms, face, shirt all started turning black. LOL. It was so messy & I was outside in 90 degree heat so it was everywhere.

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    So dirty!

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    Result of my cleaning supplies.

  6. Then I found a Scotch-Brite sponge scrub pad and some dish soap to wash it. I took a garden hose and soaped it up.
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    Dawn and Scotch-Brite Scrub Pad.

    Initially, I was just going to use the sponge but once I started washing it a lot more of the black, dirty grime started coming off. I switched to the green scrub side and this REALLY helped clean the hoop up. Now it was shiny!

  7. I dried it off with a towel and set in out in the sun to dry.
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    Its all clean and shiny!

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    Look at the shine. No more rust.

What I would do differently

If I were to do this again (and I’m not sure how it will work now that I’ve spray painted the hoop)…

  1. After removing the tape, I’d wash it first with the sponge and soap
  2. Use the GOO GONE right away
  3. Then maybe take the Scotch-Brite scrub to it
  4. If there is still grime and rust then I’d use the sand paper
  5. And finally if needed I’d use use the Navel Jelly.

Spray painting the Lyra

This was easy. I saved this screen shot from Steve Santos with the idea of following it to a T.

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Screen Shot from a Facebook’s Safety in Aerial discussion about rust on hoops.

I went to Home Depot to buy supplies and called my Fiance to see if we had a “torch.” We do but he told me I didn’t need to use it (I think he didn’t want me burning down the house.). That all I needed to do was leave the hoop in the Florida sun to heat up and dry off all the moisture. I understand that there is still a ton of moisture in the air and I probably should have heated the hoop up but I’m learning to pick & choose my battles with my Honey Bunny and this was one I didn’t want to fight so I let it go. My hoop did get very hot in the sun so hopefully it worked **Fingers crossed**

  1. Bought Rust-Oleum Primer and Spray Paint. The color isn’t going to matter but I really liked the light metallic champagne pink color.
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    Spray paint!

    ***LOOK at this sparkly  glitter spray paint. OMG! I didn’t know if I’d actually use it but it was too cool not to buy. I was thinking about using it and not taping the hoop and maybe the glitter would act a bit more grippy. When I mentioned this to my Fiance he didn’t think the glitter paint would stay on very long and would scratch/peel off right away with use. Anyone have thoughts on this? I’m not brave enough to try it yet***

  2. I hung it on my rig outside by one spanset and started spraying the primer.
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    Hung it outside from one spanset.

    I did a light coat about 6-12 inches away from the hoop. Let it dry for about an hour. then moved the spanset to the other side and did another light coat. Then I let it dry for 2 hours and brought it inside to dry overnight.

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    First coat of primer.

  3. Then the next day I did the same thing with the champagne pink spray paint. It actually started raining about an hour after I sprayed. Once it stopped I took it down and dried it off and set it inside to finish drying.
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    Metallic Champagne Pink Spray Paint. I LOVE this color!

    hoop2

    Its almost the same color as my wall.Taping my Lyra

Taping my Lyra

When I was first purchasing hardware for my Lyra I bought some Mueller’s Athletic tape knowing I’d eventually need to re-tape it. I found it on Amazon.

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Mueller Tape 3 rolls, 1 1/2 inch x 10 yards

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Comes in many colors!

 

This is what I found when searching for how to tape a Lyra (tape an aerial hoop). Its a lot like taping a hula hoop. These are some helpful tips:

  • Tape from the bottom to the top. if you don’t do this then the tape will roll over on itself as your hands/body slides down the hoop.
  • If you look at the hoop as a clock with 12 at the top. Start taping at 7 going up to the top towards 1. Then go the opposite direction starting at 5 and going up towards 11. This gives you some overlap at the bottom where there is most wear.
  • Here is a video that shows a taping tutorial.

In all it took less than 20 minutes and I thought this was the easiest part of this entire process.

  1. I started the tape at 7 on a clock and wrapped around the hoop tube it so it overlapped itself 1/2 the width of the tape.
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Starting the taping.

2. I tried to keep the tape tight against the hoop to keep any wrinkles out.

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I started at about 7 on the clock.

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This was one roll of 10 yards of tape.

3. Once I finished one roll of tape. I took a second roll and started at the 4/5 on a clock and started wrapping clockwise. This roll seemed to have more strings come off the tape. A few times I had to stop and turn my roll of tape over so the other side of the tape was being overlapped to keep it from unraveling. (I guess I’ll see how that works out.)

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The second roll I started at 4/5 and wrapped clockwise.

4. Using the second roll of tape I was able to complete the hoop part and go all the way across the straight part and ended where the hoop starts to curve again. I had just a bit left on the roll.

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Finished! OMG its like I have a new hoop!

5. The hoop is SO BEAUTIFUL. It looks like a brand new hoop! Why didn’t I do this sooner?

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It matches all my other pink stuff.

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions or if you tape/protect your hoop in different ways.

Types of tape that people use to cover their Lyra:

  • Mueller Athletic tape (M-Tape)
  • Generic athletic tape / adhesive cotton tape (ie. Zonas Zinc Free tape)
  • Newbaums handlebar tape (its soft & not sticky)
  • Hockey tape
  • Some people use foam pre-wrap or under wrap under the tape for padding or use several layers of cotton tape
  • Gaffer tape (heavy cotton cloth with strong adhesion properties, typically used to tape down cables to the floor during stage productions, try the brand Polyken, tends to be expensive)
  • Baseball/tennis racquet tape
  • Soft side of velcro tape (??)
  • ESI Silicone tape

Ways to decrease stickiness of a taped hoop:

  • Put chalk on in
  • Coat it with acrylic paint
  • Instead of chalk dust a fresh tape job with shimmer powder
  • Someone posted that “zinc” in the tape is what gives it the sticky goo so look for zinc free tape

UPDATE: 10/16/16 The Mueller Tape that I used is SUPER sticky! It really eats up my hands. I’ve just seen a recommendation for Meister Tape. I think it can be purchased off Amazon. I’ll probably try that next time. 

 

 

Aerial Equipment part 3: Mats! 

Mats are VERY important safety tools when doing aerial. Many of the aerial studios I’ve trained at have 1 1/2″-2″ panel mat beneath the aerial points. For new or difficult tricks (especially drops) I like to pull a 4-12″ crash mat under the point. I have heard many differences in opinion on what size, type, or the safety of mats that are needed for aerial. I would love to hear in the comments what types of mats you use for training!

My opinion is: I LOVE MATS and the more mats I have the more confident I feel.

Please check out this link to more info about aerial mats: Simply Circus website mats section.

This is a run down on the mats that I have and use at home, where I bought them, and how much they cost.

Round 1:

When I first started aerial I also did some pole dancing. I bought a pole and a small pink panel mat for home use. I bought the mat brand new about 4 years ago off eBay. It is a MatsMatsMats.com mat. It folds twice and is 4×6′. I use it to stretch and it is a great little mat.

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I also use yoga mats and I have a gray foam fitness mat that rolls up. * I just ordered a new yoga mat from Amazon because my little chihuahua had an accident on mine and…well…I just decided it was time for a new mat.
Screenshot 2016-02-27 17.00.15

Round 2:

When I bought my Lyra I wanted a mat that was a bit more robust than a panel mat. My instructor told me that in a gym she trained at they used bouldering pads as mats. I went home and Googled.

Mats are freaking expensive! Wow! (If you don’t believe me do some googling…)

Bouldering/rock climbing crash pads come in all sizes and costs. I choose a Mad Rock Climbing 5″ thick Crash pad.
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  • It is black and 72″x44″ (6 ft x 3 1/2 feet) when laid out.
  • It folds twice into a 24x44x15″ backpack.
  • I choose it because it had good reviews and I could use Amazon Prime.
    Total $250-260.


Pros:

  • Largest portable crash mat on the market
  • I like the 5″ thickness (seems better than a panel mat to me)
  • It’s portable and easy to carry
  • The folds have Velcro coverings so you don’t step into a crack
  • You can sleep on in as a portable mattress if you want 😴
  • (It works great under my slackline…)

Cons:

  • It still seems small to me. I feel like to be completely safe I want 2 of these mats put side by side.
  • It is very firm but over time I think it will relax.
  • I hated the orange logo so I took some fabric paint to it.


These are some other bouldering crash pads I considered:

  • Black Diamond
  • ClimbX-XXX
  • Metolius

Round 3:

Now that I’ve gotten my 24 foot Ludwig Aerial Rig, I really wanted a big crash pad so I can start trying some more advanced skills. And again…

Mats are freaking expensive!

A lot of the 8-12″ crash/landing mats that are used for gymnastics/acrobatics/trampoline/martial arts are rectangles. One problem that I’ve had with aerial is that I pull a mat under me there is a length that is too long and one that is too short. I need to direct my trajectory so I land in the right place. Not a huge issue but it’s been an annoyance for me.

*Anyone else have problems with this, or is it just me?

I thought if I’m going to spend $$$ on another mat…I want it to be a mat that works for me. These were my requirements:

  • 6 foot x 6 foot (a square not a rectangle)
  • 12″ thick
  • Light color (the mat will be outside & the sun heats vinyl up quick in Florida)
  • Portable & easy to store (needs to fold once and have handles)

Then I did a web search and sent out quotes for estimates to 7 different suppliers. (Side note a few replied right away with estimates via email, a few I needed to call to get a response & a few never did respond.) It is worth while to shop around. The prices vary greatly as do the quality. This is what I found:

  • AK Athletics $625 free shipping, no tax. WINNER!!!
  • Resilite $530 + shipping $181 + tax $49.77 = $760.77
  • CoverSports $626.27 + shipping $135.00 = $761.27
  • MatsMatsMats $714.99 + shipping $331.60 = $1046.59
  • GreatMats responded they could not build to my requirements. *I was looking through their website and saw some tiles made out of recycled rubber like they have in some playgrounds…the bouncy kind…I was considering that under my aerial rig because I’m pretty sure the grass is going to die pretty soon. What do you think, good idea/bad idea?
  • RossAthletic & The Mat Warehouse did not respond. 😦

I went with AK Athletics because:

  1. They were priced the best & had free shipping: $625
  2. They were the first to respond.
  3. I liked their customer service the best.
  4. 6’x6’x12″, Tan on top/Black on bottom, folds once, handles on the folded sides.
    Order was placed 1/18/16, shipped 2/1/16, received 2/4/16 (signature required)
    Screenshot 2016-02-27 17.10.12mats2

Pros:

  • This mat is super comfy. * I could easily fall asleep on it.
  • The vinyl is very soft to the touch.
  • It is thick and heavy. The perfect crash mat.
  • I had thought that I might choose something bigger like 8×8′ or 10×10′ but 6×6′ is perfect size for aerial use. *Although for hoop…the 5 inch Mad Rocks on top of my grass works just fine!

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Cons:

  • This mat is LARGE! I cannot lift it by myself (I thought I’d be able to lift it with the handles…). It is easy to drag but not lift. My fiancé is already questioning where everything is going to go. Ugh! I have no where to store it.
  • The seam runs right under my aerial point. I’m afraid that it will come un-done over time. It already looking worn and the seam is pulling apart after just 4 uses. I believe I will use a yoga mat on top of it to try to reduce some to the wear that will happen to it. I will keep you updated.
    mats6
  • The vinyl got REALLY cold (too cold for bare feet when it was around 55 degrees out. I’m worried about how hot it will get during the hot summer days in Florida. Maybe my yoga mat will help. Or maybe I will need to get some type of rug for the top of it.

So far I’m very happy with how my private aerial area is coming together. It has been a great (& expensive) learning experience. Please let me know if you have any questions. And I hope everyone is having a safe and happy aerial time!!

**I am NOT an aerial instructor. I am NOT a professional. My ideas for mats and safety may not be the same as yours or what a professional aerialist/rigger/instructor recommends. Please refer to a professional if you have questions. Facebook Safety in Aerial Arts Group is a great resource.

Aerial Rigging: kN? 

What the heck does “kN” mean and what does it mean to me as an aerialist?

kN confused me as I was beginning my aerial hardware/equipment research. I had to look it up and refresh my physics memory. *If I ever learned what kN meant when I took physics I definitely don’t remember it.

kN = kilonewton

Newton (N) is the international system of units (SI) for FORCE. Named after Sir Isaac Newton. One N is very small. A N is so small (at Earth’s gravity 1 N = a small apple) it is common to see forces expressed in kilonewtons (kN). When we see kN stamped on our hardware, it gives a measurement of what kind of forces it can withstand, or how strong it is.

This chart has helped me when looking up ratings and applying them to aerials:

kN (kilonewton) to lbf (pounds-force)

1kN = ~225 lbf
5kN = ~1124 lbf
10kN = ~2248 lbf
20kN = ~4496 lbf
30kN = ~6744 lbf
40kN = ~8992 lbf
50kN = ~11,240 lbf

Here is a simple calculator to convert kilonewtons to force pounds.

How do I calculate how much force I create as an aerialist?

This is a video of how much force an aerialist can create from just a simple drop.

This link shows how to calculate your weight and shock loads as an aerialist. It’s an eye opening read.

What does this mean to me?

  1. According to the link above there are a wide range of safety factors. You will need to decide which works best for you and your practice (*you may want a smaller SF if you are doing static motions with no drops, larger SF if you have multiple aerialists doing large drops, or different SF depending on if its for permanent equipment used daily vs temp. equipment used rarely):
    • 2,000-5,000 lbs (same as a car) = 9-22kN
    • Cirque du Soliel 10:1 SF (est. 900 lbs for in a drop) = 40kN
    • American National Standards Institute 7:1 SF (est. 900 lbs for in a drop) = 31kN
    • Professional artists standard 3:1 to 5:1 SF(est. 900 lbs for in a drop) = 12-20kN
  2. I can convert the ratings of my equipment into something more familiar to me. *Example: a carabiner with a 25kN label is rated to roughly 5500lbs.
    • My carabiners are 23-50kN (5,170-11,240lbf)
    • My swivel is 36kN (8,093lbf)
    • My aluminum rescue 8 is 45kN (10,116lbf)
    • My rigging plate is 30kN (6,744lbf)
    • My fabric is the weakest part of my rig at breaking strength around 2,000lbs. (With fabric it is more likely to tear before it completely breaks. Simply Circus Fabric testing)
  3. Knowing how my equipment is rated will also help me keep an eye on when it needs to be inspected and retired.
    *Sometimes I will practice a lot of static moves with slow fluid transitions. Other times I get in a “drops” mood and all I want to do is drop after drop. The drops are going to generate more force and more wear on the equipment.
    I should be inspecting my equipment more often when I’m creating more force on them. Consider how you are using your equipment and the forces you are putting on them.

Use the information above (kN/forces/ratings/calculations) to help make smart decisions about your aerial equipment. If you are unsure or confused, please ask for help and do more research.

NOTE: All carabiners (and other aerial hardware) have a kN amount etched into the spine. If they do not have an etching amount do not use them for aerial.

Other definitions:

  • Load definitions link
  • WLL = Working Load Limit
    The force that a object can safely lift without breaking.
    WWL = MBL (minimum breaking load)/SF (safety factor)
  • SF = safety factor also referred to as DF = design factor
  • Force = mass x acceleration

What are other things that you’ve found in your aerial or circus research/experience that has caused confusion or raised questions? There are other aerialist out there (like me) who have also been wondering the same things.

***I am NOT an aerial instructor or rigger. I am NOT a professional. My ideas for saftey may not be the same as yours or what a professional aerialist/rigger/instructor recommends. Please refer to professionals if you have questions. Facebook Saftey in Aerial Arts Group and Simply Circus site are a great resources.***