Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Irony of Cable Suspension Systems

So, I wanna rehang the digital projector in the cinema zone. When I first set it up, I hung some chain from the ceiling, and used simple hooks on the sides of a wooden base for the projector to suspend it. But since we've finished insulating and drywalling up there -- well, it looks a bit unprofessional. And more: because I can only adjust the position of the projector by a chainlink-length at a time, it's impossible to centre and level it with precision.

I figured I go and buy one of those nice cable-based systems they suspend track-lights with, you know? You see that shit everywhere. Adjustments along a cable are analog, as opposed to the (metaphorically) quantum nature of adjustments imposed by chain, and the whole thing looks nicer. I thought I'd just mosey on down to the local hardware, get myself some cable, some cable-grip fittings, and some ceiling mounts, and everything would be all tickety-boo, right?


I went through three hardware stores, two specialty lighting places and Officeworks. In each place, I described what I needed, and got blank looks from the people working there. And in each place, once the blank looks were firmly in place, I eventually pointed to the lighting or shelving systems inside their own damned stores that relied on this ubiquitous system of cable suspension.

Blank looks were invariably followed by expressions of absolute surprise -- gosh, we use that stuff, don't we? -- followed by protestations of utter ignorance. Long story short: every fuckin' place USES this stuff, but nobody fuckin' SELLS it.

In the end, I bought brake cables from a bicycle store. And from a store that specialises in fitting out other stores with shelving, lighting, and display crap, I managed to get ceiling mounts that will hold my brake cables, and adjustable grips which will let me connect the system to my projector base.

It'll be a project for next week. I need to shift the projector a little farther back from the screen to widen the picture, and I need to level it out. Right now, everything is slightly tilted. But the fun I've had already... there's something gratifying in watching professional retail people tell you they've never heard of the thing you want, and then pointing out to them that their own store is fitted with precisely the thing you're after.