There's a thing to taking a job in entertainment; it is that you never really stop working, that you never really just go to a show again. I am getting better at it, meaning I am more and more able to enjoy myself. Sometimes though there's really nothing you can do.
Case in point: The Newseum.
The other day while taking in the sites of the Newseum I saw this:
It's a replica communication satellite that they have hung in their atrium. Now really there's probably nothing here that's altogether dangerous in a life-threatening kind of way. There are however a few issues.
Let's begin with the hanging hardware at the bottom connection. The piece is hung with quicklinks. This piece of hardware is nearly never rated for overhead lifting, usually isn't drop forged, doesn't have any tracking capability, and can't be moused off in any way. Just the wrong piece of gear for the job. Along with the quicklinks you should notice that they've formed their eye using press sleeves - three of them. The manufacturer only requires one sleeve. Properly installed it retains over 90% of the strength of the cable. I've worked with a lot of people that want to do two for piece of mind. Three is overkill. Sometimes people use the extra press to clean up the running end of the cable so it doesn't stick out. That isn't what they've done here.
All things being equal though, if the thing really is scenery and therefore much lighter than it looks, the quicklinks and this press application are probably ok, just, you know, wrong.
Then there's the next item up for bids:
From the first photo you can probably see that the piece is hung from four points. Here's another angle...
What should be clearer here is that one of the four picks is slack and therefore really doing absolutely nothing. Again, if the weight is low, then three picks of .125" GAC ought to be enough, but once again just sorta wrong.
And then the capper...
We often discuss in my rigging class how to properly use turnbuckles in theatre installations. One point in my career while discussing the thought with an every day rigger I was told that really you just shouldn't use them. The argument is that turnbuckles are only good in direct tension and cannot handle any side load whatsoever, they also tend to get bent and munged up and are generally annoying. I tend to be a turnbuckle advocate, they're really good for what they are for, but I do concede you do have to pay attention. Pay attention more than this anyway...
It might be a little difficult to see what's going on, here's a closeup:
What you are looking at is a large diameter eye-bolt dropping out of the ceiling, transitioning to a piece of hanging/mating hardware I can't really identify, mated to a turnbuckle with a clevis on the top and a kind of terminal threaded stud on the bottom.
It's a curious combination of very clean (the terminal) and very odd (everything else).
So, usually these hex body turnbuckles are something you buy at the hardware store and are often aluminum - and not rated for overhead. Because of the kinds of ends, I am going to make the assumption that this is some kind of really sexy marine turnbuckle and is therefore probably stainless steel and rated, but I still wonder.
The thing that is distressing here, if you're the type of person that gets distressed over such things is the fleet angle of the cable coming off the stud. With all the joints in the assembly only really having one degree of freedom, this installation is pulling on the terminal stud in a way it shouldn't be, and more importantly it is bending the turnbuckle. If you look at the other photos you'll see that this is the case on all the picks (this was just the one I could get closest to).
Now, if the thing is light and the turnbuckle is something sexy, then this is probably ok, but, you know, just sloppy. If the turnbuckle isn't sexy or the thing isn't light, this is, well, unfortunate.
Probably the fleet issue could be solved by rotating the eyebolts to allow the hangar/turnbuckle assembly to pivot inline with the load. If it were my Newseum I would definitely do that (and replace the quicklinks with shackles and be sure the turnbuckles were rated).
So here's my question: If I had asked to see the manager to relate these things would I have been a dork? Should I send them an email? The way I read my ETCP certification I think I am sorta required to. What would you do?