Start with some fencing wire and electrical conduit and make yourself a kabuki drop.

You will need a length of oval conduit. I had a section of the 22mm x 11mm size lying in the garage and it was ideal. The 16mm x 11mm size is probably too small. Electrical conduit comes in 3 metre lengths and connectors are available so you can make the drop as long as you need.

The other requirement is a continuous length round steel bar. A very cheap source for this is galvanised fencing wire.

construction

Firstly cut the conduit to length allowing at least 50mm overlap at either end of the drop cloth. Next, measure the spacing between the D-rings on the drop cloth. Remember the old carpenter's adage "Measure twice, cut once." and do the measurements again! Mark the position of all D-rings on the length of conduit and cut slots to suit the thickness of the D-rings you are using. Each of these should be about one-third of the depth of the conduit.

Now you need a length of steel bar about 4mm diameter. Ideally it should be a single length but if you cannot find one long enough you may need to join two lengths together with threaded standoffs. Something like this from Farnell should do the trick. As I'm a cheapskate and wanted to build the whole thing from available materials, I used a length of 4mm galvanised fencing wire which needed to be straightened. To straighten the wire cut a piece from the roll; it should be at least a metre longer than the required finished length; clamp one end of the wire firmly in a bench vice and clamp the other end in the chuck of a mains drill set to its lowest speed (a battery drill will probably not be powerful enough). Put on gloves and goggles as, if the wire snaps, it can do some damage. Pull the wire taut and start the drill. The wire will work-harden and straighten nicely, but it will take a surprising number of turns of the drill to do it.

Form a loop on one end of the draw rod. This is where the pull rope will attach to the finished Kabuki drop. Cut some short lengths of straightened wire for the pins. Allow for a couple more than the number of D-rings on the drop cloth as there may be some rejects when bending! Each one should be about 150mm long. Bend a step in each short length allowing about 30mm for the release pin and no more than 10mm between centres on across the step.

Now the whole thing must be assembled.

Lay the draw rod on top of the conduit and mark the locations of all the slots. The end of each of the release pins should align as close as possible with a mark on draw rod so that when the assembly is pulled through the conduit all the D-rings release at the same time. In order to stop the release pins from rotating around the draw rod, file a flat on both the pin and the draw rod. The picture below shows one of these half finished.

If one of your mates has welder then this is the time to call in a favour and ask them to weld all of the release pins to the draw rod. Unfortunately I don't have a welder or any mates with one either. Who was that who said "Maybe he doesn't have any mates."? So, I had to find another solution. I secured each release pin with araldite and two cable ties, then covered the assembled mess in Gaffa tape so nobody could see the result. It wasn't pretty but it worked perfectly for the whole run of the show.

Finally slide the assembled draw rod into the conduit and there you have a working Kabuki drop built from rubbish out of the garage!

If you need a sequenced drop it's possible to make the release pins of different lengths, but the longest cannot be longer than the space between them. Try it.

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