Author Topic: PROPS: Helium Tank Onstage  (Read 2979 times)

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PROPS: Helium Tank Onstage
« on: Jan 29, 2008, 02:03 am »
Working on a show whose script requires that not only must a huge bunch of helium-filled balloons be onstage, but that some of them get filled during the performance.  

I've looked into Super High Float to make the balloons last longer.  I'm wondering if anyone has ideas/thoughts aout buying vs. renting a helium tank (it's a 6 week run, plus a week of tech) on the cheap.

Also, any thoughts on safety would be welcome!
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 01:46 am by PSMKay »


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    • Philip LaDue
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Re: Helium Tank Onstage
« Reply #1 on: Jan 29, 2008, 02:19 am »
You need to have it delivered if you get a full cylinder.
Call your local welding supply place.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ


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Re: Helium Tank Onstage
« Reply #2 on: Jan 30, 2008, 01:37 am »
And I think you need some sort of permit for that, from the city, and from the venue.  But maybe it differs by city.  I know you do where I am.  The company you order the tank from can probably fill you in all those legal details. 
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Re: Helium Tank Onstage
« Reply #3 on: Jan 30, 2008, 01:34 pm »
Rent the tank, cylinder fitting, gauge, balloon filling nozzle, and safety equipment.  You’ll never use the equipment again.  There are numerous vendors with enough information online so that you can figure out the tank size that you’ll need.

Note that a full cylinder of helium may have a pressure of 1,800 pounds per square inch gauge (psig).  While helium is inert, the cylinder must still be handled with care.  (Arguable, there are potential oxygen-deficiency issues, but helium rises [compared to carbon dioxide] so the risk is much lower in a large room.) You’ll need either a cylinder stand or a way to secure the cylinder upright against a wall.  And you’ll need to store it in a well ventilated room.  You may need a handtruck to move the cylinder around, too.  (If a cylinder falls over and happens to hit something that damages or cuts the nozzle, you’ll have a torpedo careening around the room or across the stage.)

I found this link via the OSHA website as a good example for safe handling of cylinders.

Be aware of the jargon of the gas industry.  A gas salesman saying “Cubic feet” usually means “standard cubic feet” which for all practical purposes refers to the actual volume of the gas in the balloons.  The actual volume of the cylinder will be a small fraction of the “cubic feet” of gas that you will get out of the cylinder.

(The other “hazard” will be those who will suck out the contents of a balloon to make their voices high pitched and squeaky…)



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Re: Helium Tank Onstage
« Reply #4 on: Jan 30, 2008, 02:08 pm »
If you haven't yet found a place to get your cylinder you may want to check with a company called Unitor.  They supply ships with tons of supplies and operate in pretty much every shipping or passenger port in the world.  I saw in your profile your location is Chicago/Houston.  I'd imagine they'd service both of these places (Galveston being the closest seaport).  I know I used to get all my CO2 for fog machines from them.  May be worth checking out for helium as well.  Not sure if they will have the correct fittings and all that, as they supply for industrial purposes.  Just a thought!

Perhaps a novelty or amusement company may be a better fit for your purposes, but Unitor would probably be cheaper if money is an issue.
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