I have been searching for some kind of light blocking panel to deal with my neighbors lights and the condo lights where I live.
I found the solution on this site where some of you have put together some 1 inch PVC frame works with tarps or other material stretched over it to block the light.
I want to thank everyone who posted this idea. It works and works well.
I ran into a problem with the clamps used to hold the individual panels together.
I found the spring loaded clamps hard to compress with my reduced hand strength. I also found that they don't always hold the pipes together perfectly, but will often snap closed more and mis-align the pipes.
I was looking to put two of these panels together permanently with some kind of hinge that would allow them to fold flat for storage and hold the pipes securely.
I have finally found such a product. It is called a snap clamp. It was designed for those who like to work with PVC pipe and specifically for those who are designing things like room dividers where the panels need to fold flat for storage... just what I was looking for.
If you would like to check it out go to:
When you get there, scroll to the right of the main page... their webpage is a bit wide.. and use the search box and type in snap hinge and it should take you right to it.
This is designed to snap into place but it is not a simple press fit. I found with my reduced hand strength that I could not force the hinge into place. I grabbed my channel locks and with my wife holding the panel, I squeezed one side of the clamp with one of the pliers jaws and the other jaw on the outside of the pipe I was trying to install it on, and it does expand to fit, but you will need another channel lock or other pliers or hand strength to get the other side of the fitting to snap into place. I used three to hold two panels together. After getting them fitted to the first panel, my wife held the second panel up and we just did the same thing again. It was a bit tricky to keep in alignment but not especially hard. It went together first try.
The panels fold flat for storage and they aren't heavy if plastic tarps are used for the blocking material. My wife and I easily picked up the two panels and took them out on the first night with them. When the night's observing was done, and before I knew it, my wife, by herself had folded the panels flat and carried both back into the garage! If you have more panels you might invest in a cheap two wheel dolly at harbor freight to wheel them around on. We have one and tried it and it worked ok.
One caveat. This is a NO CANCELLATION, NO REFUND type of part according to the manufacturer. So, when you buy them... they are yours. They shipped fairly fast. They are not cheap, but they sure work and solved a problem for me. If you are industrious, perhaps you can make something like this out of PVC fittings. But for me, simply ordering them already done was the way to go. Your mileage may vary. I hope this may assist others who may want a way to join PVC piping for this or other projects. Please note that they do space the pipes apart a little, it has to so they will fold flat, so you will have a small gap between panels to deal with. We just threw an old towel over the top of the panels and let it hang down to block the gap.
We will be making two more panels that we will join together with these hinges. While you could hook any number of these together in a long accordion like string of panels, the weight might eventually be too much to carry. For a permanent installation it may just be ideal. We decided that two panel units were easier to carry and store.
Brad, Sally and Niblet the mini-rex astro bunny
PS- I'll try to upload a picture with this... no guarantee as I've never done it before!