We often talk about Draper’s ability to develop custom solutions across all of our product categories. Draper custom solutions is one of the things that really sets us apart from other manufacturers serving the same markets.

Sometimes you may wonder why we talk about it, and wonder what the payoff is to the average dealer or installer.

What if I told you the payoff is that you don’t lose money on a project, or lose a project altogether? Here are four examples of how Draper’s custom manufacturing capabilities kept project on track, and in fact made their continuation possible.

Change of Plan
Custom_BracketSteve Hawes of Progressive Commercial Interiors in Tempe, Arizona, was dealing with a big situation that had suddenly become even bigger. Progressive had gotten the job of providing more than 8600 Draper XD Clutch FlexShades for Marina Heights, a multiple building project and home to State Farm Insurance. There were five buildings, 47 floors, and a 19 month timeline. That was all big enough. Then came the “frying pan into the fire” moment.

“Custom brackets were required to avoid impacting the moveable storefront, which was designed to flex with building movement,” according to Hawes. “Attachments had to be made to horizontal mullions only, and they could not attach to vertical mullions.”

Luckily for Hawes, Draper was able to custom design shade brackets to work specifically with the building design restrictions. Draper’s in-house design team developed a new bracket, provided a 3D drawing. After some modifications based on feedback, Draper 3D-printed samples. Once those were approved, the new design went into production. Installation of the project is expected to wrap up in December.

For more information about this job, click here to read our case study.


The openings for the projectors can just be made out high above the pool area.

The openings for the projectors can just be made out high above the pool area.

A Precarious Situation
Imagine working on a projection mapping project where there’s no place close to hide the projectors. Now imagine there’s a hurricane coming. Oh, and by the way, you’re installing the projectors and support structures on the roof of a hotel. In 45 days.

That was the situation facing Wayne Wagner of Wagner Media. It was decided to place the projectors inside metal housings on the roof of the hotel, knock holes in the parapet wall surrounding the roof, and project down using projector support structures and mirrors.

The solution Draper came up with not only needed to handle the weight of the projectors, it also needed to be something that could hold up in 30 mile-per-hour prevailing winds, could be transported up through the building and onto the roof, and keep as low a profile as possible so the holes in the parapet walls could be kept as small as possible.

Draper used the RPX stand as a starting point. But some heavy customizing had to be done. The mirrors had to be much smaller than normal because of the small openings in the parapet wall. Draper designed a structure with long steel support arms holding a small glass mirror, and with adjustment platforms that allowed the projectors to be tilted to 22 degrees. The custom structures were shipped in pieces to be assembled on the roof. To address the windy conditions, Draper reinforced the mirror support arms with 14 gauge steel.

Again, all of this design, planning, and installation work had to be completed in 45 days.

“I wanted to work with Draper because there are clear lines of communication,” according to Wagner. “I could tell them exactly what I wanted to accomplish, and I knew that Draper would understand and provide me with a viable solution.”

Read more here.

A Swinging Idea
Screen_Boom_01The Camp Hill, Pennsylvania United Methodist Church needed a projection screen added to its main sanctuary. However, it couldn’t interfere with the ambience and design of the sanctuary, and with a 20’ centered cross and a large vaulted ceiling, that wasn’t easy. Camp Hill member Fred Powell, who chairs the church’s strategic planning committee, didn’t want a framed screen on the wall. The vaulted ceiling made it impossible to drop a screen down into the space.

So Powell decided the church needed a screen that would remain flat against the wall when not in use, and swing out into the space during use.

Powell remembered the Draper basketball backstops installed in the church’s multiuse facility. They are wall mounted basketball units that fold against the wall when not in use, and are available in motorized versions. Powell contacted Draper, and after some back and forth, the company engineers developed a product that did, indeed, combine the wall-folding backstops with a motorized projection screen.

AV integrator Morefield Communications added technical and engineering resources during the design process, and helped improve the product.

Draper liked the idea so much we decided to market it in our standard offerings. Thus was born the Screen Boom.

For more information on the Screen Boom, click here.

Bending Over Sideways
Kennesaw_2You may have heard the old saying, “bending over backwards” to help someone. In helping Kennesaw State University—Georgia’s third-largest university—however, Draper engineers actually bent sideways to help.

KSU decided to add a gymnasium area to its Student Recreation Center. The project included four 84-foot basketball courts, which also include overhead volleyball systems. The attachment height for everything is about 38 feet, and there is an elevated track that is about 10 feet behind the face of the backboards. If that doesn’t already sound packed enough, there are also three Roll-Up Divider curtains separating the courts.

That is a lot of equipment in a relatively small area—and fitting it all in was especially challenging given the 38-foot ceiling attachment height, which means that a typical straight mast would be about 29 feet tall. This wouldn’t work, since the curtains are only 27 and a half feet away.

Then Draper hit on the idea of combining the benefits of two backstop types—the side-folding backstop, and our bent-stem model—to make a product that would fit. Thus was born a custom bent stem side fold backstop solution. Traditionally, Draper’s side fold backstops have either a front brace or a rear brace, but here we had two problems: The overhead volleyball nets were too close when folded up to use a normal front brace; and the track was too close to allow our normal rear brace. To accommodate these conditions, we designed a side folding backstop with both a front and rear brace. Our first thought was to put the front and rear braces at the same angles, but that would have meant the overhead volleyball system would hit the front brace. Instead of compromising on a narrower top of T-frame to allow that, we put the front and rear braces at different angles. This allowed for a very rigid backstop with maximum support to the rear of the units, where playing forces are directed.

It wasn’t easy, but in the end Draper managed to design around the space constraints and fit everything in.

More details can be found here.

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