Truss 101

Truss 101

Truss is an indispensable, multi-purpose tool for anyone putting on a major event. From flying speakers to mounting lights to simply aiding the general stage aesthetic, there isn't much truss can't do! It can be seen at almost every concert, sporting event, and trade show; even most serious DJs nowadays are implementing truss to give an extra layer of professional flair to their setup. If you're ready to take your events to the next level, it's time to take the plunge and get some truss in your hands!

Shape and Size
The two most common types of truss are square and triangle. These two styles will generally cover all your bases and give you the most options.

It is important to note that you can not mix the two together; there is no way to implement square truss into a triangle truss system and vice versa. Keep this in mind when putting together a system for the first time.

Truss Type Chart

4" Square (F14)
Popular with very small signage, framing small video screens, traveling museum projects, etc. For decorative usage and not intended to hold serious weight.

9" Square (F24) & Triangle (F23)
Popular for small DJ systems and small trade show booths, as well as decorative uses. F23 is especially popular when using signage of any sort.

12" Triangle (F33)
Similar uses to F34 but packs up more compact. Gives you a different look than square truss; especially popular when using signage.

12" Square (F34) & 16" Square (F44)
For large systems that will be holding a lot of gear. F34 is the most common truss series; used in 85% of DJ, trade show, and production projects. Use F44 when mounting extreme amounts of gear (thousands of pounds) or when a beefier, industrial look is desired.

12" I-Beam (F32)
Usually used in conjunction with F33 or F34. Adds to the design, typically for extra hanging points; popular for framing signage, video screens, etc.

Structure
Imagine truss as the building blocks you played with as a kid: if you understand how they go together, you can use them to make anything you want. All of Global Truss' pieces come with the basic connectors right in the box, ready for building.

Still think you may be limited? The creative capacity for truss displayed itself in full-force during the 2010 Coachella Festival, where Global Truss provided the necessary pieces to build the massive crane whose 150 ft. wingspan provided shade and wonderment for concertgoers.

Now as cool as that is, something tells me most of you reading this article aren't going to be building too many oversized avian art pieces. For those needing something a bit more traditional, here are some of the most common truss structures you'll come across:

Goal Post:
Most common setup for DJs and small stages.

Goal Post truss

Archway:
Similar to the goal post but with slanted corners.

Archway Truss

Cube:
Typically used in trade shows.

Cube Truss

Truss with Center Beam:
Also used for trade shows, conferences, theaters and more.

Center Beam Truss

Circle Truss with Outer Legs:
Another option for trade shows, conferences, etc. but with a circular shape, making it a versatile option.

Circle Truss

Totem:
Decorative pillars, generally with a light of some sort at the top. Add a truss cover for a less industrial look.

Totem Truss

Accessories
While the pieces of truss themselves are important, they need a few other pieces to bring out their full potential!

1ft. x 4 ft. - Used for "flat" structures like the goal post or archway; it is NOT to be used for structures with "depth" like the cube.

Baseplate

Truss Caps - Base plates that are the same exact size as the truss itself and serve as either decoration or to mount lighting of some sort at the very top. They are not designed to support the truss from the bottom.

Truss Caps

Aside from that, it really is up to your discretion and common sense. The taller your structure and the more weight you put on it, the bigger and heavier your base plate(s) should be. Aluminum base plates will allow for greater mobility but don't stabilize the structural integrity the same way steel base plates do, so plan accordingly.

Clamps - Different size trusses have different tubing diameters and therefore require different clamps. Always double check the size of the clamp you're buying to make sure it will work with what you have.

  • F14 - 3/4-in. clamp
  • F23/F24 - 35mm clamp
  • F33/F34/F44 - 2 in. clamp

Sandbags - Can be used to further stabilize truss structures by placing on top of the base plate(s); not necessary in most truss systems.

Powder Coating
Not fond of the plain silver sheen of the truss? Would you rather use some color(s) you picked out yourself? Well now you can! Give us a call, pick out any of color from the RAL Color Chart for your system, and soon you'll have a unique truss setup that's sure to make you stick out above the rest.

Putting together a truss system for the first time can be intimidating, so if you need any assistance with creating one or even if you'd just like to have someone check if what you've picked out will work, please don't hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-268-5520 a sales representative will work with you directly to make sure you get a truss system that suits your needs and sets you up for success!