What is truss? The Beginners GUIDE to Lighting Truss.

by Shannon on March 30, 2021

When it comes to truss there's a lack of information available to help newcomers navigate the basics! Our team at VFM Group want to simplify the jargon so that you can discover the creative & practical possibilities of truss.

What is truss and what's it for?

Truss, also known as lighting or stage truss, is a modular framework for creating epic displays. Truss displays, blend form and function to, help you show off and sell your products and services. 

Regardless of whether you own or rent a premises, with truss you're able to create stunning displays that can adapt and move when you need them to.

Titan AV 290mm Box Truss Structure
Titan AV 290mm Box Truss Structure

With truss you can create unique displays from which to hang lights, speakers, signs, decorations, TVs & video walls. 

Modular design for easy transportation.

Transformable and portable, truss structures are assembled from inter-locking modular pieces that are quick & easy to assemble and pack down. Our Titan AV truss is made from the strongest aluminium alloy {6082-T6} for your safety and the safety of others.

When buying truss, you can start small with a handful of pieces to make simple structures such as truss totems or arches. Then later, grow your truss kit to accommodate for bigger display areas & grand new designs.

Truss fundamentals...

Let's break down the basics to find the right truss for your needs:

  1. Size
  2. Shape
  3. Lengths
  4. Cubes, corners & circles
  5. Base & top plates
  6. Accessories
  7. Colour


First thing to consider is the size of truss you're after.

Truss comes in a variety of sizes: 100, 200, 290 & 400. The number of the truss (e.g.: 290 truss) refers to measurements (in millimetres) taken from the outside of each chord (the larger tubes that define its shape). The bigger the size of truss the more heavy-duty its application.

Truss sizes and shapes

For example 200 truss comes in 200x200mm dimensions, 290 truss is 290x290mm & 400 truss is predictably 400x400mm. It's these measurements which give the truss their name.

Mini truss is for light decorative displays.

Our mini 100mm truss is designed to be a portable lightweight decorative solution, not for rigging or holding heavy loads. Popular with florists, wedding event planners, and to decorate corporate functions.

Titan AV 100 Mini Decorative Truss
Decorative floral display using Titan AV 100 Mini Truss

200 truss is great for retail displays & exhibition stands.

Suitable for interior use, 200 truss is ideal for small to medium companies looking to setup their own displays onsite or as a portable trade show booth design. Barely taller than a bottle of Bundaberg Ginger Beer, Titan AV 200 truss (200x200mm) is easy to transport as it fits comfortably into vans + most cars. 

Titan AV 200 Truss
Titan AV 200 Truss

200 truss is a popular choice with community groups, expos, weddings, shop front signage, food truck displays, retail fitouts and conference centres. Perfect for hanging LED lights, small moving heads, signs & banners. 

With 290 & 400 truss you're able to do heavy-duty applications.

With 290 Truss you can create small to medium size structures for events, productions or installations. VFM Group has collaborated with brands to deliver truss structures for commercial fitouts including Urban Xtreme, BCF, The Donut Bar, Freak VR, Planet Fitness and XGolf.


Please note: VFM Group do not offer structural engineering services. Please consult your structural engineer for advice related to your application.

Suitable for outdoor use Titan AV 290 & 400 truss has been used in large music festivals, such as Splendour In The Grass, The Woodford Folk Festival & Falls Festival to rig stage lighting, LED screens and sound systems. 

Titan AV Truss structure from High Impact Lighting
Titan AV 400 Truss structure from High Impact Lighting

Heavy-duty truss enables event production companies to create impactful staging that can be quickly & safely assembled and disassembled to meet tight turnarounds.

Secondly, which shape of truss would you like to use?

Truss comes in 5 different shapes: box, 5 chord, tri, flat and tube truss. Each size of truss has a unique offering of shapes with 290 truss providing the greatest selection of shapes in the Titan AV range.

Different shapes of truss offer various levels of functionality - based on strength / load capacity - that can be identified by the number of chords on each style of truss.

Let's use our range of Titan AV 290 truss as a guide to demonstrate which truss shapes are the strongest. In order from least to most strong we have: tube truss (1 chord), flat truss (2 chords), tri truss (3 chords), box truss (4 chords) & 5 chord truss.

Titan AV 290 Truss series
Titan AV 290 tube, flat, tri, box and 5 chord truss.

Box truss is the most popular shape of truss.

Box truss is the most versatile (and popular) style of truss, with plenty of space along the lengths of truss to attach clamps for hanging equipment + with 4 main chords box truss provides a stronger more versatile design than either tri or flat truss.

Titan AV 290 Box Truss

Tri truss is an affordable alternative to box.

Tri Truss is composed of 3 chords and is popular for lighting and decorative applications. It's an affordable alternative to box truss and popular for commercial fitouts, gyms and exhibition stands.

Titan AV 290 Tri Truss

Flat truss is your most portable option.

Flat (or Ladder) Truss is often used in combination with other styles of truss. This highly versatile truss is typically used indoors to hang banners, decorations, curtains or lights. You may have seen a flat truss archway erected at a finish line or displaying a food truck menu. 

Titan AV 290 Flat Truss Archway
Titan AV 290 Flat Truss Archway

Want to hang an LED wall? Invest in 5 Chord Truss to safely rig heavy screens.

5 Chord truss is designed to be used along the top of your truss structure to display LED walls. A balanced central chord distinguishes 5 chord truss providing the extra strength required to safely hang heavier LCD screens, display panels, lighting & signage.

Titan AV 400mm Box Truss LED Wall Frame 3.8m(H) x 6.8m(W)
Titan AV 400mm Box Truss LED Wall Frame (suitable for use outdoors)

 

Thirdly, what lengths of truss do you require?

Truss lengths are the core ingredient to building epic displays. The size of your truss structure is determined by how many lengths of truss you have, the more lengths of truss the bigger your display can be.

Different truss sizes offer varied lengths but generally you can find Titan AV Truss available in 0.5m, 1m, 1.25m (only in 290 box), 1.5m, 2m, 2.5m and 3 metre spans / lengths.

Each length of Titan AV truss is supplied with a set of spigots & clips (the bits that connect the truss together) for one end of the truss. If you'd like to see just how easy it is to assemble truss pieces together, here's a quick run down:

 

 

Next up, you'll need Cubes, Corners & Circles to get creative with your display.

Truss cubes enable you to connect lengths of truss in up to 6 directions (up, down, front, back, left and right).

Titan AV 200 Truss Cube

Each Titan AV truss cube is supplied with spigots & clips for two sides of the cube. Additional spigots & clips can be purchased separately.

Corner truss is exactly what it sounds like, a piece of truss that connects lengths of truss to create a corner.

Titan AV 90 Degree Corner 290 Tri Truss

Varying degrees (45°, 60°, 90°, 125°, 135°, 180°) of truss corners & circle truss allow you to get creative with truss structure designs. From here you can start to see the possibilities for creating truly unique structures.

Titan AV 2 Metre Half Circle 290mm Box Truss

Don't forget to safely ground your truss structure with base plates.

Base plates provide a sturdy footing for your structure (whether from the wall, ceiling or floor) while top plates offer an additional mount for speakers & lighting.

Titan AV have created base plates that feature multiple mounting options enabling you to hide or tuck away the base plate for a cleaner look. This is a very handy feature that often goes unseen but can make a huge difference in fitting your truss structure neatly into place.

Titan AV 800 Base Plate Spigot configurations

The heavy-duty Titan AV 800 steel base plate features: centre, corner & centre side mounts (demonstrated below with 290 box and tri truss) for an extremely versatile display support.

You wouldn't build an epic structure without mounting fun stuff to it!?

Truss accessories enable you to secure equipment & decorations to your truss structure using shelves, brackets, adapters & truss clamps from which you can mount lights, audio equipment, TVs, video walls, display panels, banners & decorations.

Titan AV 290mm and 400mm Truss Shelf
Titan AV 290mm and 400mm Truss Shelf

Titan AV Glow Totem with White Scrim, 2m
Titan AV 2m Glow Totem with White Scrim

 

Lastly, pick your colour.

Adding a custom colour powder coat to truss is an effective way to stand out, stay hidden or be creative. Powder coating is applied as a free-flowing dry powder, then cured under heat. It provides a stronger finish & is more resistant than paint. 

You can choose to custom powder coat from a wide variety of colours (with matt and gloss finishes) that will help to personalise your truss display.

Powder Coated Black Titan AV 5 Chord Box Truss

As powder coating is applied onto the truss (making it possible to scratch off) it's recommended for truss installations and applications that require little to no transportation. Theatres and Convention Centre's will often choose to powder coat truss to blend their truss installation into the ceiling or backdrop.

Now it's time to find the right truss for you!

You've seen all of the ingredients that go into designing a truss structure. Now it's time to checkout our full range of truss. Our Titan AV truss is strong (safety tested), scalable, portable & will last for years to come! Find the perfect truss for your needs...

 

 

Want more info? Checkout our Truss Buying Guide.

If you'd like to learn more about our entire range of Titan AV truss checkout our truss buying guide. Or if you'd like to speak to someone, get in touch with VFM today. Our team is standing by to provide friendly advice to help you to choose the best solution for your needs.

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