View Full Version : 20lb Wings--Building a harness

11-23-2009, 12:21 AM
Hello! I recently made a pair of wings using 9 gauge wire as my support (This was for a Dizzy [Guilty Gear] costume). After feathers were put on, heads were attached, and 2 yd of fabric were draped on each the wings started collapsing under the weight. I'm now adding pvc pipe as a stabilizer and seperateing the two halfs but I have no idea how to make a harness for these heavy monstrosities.
Originally we followed Jia's method: http://jiajem.com/wings.html
But that system is no where near strong enough for wings of this magnitude. The wings would just not stay flat against my back no matter what we did they kept falling forward or backward depending on how tight we made the straps. We cannot have a strap coming across the front because the front is fully open. I've seen a suggestion for making a "backback" out of pvc pipe with places for each wing to slide into but I'm still worried about getting that PVC rectangle to stay against my back but also how to keep the wings from flapping around in their "holders" if they're separate. I mean the wings twisting backward and forward (to my front and my back) in their holders. Because they are so heavy and that they'd be coming out at an angle I believe basic movement would create enough momemtum for them to move around and I don't really know how to tackle that issue.
Can anyone come up with any better solutions?

The wings have about a 6 foot wing span, are a little over 4 feet high and weight a good 20lb together. They curve inward on a slight dome to create a more natural shape (they're not flat).

I'm sorry I don't have pictures right now. And yes, I have run a search for wing harness and haven't found anything after 6 pages that was all that useful other than what I said above.

11-23-2009, 12:23 AM
I've recently thought of the idea of making the long U shape between the wings so they're a solid piece again which could slide into something and hold it in place which solves the flapping issue but transporting 6'x4.5' wings isn't easy so I'd rather have them separate if at all possible

11-24-2009, 01:47 AM
I'm not sure why this didn't come up in your search of the wing tutorial thread, but we have a harness design that includes drop-in supports with clevis pins and notched PVC tubes that keep the wings from rotating forward. The wings lock securely in place so they can't shift at all in the harness.

There are two ways to do this. One, I used for my Michael wings: As described in the tutorial, I notched the bottoms of the PVC pipes so that they snapped down over the catch-hooks, which prevented them from rotating. (I later expanded the notches to about a quarter of the circumference of the pipe, as I learned that it was safer to let them rotate backwards partway when someone ran into them, but the cutout still kept them from swinging forward.)

The other method is more involved, but also more secure. Basically, you use the harness design pictured in the tutorial, but drill a hole through the PVC wing pipe, and a corresponding hole through a bracket or PVC tube affixed to the harness itself, then snap a clevis pin through both of them when you put the wings on. We did something similar for Mephisto's bat wings, because the vertical leverage required for full wing-extension was liable to dislodge the wings from the harness. One clevis pin on each wing was sufficient to hold them securely in place.


I know this harness can support at least 20 lbs., because that's how much Mephisto's wings weigh. Obviously you'll need to change the strap angle to accommodate your open-front costume, but make sure you don't skimp on shoulder padding. After 14 hours it gets a tad bit uncomfortable to have nylon straps digging into your shoulders... >.<