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25 Nov 2015

Review: GaffGun

Shoot your cabling duties down

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This might be the invention for which the entertainment industry has been waiting, seemingly forever. Now it’s here, and it’s pretty cool.

The GaffGun first blipped on the CX radar when videos of the thing began appearing all over our individual social media feeds. Yes, most of our friends are industry related and lots of them found it interesting. Cool idea we thought, what a shame it hasn’t made it to Australia. Then it arrived. I decided we had to get hold of one to play with. The local distributor obliged us with a demo unit, so we put it to the test.

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We were in fact supplied with a GaffGun bundle – a nicely boxed up kit containing the GaffGun, extension handle, three sizes of cable guide and a floor guide. Oh, and some Gaff too.

GaffGun uses a proprietary tape called CoreLock, which is packaged around a special orange core designed to click onto the dispensing roller of the GaffGun. The tape is available in 1, 2 or 3 inch widths with an optional low adhesive centre section on the wider versions. There’s also double sided tape available for jobs like sticking down flooring. The CoreLock tape is not as sticky as Nashua 357, but it is considerably stronger than the “U.S. Gaffa” or “Nichiban” tapes I’ve been handed in the past.

I think the important thing to note when using the GaffGun is to install the correct size cable guide for the task at hand. 1-2 mic leads use the small guide, 3-4 cables use the medium guide, and 5-6 mic cables, or a Weiland, or a multi-core cable will require the big cable guide and the 3” wide tape. I had some problems initially trying to fasten one power cable using the medium size guide, but changing to the small guide the process was much more successful.

The process works basically like you see on the videos. Get the thing started on top of the cable(s), then walk until you get to the other end. Feeding the tape into the GaffGun to start with is a bit fiddly. I found it easier to first fold a few inches of the end back onto itself to make a non-adhesive tab, which is heaps easier to feed through the slot in the GaffGun and cable guide. Starting the run and stopping at the end are Once you’re rolling the process is very easy – hold the handle and push. Because I like convenience but I don’t like to pay too much for it, I did a cost comparison…

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Looking around a few websites I found a Sydney based company who would sell me Nashua 357 for $16.50 per 40m roll. 41.3 cents per metre. 2” CoreLock tape
to suit the GaffGun runs $27.30 per roll, or 54.3 cents per metre. Multicore cables don’t really work with the 2” tape, so you need the 3” stuff which is $41.70 per roll (83 cents per metre). Of course to gaff a multicore you’ll need to use double strips of 2” Nash, which interestingly enough also works out at exactly 83 cents per metre.

So for single thin cable runs it costs a bit more to use the GaffGun, but for thick runs the consumable cost is actually the same. Remember also that savings are to be had in the time it takes to tape down cable runs – especially long ones. The longer the run the better in fact, since the most time-consuming part of using the GaffGun is the starting and stopping bit. The labour savings will sooner or later balance out the entry cost.

GaffTech refer to the aforementioned tapes as “duct tape”, even though they are roughly equivalent to what Australia knows as “gaff”. They make a Pro Gaff tape as well, which is their premium product line and this costs more.

So what’s the final verdict – can it replace a human? Sometimes yes, and other times no. In some ways it’s not as good – it doesn’t stick the tape down as hard as a human will (and anyway, not every job calls for Armageddon-proof cabling). In other ways it’s better – neat straight lines happen easily and automatically, and there’s no doubling back on yourself. It’s also considerably faster than doing the job by hand, and you don’t need anyone to tension the cables for you either.

  • Brand: GaffTech
  • Model: GaffGun
  • RRP: AUD$450.00 inc GST for the GaffGun bundle
  • Product Info: www.gaffgun.com
  • Distributor: www.dq.com.au

First published in CX Magazine (November, 2015)

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