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dkoehler42

Popup Props

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My brother has this idea it's not difficult to build a popup prop using electromagnets or pneumatic. I suspect it's going to be a bit more difficult than that. I do have access to an air compressor though. Any thoughts, tips, or tricks?

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I wouldn't say he was. I'm still doing reading on all this. It's gonna cost a few bucks, but worth it to elevate my game.

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I used linear actuators in my display this year. The one's i used are probably too slow for what you want, but I had to search and find the slowest one's i could for my purpose. They come much faster than this. I purchased these:
http://progressiveautomations.com/linear-actuators-c-8.html?osCsid=f2eb222d6e738079a90dbca108ae91b4

they were used to drive the light sabers at the opening of our show. See the opening of the 2011 video at http://www.rockyrunchristmas.com/2011video.html

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That's pretty cool. Must have taken you some time to set up. How do you have the lightsabers built?

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Quick drawing of the wooden frame...

[edit] just noticed the overall length is labeled as 9'.. it's actually 10'

Attached files 314164=17141-LightSaberFrame.jpg

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I follow on the actuators, but how did you make the blades progressively light up? It wasn't just all on, more like a fade up.

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ahh.. sorry. Those are RGB pixels similar to the Cosmic Color Bulbs/Pixels that are now being released by LOR. Each bulb is individually addressable for on/off and color.

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I know im late to the party on this one but i also purchased some books on making props with pneumatics. so if you still need info let me know. my question is for heystew, you have the one prop i have always wanted to make, the santa sled, whats the trick for that as im guessing the same trick would apply for making my ghosts fly too. im bigger into halloween but promised this year would be a big xmas show. :)

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Phillip,
there are some details on the flying santa in this thread: http://forums.lightorama.com/forum82/31624-2.html

Note that we ended up moving to a solar powered setup for the sleigh lights since the power cabling was one of the least reliable pieces of the setup.

let me know if you have more questions.

Dave

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Pop-ups are a great scare producer if done properly.
The pop up mechanism can be just a simple air cylinder with a long stroke or a mechanism to provide a complex action. most air cylinder controls run dc power (12 or 24 V.) but can be switched by a small relay as they don't take much current.
Make sure that the armature mechanism is strong enough as even a small air cylinder can create a great deal of force. Most of the Halloween boards will have a great deal of info on home brew air devices.
I'll try to post some of my props that I have built.

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A great video I just found that clearly explains some of the how to.

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I have an old linear actuator prototype in my basement. It was one of my dads creative ideas before he stopped caring about the holidays. Thanks for the diagram.

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You can use the pneumatic door closer (like whats on screen doors) and a compressor, but you must limit the air pressure to something like 15-20lbs (or less).. there are several websites that show how to make a pneumatic MIB (monster-in-box) fer cheap, just search for them.

Edited by TJ Hvasta
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You can use the pneumatic door closer (like whats on screen doors) and a compressor, but you must limit the air pressure to something like 15-20lbs (or less).. there are several websites that show how to make a pneumatic MIB (monster-in-box) fer cheap, just search for them.

Yes you can but you are risking the safety of yourself and others that come to see your display. I speak from experience on this one. I ran 3 pneumatic props off of the screen door closers and they worked great until one year one of them decided to escape and flew several feet in the air and came down dangerously close to my car on the other side of the street. I admit that it was a user error, hooked the wrong regulator to the prop, but this could happen during testing or during the show. I decided to only purchase industrial pneumatic cylinders and haven't looked back. It's worth spending the $30 on a comprable size cylinder as the screen door closer just for the safety aspect. I actually made a deal with a guy who does scrapping for a bunch of cylinders, he was clearing out a industrial factory and the owner told him to "take everything in that corner", low and behold in that corner was a butt load of cylinders. I bought a box (18 cylinders) for $100. 8 of them were still in the plastic wrap from bimba and 3 look brand new out of the wrap, the rest need work but are useable. I might be able to put you in touch with him to see if he has more.

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Aye... commercial pnuematical plungers arrre worth th' money.. If regulators are set low enough, an' poundage limited from th' compressor, (10-15lbs), there should be naught much ta make it go pop.. :D

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TJ,

So if I am boarding my flight and notice the Cap'n be wearing a tri corner hat an spoutin "Arrrgh". I can be pretty sure it be you?

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Aye, if'n ya be on USAir sailing wit' a flight number below 700.. truth be told tho.. uf'n ya 'ears a voice o'er th' PA tha' sounds ratha' like Bill Clinton.. tha' would be myself.. don't know why.. I jes' do... P-)

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USAir usually what I fly to visit son in Army back in N.C. ONT-PHX-RDU or ONT-PHX-CLT-RDU if'n can't navigate the shorter path.

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quick photo

Attached files 314165=17142-LightSaberPic.jpg

 

Heystew,

 

I am looking at adding some pop-ups to my Halloween display, I am thinking of using 12VDC linear actuators but need to reverse the polarity to have the actuator compress after extension.  Not sure if a LOR DC control board would work, what do you think, would you have any suggestions?  Do you let the weight of your light saber rig compress the actuator?

 

If anyone has any ideas, I am open to suggestions, but really do not want to use another air compressor.

 

Sincerely,

Mike 

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Heystew,

 

I am looking at adding some pop-ups to my Halloween display, I am thinking of using 12VDC linear actuators but need to reverse the polarity to have the actuator compress after extension.  Not sure if a LOR DC control board would work, what do you think, would you have any suggestions?  Do you let the weight of your light saber rig compress the actuator?

 

If anyone has any ideas, I am open to suggestions, but really do not want to use another air compressor.

 

Sincerely,

Mike 

 

Would a spring work or would the actuator not be able to overcome that resistance?

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TonyD,

Thanks for the idea of the spring, but an electronic linear actuator will not compress when extended, they are designed to stay in place. After doing some research - seems linear actuators are common in cars to raise and lower your window, so if you push down on the window when it is partially open it does not fall down.

I broke out a LOR DC board that I am not using and connected the outputs to relays, and applied power to the relay via an external power supply. I now have it setup so that the LOR DC board energizes the relays allowing current to pass to the actuators via the N.O. circuit which energizes the acuator.

The only thing I have to watch is the current and need to ensure I do not energize the two circuits at the same time, since one relay has opposite polarity of the other.

Regards,

Mike

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