My Super-Cheap Clownfaced Econostud Vortex Tunnel - HauntForum
HauntForum
 
 
 

Go Back   HauntForum > Props and Prop Building > Prop How-To's
Forgot Password?

Notices

Prop How-To's Post your own tutorials here or links to your favorite project tutorials. Please only post direct links to how-to pages, not links to main pages of a web site. Please use the Links forum for that.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-28-2008
Toktorill's Avatar
Toktorill Toktorill is offline
Fearless
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Camrose, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 268
Likes: 2
Liked 11 times in 5 posts
Default My Super-Cheap Clownfaced Econostud Vortex Tunnel

Howdy All. Well, our haunt has run quite successfully last weekend, and we have a few more days before running it again (Friday the 31st! Woo!) so I thought I would take a few to write a how-to on this years #1 prop: our Vortex Tunnel!

For those who have been reading my posts before, you know I like doing things as fast and as cheaply as possible. This year was no exception. Our Vortex Tunnel came in at around the $200 mark- which cheap(ish) for a 20' long prop people walk up, and through.


This year we were blessed and cursed. Blessed, because we had one of the largest stalls in the mall to decorate for our haunt, but cursed because we only had 7 days and 2 evenings available to do it. But darn it, I finally had the floor space to do a vortex tunnel, and I pity da foo that gets in my way!


I'll jump right into the bridge construction. We built the entire structure out of cheap 2x4's ("econostuds"), and 4 4'x8' sheets of 5/8 plywood. Everything was attached with wood screws- 3" if going into studs, 1 1/4" if screwing down plywood. The first 2 sheets of plywood were cut 3' wide (8' long). We used a full 3'x8' section on one side, with a 3'x4' on another, making our total bridge length 12'. We did this to match the length of our "driving tube", a 3" black PVC plumbing pipe.

Last edited by Toktorill; 03-09-2014 at 11:13 PM.
Reply With Quote
The following user liked Toktorill's post:
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2  
Old 10-28-2008
Toktorill's Avatar
Toktorill Toktorill is offline
Fearless
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Camrose, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 268
Likes: 2
Liked 11 times in 5 posts
Default


The under-structure of the bridge was very cheap, and simple... taking about 12 econostuds. (This is a ground-up view, with the boards colored by length- 8' black, 3' light grey. There were four lines of support along the bottom- two full length 2x4's in the middle, screwed together where they overlapped, and 2x4 along the side edges of the plywood. I had these ends met flush, and used a 3-4' long piece on the inside to connect them. There were 3' pieces on the ends of the bridge, with a few screwed to the bottom. A 1' piece was screwed into the corners, with the legs screwed into this- so that all the weight of the bridge is handled straight-on, not sideways through a few screws digging into the wood. By itself this structure was good and only gave an inch with hundreds of pounds of weight dead center- But then we added a triangular form, inspired by roofing trusses, for the hand rails. This allowed the bridge to hold all 900 lbs of volunteers, with a bend of only 1/4" in the middle of 12'.


And here's our great secret for making a cheap vortex tunnel. The central tunnel is made very, VERY light- supported by nothing but the single tube at the top. With only a single "roller", there is 100% drive on the tunnel.


The 3" PVC pipe is supported by some fridge wheels I had lying in a box, but we're talking the kind of weight you can lift with 1 arm so I'm sure almost any wheel will do. We cut some notches into the 2x4's and screwed them down, with another pair of wheels over the top of the pipe held in place with metal strapping. We fond they worked well, albeit with a nasty squeak at times... but with the entire system in place you could spin it with one hand.


For the power behind the prop, we used an old plug in drill. The method you choose to attach the drill to the 12' PVC pipe -and do anything at all anyone describes anywhere online- is entirely up to you. I can not, and will not, be held responsible for ANYTHING that happens if you try to make anything, no matter how much it resembles something I have described. My "Prop How-To's" are to be taken as examples, only.

With all that taken into careful consideration... I found I needed a large housing nail, a 4-6" scrap length of 2x4, some duct tape. I pounded the nail into the 2x4, in *about* the center. Then I tightened the nail into the chuck of the drill, and duct taped it solidly in place. Then I turned on the drill, SLOWLY, and put a black dot where the center of rotation on the 2x4 was. I measured the inside of the 3" PVC, and copied this mesurement onto the 2x4 with the center of rotation in the middle. The drill was then tied down with steel wire to something heavy and solid. The trigger was taped down to spin slowly, and a circular saw was used to gently coax the 2x4 into a cork shape. [Okay, I lied. After ten seconds of maniacal laughter sawdust covered everything in a twelve foot radius, and I was called "Mr. Safety" for days.] This cork was then shoved into the 3" conduit, with more screws and duct tape applied.


A 2x4 bracket was added to one end to hold the drill at "roller" height, and worked much more smoothly than I thought it would!

To keep the tunnel in place, I found I only needed to cut 2 plywood rings. (remember the 1'x8' pieces left over from the deck?) I shoved these down the length of the pipe before screwing down the wheels on strapping, and screwed them in place with triangular cuts of 2x4. For pieces that small I found using the 3" screws in pre-drilled holes worked best.

[This how-to was provided for free at hauntforum.com. If you paid money for this on Ebay or similar site, congratulations! You've just helped support internet copyright infringement!]

Last edited by Toktorill; 03-09-2014 at 11:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-28-2008
Toktorill's Avatar
Toktorill Toktorill is offline
Fearless
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Camrose, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 268
Likes: 2
Liked 11 times in 5 posts
Default


The entire bridge was painted with half a gallon of dark gray wal-mart mistinted paint- $10. I put 2 light sockets on each side and screwed in bulb-sized florescent blacklights, with an 18" tube black light over each "door". All these lights were wired in series with a single plug to a control box screwed to the side of the bridge. The bottom was "always on", while the top plug had the hot wire run through a 600w dimmer switch, which the drill was connected to. (we broke the tab off one side of the receptacle to split the circuits) A wire from the control box plugged into an extension cord that ran to the wall.


Did you see those three light gray rings supported by the 3" PVC a few pics ago? More PVC!!! Our "tunnel" is made with a frame of 9 10' long 1/2" grey pvc conduit, 3 per loop. The end of each pipe was flared open, so we only had to shove them into each other- no glue or taping needed! We found it worked best with one of the conduit cut in half, giving us 3 25' lengths, for 8' tall loops. We took an exact measurement, divided it by 5, and marked all the conduits at these points. This gave us the 5 equal points along our pipe to duct tape the rest of or tunnel 'frame'- bamboo garden stakes. Before attaching the bamboo we decided on the spacing between loops, and marked the bamboo accordingly. We taped them on the ends in the middle of the PVC, so that there would be no overhang to catch on our plywood circles. In the middle we also taped the overhanging pieces to each other. The duct tape worked best for this in 1' pieces, torn in half width wise, and wrapped around each side of the PVC/Bamboo in an X shape. A few short pieces of full width DT was applied over the edges to keep them smooth.

Once we had all 5 of the horizontal lengths in place, we worked our way around the tube again and added diagonal lengths. From the central loop one side went up, the other down. These kept all of our 5 points on the 3 tubes the same distance apart- so much so that when the tube snagged on something the entire thing came to a stop without distorting- even as the 3" PVC kept turning.

For our "fabric", I used my favorite cover-all: black poly! A 10'x100' roll costs about $40, meaning covering a 10' long tube with a circumference of 25' will cost $10. I should have thought of that when I made our tube 11' long. Oh well, quick fix with 3 little 10' long slices.


I'm going to have to keep this stuff in mind if I ever make an axeworthy ghost. For 14 cents a yard, this braided 25lb black braided test fish line was perfect. ($7 at Canadian Tire!) Our poly was only taped to the 2 outside rings- with a zigzag pattern of black fishline between them holding the poly out.

Last edited by Toktorill; 03-09-2014 at 11:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #4  
Old 10-28-2008
Toktorill's Avatar
Toktorill Toktorill is offline
Fearless
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Camrose, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 268
Likes: 2
Liked 11 times in 5 posts
Default


All our haunts are wheelchair accessible, so ramps were a must. We screwed 2x4's to the side of the frame, and cut them at the floor so they would lie flat. Then we screwed a few lengths between them, spacing them 14-16 apart. We measured from edge to edge, and cut one of the sheets of plywood to cover everything. The railings were made from a single econostud.


But, I could never leave well enough alone... so I made a weird entrance with a distorted bridge that spanned out to the side. I won't go into too many details on this, other to say that I covered it with a chunk of carpet painted to look like a giant tongue.


Of course, why have a tongue without a face? I used strips of bent cardboard taped to the front and a chickenwire nose. This gave a little shape, that would be covered with black poly and painted.

Last edited by Toktorill; 03-09-2014 at 11:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-29-2008
Toktorill's Avatar
Toktorill Toktorill is offline
Fearless
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Camrose, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 268
Likes: 2
Liked 11 times in 5 posts
Default


For the upper half of the face, I made a half-circle out of cardboard, and cut holes for the eyes. I backed these with boxes and put in pupils, for the "sunken eyes are watching me" effect. I painted everything with a layer of light gray mistint paint, which I later dusted with spraypaint for color.

(Notice the dots on the tongue?)


Oh, such bright eyes!


I spent a little more on the spraypaint- Krylon plastic-bonding paint from Canadian Tire. But WOW did it work out great!!!

Well, there you have it. I'm sure there are tons of details I missed out- feel free to PM or comment and I'll try to fill in all the blanks I can. Thanks for reading!

Last edited by Toktorill; 03-09-2014 at 11:15 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-29-2008
thisisaric thisisaric is offline
Petrified
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Liked 0 times in 0 posts
Thumbs up

Nice work Toktorill! Curious to see how the actual tunnel looked in the end, could you post a picture or better yet a video?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-29-2008
ScareShack's Avatar
ScareShack ScareShack is offline
Lunatic
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: rochester,ny
Age: 44
Posts: 2,660
Likes: 0
Liked 2 times in 1 post
Default

That looks really nice....excellent job. I like it a lot.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-08-2008
turtle2778's Avatar
turtle2778 turtle2778 is offline
Hillbilly Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Springfield, MO
Age: 42
Posts: 3,472
Likes: 12
Liked 20 times in 7 posts
Default

Thank you. This is why I come to haunt forum. You were right, you could have just sold this on ebay and made a killing. You chose to put it here on the forum for those of us who love halloween and want to make an amazing display with wonderful props to put in it as cheaply as possible. Im not sure if I will ever make a vortex tunnel, but its great to know that I can if I want and for under 300 bucks. YOU ROCK!!
__________________
Heaven Won't Have Me And Hell's Afraid I'll Take Over!!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-10-2008
Sickie Ickie's Avatar
Sickie Ickie Sickie Ickie is offline
Lunatic
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Illinois
Age: 48
Posts: 8,101
Likes: 1
Liked 22 times in 8 posts
Default

This is definitely a "big" how-to. Thanks for sharing. It's a shame you are so worried that someone will steal your plans and sell them on Ebay, though.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-10-2008
Haunted Bayou's Avatar
Haunted Bayou Haunted Bayou is offline
Panic time is here!
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: North Texas
Posts: 3,815
Likes: 40
Liked 7 times in 6 posts
Default

I pity da fool who violates your intellectual property! LOL!

I always wondered how those vortex tunnels are made. Thanks for showing us how you made yours.
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My haunt pictures and Video 2007 theboogeymengraveyard Photos and Videos 15 11-04-2016 12:38 PM
Super Cheap Spider Webs marcus132 Finishing Touches 38 05-20-2012 01:52 AM
Scientology nearly ready to unveil Super Power Johnny Thunder Oddities 3 08-30-2006 07:43 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2004 - VerticalScope Inc. | All rights reserved