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nice
Did you run a pneumatic one or airless type?
I cant tell form the clip
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! It's pnuematic. It's a pretty simple set up! I normally would use a screen door closer, but someone gave me a two way cylinder. I only have washer machine valves, so I had to use a spring to return it to resting position.
 

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Meijer's around here keeps dropping the price of their 3 gallon compressor 50%. I was tempted to get one for $50 but it just seems too small. Craftsman whether it's loud or not is a good brand name. Honestly the only thing I'd ever use a compressor for is a pneumatic Halloween prop.

I still like the simplicity of how this oct31st man zombie coffin pop-up comes across. If I were to build one I'd emulate this one especially since I already have that same zombie costume. A coffin is more visually Halloween-ish than a trash can, 50 gallon drum, or plastic barrel. I like the idea of how the coffin is angled instead of popping straight up like most pneumatics. (I like dave of the dead's crate pop-up from the other recent thread but that's far more complex for a first try).

oct31st man, could you give us a little more detail on the spring mechanism that slams your coffin zombie prop back down into place. I think you said it was a screnn door closer. But I still wasnt' clear how it all went together. That slamming action & loud sound is what puts it over the top for me and it's still a straightfoward scare.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I actually used a commercial cylinder on this one. It is a double action cylinder, but I didn't have the proper solenoid, so I used a washer machine valve. I needed a spring to return it to resting position, so I used a gate spring. I can adjust the relief valve to the point where the monster returns slowly, but I like the slamming effect. I have also found that the springs on the front of dishwasher machines are great for this use as well.
Here is a pic of the pivot joint. I will post more pics later showing more detail.
 

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I like the slamming effect with the spring action too. That's what puts the effect over the top. I also visually like the angle of the wood coffin. The prop visually shoots out at you moreso than a trash can or barell pop-up shooting straight up.

I remember you shared a wide shot pic of the back of the coffin. Close-ups of the spring and how it attaches to "the whole shebang" (an appropriate onomatopoeic word) would be helpful whenever you get to it.

I'm also wondering what actually causes the banging sound when the prop returns to the starting position via the force of the spring ie. What prop piece is actually hitting what other peice to cause the sound? Something like a piece of metal or wood on the back of the prop inside the coffin? Or is it the cylinder & spring mechanisms behind the coffin making the slamming sound?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Fright. Here's a long shot of the back. You can see the spring is attached at the top of the cylinder and screwed into the coffin below it.
This is a gate spring. The type that come with gate hardware.


Here's a closer shot...


I used PVC (Schedule 40)for the whole thing including the attachment to the air ram. The rod had threading at the end, I used a tap to thread a hole into the PVC and threaded the rod into it. I just stuck a piece of round aluminum stock slightly bent to attach the two pieces of PVC you see here. I would recommend a bolt and locknut, but this held up for maybe 1000+ activations.


This is a picture of the inside, I just stapled the pants in the coffin and you can see the simple pivot joint. The frame is also PVC and that is what you hear slamming into the coffin when it returns to resting position.



I really didn't put much work into this. But it was one of my most loved/feared props. I just propped it into place at the standing angle it is in the video. I like that better than laying the coffin flat. It did send 'em running. I'm smiling just thinking about it! A retired school teacher operated this prop for all three showings, I think he considered this revenge! He sure did enjoy himself!
 

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Thanx for being so helpful. That helps visualize the setup. It may be simple to a seasoned DIY haunter but to me it's just starting to become clear : ) Anything with moving parts I mean. It's been Nov since I read up on pneumatics.

What's the black tape on the solenoid for?

And what are the details/specs on the pneumatic cylinder you used?

And that metal clamp crimped around the cylinder and the solenoid was enough to hold them in place?

It looks like you have two bleeder valves between the solenoid and the cylinder?

So you had the electricity to the solenoid hooked up to some sort of switch in order to operate it manually?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanx for being so helpful. That helps visualize the setup. It may be simple to a seasoned DIY haunter but to me it's just starting to become clear : ) Anything with moving parts I mean. It's been Nov since I read up on pneumatics.

What's the black tape on the solenoid for?

And what are the details/specs on the pneumatic cylinder you used?

And that metal clamp crimped around the cylinder and the solenoid was enough to hold them in place?

It looks like you have two bleeder valves between the solenoid and the cylinder?

So you had the electricity to the solenoid hooked up to some sort of switch in order to operate it manually?
My pleasure to help! The tape is covering the electrical contacts on the solenoid. Just in case someone were to get behind there.

That cylinder was given to me by a neighbor, it is a two way cylinder that with the right solenoid can be used with out a spring. I think it has an 8" throw.

Yes the metal strapping is sufficient for holding them in place. It is tightened down pretty snug.

One of the needle valves you see is the air flow control going into the prop. I usually put it before the solenoid, but for some reason this time I put it after. No big deal really since the compressor is set at about 50-60 psi to begin with. The other needle valve is my bleeder valve.

I hook an electrical cord to the solenoid and then plug it into a manual switch.
 

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That clears it up!

That's good to know you don't have to have the two-way cylinder hooked-up at it's top to make it go down, but you have that option. I guess if it were hooked-up it could never slam down into place real hard like it does with the spring attached?

8" stroke looks about right. And if it were a longer stroke you'd just simply have placed the cylinder farther down the back of the coffin?

I was wondering what the needle valve in between the bleeder valve and the cylinder was doing there, so that answers that. I guess that proves you can put it there, instead of before the solenoid, and it'll still work.

Roughly how big was the coffin?

Was that a kids-size Zombie costume you used (I bought the adult-sized one on sale last year)?

I also bought one of those GE remote control outdoor light switches around Xmas time. The remote switch is like a car's keyless entry button type of deal that fits in the palm of your hand. If I built one of these props I'd try that to activate the prop manually.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That clears it up!

That's good to know you don't have to have the two-way cylinder hooked-up at it's top to make it go down, but you have that option. I guess if it were hooked-up it could never slam down into place real hard like it does with the spring attached?

8" stroke looks about right. And if it were a longer stroke you'd just simply have placed the cylinder farther down the back of the coffin?

I was wondering what the needle valve in between the bleeder valve and the cylinder was doing there, so that answers that. I guess that proves you can put it there, instead of before the solenoid, and it'll still work.

Roughly how big was the coffin?

Was that a kids-size Zombie costume you used (I bought the adult-sized one on sale last year)?

I also bought one of those GE remote control outdoor light switches around Xmas time. The remote switch is like a car's keyless entry button type of deal that fits in the palm of your hand. If I built one of these props I'd try that to activate the prop manually.
The coffin was made from these plans http://www.lissproductions.com/halloween/projects/Build_your_own_Coffin/ The plan calls for a frame inside, I did that on my first one that was destined to become a knocker, but I wanted the inside of this one to look better, so I used a brad nailer to fasten the plywood together and left out the framing. You could use finishing nails if you don't have a brad nailer.
My coffin is a bit smaller because I didn't quite have a full sheet of plywood. (The plywood was what I used to board up my windows during Hurricane Charlie and Ivan.)

The costume is a child's size. I think if you use a full sheet of plywood, you can fit an adult size in it.

If the throw on your cylinder is longer, mounting it lower in more of an outward angle should reduce the travel of the prop.

That remote switch should be perfect.
 

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Thanks again. That clears it up even more.

The only other thing I can think of is how did you attach the zombie mask that has the wig attached to it? Is it just a 'T' shape of PVC to hold it in place?

The slamming action would damage a styrofoam wig head I suppose. The whole prop works fine without filling out the legs and body. And the attached wig flipping foward adds to the action. I guess his hair satys in front of his face though when he slams back into the starting position now that I watch the video again (I downloaded the Quicktime video, I can't remember if it's in this thread or another one).

This thread will give me confidence when I get around to building one. It looks likes a fun pop-up and one that you could use year-after-year and not get tired of it. And can always change the costume or mask or add a cannon strobe in front of it or hook up a floodlight that triggers with the prop etc to spice it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yea, basically a "t" with arms bent outward. I fastened the mask through the forehead using a washer & screw, and that has held fine. I actually put a zip tie on the hair to keep it from hiding the face when activated. Now he has a pony tail.
The slamming will damage the wig head. I had to re glue the PVC after The Haunted House was over. Next year I will probably drill holes and put screws in all of the joints.
 

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Thanx again! Now that I watch your video again (on the first post of this thread), I realize the coffin is propped up against the truck. I like it propped up like that at an angle. Did you prop it up with a peice of wood or something on Halloween, or rest the coffin flat on the ground? I guess if it was propped up at an angle, you'd have to nail a couple 2x4's cut at an angle to the back to rest on the ground as supports. Or I guess you could pound rebar into the ground to prop it up at an angle also. Is the whole prop heavy enough to where, if it's propped up, it won't move half-way across the yard by the end of the night from all the sudden movement?
 
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