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Houston, we have a problem

Toktorill,
okay then, i have assembled my tunnel for a test run and everything went fine till i tried to crank it up (just what i feared). i purchased a heavy duty drill from a pawn shop but even with a speed control switch it went from struggling to turn the shaft to "oh my god it's gonna kill someone" with no in between. so that's out. i hooked up my plain jane black and decker and it worked! however after about a minute it began to smell hot. so i turned it off and watched as smoke rose from the drill. this is why i began so early, it gives me time to correct this issue.

do you know the specifications of the drill you used? any other ideas?

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Toktorill,
okay then, i have assembled my tunnel for a test run and everything went fine till i tried to crank it up (just what i feared). i purchased a heavy duty drill from a pawn shop but even with a speed control switch it went from struggling to turn the shaft to "oh my god it's gonna kill someone" with no in between. so that's out. i hooked up my plain jane black and decker and it worked! however after about a minute it began to smell hot. so i turned it off and watched as smoke rose from the drill. this is why i began so early, it gives me time to correct this issue.

do you know the specifications of the drill you used? any other ideas?
Hey Steampunk!


My drill is an ANCIENT Black and Decker (Model 7250?) 120VAC, 4.2 Amp. Solid steel body, weighs a ton.

By "speed control switch", do you mean the trigger on the drill? I used a 300watt dimmer switch. Normally, dimmers and motors are a big no-no, but it worked like a charm for me. I also didn't run the drill for more than a few minutes at a time- just long enough to let a group go through. A haunter was always on the dimmer switch.

I would also check the wheels supporting the 3" drive tube: do you have it clamped down, or is it free enough to spin by hand? Can the resistance to the driving power be lessened any way?

For power alternatives I would suggest either a geared down 110VAC motor, as seen in almost every other VT tutorial, or doubling the drills by putting one on each end of the tunnel. During its original concept I also mused about a "green" non-electric method: using a staff-driven hand crank to turn the tunnel, just when groups were coming up to it.

Well, hope something works for you. :) It's really rewarding when you hear some little kid yell "wow, COOL!" when they walk up the ramp. :)
 

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xxnonamexx I sent you a PM,

but what tool or how did you bend your rings???
I have a ring roller but not sure I can bend something of that diameter 10' or over 1" pipe.

-PB
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
xxnonamexx I sent you a PM,
but what tool or how did you bend your rings???
I have a ring roller but not sure I can bend something of that diameter 10' or over 1" pipe.
-PB
Um, you may be waiting for awhile for his answer. He joined Sept 12th, 2009, and his profile lists his last activity as Sept 30th, 2009. But hey I'm here! (Please take all of the above in the nicest way possible. :) )

You don't need any special equipment to bend PVC pipe- it's plastic, with one end flared open so you can just stick end into end. Shove them together, and they make a perfect circle with nothing else needed. I used 2 and 1/2 10' pieces of 1/2" PVC for mine, for 25' circumference, about 8' diameter. I would suspect xxnonamexx's 1"/30ish/10ish hoops behaved the same. He had flared ends visible in his website pics. Hope that helped!
 

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With the top drive pipe at the top,Did that ruin the illusion at all? I have followed this thread for a while and I'm going to tackle a vortex this year. I'm just trying to finalize who I'm going to copy off of. Thanks for sharing all your projects. Dan
 

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With the top drive pipe at the top,Did that ruin the illusion at all? I have followed this thread for a while and I'm going to tackle a vortex this year. I'm just trying to finalize who I'm going to copy off of. Thanks for sharing all your projects. Dan
I built one of these (actually two) last year using not only Tok's design, but also a great deal of help from him (thanks again, Tok). We used black plastic for the tunnels so we painted the axles black as well. People were so busy watching the tunnels move as well as where they stepped, I doubt very many of them could have actually told you that there was a rotating pipe above their heads.
 

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That's good. I didn't know if it would affect the effect. Likewise if I can pull off a vortex in my haunted garage,I don't think to many people would complain. It is free after all.
Thanks, Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
That's good. I didn't know if it would affect the effect. Likewise if I can pull off a vortex in my haunted garage,I don't think to many people would complain. It is free after all.
Thanks, Dan
Sorry Dan, I've been AFH (Away from Hauntforum) for a few weeks so I didn't have a chance to answer your question before Tot13 got to it. He was right on the money, though. While walking across the bridge most guests were inclined to watch their feet or the railings, to make sure they had safe footing. Another factor was our lighting. The black lights were mounted to the lower sides of the bridge, so the only light on the drive pipe was reflected off the side of the tunnel.

Happy Haunting!
 

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Anyone who has built the vortex this way,Will the drive shaft mess with the black plastic when it rolls under the shaft? I hope that question makes sense. Also,How in the world did your pvc rings keep a circular shape. I tried haunteddeadends way and the rings were so much of an oval I had to give up.I couldn't get them to stay on the bike tires.
So since that didn't work, And now I have a 20 bridge to nowhere,before I waste any more money will the thinner pvc keep it's circular shape better then the 1 1/4 inch?
Anyone who wants to jump in who has made this kind of tunnel,PLEASE jump in and help out.My bridge is in the very back of my haunt and I really need it to be done so I can start building around it. Thanks a lot, Dan
 

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Wow, you used 1-1/4" pvc? Last year, we used 1/2" and with the weight of the plastic, the "bowing" or "egging" was obvious though it worked itself out when the VT was running. Our tunnel operated for about 5 hours every Saturday (5 nights) in October. By the middle of the month, we knew that the tunnels would have to be rebuilt each year. My intentions for this year are to switch to 3/4" pipe. I'm not comfortable going any larger at this time because of the added weight issue. Also, I'm considering not using the bamboo switches as supports between the rings, but instead added some T's and crosses to the rings and attaching the rings to each other with more pvc.

Unlike Tok, we had our black lights attached to the support beam which held the axle. That is, our lighting was from above their heads.

Do you mean, "rolls over the shaft"? A cross-section pic would show the axle, the plastic on top of the axle, and then the pvc rings. There was a sound as the plastic passed over the axle but nothing that was distracting.

Our tunnels had a habit of "walking" down the axle until they found their place - if that makes sense. Fixed this by cutting some thin rings form a pipe slightly larger in diameter than our axle and gluing these thin rings to create a track for the tunnel rings to roll through.

After re-reading your post for the third time, I finally noticed the "bike tires". I'm afraid I made the assumption that you were using Tok's specs, and therefore using the suspended axle that the rings rest on. I've seen VT's like what you're building, but I gotta tell you, Tok's way solves so many of the potential problems of the other way(s). that hanging axle keeps the tunnels in place, and I believe helps keep the tunnel aligned.
 

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"Tok's way solves so many of the potential problems of the other way(s). that hanging axle keeps the tunnels in place, and I believe helps keep the tunnel aligned."
Exactly! that's why I am looking to build with a top drive shaft. My traditional vortex attempt was a failure because the 1 1/4 pipes were oblong,and I couldn't straighten them out to a true circle no matter what I did.They would just fight each other on the tires and they wouldn't stay on.
It's getting late for me,I don't get many days to get out there to work on it.I'm at the point of trying Tok's way or cut and run. I have a pretty big haunt to put together and I'm about to ask what to do with a 20 foot bridge! lol Dan
 

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Gotcha. I think, lol. You're first attempt using what we've all seen a lot of in the way of home-made VT's, was using bicycle rims on the ground to guide the rings, with one of the rims being powered by a motor to turn the whole thing.

My only experience is with Tok's method. there's some tweaking that I think everyone has to do, but really the biggest challenge is getting the bridge built. I can't believe you've built a 20' bridge. Do you have a central support?

If I am understanding you correctly, and now you're considering using Tok's method, its really not that big of a change. The fact that it's an easier, more straight-forward way of turning the tunnels may actual save you some time at this point.

Here's a link to my album with my VT:
http://hauntforum.com/album.php?albumid=415

There's a few more that I didn't put in the album, but if there's any way I can help you, then I will. I can honestly say I never would have completed mine had it not been for Tok's help.
 

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Thanks a lot, I'm going to give it a good try,And I will ask questions if your up to it,thanks. Just in case, I did ask the forum what to do with a bridge to nowhere. lol
 

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Did you power your shaft with a drill like Tok's?
My bridge is 20 feet so the spinning part would be approx. 16 feet, I could just glue 2 shaft pieces together correct?
You said you might use thicker pvc for the rings,I have 2 1 inch pvc pieces left over,would one inch start to get to heavy a load for the drill or motor?
If it would be easier to just tell me to reread this thread and the info is in here already I will. I guess I'm just afraid to throw more money into it,BUT if it is just a little more pvc and black plastic,I can do that. Thanks for your time, BTW your pictures look like it was an awesome prop/area of the haunt.Do you do a full blown haunted trail or was it just the big top circus theme? Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Did you power your shaft with a drill like Tok's?
My bridge is 20 feet so the spinning part would be approx. 16 feet, I could just glue 2 shaft pieces together correct?
Hi Dan, thanks for all the great questions! Sorry I came late to the party... :zombie:

The big thing to keep in mind in my overhead drive shaft method is weight. When we made our tube it was only 9 pieces of 10' pvc (3 of them sawed in half so 75' in total), 20 pieces of 5' bamboo garden stakes, and just under 300 sq ft of black poly. This was the lightest I could make the tunnel- and it HAD to be light for two reasons. Firstly, that was just enough weight that the drive tube could support it, and secondly, the tunnel wouldn't "egg" enough to stall the rotation. If you were to "glue" the shaft pieces together, the only thing you would need to worry about is that the weight of the tunnel is still supported by the shaft. I had thought about this problem some time ago- and figured I would either modify the drive shaft with a solid interior (wood 2x4) to make it much stronger, or support the drive tube at multiple points along the bridge. I believe tot13 did the latter, as his VT was twice as long as mine. :p

Of course, you could "scale up" the parts to thicker pvc tubes, or thick metal drive pipes. A 1" pvc hoop will egg less than a 1/2" hoop (equal weight and hoop diameter assumed). But then you lose the greatest benefit of this design: it's SO CHEAP! :lolkin:

You said you might use thicker pvc for the rings,I have 2 1 inch pvc pieces left over,would one inch start to get to heavy a load for the drill or motor?
That's tough to say- I ran my entire prop with an old drill, but it was only run for a few minutes at a time. I was able to easily turn the entire shaft and tunnel with one hand, drill attached, however- so I'm assuming any decently powered, continuous operation, geared down motor would be up to the task.
Do you {tot13} do a full blown haunted trail or was it just the big top circus theme? Dan
Johnny does a full trail. It's really quite amazing. :D

-Neil.
 

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Tok,thanks a lot for answering my questions, tot13 has been a great help also, I have been bugging him often.With the help from you two I'm getting it done, I will keep going over your how to if I have anymore questions,most of my answers are all ready here.then your thread will not get cluttered with my questions. Thanks again, Dan
 
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