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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New user to the forum and first time poster.
I'm looking to make a bedroom scene with a metal frame bed and a little girl sitting on the floor. I want to create arms coming out from under the bed and pulling her under the bed pretty fast. I would also need a way for this effect to reset itself in between guests. Any idea on how this can be done? The pull under the bed would have to be pretty quick, but the reset doesn't need to be. Has anyone tried this before? Thanks in advance.
 

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Welcome to the forum. It does sound like a prop that could be quite intricate. I'll rattle off a few things that come to mind and let me know what your thoughts are there.

So to start off with you say you wan the pull under the bed to be fairly quick. That typically means either a compressed air cylinder or storing up energy in a spring... or a relatively big/powerful electric motor. Typically it would be based somewhat on what you already have either in the display or in spare parts laying around or what you're comfortable working with.

The next part is the 'reset'. I'm guessing that 'sitting' on the floor is sort of a general posture/position that is not compatible with 'pulled under the bed'? Meaning the girl may need to 'lay down' or 'flatten out' to fit under the bed? Not a problem for a 'one shot' deal, but may complicate things for the reset. A few different ways to attack that... first might just be to eliminate it. Any possibility the girl could be laying down/reading a book, so the laying down posture would just fit under the bed? Or possibly the girl could be made of foam/stuffing so the form would just squeeze down under the bed, but fluff back up once she came out? Another option might be some sort of inflatable in the size/shape you need. I could also see it done with a jointed armature which would just get knocked down when going under the bed, but then the reset might get complicated...how to repose the 'skeleton'? Small electric motors on board seems to get complicated really quickly. Possibly some sort of pull string - they way they have those dolls that clap/dance when you pull their string...maybe this one could sit up?

Finally on to control systems. What are you familiar with...arduino? octobanger? relays/timers? other? Seems like this will be a multi-step process with a fair amount of timing involved. The microprocessor control could help you get the timing 'ideal' or even vary it with some random intervals, though there is somewhat of a learning curve. Relays/timers would also work if you're more familiar with the electrical side vs programming.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to the forum. It does sound like a prop that could be quite intricate. I'll rattle off a few things that come to mind and let me know what your thoughts are there.

So to start off with you say you wan the pull under the bed to be fairly quick. That typically means either a compressed air cylinder or storing up energy in a spring... or a relatively big/powerful electric motor. Typically it would be based somewhat on what you already have either in the display or in spare parts laying around or what you're comfortable working with.

The next part is the 'reset'. I'm guessing that 'sitting' on the floor is sort of a general posture/position that is not compatible with 'pulled under the bed'? Meaning the girl may need to 'lay down' or 'flatten out' to fit under the bed? Not a problem for a 'one shot' deal, but may complicate things for the reset. A few different ways to attack that... first might just be to eliminate it. Any possibility the girl could be laying down/reading a book, so the laying down posture would just fit under the bed? Or possibly the girl could be made of foam/stuffing so the form would just squeeze down under the bed, but fluff back up once she came out? Another option might be some sort of inflatable in the size/shape you need. I could also see it done with a jointed armature which would just get knocked down when going under the bed, but then the reset might get complicated...how to repose the 'skeleton'? Small electric motors on board seems to get complicated really quickly. Possibly some sort of pull string - they way they have those dolls that clap/dance when you pull their string...maybe this one could sit up?

Finally on to control systems. What are you familiar with...arduino? octobanger? relays/timers? other? Seems like this will be a multi-step process with a fair amount of timing involved. The microprocessor control could help you get the timing 'ideal' or even vary it with some random intervals, though there is somewhat of a learning curve. Relays/timers would also work if you're more familiar with the electrical side vs programming.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for the quick reply.
I figured the reset would be the most difficult part. I may need to just lose that thought at this point and manually reset between guests. If we manually reset between guests, that also means that the room would likely need to be staffed the entire time, so everything could be manually triggered as well.
I would probably go with a pneumatic system to pull her under the bed.
My plan is to have her watching some type of video on the wall. Just after she gets pulled under the bed, the lights and video would blackout which would help cue the guests to move on.
I am not familiar with the listed control systems at this point. I've been working in the entertainment industry as a lighting director and programmer for 25+ years, so I am not afraid to try triggering via any sort of controller.
I will look into your suggestions. Thanks soo much for your insight.
Long ago, for many years, I worked the technical side of Knott's Scary Farm. Since then, we have done some small, front yard haunts over the past few years, but now we want to expand into something more "elaborate."
 

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No problem. Looking forward to seeing this develop more. Like I said, a lot of it is working with what you are familiar with, what you have access to and what you have laying around already. If you have more experience with control equipment on the pro side of things, then that might be something to explore. If you're more familiar with electrical/electronics vs air, then motors might be the way to go.

One thought I had - if the girl were kneeling, it might be possible that one motor at the knees could reset the pose. She could flatten out 'face first' when grabbed and slid under the bed, then when resetting the motor would move the thighs back up and the back joint could 'catch' at about a 90 degree angle. (if all that makes sense...if not, I could probably sketch it out, though that might be more scary than the actual prop! lol )
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No problem. Looking forward to seeing this develop more. Like I said, a lot of it is working with what you are familiar with, what you have access to and what you have laying around already. If you have more experience with control equipment on the pro side of things, then that might be something to explore. If you're more familiar with electrical/electronics vs air, then motors might be the way to go.

One thought I had - if the girl were kneeling, it might be possible that one motor at the knees could reset the pose. She could flatten out 'face first' when grabbed and slid under the bed, then when resetting the motor would move the thighs back up and the back joint could 'catch' at about a 90 degree angle. (if all that makes sense...if not, I could probably sketch it out, though that might be more scary than the actual prop! lol )
That definitely makes sense about the kneeling girl. A lot of it will come down to cost vs functionality. I don't want this one prop to eat up all the budget. I would rather keep it more on the simple side and spend money all around...then make it more"advanced" over time.
I think if I go pneumatic I may be able to play with the speeds a little better. A quick pull under the bed, but also a slow reset of the motor...which could be two hands coming out from under the bed to grab her. So the reset of the motor could actually play into the scene. But I would still need to manually reset the doll in her position.
Have a great Thanksgiving.
 

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One thought on the reset. Say you have the girl hinged at the waist with a wire or something from her head attached to the bed. When you pull her under, the wire would go slack so she could lay flat but when you push her back out for the reset, the wire would go taut and lift her torso up to sitting position. You'd be relying on gravity to make her go flat so you would probably want the head to be weighted properly. If it happens fast enough, the force of hitting the bed might do it too but you have to make sure she's sturdy enough to take that.

Also, depending on the angle she'll be seen by your visitors, you could make the back of her very flat so that when she folds down there's more clearance. Just spitballing. Good luck!
 
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