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50 FT SNAKE BUILD, PART 1

Attic Hatch Snake Build 2.jpg


For Better images: I have a flickr "Phlog":
https://www.flickr.com/photos/he1mut/sets/72157660811552983/with/24076039921/


Materials:
Trunk: three 14 x 4.5 ft air pillows from poolsupplysuperstore.com
Skin: Spandex from spandexhouse.com and Michael's
Head: 4mil corrugated plastic sheet.
Fangs: Nov 1 Scythes from Halloween City
Eyes: plastic Christmas bulbs.
Boom support/spine : 1” PVC and pipe. Suspended with lawn trimmer line. 3/4” sprinkler tubing
Unique Fasteners: Plastic dry wall anchors
Paint: Interior auto fabric paint.

THE DECIDING MOMENT:

For a long time I was trying to figure out a way to make a large snake prop that would be store-able.
Then I saw this:
Attic Hatch Snake Build 3.jpg

All I needed was an AWESOME Niece who could sew and was willing, and HUZZAH, I had one! Would NOT have happened otherwise.

MOCKUP/HEAD:
Sorry, no images of the ¼ scale cardboard mock-up; only the the splayed pieces next to the full sized pieces.
Marked and measured mockup at 1” horizontal intervals. Calculated 4x of measurements and applied to 4 mil sheets every 4”,
The line markers nearer the middle of the head lined up with cut points to create flaps that would overlap. This would give the head it's contours – kind of like really big origami.

Attic Hatch Snake Build 4.jpg
Attic Hatch Snake Build 5.jpg

Rough assembled head. I found that the very large threaded plastic drywall anchors worked great for this. The head ended weighing less than 10 lbs.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 6.jpg

Some refining , including strengthening the lower jaw by pinching a tapered spine, similar to a boat hull:
Attic Hatch Snake Build 7.jpg

Deciding head placement:
Attic Hatch Snake Build 9.jpg

Rough positioning of fangs. The handle would come off and just screw the blades to the sheeting.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 10.jpg

SEWING/SIZING THE FABRIC
Here's my AWESOME niece, Aja! Not sure how she did it. Just a home sewing machine and man that spandex gets unwieldy!
Only one length had been sewn seen in this picture. Clamps are holding the fabric on the other side. We ultimately deflated the pillow until it looked correct with the head and marked where the fabric needed cutting.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 11.jpg


She also sewed in a sleeve for insert a spine or support material.
For the head she basically cut slightly larger than the shape and bordered it with elastic.

NOT SHOWN: painting inside the head – oops again.


On to Part 2: Test Assembly, Paint, Final Assembly, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
50 Ft Snake Build Pt 2

50 FT SNAKE BUILD, PART 2


TRIAL ASSEMBLY

I probably tried every WRONG way to get a large spandex tube over an 15 ft under-inflated pillow. Rolling unrolling the spandex like a shirt sleeve seemed to work best.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 12.jpg

Everything filled. For scale reference, the house facade is a little over 40ft.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 13.jpg

The initial boom arm: 1” PVC held in the ground down with 12” lag bolts. I soon learned this was not enough.
A half dozen or more refinements/enhancement were in order later.
In spite of the relative light weight, the “lunging” pose I wanted imposed a lot of rearward stress against the boom.
It's screwed into PVC slid into the snake's spine sleeve.
Free blue lawn trim line in the garage and this turned out to work well for the suspension line.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 14.jpg

Here's another niece posing with the assembled snake. Lawn sprinkler tube comes out from spine tubing to support the head. After leaving it up for a couple of days the boom deformed. A metal pipe fixed that.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 15.jpg

PAINTING THE FABRIC

Lining it up for painting. To avoid flaking, I used automobile interior fabric paint.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 16.jpg

Stencil for the belly ridges: Markings on the lower edge for to align with previous ridge. This would give me consistent spacing (mostly). Due to smearing build up on the stencil I had to cut several lower replacement edges.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 17.jpg

Ridges, and more ridges. (Not shown): I cut out simple hand held masking shapes and stencils for the head. Ca-mo painting for the boom arm.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 18.jpg

SECOND ASSEMBLY:
This went pretty smoothly. The head began sagging after a few days, so more PVC was needed. A sprinkler tube was added as a cross brace to keep the head form twisting.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 19.jpg

FINAL TOUCHES:
4 mil plastic sheet tongue is suspended by large rubber bands. It wags with the slightest breeze. Simple signage added for some fun.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 20.jpg

ONE YEAR LATER.
Winds were so drastic on Halloween 2014 that the snake was knocked over several times and the boom base shook apart!
Extra screws, anchors and out- rigging which are held down by auger anchors, finally seemed to do the trick.
Attic Hatch Snake Build 21.jpg

TEAR DOWN/ STORAGE
It gets pretty compact!!
Attic Hatch Snake Build 23.jpg

Hear she is next to her buddy- “Giant Mutant Window-Breaker Rat” (next build thread)
Attic Hatch Snake Build 24.jpg

NOTES:
> I initially planned to gives this motorized animation. I drew up plans for a “lift and lunge” rig, which might have worked. BUT after the test assembly, I knew that would be begging for trouble.
>The snake is “passively animated”; A decent wind sends the head into a nifty organic motion, which also gets the tongue wagging.

Attic Hatch Snake Build  1.jpg

FINAL NOTE:
> This was going to be my grand finale' prop; I figured I couldn't top it-
BUT a switch flipped before I was done, and ideas have kept penetrating my thick Germanic cranium ever since . .
Attic Hatch Snake Build 25.jpg

Thanks for looking - any questions or constructive criticism is always welcome.

.
 

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OMG I've commented before on your amazingly cool haunt thread, but you have made that giagantic prop look so do-able! Thank you for taking the time to post your tutorial. Very clever and well thought out design BTW.

Any chance you might share your praying mantis? :D Never mind just looked down the Prop Section and see that you already did! Thanks much.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OMG I've commented before on your amazingly cool haunt thread, but you have made that giagantic prop look so do-able! Thank you for taking the time to post your tutorial. Very clever and well thought out design BTW. - - -.
Kind words, thanks again!
Yep - Nothing to it! :D
Honestly , No way I could have done it without my niece sewing.
AND- Just like HGTV projects, I skipped all the screw ups, mockup refinements, etc.
 

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in case anyone is looking ... i found a similar/identical air pillow at amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Wave-15-ft-Pillow-Ground/dp/B0032JSQH0
only $20.21 with free prime shipping

beware there are many bad reviews ... apparently a lot don't hold air very well :-(

but i so want one ... or several ... but i don't know what to do with them ... the snake is awesome, but it wouldn't work with my display

amk
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yep- they're all over.
AND they likely do leak/fail under normal use (fully inflated, in ice water all winter)
HOWEVER - I have them only partially inflated - if you poke at it and it gives way so easy, it doesn't puncture.
And there's not much stress on the seem. That said, I have a couple of spares.

I should note that in cold weather they loose pressure over time, just like a balloon - a refill or two is in order over 2-3 weeks.


in case anyone is looking ... i found a similar/identical air pillow at amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Wave-15-ft-Pillow-Ground/dp/B0032JSQH0
only $20.21 with free prime shipping

beware there are many bad reviews ... apparently a lot don't hold air very well :-(

but i so want one ... or several ... but i don't know what to do with them ... the snake is awesome, but it wouldn't work with my display

amk
 
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