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I want to make a couple Pneumatic Pop Up props, but the already built mechanisms made out of Steel Tubing you see for sale online are a little too expensive. I have seen a couple How To's making them out of Wood and Strong Hinges and some out of PVC. Has anybody ever tried this? Obviously this would be a much cheaper route but my number one concern is Safety. I figured if its Secured down properly and all the materials are strong and secured then it might work but I'd rather get some feedback first. Thanks! :)
 

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cheap but great pop up

The most simple method is the way Disney used to do it in the "attic" scene back in the mid 70's. A light weight foam head is constructed, and 2 "soda straws" are put vertically through the foam head on each side. The straws are guides for the "strings" that will keep the head from blowing off in any direction.The head sits on a piece of tubing with a flanged end. When you squirt 30 PSI of air through it, the head pops up, then falls back in place, guided by the strings. Disney replaced that effect back in the late 80's with standard air cylinders. The string method popped up MUCH faster, and had a nice air release sound to go with it. The slower air cylinder method didn't freak out the little kids as much. All you need is foam, straws, string, air compressor, tubing and fittings, and a simple 1/1 solenoid valve.

Bill.
 

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The most simple method is the way Disney used to do it in the "attic" scene back in the mid 70's. A light weight foam head is constructed, and 2 "soda straws" are put vertically through the foam head on each side. The straws are guides for the "strings" that will keep the head from blowing off in any direction.The head sits on a piece of tubing with a flanged end. When you squirt 30 PSI of air through it, the head pops up, then falls back in place, guided by the strings. Disney replaced that effect back in the late 80's with standard air cylinders. The string method popped up MUCH faster, and had a nice air release sound to go with it. The slower air cylinder method didn't freak out the little kids as much. All you need is foam, straws, string, air compressor, tubing and fittings, and a simple 1/1 solenoid valve.

Bill.
Leave it to Disney to think of something like that. Thanks for the information and education. Sounds like a really cheap and effective system.
I have used air cylinders direct. No scissor system or bars. I use longer cylinders and longer rods for the throw length.
 

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Ok , not knowing exactly what prop or what you plan on doing .. all I can add is this:

If you using PVC , its more reliable and stronger than same size wood . I use both wood AND PVC for certain air props .
here is an example for you --- a have a coffin pop up , where , a skelly is laying down , and when activated , sits up ... not FLINGS up , but sits up ( like the speed that a LIVE person would do . ) , now , with this setup , needless to say , there is really no need for steel bars to raise him up . ( unless the skelly weighed in at a hundred pounds or so - LOL )
Now , I also have another prop that uses wood to raise them up as well .
These are his and hers corner columns for my fence lin when entering the property . ( he sits on the south side and she sits on the north --- can you guess why - LOL )
Anyway , these both raise kinda slow ( on purpose ) and when they raise , they simply "push" the entire top section of the column up and here they come ... slowlllllllllllllllllly creeping up . Enough to make you jump and move away from , when you finally notice that they are UP , or as they are slowing rasing up .
Not all props have to have the speed of lightening for them to be effective . :rolleyes:
Now , another one I had ( years gone by ) was a arm/hand that reached out and touched someone ( nope , this ain't no AT&T commercial - LOL )
The arm/hand was made of one of those kiddy pool noodles and air was used to slowly reach out and touch someone that was there in line going thru the haunt . ( only had an outside haunt that was was roped off , and guided with purple/black light mini Christmas style lights for the TOT'ers to follow .
I stopped using it because too many people ended up getting the poop scared out of them and they literally ran THRU the rest of the display , ruining the rest of it .
Anyway .. that arm'hand was pushed out only using that pool noodle with a regulated air supply that only allowed a little air to flow thru VERY slowly .
So , again , it all depends on what you plan on doing with the prop and how much it weighs and how FAST/SLOW you want it to move and ... whether or not if something goes wrong , if you want it to break or not . ( thats why I made the arm/hand from a pool noodle - so no-one could get hurt if they bounced/ran/smacked it or whatever . )
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok , not knowing exactly what prop or what you plan on doing .. all I can add is this:

If you using PVC , its more reliable and stronger than same size wood . I use both wood AND PVC for certain air props .
here is an example for you --- a have a coffin pop up , where , a skelly is laying down , and when activated , sits up ... not FLINGS up , but sits up ( like the speed that a LIVE person would do . ) , now , with this setup , needless to say , there is really no need for steel bars to raise him up . ( unless the skelly weighed in at a hundred pounds or so - LOL )
Now , I also have another prop that uses wood to raise them up as well .
These are his and hers corner columns for my fence lin when entering the property . ( he sits on the south side and she sits on the north --- can you guess why - LOL )
Anyway , these both raise kinda slow ( on purpose ) and when they raise , they simply "push" the entire top section of the column up and here they come ... slowlllllllllllllllllly creeping up . Enough to make you jump and move away from , when you finally notice that they are UP , or as they are slowing rasing up .
Not all props have to have the speed of lightening for them to be effective . :rolleyes:
Now , another one I had ( years gone by ) was a arm/hand that reached out and touched someone ( nope , this ain't no AT&T commercial - LOL )
The arm/hand was made of one of those kiddy pool noodles and air was used to slowly reach out and touch someone that was there in line going thru the haunt . ( only had an outside haunt that was was roped off , and guided with purple/black light mini Christmas style lights for the TOT'ers to follow .
I stopped using it because too many people ended up getting the poop scared out of them and they literally ran THRU the rest of the display , ruining the rest of it .
Anyway .. that arm'hand was pushed out only using that pool noodle with a regulated air supply that only allowed a little air to flow thru VERY slowly .
So , again , it all depends on what you plan on doing with the prop and how much it weighs and how FAST/SLOW you want it to move and ... whether or not if something goes wrong , if you want it to break or not . ( thats why I made the arm/hand from a pool noodle - so no-one could get hurt if they bounced/ran/smacked it or whatever . )
My original plan is just like you mentioned first, A coffin sit/pop up, but I want mine to be pretty quick for the startle effect. Any experience using wood or PVC for such a prop? The skeleton or half of a body or whatever is going to be pretty light so its not going to take a lot of PSI so I'm guessing PVC or Wood would be ok. U think PVC would hold up better and be stronger then wood? Thanks!
 

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For the ultimate in cheapness: black fishing line connected to the prop and running over a pulley or round tube mounted up high. When someone walks by, pull on the line. As they leave, lower it back down. This works great for trash can pop-ups.
 

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I am bleary of it in a startle prop (pvc). Once you drill holes in it that weakens and creates a fracture rupture point that it could fail at and send broken pieces into the crowd.

Maybe gas line pipe might be a easy alternative. Still a little cheaper than steel, very east to get, strong, and allows you to do the effect you are looking for.

-PB
 

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Yes , PVC will work just fine . Just ... no drilling . Use connectors instead . Like use a 4 way connector to connect the main body shaft to the cross member that will hold up the prop to the sides of the coffin . Use the bottom of the four way connector with a little chunk of PVC pipe to run to the air cylinder . Use a cap to fit at the bottome and to use for the air cylinder to connect to .
Now , the head section . You can use another 4 way somewhere up near the neck area so you can have another little piece of PVC pipe there for the appearance of shoulders , which , is whay you would drape your shirt/cape/ or whatever , over .
I can kinda sketch you out a little picture if you need me to .
PVC works fine as long as you realize that
1) you can not have a lot of weight on it .
2) use a thick enough piece ( I used 3/4 inch for this )
3 make sure you GLUE and not just use the tight fit to hold things together where the PVC meets PVC .

Oh , and I left something out .
For the side sections that hold the prop up and is the pivot area , I used a cap on each end that went to the sides of the coffin and drilled a hole thru each cap just big enough for a piece of threaded rod to go thru ( from one side all the way to the other side ) and had fender washers and a nut on each side to keep the fender washers in place and tight so that the hole thur the cap would not get wider or spread .
I know that wording sometimes sucks when your trying to picture something , so , if you need me to , I will try and post a sketched pic of what I am trying to describe .
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes , PVC will work just fine . Just ... no drilling . Use connectors instead . Like use a 4 way connector to connect the main body shaft to the cross member that will hold up the prop to the sides of the coffin . Use the bottom of the four way connector with a little chunk of PVC pipe to run to the air cylinder . Use a cap to fit at the bottome and to use for the air cylinder to connect to .
Now , the head section . You can use another 4 way somewhere up near the neck area so you can have another little piece of PVC pipe there for the appearance of shoulders , which , is whay you would drape your shirt/cape/ or whatever , over .
I can kinda sketch you out a little picture if you need me to .
PVC works fine as long as you realize that
1) you can not have a lot of weight on it .
2) use a thick enough piece ( I used 3/4 inch for this )
3 make sure you GLUE and not just use the tight fit to hold things together where the PVC meets PVC .

Oh , and I left something out .
For the side sections that hold the prop up and is the pivot area , I used a cap on each end that went to the sides of the coffin and drilled a hole thru each cap just big enough for a piece of threaded rod to go thru ( from one side all the way to the other side ) and had fender washers and a nut on each side to keep the fender washers in place and tight so that the hole thur the cap would not get wider or spread .
I know that wording sometimes sucks when your trying to picture something , so , if you need me to , I will try and post a sketched pic of what I am trying to describe .
Yeah I would love some pics or sketch if you have it? I'm definitely more of a visual person ;) Thanks!
 

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Thanks Scatterbrains. Thats one of the sites I was thinking about but just wasnt sure about the integrity and safety of using the PVC.
If you have any questions about it, send Propmaster an email. He's a really nice guy and loves helping out fellow haunters. I want to make one of these too to stick in the funeral carriage I'm building
 

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If you have any questions about it, send Propmaster an email. He's a really nice guy and loves helping out fellow haunters. I want to make one of these too to stick in the funeral carriage I'm building
K thanks Scatterbrain. I think I'm actually going to forget about the pop up for this year since its going to cost me over $100 for the cylider,solenoid and misc parts and everything. Ive already spent enough of this prop as it is.. lol As I'm sure many of you are very familar with ;)
 

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You can take a reindeer motor. rig it to wind string. when the string winds on the shaft the body and the lid will raise.. Once the string gets to it's limit. The motor will reverse itself, lowering every thing back in place. It doesn't give you a startle effect, but it makes for a creepy addition to your haunt. The coffin lid would need to be made of foam.
 
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