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Discussion Starter #1
I’m seeking advice and wisdom please relating to Axworthy Ghosts.

I would like to expand my Axworthy Ghost’s course next year but will need to create free standing posts out in the yard to do it. My system has a LOT of tension and currently has wheels supported by the house and strapped to trees.

In creating free standing posts, I would like to maximize stability but also minimize the footprint needed to hold the posts in place if possible. They may be as much as 14’ tall and will need to withstand a lot of pulling force when the system is rigged. I’m hoping to avoid using tie-down wires but this may be unavoidable. I’ve seen people cast metal posts into buckets of cement. I’ve seen people support post bases in the ground with temporary sleeves that are buried several feet. Also, I’m torn between using wood posts (4x4) or light-gauge steel sections

Does anyone here have experience with this or advice? I would appreciate any feedback and pictures. Thanks!
 

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I use 3 wheels, two on the house and one freestanding. The one is mounted on an old scavenged metal pipe, about 10.5' up, with some random wood stakes and zip ties at the base. It's got a couple feet set down into the ground, just pounded in. It's okay for my needs, but it definitely has some flex, and can't hold a heavy prop or a lot of tension. I need to think about moving it away from the trees, and if/when I'm thinking t-posts for support. Also, because it's hidden by the trees, I haven't had to consider taking it down - it just stays there all year. The pipe has threads at the top, and the wheel is mounted from the center onto a screw-on pvc cap.

At 14', you definitely want something sturdier. I think the combination of permanent, below-ground "sleeve" post hole (capped during off season) with a sturdy metal pipe/pole is a good start. I do not think the cement bucket is sufficient here. This might also be beware of utilities and city regulations territory.

I usually think about old clothes lines and sky rides or ski lifts when thinking about axworthies, for design inspiration.

I'm sure you know this too, but: be wary of the geometry when adding more turns, as the more angles you get the less contact the line makes with the wheel, meaning it takes less to have the line fall off the wheel.

Also: the more wheels, the harder to mount the line. Just something to keep in mind. It takes 3 people and 3 ladders at once to get mine strung up.
 

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contact your local Town Hall here in Rhode Island we have a program called dig safe they come out for free and Mark any underground utilities something to think about the five gallon bucket will definitely not work I have had that in the past on a ten-foot pole and it was a disappointment so you definitely either have to use guide wires or you're going to have to have a four-point post which is just as bad...
 

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I use 3 wheels, two on the house and one freestanding. The one is mounted on an old scavenged metal pipe, about 10.5' up, with some random wood stakes and zip ties at the base. It's got a couple feet set down into the ground, just pounded in. It's okay for my needs, but it definitely has some flex, and can't hold a heavy prop or a lot of tension. I need to think about moving it away from the trees, and if/when I'm thinking t-posts for support. Also, because it's hidden by the trees, I haven't had to consider taking it down - it just stays there all year. The pipe has threads at the top, and the wheel is mounted from the center onto a screw-on pvc cap.

At 14', you definitely want something sturdier. I think the combination of permanent, below-ground "sleeve" post hole (capped during off season) with a sturdy metal pipe/pole is a good start. I do not think the cement bucket is sufficient here. This might also be beware of utilities and city regulations territory.

I usually think about old clothes lines and sky rides or ski lifts when thinking about axworthies, for design inspiration.

I'm sure you know this too, but: be wary of the geometry when adding more turns, as the more angles you get the less contact the line makes with the wheel, meaning it takes less to have the line fall off the wheel.

Also: the more wheels, the harder to mount the line. Just something to keep in mind. It takes 3 people and 3 ladders at once to get mine strung up.
When I add the line, I just hold the line to each wheel with duct tape as I go around the course. Once the circuit is complete and the line is tied off, I remove the tape. That way I can do the work myself.
 

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Hi, i have had my Axworthy running for over 10 years now. My motor is mounted under the eve of the house on heavy duty draw slides and a spring used to keep constant tension on the line. I have two small bicycle wheels at each corner of the property. This might be a bit expensive but once you do this your done, I bought 2"x10' black pipe, 3 feet gets put into the ground and cemented in. The other sections get screwed together with a couplers, I use one 10' section and a 5' section to go 15' high. I never had any issues with wind or tension. At the end of the season i just grease up the threads and cap off till next year. One thing is to place a two rods at 90 degree through the pipe that goes into the ground, this way it will never spin after the cement dries. HTH
Rich
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
When I add the line, I just hold the line to each wheel with duct tape as I go around the course. Once the circuit is complete and the line is tied off, I remove the tape. That way I can do the work myself.
Agree! I figured out how to do the same thing using 2 pieces of painter’s tape on each wheel. I eventually got to where I can string mine by myself in about 10 minutes using tape and a ladder. It then takes another 15-20 minutes to tension the line and clean up all the knots. This all happened because my wife and kids started complaining when I would have them come outside to help 🤷🏼‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would like to avoid having to putting anything permanent into the ground if at all possible. I can understand the advantages of it though. I also don’t have any tools for welding or cutting cold rolled steel sections. My dremel with a grinder attachment can get through thinner metals really well and I have nice drill press in our wood shop.

Sparky, I hear you about the black pipe though. Something like that or a 1.5” steel tube would probably do the job if I had the tools.

how do you keep the black pipe from rusting?
 

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p.s. I've had good luck using wheelbarrow wheel rims rather than bike tire rims. Because they're deeper, there's less chance of the line falling off if you lose some tension. Harbor Freight has inexpensive wheelbarrow wheels.
 

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I've been running flying ghosts for 30 years or so. First across my front porch, then across my front yard to a large tree. I've always used 20" bike wheels & an ice cream maker motor. I never knew there was a name for these. I just made it up myself LOL What you use as a "belt" is quite important too. So it doesn't stretch I've used nylon belting & braided nylon rope. I generally use a coil spring spliced into it to help keep the right tension. But if you're going to try to go that high. Anything you use will need to be quite sturdy &/or have very good guy wires & anchor points. The longer your poles the more they're going to want to flex. The trick I've found to keeping the belt tracking on the wheels Is to slightly tilt the wheel down in the direction that the belt is feeding onto the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
...I generally use a coil spring spliced into it to help keep the right tension....
You have a spring spliced into the main line??? 😱 my mind is blown. Does it ever derail as the spring passes through the bike tires?
This was my first year running mine. I use 20” tires as well except for the drive wheel which is 26”. The main issue I had that I could not overcome was that one of my supports is strapped to the trunk of a younger tree (8” trunk) which sways a bit when the wind really picks up. The line snapped once over the 2 months that I had it up during a really heavy fall storm this year. One of my wheels is on a drawer slide and it is tied to a heavy spring which absorbs a lot of the extra tension when the line stretches, but I hadn’t thought about adding a spring or even maybe something that like rubber tubing to the line itself. how much tension is in your line and what kind of spring do you use?

I think that I need to accept that bending (and therefore guy wires) will be unavoidable in a 14’ tall post, especially with the amount of tension that I want to keep in the system. Maybe I should consider using the guy wires as another opportunity to add springs to the system to further help overcome the wind variable. Hmmm....
 

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I use a nylon rope the kind with the outside braided (often in colors or cammo). it's round & I find easier to keep in the bike rim. I just get the springs at my local hardware store. About a 10" long one so it follows around the wheel easily. I just stretch it & feel how strong it is & play it by ear LOL The rope if you burn/melt the ends well. You can use wire to "sew" the ends to the loops on the ends of the spring. just be sure to get a tension spring & not a compression one. 20" wheels usually have deeper rims than say a 26" unless it's a beach cruiser type & not a mountain bike. Those are too narrow & shallow for good tracking. Here's a pic. of my "shark" set up for under the guy in the gibbet. In the second pic. you can see the shark fin I made from foam & fiberglass. That's the kind of rope I'm talking about. I've used 1" wide nylon webbing belts. But find the round rope tracks better. I use ice cream maker motors (cheap at the thrift stores) They are gear driven & high torque but a bit noisy 110 voltage so no ac/dc converters needed. I used a different motor on this set up (the ice cream motors I have are getting a little tired & noisy LOL) & had to do a double step down pulley system to get it slow enough. I've used them for years on different animation projects for Halloween & Christmas.
726999
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I’m seeking advice and wisdom please relating to Axworthy Ghosts.

I would like to expand my Axworthy Ghost’s course next year but will need to create free standing posts out in the yard to do it. My system has a LOT of tension and currently has wheels supported by the house and strapped to trees.

In creating free standing posts, I would like to maximize stability but also minimize the footprint needed to hold the posts in place if possible. They may be as much as 14’ tall and will need to withstand a lot of pulling force when the system is rigged. I’m hoping to avoid using tie-down wires but this may be unavoidable. I’ve seen people cast metal posts into buckets of cement. I’ve seen people support post bases in the ground with temporary sleeves that are buried several feet. Also, I’m torn between using wood posts (4x4) or light-gauge steel sections

Does anyone here have experience with this or advice? I would appreciate any feedback and pictures. Thanks!
I'm afraid I don't have any wisdom for you, but I could use some advice as well. My Axworthy is mounted on two small bicycle wheels and I use a section of rope from Home Depot to hang it on that then travels around the wheels. But it keeps falling off after some time. I am not sure why. I try to put a good amount of tension on the line. I would be curious how you all apply tension when mounting the ghost or whtever. Also. what type of line do you use? I am starting tp wonder if the line is stretching and that is why it falls off, although it seems tight. I tried a spring in the line once but it was too flexible and did not hold enough tension though a stronger spring might work I suppose. how deep a track does your bicycle wheel have? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

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I use rope & a spring. I don't know the strength of it. Just that it's a pretty stiff pull. I get the ones with loops at each end so they can be attached to the rope ends. Should be a fairly long one too. So it will travel smoothly around the wheel. You said "small" bike wheels. How small? I wouldn't use anything less than a 20". Like a BMX wheel , they are deeper & wider. I have also found that you don't want them exactly level. Let them tilt slightly down between them. That way the angle of the wheel as the rope feeds onto it. Directs it up on to the back side of the wheel. You might have too much weight on the belt/rope too. Weight is always a factor in animation. The first few years I did this I had ghosts flying back & forth across my front porch (then things got interesting when I expanded into the front yard LOL) I used large white balloons with cheese cloth draped over them & air brushed glow in the dark white paint & just round black spots for the eyes. They floated & moved around as the wires hung from the rope with safety pins. Pulled them around. Looked great the way they floated around.Tension & non stretch are important issues. Some ropes can expand & stretch quite a bit in moist conditions. Also in day light they can heat up & stretch if you have it up for days/weeks. The cheap polipropalene ropes tend to stretch a lot. You can see the one wheel I had on one tree in my yard. There were three wheels. Two on the tree trunks & one with the motor (I use ice cream maker motors) on my front porch. You can see how it's tilted down towards the wheel feeding it (picture is more tilted than after adjustment) I was just getting set up. I had large bats & ghost hung from the rope so the "flew" around the yard in a triangle. You can just see one of the bats to the left in the pic.
 

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I use rope & a spring. I don't know the strength of it. Just that it's a pretty stiff pull. I get the ones with loops at each end so they can be attached to the rope ends. Should be a fairly long one too. So it will travel smoothly around the wheel. You said "small" bike wheels. How small? I wouldn't use anything less than a 20". Like a BMX wheel , they are deeper & wider. I have also found that you don't want them exactly level. Let them tilt slightly down between them. That way the angle of the wheel as the rope feeds onto it. Directs it up on to the back side of the wheel. You might have too much weight on the belt/rope too. Weight is always a factor in animation. The first few years I did this I had ghosts flying back & forth across my front porch (then things got interesting when I expanded into the front yard LOL) I used large white balloons with cheese cloth draped over them & air brushed glow in the dark white paint & just round black spots for the eyes. They floated & moved around as the wires hung from the rope with safety pins. Pulled them around. Looked great the way they floated around.Tension & non stretch are important issues. Some ropes can expand & stretch quite a bit in moist conditions. Also in day light they can heat up & stretch if you have it up for days/weeks. The cheap polipropalene ropes tend to stretch a lot. You can see the one wheel I had on one tree in my yard. There were three wheels. Two on the tree trunks & one with the motor (I use ice cream maker motors) on my front porch. You can see how it's tilted down towards the wheel feeding it (picture is more tilted than after adjustment) I was just getting set up. I had large bats & ghost hung from the rope so the "flew" around the yard in a triangle. You can just see one of the bats to the left in the pic.
Thanks for the input. My wheels are about 8 to 9 inches I would say without measuring. My "ghost" is quite a bit heavier than your balloon ghosts and we did get some rain. So sounds like a confluence of factors could be involved. I am thinking of adding a piece of plywood or metal, if I can find something appropriate, to the bottom edge of the wheel/pulley for added width to the diamneter to hopefully keep the rope from sliding off the rim. I like the bat idea so I may try to add one of those as well if I get the basic ghost working consistently. Thanks again. BTW, I couldn't see the apparatus in your pic due to clarity and maybe perspective, but thanks for trying.
 
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