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Discussion Starter #1
I have noticed an interest in setting up the venerable Axworthy ghost and the sometimes ingenious ways that people try to make it work. I have no interest in creating a how to, but I do feel a need to share some of the secrets of the axworthy that no one touches on. I am just now starting to set up this years ghosts and thought I would take a lot of pics and video and then try to share them with my haunt buddies who have inspired me over the years. My first setup was long before internet(late 80's). It consisted of two bike wheels and a drive wheel. I used a typical 110 vac, 1250 rpm cooler motor and geared it down with pulleys. This year will be my first time using a wiper motor to pedal a bike to power the line. It should be quieter and have easier speed control. Before, I had to change pulley sizes to affect speed changes. Now I intended to use a pwm speed controller for the wiper motor but after seeing it run, I may run it full speed. We'll see.
I have been loading pictures and videos into my photobucket account linked in my signature. You will have to visit there to see the numerous pics. Look in the Axwothy folder. I will keep adding as I progress. I expect to be done in a few days.
I almost exclusively use 3/4" electrical conduit for my wheels. Putting wheels in trees is no fun and I've had spectacular results with the poles and bailing wire. I live in the desert and have a ton of natural growth so it works well for me. There are usually two guide wire for each post. Every year I will invariably trip over most of those wires cause I don't see them. Be careful. I used a 4" grinder to cut a slot in the tube, pry it open a little, then install the wheel. I like to use a couple of large nuts or 8-12 washers on one side of the wheels axle. once pinned in the axle with the correct nuts, it can be clamped in the conduit fairly darn secure. I also install a hose clamp on the conduit about two feet from the top for my anchor wires. This prevents them from slipping down. almost all wheel alignment will be done through the conduit. You will need a 3/4" conduit bender to do this easily. You should notice in the pics that every post has an "S" bend in it. This will help any twisting of the post when the ghosties are strung tight.
A couple of rules that I always follow;; Never put in an opposite turn. Have all turns in the same direction. This will allow the ghost spring wire to be fairly silent and to never be cut. Elevation changes are very acceptable and easy to deal with. Some of my pics will show a rim from the edge on. Notice that the wheel is on the same plane as the previous wheel and the next wheel. This is one of the secrets to having a reliable axworthy. The wheel at every turn, including the drive wheel, MUST be on the same plane as the line coming in to it and the line going out from it. Make sense?
If your going to spend any money on this, spend it on the important stuff. The wire that runs it all. I have used all types of fishing line and will never use them again. Fishing line is expensive and doesn't last in the sun very well. I got my cable off ebay several many years ago for $30 + shipping for 300 feet. Not much more than spiderwire, eh? I haven't tried the crab pot line.... it sounds interesting. The line that I use is steel cable. It has a black plastic coating and I believe is 3/32nds dia. I run 250 - 300 feet every year so typically I'll run 6 - 7 wheels. It's pretty big, but once its dialed in, I rarely have problems with it. I still won't run it across the street though. I'm all about the speed and reliability.
The next thing to discuss is weight of ghosties and tension on the drive line. The ghosties really need to be light as possible. You CAN actually go too light and will experience problems in turns especially if there is any wind. The ghosties need a little weight to help keep them in a down position around the turns. Having large wheels at the corners is paramount if running the ghosts at any real speed. Small wheels make the direction change too violent if there is any weight in the ghost. The tension on the drive line is pretty extreme. I struggle pulling it over that last wheel. Feels like I'm going to cut my fingers. With the cable, I don't worry about the line breaking.
OK. I'm tired of typing for now. Hopefully you can get to my photobucket album through the link below. Go to the Axworthy folder. More pics and video to come..... This from a couple of years ago.

 

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I like the idea of the split conduit pipe and the wheel clamped into the end of it, eliminates the need to clamp a bracket on the pole to mount the wheel to.

You said "Never put in an opposite turn. Have all turns in the same direction. This will allow the ghost spring wire to be fairly silent and to never be cut". I am not sure what you mean by that. I have an opposite turn in my setup and don't have any issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Haunted Neurons, First let me say I am not the Axworthy expert. There are many things I have not tried. But what has worked for me is really an evolution from the first time I tied the ghost directly to the line till now when I use piano wire for the attachment. The idea for the shape of the wire belongs to someone else, as do many other ideas I have borrowed from this amazing website. I just happen to be setting my ghosties up and want to share all the details of how I do it. Lots a pics and some video.... and we still have 36 days till.

I will post more pics of the post setup tomorrow. They are amazingly sturdy when anchored with bailing wire. The reason I said to have all turns in one direction is due to the shape of my ghostie attachment. I wanted the wire to attach to the drive line from the side, thus never hitting the edge of the bike rim. Thats why I called it silent. When the wire hits the rim, it makes a terrible click just like fishing swivels can. If you were using string...no issue.

I look forward to any questions about this set up. It is actually a fairly inexpensive prop if you can score wheels for free, conduit = $2.00 at HD. Wiper motor from junk yard, old computer power supply, ghostie supplies and the drive line. I used some steel and a welder but this could be done easily with wood. Missing some odds and ends but when I first started to do an Axworthy, I didn't put much money into it. Most props can usually be made inexpensive....except for that three axis stuff. That gets crazy.


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Indiana, now I see what you meant by opposite turn. I saw it but it didn't click that the attachment method would not work for turns in both directions. I had mine that way one year and I could only do right hand turns, it should have made sense to me from the start. Your picture cleared it up.

Great job, keep us posted on your stuff.
 

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Thanks for the tips.

Though in looking at how you attached the bike wheels with a slit / clamp on the conduit, what about welding an appropriate size nut to the end of the pipe and just screw it in? As to the line, I was thinking about using downrigger cable, its stainless steel cable used in deep sea fishing with a 200 lb working load. it looks about 1/16 cable.

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to share yours.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the tips.

Though in looking at how you attached the bike wheels with a slit / clamp on the conduit, what about welding an appropriate size nut to the end of the pipe and just screw it in? As to the line, I was thinking about using downrigger cable, its stainless steel cable used in deep sea fishing with a 200 lb working load. it looks about 1/16 cable.

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to share yours.
Untillater, Thats a great idea. Although I wouldn't trust it if the wheel were spinning counter clockwise. It might unscrew. I had to replace a short pole this morning and the new wheel that I used had two nuts with cast in lock washers. these lock washer areas were much bigger than the rest of the nut. I took one nut from one side and added it to the other with the nuts facing opposite each other. This created the perfect channel to tighten my clamp into. Talk about a solid wheel to post fit. Heres a pic of it.




Anyway the ghosts are flying!!!! Added tons of pics and vids to my photobucket album named axworthy.


 

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Fantastic set up!
I have couple questions. How did you attach the two cable ends together?

Is there a reason bicycle wheels are used for the idler pulleys other than easy to come by? Does their size add to the reliability?

Would it hurt to have the pulleys kind of free floating so they can align themselves like if the pulley bracket was attached to a strap or such?

How fast do you think your ghosts are traveling?
Thanks
 

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On mine I used crimp ferules to tie the ends.

as to pulleys, it depends, a smaller pulley will have tighter turns and thus higher g forces which can cause problems if your ghost is too heavy or going too fast. Bicycle wheels are easy to find, have more gentle turns and deeper valleys for the cable to ride in, this helps keep the line in place when the stoppers holding the ghosts go through.

The problem with free float is that you need to have a lot of tension on the line or it will sag depending on the weight of the ghosts.

my 2 cents, hope it helps
 

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I was thinking some heavy springs to keep the tension correct. It's fun to reinvent this stuff but I think if I am going to use bike rims might be easier to hard mount them like you have.
The speed in the turns is something I had not considered. I should have seen that after watching countless Axworthy videos. Some of those ghost really whip around the turns.
Do you but the ends of the cable and use one ferules or use 2 and pass the cable through 1 a few inches and then into the other and vice versatile?
Good answers, thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Glowplug, All great questions. The method I have found to be the most reliable is to have both ends looped. I looked for a pic that I have but it wasn't on photobucket. It is now but here it is here. I have tried both methods you describe with marginal results. Been using this new loop and haven't had a failure yet. 4th year. I was originally worried that the size and ugliness of this type connection would create problems. I now add more line if I need to and haven't had any issues. The connection is UGLY and if you don't cover it up with some shrink tubing or something, the stray wires can gouge you but good. Remember to add all line hardware(ferrules,shrink tubing) before you tie the ends of the drive line together.
There are several reasons to use bike wheels over pulleys, plates, urethane boat bumpers etc.... It has to do with rolling resistance. I can plop my big butt on a bike and a small child can push me around. All the other things I've read about don't have bearings. They have bushings, and really lousy bushings at that. How long can you run a clothesline pulley with tension on it before it creates enough heat to cause problems? Same with a boat bumper? When I unplug my axworthy, the motor stops, but the cable runs another 15 - 20 feet. It takes almost no pressure to run my drive line. The diameter of the turns is critical if you run any kind of speed. I'll have to do some figuring if you want the speed of my ghosts. I'm running my wiper at 12 vdc on the high speed(75rpm?) I prefer 26" wheels but they are BIG. If I'm trying to hide them, 20". Any smaller and the speed of my ghosts create problems. There isn't enough space between the outside of the rim and the post. The ghosties will start riding around the post = NOT GOOD! If your ghosties do have to contact anything while they are flying, you can wrap the offending wire,post,cactus,branch or whatever else in black plastic. Ghosties are immune to black plastic. The fabric I found to be best for an axworthy is a type of synthetic. Don't use ANYTHING that will unravel or drop threads. Threads are easily blown over the driveline or can snatch on something that was earlier out of reach. Unfortunately my ghosties are not uv reactive. But I can always spray them with a reactive hairspray. It was worth the tradeoff!
Be careful using any lead on the drive line. If there is sufficient tension on the line as it runs, it will deform and eventually cut thru the lead as it hits every wheel. Just an fyi.
As for floating pulleys, I'll have to side with untillater. They require lots of tension, which is ok, but they are usually pretty heavy. They need to be stout enough to have a one sided axle connection plus they bounce like crazy because they're free floating. I hate that.
All of my opinions are strictly my own. I'm sure there are better ways to do every part of this project,..... and once you find them, I hope you will share them here as I did. Feel free to ask any more questions.

 

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Today I got my route plotted with a temporary string. I had to remove one dead oak limb an will probably have to wrap another oak trunk that is growing almost horizontally about ten feet off the ground. Is Ghostie the proper term? Anyway I am forced a bit closer to this particular tree and the Ghostie will be dragging over it. Should give it some action.
I will put all my turns on the back of the trees and hopefully centrifugal force will sling them out and around the oaks.
Is there any suggested limit to unsupported runs with out tensioners or helper pulleys? I Nfigure I will just put them in where I can to eliminate the future hassle but don't want to over engineer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Glowplug, Sounds like your really gonna give this a try. Excellent! Let me also tell you that I have successfully hung 3/4" conduit from large trees in the past. When I did this, I would always hang the post upside down from the tree, wheel on the bottom. Always used at least 3 long screws to pin the conduit along a branch and occasionally had to use bailing wire to secure it stronger. Still learned that a "S" shape in the post helped. One great thing about hanging wheels from trees is..... no post!! The wheel will disappear into the tree as long as light levels are low. It should be a very dark Halloween this year. No moon?
Ghostie is a term I read about somewhere. I didn't coin it, but I liked it and use it.
As for the centrifugal force, you are correct. They will be thrown outward, but a stiff wind from the wrong direction will sort of make the ghosties fly tail first or leaning in toward the post as they arrive at the post. This is where a bigger wheel helps to keep that guy away from all the problems associated with Mr Ghostie touching anything. I won't run mine in anything greater than a light breeze.
I run 280' this year. Biggest run ever was 300'. Number of bike wheels that year was 8. Elevation change was 18'. I have never used any type of tensioner on any wheel or motor. Even when I ran fishing line, I ran it tighter than any bungee cord. The higher the tension, the greater the reliability. IMHO
So now I have a question for you. What are the details of your build?
 

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No great details yet. Spent yesterday trying to find a nut to fit on my treadmill motor. Turns out it was a left handed thread. I should have remembered that from when I disassembled it. Duh! Found the proper nut at a fastener store. I mounted a pulley I hope to be the right size for the speed I want. If I have to go up in voltage to get the power right I will probably have to slow it down so I will probably still order the speed control. I am taking some pics along the way so hopefully my efforts will aid the next newbie in line. About to go mount the motor to the front of the house. I have been looking at the shielded cable am thinking a larger diameter eshold aid in gripping the drive pulley(more surface area) but I am concerned about the extra weight of a larger cable. Means more sag and or tension. I also bought a small bike at the pawn shop this morning for 12 bucks & tax. Now I just need to look at all the mounting possibilities. Will add more as available. Is photo bucket the preferred way to add images?
 

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That desert is beautiful country! I am in central Texas. Just outside Georgetown. Gods country! Got my motor hung a bit off square. Have to work on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
No great details yet. Spent yesterday trying to find a nut to fit on my treadmill motor. Turns out it was a left handed thread. I should have remembered that from when I disassembled it. Duh! Found the proper nut at a fastener store. I mounted a pulley I hope to be the right size for the speed I want. If I have to go up in voltage to get the power right I will probably have to slow it down so I will probably still order the speed control. I am taking some pics along the way so hopefully my efforts will aid the next newbie in line. About to go mount the motor to the front of the house. I have been looking at the shielded cable am thinking a larger diameter eshold aid in gripping the drive pulley(more surface area) but I am concerned about the extra weight of a larger cable. Means more sag and or tension. I also bought a small bike at the pawn shop this morning for 12 bucks & tax. Now I just need to look at all the mounting possibilities. Will add more as available. Is photo bucket the preferred way to add images?
Glowplug, Let me offer a suggestion. I am not sure what size cable you are looking at, but everything I have seen in home depot was too big. I will measure my cable in the morning and post. What I would suggest is maybe this year, you use one of the fishing lines. $20 for a spool of 80# and you can shop the wire rope for a year. Find the best deal. You are NOT going to be happy if you buy something that won't work for you and it gets thrown in a box.... To me, THE most important purchase would be the drive line. Just make sure it's right. I will offer some thoughts on using fishing line. Once again, the tighter the better. I have actually got burns from the fishing line putting it over the last rim and trying to slide my fingers out. Fishing line is really quiet, Do not use lead split shot on a highly tensioned drive line. It will deform. I used the same piano wire to hang my ghosties with but if you pin or secure those wires in one place on the drive line, the drive line can and will be abraded at those points. I used to use these little red bead stops for fishing line at kmart. I believe they had little green threads for securing to line, I used these to pin my ghostie on the line but still allowed the line to twist. Moving the ghosties on the drive line every few days would solve that. Nice thing about fishing line is its really small diameter, you can get the braided or synthetic lines that have virtually no sheen or shine and are practically invisible. It will easily last the season.
A treadmill motor sounds like the perfect item. Tons of torque. You mentioned a speed control....pwm, perfect. I have run into a small problem on my axworthy yesterday. I had left it running and I looked up at the motor and noticed smoke. Immediately unplugged it and discovered it was my computer power supply. It is rated at 22 amps on the +12 side. I haven't run it since. I have a car charger that will supply, it says, 55 amps. I will try that this weekend. Checked every computer supply that I have and none are rated as high as the one that smoked. Just needed to let you know about this problem I'm having. I will keep you posted. How are you going to supply this treadmill motor? Isn't there a supply in side the treadmill, or do you just have the motor? As for making sure there is good grip on the drive wheel......... this is hogwash. The tension is what creates the grip. And the fact that the drive line will sit on more than ten inches of drive wheel will ensure no problems with slippage. Remember, if your using bike rims, they roll easily and smoothly so very little effort is needed to move the line.
The rubber spoke liner inside the rim is necessary. I usually replace them with the more expensive cloth liners but at a dollar apiece for the rubber ones, just make sure you have them. They are not for grip either. They will keep your drive line from constantly rolling off the spoke nuts creating a helluva racket and possibly damaging the fishing line. I have used duct and electrical tape inside the rim as well.
Doc Doom, Great setup. I think its great that people share their creations willingly. What type of line are you using? Looks like it might be larger than fishing line,,,but that might just be the pic. The pics you shared really show all the details you've put into this.
Photobucket is one way to share. For me it's the only one Ive ever learned and tried.
Excogitate, I've met quite a few good people out of Phoenix. Have we met?
 
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