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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Flying Lever Ghost (FLG) is a ghost I developed to overcome the problems associated with the Flying Crank Ghost (FCG). This includes the cost and space required to erect a rig, dealing with torque issues, timing issues, getting the cables just right, counterweights, and of course... cost!!!

It only takes about two hours to make a FLG rig, and depending on what motors you use, the price should be about $40 or less. An FLG rig can be mounted above a window or door using simple L-brackets, tree branches or pipes using zip ties, or just about anywhere you might want a ghost.



To make an FLG, you'll need:

Supplies:

One 3 x 1 or 4 x 1 board
One 2 x 4 board
Three motors (I use used 120 VAC microwave turntable motors, but any low-RPM motor with good torque will work)
One old extension cord
Six female electric connectors
Six lamp pipes (threaded the whole length or just at the end) Available at most lighting stores or online
Six nuts for the lamp pipes (get these when you get the pipes as lost of hardware stores don't carry them. ACE Hardware is the only place I've found them)
Some plastic steel or similar two-part epoxy
Three 3/4" washers
Roll of electrical tape
Three 1/4" x 2" bolts and six nuts that fit the bolts
Some string, wire, fishing line, etc.
Tube of superglue

Tools:

Jigsaw or sabersaw
Drill
Wire cutters

Step 1: Cut a length of 1 x 3 or 1 x 4 board the width of the viewable area of the window, door, or whatever the ghost will be mounted in front of. In the example below, the board needs to be the width of the window glass and not the width of the whole window.



Step 2: Cut three 6" lengths of 2 x 4, and cut a 2" whole with an open area on one side, as shown below. This step is only needed if you're using the microwave oven motors. If you're using some other motors, you can just mount them directly to the 1 x 3/1 x 4 board.



Step 3: Install a turntable motor into each of the 2 x 4 sections.



Step 4: Attach all three 2 x 4 sections/motors to the 1 x 3/1 x 4 board. Leave about 1/2" of space at the ends of the board to make room for mounting brackets. Cut up the old extension cord and wire all the positive terminals of all three motors and all the negative terminals together. For the electrically-challenged, connect the right side connectors together, and the left side connectors together. Use the female connectors (if you don't know what these are, take a motor to a hardware or auto parts store and show them the motor and tell them you need female connectors for them). Also, if you look closely at the extension cord, you'll see one side of the wire is smooth and one side has three or four lines running down the side. Make sure the smooth side is going to the same terminals, and the lined side is going to the same terminals.

I used 120 VAC motors, so I can just plug the extension cord into a wall outlet and the motors run. There are also 21 VDC motors that require the use of a power supply. If you use 12 VDC motors, you'll also need a power supply. Also, most of these motors come in two speeds: 3 RPM and 6 RPM. You can use all the same speed, or mix them. I use a 3 RPM motor for the center and two 6 RPM motors for the ends. This makes the movement of the head and body half the speed of the arms, which I think looks more realistic than having everything move at the same speed.



Step 5: Attach a lamp pipe to the drive shaft of each motor. I found the best way to do this is fill one end of a pipe with some plastic metal epoxy, and press it onto the drive shaft. Then use a pencil or other rod to push the epoxy down from the other end, which forces the epoxy all around the drive shaft. If the pipe slips off later, use some Gorilla or other superglue to glue it back on.



Step 6: Make three levers. I used the front flaps from three old VHS tapes, but any rigid, flat, plastic will do (rulers, pieces of old office memo trays, etc.). Cut a series of holes that are big enough for the lamp pipes to slide through. I cut three 1/2" holes in each of my levers. The multiple holes will let you easilly and quickly change the arc of the lever movement. Also drill one 1/4" hole in the end.



Step 7: Attach a lever to each of the lamp pipes. I did this by threading one nut on the pipe, then put the lever on, then put a second nut on to hold it in place. If you're using lamp pipes that are completely threaded, you can screw the nuts and lever in closer or further away to ensure clearance with window treatments or other obstacles.

Don't worry about lining these up in any particular direction. Since each motor is operating on its own, it doesn't matter what order the levers are going up or down. Once you get your ghost on, and see how the arms and body are moving in relation to one another, you can change the relative positions of the arms.



Step 8:

Add a 2" bolt to the end of the lever by slipping it through the 1/4" hole in the end. Use one nut to tighten the bolt to the lever, and a second nut near the end of the bolt. This second nut prevent's the washer's holding the ghost from slipping off the bolt (more on this later).



Step 9: Make your ghost just like you would a FCG, but add lines to the hands and head. Adjust the length of the line so the bottom of the ghost will be visible in the window when the center lever is at the lowest point of its motion. Tie a washer to the end of each line, and attach the ghost to the rig by slipping the washer over the 2" bolts. At this point you might want to put a few drops of superglue on the end nuts on the bolt to keep them from being spun off as the levers turn (the washers can rub against the nuts and spin them off if they're not glued in place).

One key difference between an FLG and FCG is that the FLG is moving in a circle instead of just up and down. This movement imparts a small amount of centrifigal force to the ghost, which will cause the head and body to turn to the side, then face forward, as the lever rotates. If you don't want this to happen, use a solid connector to connect the ghost's head to the center lever. If you look at the photo at the start of this tutorial, you'll see I used a kid's plastic ruler, with the hole in the end of the ruler going over the 2" bolt on the lever, and the other end fitting through a slot cut in the skull I'm using as a head. You could also use a knife to cut a slot into a styrofoam wig head, and stick the ruler into that. This will keep your head and body from turning, but the arms will still turn, which is a good thing.



Step 10: Mount the rig above the window (or wherever it's going), and power it up! Make adjustments by shortening/lengthening the connection strings or changing the hole used to mount the lever. The longer the lever, the more the ghost will move.
 

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Funeral Crasher
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Nice tutorial! I wish I could make graphics like that.

On the prop thread someone mentioned that some motors have a hard time moving a shaft vertically like this with some weight attached. An alternative could be to mount the mechanism with the motors horizontal, then run the ghost control strings thru some eye bolts in the ceiling and hang the ghost from there.
Should be less stress on the motor(s) that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice tutorial! I wish I could make graphics like that.

On the prop thread someone mentioned that some motors have a hard time moving a shaft vertically like this with some weight attached. An alternative could be to mount the mechanism with the motors horizontal, then run the ghost control strings thru some eye bolts in the ceiling and hang the ghost from there.
Should be less stress on the motor(s) that way.
I believe the issue you're referring to is the ability of a motor to rotate a vertical shaft being based on the shaft's length and the amount of load being put upon it. That may all be true, but unlike an FCG, where all the load is placed on one motor, the load here is being split between three motors, which would require a pretty significant weight to thwart these motors. :)

I don't know about the 12 VDC vent motors a lot of folks use here, but the microwave turntable motors are pretty robust. Most people use a styrofoam wig head for the head. I'm using a much heavier plastic skull with a light unit inside, plus 24' of cheesecloth are on the body and arms, and there's no problem.
 

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Did you use new wiper motors or get them from a salvage yard ? Do they all 3 need to be identical ?
Looks like Bruzilla used microwave motors in his, but I think the new vent motors that are talked about in a thread in this section would work as well since each one doesn't have to move that much weight.

A single wiper motor would be more than enough to make one of these work, but would probably move much too fast without some complicated modifications.
 

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gr8 idea!

do you have a video?

for heavier props, mounting the motors horizontally & using a washer just like a traditional fcg should work

amk
Right, there are actually two differences between this and an FCG: the vertical mount and the three motors. Setting the whole thing up horizontally with three motors should still be simpler than a traditional rig, although it would take up almost as much space and need a way to attach it to the ceiling.
 

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Screaming Demons said:
Looks like Bruzilla used microwave motors in his, but I think the new vent motors that are talked about in a thread in this section would work as well since each one doesn't have to move that much weight.
Sorry, had a brain fart. I know he said he used microwave motors. Any idea where to get them ?
 

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I'll guess the microwave motors came from a microwave...sorry I had to.

My guess would be garage sales & thrift stores for microwave parts, never count out craigs list as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, and by the way microwave motors can be bought at any appliance parts store, ebay, appliance parts websites, etc.
 
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