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I don't know if others have done this, but I thought I'd share. I bought a pop-up Witch at Spirit, but was extremely unhappy with the speed. It runs on a motor, so it was more like a witch with RA trying to get up out of her rocking chair. I wanted to hide her in the tall grasses I have next to the side walk and have her pop up in an instance. So I built a quick, cheap pneumatic piston.

Wal-Mart has a cheap, $9 bicycle pump from Bell. The output hose can be screwed off by hand. After removing the little rubber valve (it falls out if you tip it upside down) you can either screw the hose back on or attach a 1/2" inner diameter hose over the fitting at the base using a hose clamp. Put this in line with your pneumatic hose and the pump is now a piston.

I drilled a 1/8" bleeder hole into the base of the pump to allow it to compress after firing. Since my prop fires up, gravity with the help of a light bungee compresses the piston back down for the next round.

To make it fire I use a $10 solenoid sprinkler valve from The Home Depot. Put this unit in the hose line. The solenoid is 24VAC, so I connected it to a $10 doorbell transformer to step down from 120VAC (I found a transformer that had 3 different outputs depending on how you hooked it up, 23V being max). I use a doorbell to fire it because I want to make sure the victims don't see it coming.

I unscrewed the handle and used epoxy to glue the witch to the pole. I was able to screw the feet of the pump onto the existing base of the witch prop.

Sorry I have no pictures, but I figured this close to the day, if someone needs an idea to get something done quickly, here is a quick and easy solution that doesn't involve building something from scratch.

Rperlot.
 
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