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This will be the tutorial of how I am building my Coffin Monster In a Box (MIB) with DMX control. The inspiration and knowledge has come from Terra http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/70795-dmx-vampire-coffin-mib.html, Guitarist155 http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-step-step/68949-dmx-haunt-control-system.html, Phoenix UK and many other members.

So far I have drawn up the plans and scrounged or purchased all of the materials that I will need.

The coffin was built several years ago for a western themed haunt at a friend’s house and is the classic toe-pincher shape built out of pine 1x4 scrounged from old shipping crates.

My plan is to use:
-4 air cylinders to move the corners
-1 air cylinder to move/open the lid
-1 air cylinder to make the skeleton sit up
-2 Chauvet Splash Jr LED DMX lights for internal lighting
-1 Fog machine inside
-2 speakers and if possible a subwoofer
-1 more DMX relay that I don't know what to do with yet
- oh and the kitchen sink

All of this, along with any other props I get completed, will be controlled from a central computer running VSA thru a DMX network with a DMXorcist for input trigger control and multiple audio outputs.
Below I have included three layout diagrams.

The first one is the main DMX control box layout, thanks to Guitarist for the inspiration and the lovely Visio work. http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-step-step/68949-dmx-haunt-control-system.html

The second one is the electrical layout for the coffin. It includes all of the electrical components along with a bill of materials.

The third one is the pneumatic layout for the coffin. It includes all of the pneumatic components along with a bill of materials.


If you are having trouble viewing/printing any of these just PM me and I will send you the files.

I will post some pictures of what I have built so far, which is not much, soon.

I hope everyone finds this useful :)
 

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Hauntless
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Ooooh, very exciting to see this fleshed out. I love all the extra action that you are going to put into this. My coffin lacked a pay-off and yours looks like it will do that in spades!
 

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Insane Genius
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it certainly looks like you have all the bases covered, remember when you come to programming the DMX routines you don't have to stick with just the one routine, you can have multiple routines which either trigger randomly or can be set to different triggers..... One ide that comes to mind is have a low moaning routines, then a more violent rocking routine and the final jump and scream routine, this way if you have the time to play you can select which routine to play to give the best effect.

I do this with my MiB, I have a low impact routine that just attracts attention, and when they get just that little bit too close I hit them with a scare routine
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Phoenix,
That sounds like a great idea. The first routine will just run then pause then run again in a loop but when someone triggers a pressure plate or PIR then the real scare would hit them. I can't wait!
 

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Insane Genius
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yeah that works, people are fairly wise to looped routine players, and once they have your prop figured as one then they will relax and not expect anything else, leaving them vulnerable to a scare
 

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How is this coming along?

How are you covering up the components of the coffin when it opens up for the finale?

This is a great idea to enhance the coffin, I can't wait to see more. The drawback is that I may end up being tempted to upgrade my coffin and I have enough on my plate as it is. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Noch,
I have not finalized how I will cover up the internals. I have placed as much as possible down at the feet end. I was thinking of putting in a false bottom over that end and painting in some leg bones and maybe the front half of some feet. I think it will work because the rotting skeleton popping up and screaming will be kind of distracting :)
 

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Noch,
I have not finalized how I will cover up the internals. I have placed as much as possible down at the feet end. I was thinking of puttin in a false bottom over that end and painting in some leg bones. I think it will work because the rotting skeleton popping up and screaming will be kind of distracting :)
I was thinking along the same lines Spookysteve. Kind of have a "false" floor over everything, painted black to hide it even more so. And like you said, It will be pretty quick and startling that I highly doubt anybody will notice anything. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Pictures of Coffin in Progress

Here are some pictures of the coffin itself before I really started to install the guts.
Full Side View

View of the Head Section with one of the 4 lifting air cylinders before being mounted.

The foot end of the coffing with another of the lifting air cylinders before mounting.
 

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nicely coming along. Checked out the album and I like the pop-up mech too, looks very effective and you kept it simple.

a couple of questions though...did you distress the wood for the coffin or did you just grab scraps and leave them in the back yard for a year? Also, what size is the cylinder and where did you purchase it?

thanks in advance,

-DK
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Danny,
The wood I used was used crate lid material. I built the coffin 3 years ago and it has been stored outside the whole time. Nothing like nature to make something look old!

As for the air cylinders:
-4 lifting cylinders: 1 1/2" Bore x 1" Stroke
-Got them from my works used automation equipment they were throwing away

-Pop-Up cylinder: 1 1/16" Bore x 5" Stroke (probably could have used 4" or maybe even 3")
-Purchased from www.McMaster.com (6498K657)

-Lid Lifting cylinder: 1 1/4" Bore x 5" Stroke
-Found it on Ebay
 

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Discussion Starter #16
DMX Relay Board

I am using the Milford DMX Relay board 1-493, DMX Controllers. Total cost for delivery from the UK is ~$97. This same board can be found in the US at Blue Point Engineering but the cost is over $200 delivered for the exact same board.
This is an 8 relay DMX board. It can be ordered in either 12 or 24 VDC version. It can also be ordered with a case but I already had a case. See how I mounted the board below.

-The flat ribbon cable comming out of the top connects to the solenoid manifold
-The top wire on the right side is the connection to my fog machine
-The next wire down is the 12VDC power in from my hacket Computer Power supply
-the next two wires are the DMX In and Out

Here is a picture with the case closed.

Here is the right side showing the inputs and outputs.

Here is the top showing the flat ribbon cable. I scavaged this from one of the computers my company was getting rid of.
 

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Discussion Starter #17

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Danny,
The wood I used was used crate lid material. I built the coffin 3 years ago and it has been stored outside the whole time. Nothing like nature to make something look old!

As for the air cylinders:
-4 lifting cylinders: 1 1/2" Bore x 1" Stroke
-Got them from my works used automation equipment they were throwing away

-Pop-Up cylinder: 1 1/16" Bore x 5" Stroke (probably could have used 4" or maybe even 3")
-Purchased from www.McMaster.com (6498K657)

-Lid Lifting cylinder: 1 1/4" Bore x 5" Stroke
-Found it on Ebay
A couple newbie questions for ya:

Are those single or double action cylinders and any reason for those bore sizes or is it pretty much just what u had on hand? thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ken,
All of the cylinders that I am using are double acting but I now realize that for the pop-up one it only needs to be a single acting, as long as you don't let the pop-up bar go past vertical. I believe that the lid cylinder could also be a single actin one as long as the lid also does not go past vertical. Double acting does allow you to close the lid faster than gravity will but may not be needed. Now that I think about it the lifting cylinders at the four corners could be single acting with no spring return but those I scavaged so I am using double acting.

As for lid cylinder bore size the lid needs to be that size to provide the power to lift the lid from the inside next to the hinge.
The pop-up needs to be at least the size I mentioned to be able to lift anything but a paper prop. Once I finish my skeleton I will find out if I need to go to a bigger bore.

The lifting cylinders may be able to be smaller depending upon how much your coffin will weigh, how far from the point of rotation they are located, the opposite side of the coffin and where the center of mass is located relative to the point of rotation. The McMaster website tells you how much force each bore can privide at 100 PSI.
 

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Ken,
All of the cylinders that I am using are double acting but I now realize that for the pop-up one it only needs to be a single acting, as long as you don't let the pop-up bar go past vertical. I believe that the lid cylinder could also be a single actin one as long as the lid also does not go past vertical. Double acting does allow you to close the lid faster than gravity will but may not be needed. Now that I think about it the lifting cylinders at the four corners could be single acting with no spring return but those I scavaged so I am using double acting.

As for lid cylinder bore size the lid needs to be that size to provide the power to lift the lid from the inside next to the hinge.
The pop-up needs to be at least the size I mentioned to be able to lift anything but a paper prop. Once I finish my skeleton I will find out if I need to go to a bigger bore.

The lifting cylinders may be able to be smaller depending upon how much your coffin will weigh, how far from the point of rotation they are located, the opposite side of the coffin and where the center of mass is located relative to the point of rotation. The McMaster website tells you how much force each bore can privide at 100 PSI.
Thanks for the Info! Im kinda new to the whole pneumatic world and I'm starting to figure out all the cylinder and relay stuff. Ive got a pretty good jist on it for now.

Another newbie question for ya. For the lid lifting cylinder your using a 5 inch throw. During the routine are you lifting the lid all the way to "tease" the TOTS or just an inch or two to set up the scare and then waiting till the end to open it all the way for the pop up? If so, how do you set up the cylinder so it only opens a couple inches instead of the full length of the cylinder? Thanks!
 
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