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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I've been thinking of some ideas on how to create what I've been dreaming of doing and want to hear what you think of it.

I want to create a talking pumpkin face and hook it up to my Light-O-Rama controller. But with me being 14 and being on a budget it hasn't been easy.

So I thought, if I have a square border (the size of the bush in my front garden) made of some sort of wood material, then attach chicken wire to it the cover up the centre - this would be my basic frame. Then I would use normal outdoor clear lights (not rope lights) to create the face i.e. eyes and different mouth moulds. And then just edit the seuquencing through LOR (the easy part).

Does this sound like a good way to create a simple version of a talking pumpkin face and if you think there may be some faults, please let me know.

Here's an excellent example:

YouTube- Halloween Light Show 2009 in HD - This is Halloween

Thanks,

-Trey
 

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I think it's a great idea and you should do it! I wish more people got into Halloween in my neighborhood. I'm going to have to figure out some way to keep my stuff up longer, I had to put it out on Halloween only cuz I used my front yard and that's where my destructive doggies go to the bathroom.
 

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Sounds like a good idea to me (but then I'm a low-tec kind of guy)

That vid is very impressive! Don't feel too bad about a low prop budget at 14yrs old Lad.... I'm 51 and MY budget is not much to brag about. This is where innovation fills in the gaps ! :D
 

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I agree with MM Mark. My budget is small and my ideas large.....Keep on rocking with what you've got. Remember to post pics or a video of your final project, I know it will be great.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone for your kind words :) I thought I was the only one (as soundmankkc said) on a small budget but with large ideas.

I am currently busy with my Taekwondo life right now - going on tour in May so plus other competitions and stuff but I will try and keep you guys updated with the project.

Again thanks for the support :)
 

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Trey, you are in no way alone in the tight budget. I've been dumpster diving for the last year getting building material from around the neighborhood. Cheap source of wood to build things with. I like your idea but, not sure on the regular light bulbs you are talking about. I'm not sure how you will get the mouth look. You might be able to use xmas tree lights and just move all the lights into a row with twist ties. Then attach them to the wire to create a face, mouth, eyes. Use solid strands so they aren't mulit colored. I'm sure your parents prob. have them handy if they decorate and then you wouldn't have to buy any lights at all. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Boy I hope this works , This site has a lot of users that have christmas displays using LOR, Ask and you shall recieve!! There are a lot of different ways to do what you want,and it will be really cool to see!! I guess the main ting is laying out the "expressions " with the lights. I think you will need more than one strand of lights!!LOL!!http://http://www.christmasfanclub.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice! I think I may go with the idea from Growler and twist my string lights to make them closer together as I can't cut up rope lights like some others can. I've got a few sets of clear lights already but if I can find a way to save up some money I can buy more to make a bigger face.

Thanks for the help everyone :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Okay, I've just spent the last few hours looking for the perfect set of clear string lights to use for my pumpkin face.

I found several 300 sets, so if I twist these to bring them closer together, do any of you reckon that would work out well? If I can buy a few of these sets - then just attach and shape them to the chicken wire.
 

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I'm looking at the same idea, but what I haven't figured out is how the lights are mounted.. On one of the HD versions of the video, it appears as if there is a grid structure holding it up, and then the lights are tied to that in the necessary configurations.. Anyone have the answer to this?

-Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #12
cpnbnanamn,

I'm sure that the type of lights that most others use are clear/white rope lights and these are mounted onto a grid type of material (which in my case is chicken wire). And when attaching the rope lights to their rightful spots, I have been told that people use plastic zip ties to tie on/connect the lights and secure them.

I'm not a professional on this and I'm still experimenting but I'm sure that is one way to do it

:)
 

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On the Christmas sites, you'll often find the lights attached to "welded wire fabric", which is quite stiff and holds its shape without the need for stretching it over a heavy frame (like chicken wire needs to be). The gotcha with WWF is that it's typically in a rectangular grid configuration, like 2"x4", so you won't necessarily have a wire in the exact spot you want each light to be. WWF isn't as cheap as chicken wire, but it's not expensive either. You'll find it in sheets next to the concrete and rebar at your local home center. Bring a set of gloves to handle it. Since it's designed to go into concrete, it isn't painted or sealed, so it's rusty. If you mind the rust, and don't mind paying more, you'll find that there's a galvanized version (and perhaps plastic coated versions as well) of it sold in rolls in the fencing department.

I, for one, would like to know how the guy did all the singing synchronization without spending days programming the alternative light strings one by one...

Craig
 

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On the Christmas sites, you'll often find the lights attached to "welded wire fabric", which is quite stiff and holds its shape without the need for stretching it over a heavy frame (like chicken wire needs to be). The gotcha with WWF is that it's typically in a rectangular grid configuration, like 2"x4", so you won't necessarily have a wire in the exact spot you want each light to be. WWF isn't as cheap as chicken wire, but it's not expensive either. You'll find it in sheets next to the concrete and rebar at your local home center. Bring a set of gloves to handle it. Since it's designed to go into concrete, it isn't painted or sealed, so it's rusty. If you mind the rust, and don't mind paying more, you'll find that there's a galvanized version (and perhaps plastic coated versions as well) of it sold in rolls in the fencing department.

I, for one, would like to know how the guy did all the singing synchronization without spending days programming the alternative light strings one by one...

Craig

I'm familiar with WWF... Used it to fence in my back yard for the wife's Great Danes. I think I like the chicken wire better. Lighter, and somewhat more maneuverable.
As for the synchronization.. I think there are some curve templates that help with the display, but you will have to program the strings individually. I'm learning about my controller as we speak (not using LOR). I like the idea of PVC framing, but what I haven't figured out, is how the different expressions are layered. I counted 5 different expressions for the mouth alone, 6 if you count blinking the eyes. Each of those expressions are a different strand, or combo of strands:

\____/

\____/
\___/

\____/
\___/
_\__/

(____)

O

-Roger

(aaahh you get the idea...)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Some good ideas! I was thinking the same thing about whether to use chicken wire or another material for the basic frame and I do think chicken wire would come in more handy; it's cheap, quite flexible and is durable for a long time, so I personally do reccomend that.

As for the experssions and programming.... well I am gonna try creating only a simple face with simple expressions:

-2 eyes (non-blinking)
-Closed mouth (like a smile)
-Open jaw ('AH' sound)
-Seperate mouth ('EE' or 'EH' sound)
-Open mouth ('OH' sound)

So all together by the way I am thinking of hooking my lights; that is 5 channels for the full face. I'm just gonna stay simple for now and if I can find the time next time around I may upgrade it...
 

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Some good ideas! I was thinking the same thing about whether to use chicken wire or another material for the basic frame and I do think chicken wire would come in more handy; it's cheap, quite flexible and is durable for a long time, so I personally do reccomend that.

As for the experssions and programming.... well I am gonna try creating only a simple face with simple expressions:

-2 eyes (non-blinking)
-Closed mouth (like a smile)
-Open jaw ('AH' sound)
-Seperate mouth ('EE' or 'EH' sound)
-Open mouth ('OH' sound)

So all together by the way I am thinking of hooking my lights; that is 5 channels for the full face. I'm just gonna stay simple for now and if I can find the time next time around I may upgrade it...

But the question remains.. How are those strand overlapped?
Trey, did you find some orange rope-light?

-Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well Roger, I guess it's all a bit of trial and error here... But I usually seem to find a solution as I'm doing it and when I have my frame set out then I think it'll be easier to layout the face structure.

I haven't found any orange-rope light no and it's kinda rare to find some here in the UK, plus I don't think I'll be able to use rope lights for the face because I'm not sure on how to cut it down to size like others do? I'm also on a low-budget so I would have to find a reasonable way to do that - any ideas?
 

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The DC lights would work if you ran their power from a hacked computer supply. But it will depend on the relay setup you are going to use. It will be almost impossible to find 220V single phase rope lights, or for that matter much of anything here in the states. If they are not available in the UK your best bet would be to use the 12VDC ones and feed the power side of your relays with 12VDC from the aforementioned hacked computer supply. IMHO. I can explain further if you need. By the way Trey, where in the UK are you located? I am going to be in London with my wife in two weeks to visit my daughter. Keith
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the link Roger but I still think it would be a bit of risk going through all that trouble jsut to use rope lights instead of string lights. Oh well thanks anyways - I appreciate the help.

soundmankkc, I am located in Nottingham which is more up North from London so it's quite a long travel from where I am to get there.
 
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