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Anyone have experience creating fake explosions? I'd like to simulate a small explosion that would result from cannon fire. It would need run several times during the evening. I've seen examples using flour/baby powder and an air cannon....which would be perfect except it would need refilling after every shot.

I was thinking a small air cannon mounted under water might work...

Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm already using my boobox for the cannon fire sequence. Hoping I won't need to invest in another one.
 

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One of the haunts in the neighborhood uses an air cannon, synchronized yellow and red lights, and a fog machine timed together in much the same way as the video to "fire" his cannon. It's really pretty impressive.
 

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I was going to suggest syncing red and yellow lights with the fog machine firing a short burst just before the lights and air cannon are triggered as well. As impressive as the video is, most of us can't quite swing the $200 valves to suck the fog in and mix it with the fog. The cheapest way I've seen was down in Mexico on a pirate cruise where they just dropped a firecracker down the muzzle of their metal barreled cannons. I certainly don't suggest doing that with anything made of PVC or paper though! Or were you were looking for a simulation of the explosion where the 'cannonball' landed? If yo udon't want to reload the flour for each shot of the air canon (I'm not sure if there's a non Rube Goldberg way to sprinkle the flour so a water spitter might be your best bet, especially if you're going for a naval battle type scene. Some of the bigger spitters really pump out a serious amount of water too! If it's land based, you could have things lean away from the 'explosion', stop, and then reset for the next sequence. Think of a large rocker setup but stopping at 180 degree rotations. You may need an eccentric cam and two micro switches to set the open/closed positions for the wiper motor to start and stop on.
 

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For as much as the explosion thing by Stiltbeast must cost I don't think its that impressive. It is still a "spray" rather than an explosion. I think the air cannon actually produces a more impressive effect if you could devise a way to control it electronically.
 

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Depending on just how authentic you want it to look, here are a couple of links to videos of people who used synchronized foggers to get a pretty decent effect. I am of the school of thought that it doesn't take much to thrill kids and adults alike when it comes to our props. Overworking what we do may impress everyone, but most people are more than happy to suspend disbelief for even a noble, not perfect, effort.

First up, an internal link to a similar discussion. The info is dated by years, but my guess is the guts of the idea are still good.

https://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/66339-amazing-fog-machine-powered-cannons-2.html

And here are a couple of links to other very similar approaches.

https://youtu.be/LDXNUZtx924
https://youtu.be/JJAYRUSmQug?t=175
 

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You dont need to do it with an expensive valve. The video was for an example. You need a fogger and air compressor. Use a fogger and tube it to the cannon. Fill the cannon compartment just before the air is shot through the cannon. Time it just before it comes out of the tip on the cannon to blast the air. The noise will also help at that moment because of the tube. You may not need a sound effect.
 
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