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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy! Looking into doing a faux-flame effect like what WickedMakers did last year. They used box fans, but I was hoping to go 12v so that I could trigger it with a BooBox. I know I could go 120v and use a relay, but was trying to avoid that and keep it all low voltage.

I picked up a couple of 12v fans from Amazon - one was a "blower" style that apparently can be used for an inflatable decoration, but it barely blows hard enough to put wrinkles in some lightweight fabric (it's called Poly China Silk), let alone have it lift and blow the fabric from a limp position.

The other fan was a computer chassis style that had a higher RPM, but appeared to have the same CFM displacement. I can see either of these fans working en masse (10 or more), but at that point I might as well go and buy an acutal blower fan for $60 or $70 and use a relay.

Anyone have any leads on a decent 12v fan or am I going to be stuck with paltry options at this voltage? I appreciate any help or pointers!
 

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Howdy! Looking into doing a faux-flame effect like what WickedMakers did last year. They used box fans, but I was hoping to go 12v so that I could trigger it with a BooBox. I know I could go 120v and use a relay, but was trying to avoid that and keep it all low voltage.
...

Anyone have any leads on a decent 12v fan or am I going to be stuck with paltry options at this voltage? I appreciate any help or pointers!
Given the likely volume of air you need to move, I'm not sure there will be a good 12v solution.
 

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You can do 12v, but you’ll be pushing a ton of amps. What you’d need are pusher fans for automotive applications.

New, you’re looking at $100 a pop if you watch for deals, used will probably be less - but you will need to probably modify them to mount easily (most factory fans use clips or plastic mounts specific to the application, vs universal aftermarket that usually have four mounts on the edges.)

12v automotive fans are usually drawing 20-30 amps each, so you’d probably still want a relay.

Also low voltage isn’t any safer than 120v.

Voltage won’t kill you, amperage will.


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Discussion Starter #5
You could always go with AtmosFX new flame projection
I've got a LOT of eggs in my basket at the moment and will absolutely consider projection for the following year. It's always good to have something else to build up to. Thank you for the suggestion!

Given the likely volume of air you need to move, I'm not sure there will be a good 12v solution.
You can do 12v, but you’ll be pushing a ton of amps. What you’d need are pusher fans for automotive applications.

New, you’re looking at $100 a pop if you watch for deals, used will probably be less - but you will need to probably modify them to mount easily (most factory fans use clips or plastic mounts specific to the application, vs universal aftermarket that usually have four mounts on the edges.)

12v automotive fans are usually drawing 20-30 amps each, so you’d probably still want a relay.

Also low voltage isn’t any safer than 120v.

Voltage won’t kill you, amperage will.
Thank you both for your contributions! I picked up a $65 blower fan (the kind used for drying out floors/carpets). It's 120v but pushes a TON of air (600 cfm at its highest setting). I tested it out with the same fabric and wow, what a difference.

I also found this DMX silk flame light on AliExpress. I try not to buy from there (mostly to avoid the often-poor quality), but sometimes you find stuff you just can't get on home turf for the same price or availability. Ideally I'd want a DMX-capable option, and to do it DIY would cost almost the same (including the fan, lights, programming, enclosure, and time invested, etc). They go on sale for about $45 cheaper on Monday - I will probably pick one up and see how it operates. I'll report back with the sordid details!
 

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This is a how-to video I made a couple years ago showing one way to make artificial flames. I used small AC fans and controlled them using Light-o-Rama equipment. Putting some cheap lace curtain in the window, between the flames and the viewer, slightly blurs the cloth flames and really helps sell the illusion. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is a how-to video I made a couple years ago showing one way to make artificial flames. I used small AC fans and controlled them using Light-o-Rama equipment. Putting some cheap lace curtain in the window, between the flames and the viewer, slightly blurs the cloth flames and really helps sell the illusion. Good luck.
Hey there! I was actually the commentor on that video :p
 

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With use video projectors going for $50 to $60 for a 2,000 lumen SVGA (800x600) projector, that would seem to be your lowest cost for a realistic effect.

-Joe
 

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Howdy! Looking into doing a faux-flame effect like what WickedMakers did last year. They used box fans, but I was hoping to go 12v so that I could trigger it with a BooBox. I know I could go 120v and use a relay, but was trying to avoid that and keep it all low voltage.

I picked up a couple of 12v fans from Amazon - one was a "blower" style that apparently can be used for an inflatable decoration, but it barely blows hard enough to put wrinkles in some lightweight fabric (it's called Poly China Silk), let alone have it lift and blow the fabric from a limp position.

The other fan was a computer chassis style that had a higher RPM, but appeared to have the same CFM displacement. I can see either of these fans working en masse (10 or more), but at that point I might as well go and buy an acutal blower fan for $60 or $70 and use a relay.

Anyone have any leads on a decent 12v fan or am I going to be stuck with paltry options at this voltage? I appreciate any help or pointers!
I would check out the good wills and see if they have any old box fans. Or estate sales and yard sales...
 

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A lot of the thrift store fans tend to have worn bearings. Be sure to check if they start up quickly. If it takes a while, then you could oil the bearings. But in my experience, once a fan gets to that point, it tends to need oiling fairly often. And if a fan is on, but its blades aren't turning, it will draw a lot more current. So, even if the fan is designed to be in that situation, and not start a fire, that doesn't mean that the rest of your circuitry can handle the overload.

-joe
 
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