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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I have a front lawn that I would like to turn into a spooky graveyard for Halloween.

The lawn is flat and approximately 4.12 metres (13.5 feet) wide x 11.18 metres (36.7 feet) long
On one side is a 1.15 metres (3.77 feet) high hedge
On the other side is a path 1.14 metres (3.74 feet) wide, then a gravel parking area 5.69 metres (18.67 feet) wide, then another hedge.
All of the above are flat, and level with each other.

I'm thinking of having fake railings at the front and possibly along the path as you approach the house.

I would like to have ground fog over the lawn area.

As I'm in England, where the weather will probably rain during Halloween period:

I would like fog effect from about 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm (about 6 hours) is this practical?
Should I go for a fog or a dry ice machine?
What model would you recommend (in England)?
Considering the above dimensions, how much consumables would the machine use?
What height of the ground fog should I expect (or aim for)?
Is there anything else that I need to consider?

Thanks
 

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A 1 man army of darkness
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I would always recommend fog machines over dry ice or a dry ice machine, especially in a scenario like you're proposing. They're easier to maintain over the course of the display, much less expensive in the long run than block/chipped dry ice (much less of a monetary outlay than the dry ice machine), and assuming proper storage/maintenance, will last a very long time with a quality unit.


The only downside, is ofc the chillers themselves. Good designs that will last the entire night are usually rather bulky, and there are a blithering cesspool of mediocre to bad homemade designs out there.


Personally, I run a one man show, and in the interests of not having to run & refill chillers with ice, I just build mine big. My main chiller, built into one of my columns easily handles 100 lbs. of ice with 15' (4.75 m) of 4" (10 cm) dryer vent hose coiled inside it. Which I admit, is a little overkill on the capacity with the insulation I used. I still had ice 3 days later with daytime temps around the 65 C mark after running nearly a U.S. gallon of fog fluid through it... ;)


I also use septic system type drain field pipes (No not used, new ones! Lol!) filled with frozen bottles of water for areas where it's not so practical to hide a huge insulated box style chiller at the perimeter of my yard. They work pretty well, & I might add, and they're very inexpensive on the whole. I just use a black silicone caulk to close the side & top slits so that the fog goes roughly in the direction I want it to.


The more difficult part, assuming weather cooperates (& ofc it rarely does), is keeping the fog on the ground once it's chilled. This is easily remedied by wetting the ground, which helps the chilled fog to "stick", although I should note that wind is every yard haunters mortal enemy. It can & will ruin the best laid plans with only a light breeze. To whit, I use & recommend 4 fog machines to more or less assure coverage of the area when doing an outside display. One at each of the four corners of the zone you wish to cover. Worse case scenario, you will always have "some" fog, no matter which direction the wind blows from.


I would expect to use around 2 U.S. gallons of fluid for an area that large, and with the duration you have in mind. Well chilled fog will stay around 2-3" (5-7.62 cm) off the ground. The thermal capacity & efficiency of your chillers will determine that though. On that note, definitely build chillers vs. buying. You'll save a huge swath of cash if you build your own.


As for which machine, many have had great success with Chauvet, including myself, which are available in the U.K. if memory serves. 2 of the H-1100 or 4 of the H-901 models should give you a ridiculously thick fog (16,000 cfm combined max output), similar to the pea soup off the Thames if you choose to run them full tilt. Hope that helps you along your way. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Raven's Hollow Cemetery,

Wow, many thanks for all of that information. Very much appreciated. Thanks also for recommending to go for fog machine instead of dry ice. I know that dry ice doesn't leave much residue, but I wasn't too happy having dry ice on the property for safety reasons.

Thanks for the recommendation of Chauvet machines (have seen them on Amazon UK), I will get one to try and once I'm happy I expand the fleet!

Can you recommend any decent links for creating a good self built chiller like your design?

As for wind, I thought that I might cut some sheets of clear perspex about 6 inches high and place these around the bottom of the cemetery railing/fence to hopefully reduce wind drift and to keep the fog in by like a dam. I might experiment with this, if I used lower perspex then I might get a nice effect of fog pouring over the perspex and through the railings. Would this look OK or just plain wrong? Or is it a better effect to just have the fog drift through the railings with no attempt to dam it?

Many thanks.
 

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A 1 man army of darkness
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Your most welcome Privateer, always happy to help out. :) Agreed on the safety issues of high volume dry ice fog. I love the effect, but only if patrons aren't going to be near it. As for the residue, there really isn't much from good grade fog machines/fluids. You might have a slight bit of glycerin condense at the outlet of the chiller, but it won't be anything substantial, and hardly worth noting.


My main chiller design consists of a simple laminated wood (plywood) box, & insulated with XPS foam from Dow Chem. Co. Otherwise, it's similar to the trash can fog chiller except for it's insulation properties obviously.


One further addon of a 4" (10.6 cm) PVC "Y" pipe & a cut down 12vdc 120 mm fan (I de-shrouded a Yate Loon 88 cfm fan with a rheostat for speed control. Careful if you take this route, the blades of the fan are extremely close in tolerance to the I.D. of the "Y" pipe) inserted in one side of the "Y" to take care of the only flaw the trash can chiller has: The last bit of fog tends to run out of velocity on the tail end of the burst, and fall back down the inlet side of the chiller. This setup rectifies that one minor problem neatly. I'll post a picture of the rig when I have a bit of time to dig about in the storage. I very highly recommend the garbage bag over the outlet of the chiller when this setup is used; to slow the fog upon exiting the chiller, otherwise the fan will increase the velocity of the fog and we'd very much like it to exit at less than 300 kph.


The other chiller designs I highly recommend are Rojellio's Reverse Flow Coffin Fog Chiller. Which is a defunct thread here, and he has a few YT vids as well, but none really show the internal workings. Fortunately, I sketched it out for a friend last year... Bear in mind, this vid is with an 18,000 cu.ft / min Antari 1200 machine, which even overpowers this excellent design. Internal baffling to slow down the fog is necessary with this one if using an extremely high volume fog machine. I have major doubts that any other design could do any better with this powerful of a setup though. :)








And then there's the simple & inexpensive irrigation/drain field hose method, this isn't chilled in the video btw:





The iced bottles are a near necessity if you want it to stay on the ground consistently with the drain field/irrigation pipe method. As I said earlier, I like to plug the holes on the side & top with black caulk to direct it inwards as much as possible. It's a good idea, but be advised that you'll likely have to change the bottles out at least once during the run. Note: it's not as efficient as other designs, but it's cheap and effective.


Lastly, I've given some thought to phase change chilling using Peltier modules & re-purposed portable (window) air conditioning units. The up front price/performance ratio is a bit displeasing though. Not to mention the power requirements & electrical consumption considerations are pretty high. Forget the idea of refrigerators straight out, their compressors can't handle even an infrequent heat load, & will burn out the compressor in short order (it's been tried repeatedly in high performance computing at substantially lower heat values, and failed repeatedly).


As for creating an wind break, I've given that some consideration heretofore myself. I had planned on using a frame of 1"x2" & landscaping fabric intended for weed control in flower beds. I haven't implemented it yet, so I can't say for sure how successful the general idea will be. The idea however, does have considerable merit in my opinion. I would say it's worth a shot. ;)


Now that I've composed a nearly full dissertation on the peripherals & techniques of ground fog... Lol! :) Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Raven's Hollow Cemetery,

Once again many, many thanks for your reply.

When I asked the initial question about fog vs dry ice machines I now realise that I had totally no idea on the subject, my only exposure to such machines were at the occasional party - and they were pretty useless as the fog did not stay on the ground. I now know that for a few dollars/pounds, an effective chiller can be made to make the fog stay on the ground, which dramatically adds to the atmospheric effects desired for a yard haunt

Your clearly written explanation and advice are fantastic and much appreciated.

I have some unrelated projects that need doing first, but hopefully before the beginning of October I would like to have a Chauvet fog machine and start experimenting with it and building a chiller.

Regards,
 

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A 1 man army of darkness
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Anytime Privateer, always happy to help. Apologies if it's a bit of informational overload, it's a bit of a vast topic on the whole. ;) I still have to find a moment to get to my storage & pull out the fan setup I spoke of, & likely it will be sometime tomorrow before I can tear myself away from the project I'm working on currently. Feel free to pm me if you need any clarification once you get started.


Regards. :)
 

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And from somebody who thinks he's funny, and is no help at all (me) i would suggest importing fog from Sotland. I hear they have an abundance on the "moores"
HM
 

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Hi Privateer ,
i wanted to create a similar chiller for my fog machine being used on my graveyard , and being down here in the far south of England it is not so much rain in October but it is usually still quite mild so a chiller attached to the fog machine was a necessity to make the fog hug the ground tightly . I used a small black water tank such as used in lofts in general plumbing here in the u.k. and available from plumb base or any good u.k. plumbing supply store and ran a standard plastic plumbing pipe i think was 40mm which fitted either over or in the outlet pipe of the fog machine [ which was hidden inside a small tomb ] and ran it for about 2 ft hidden under leaves then into a made up fake crate made from pallet wood and painted and aged to look distressed to conceal the small black plastic water tank which was filled right up to the top at various times during the night with bags of cheap ice from my local Morrison,s . At the bottom inside the tank i ran the pipe up and down using bends kind of like a snake up one end then back down then up etc then back out the other side of the black tank again in plastic pipe for about 2 to 3 foot under leaves again to just behind a gravestone at the back of the yard , by running the pipe up and down it took the fog longer to filter through the tank with the ice chilling it all the time and then as the fog came out the end of the pipe hidden behind the gravestone it crept around the back and sides and because it had fed through the tank filled with ice it really clung to the leaves around my yard as i had hoped and it slowly drifted very tightly to the leaves . I only described this method as being in the u.k. it may be an option or an aid in helping you make your chiller as i was struggling to find an idea using materials available this side of the pond myself , and i constructed this with help and ideas from members on this forum just adapting to my needs this end with a lot of success i hope it may help you with your chiller .
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Raven's Hollow Cemetery and pacman,

The unrelated projects are now complete so I’m now able to concentrate on Halloween

I have ordered a Chauvet Hurricane 1300 fog machine from an Amazon seller for £95.00 including post, which I don’t think is too bad. I decided on the Chauvet Hurricane 1300 because of the recommendations for the brand here and also because I wanted a machine that would not be running at maximum all of the time – I hope that it won’t as it has a claimed output of 20,000 cfm. It comes with a wired remote included so I can control the duration of the bursts and the time between bursts thus allowing me to optimise the rate of fog produced for my location. Although I will have just one fog machine, I’m hoping that wind will not be a problem – if it is then I hope that I can pipe the fog to each corner of the garden. I’ve also ordered 10 litres of Chauvet “ FJ5 High performance” fog fluid for the fog machine to run.

While I’m waiting for the fog machine to arrive, I would like to ask your advice on the different types of fog chillers:

Vortex (fog in direct contact with ice)
A sealed container (such as a drinks chiller) has a wire mesh floor about half way up the inside of the container. Ice (and possibly frozen plastic bottles of water) is placed on the top. The fog is piped in and forced down through the ice and come out at the bottom of the container.​

Dryer duct (fog not in direct contact with ice)
A long length of dryer duct is coiled up inside a container and ice (and possibly frozen plastic bottles of water) are placed in the container. Fog is piped through the dryer duct.​

Is there any benefit of one system to the other?

For the Chauvet Hurricane 1300 fog machine, what diameter piping would you recommend to go through the fog chiller? Also should there be a few inches of space between the output of the fog machine to the input of the chiller, no space at all, or no space and a Y-shaped piece to allow air to be sucked in?

Many thanks,
 

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Hi privateer , you,ve been busy .... well as regards your question on my behalf i can only advise on the Vortex method as this is the only method i have used so far with my haunt and as the old saying goes " if it aint broke don't fix " and this method worked fine for myself , obviously Ravens hollow cemetery has used i believe both methods so he can probably give you the best heads up as to his personal favorite method , although with your layout the method that Ravens hollow cemetary mentioned the dryer duct method might suit your setup better because of the length of your garden , and i like the idea of frozen bottles in the pipe it sounds a great idea especially considering the longer runs in the pipework . Also with the time whilst waiting for people to come around trick or treating you could experiment on the timing of the bursts etc of fog for effect as the remote allows you to control the output of the fog , which is exactly what i did , every time i saw some people coming i just give it a few good bursts and within a few minutes got the hang of when to push the button and for how long , this you will have to assess on the night and will soon get used to your own timing and method . I did get lots of comments about the smell given off by the fogger , but that may have been an issue with the fluid i was using , i just said its a cemetery and rotting flesh smells like that and laughed it off. I hope i may have helped you , please let me know if i can be of any further help , and look forward to some photos of your haunt and props , good luck.
 

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A 1 man army of darkness
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Hi Privateer, good to see you made it back. :) Hope your other projects were a success, & you should post pics. We always love prop pics here! ;)


From what I'm getting, you're not speaking of a true Vortex Chiller made by http://vortexchillers.com. The type you're asking of are pretty good (I've used one before, exactly as you've described), but not as effective as I prefer. The Reverse Flow Chiller I posted above is a drastic improvement on that, which is a similar design overall. Just with less surface area & length for the fog to cool. With a high volume machine such as your H-1300, the fog will be moving too fast to get chilled properly.


Then again, it speaks volumes that VortexChillers.com is using (trash can) bin style chillers as their upper echelon non-refrigerated model.


The Trashcan (Garbage Bin) Chiller is quite effective in my experience, but it has it's own set of flaws as well. This is sort of the method that I use in my left entrance column, albeit, with an important difference that eliminates it's major weakness (one that it shares with the Vortex style, incidentally). That is... no insulation, & consequently the ice melts much faster than I'd like. Other than that, they're big & bulky. Which also makes them difficult to conceal, another big negative in my book.


Instead of a bin, I built an insulated wood box to house the assembly, which is the base of my column. I simply used a 2" (5.08 cm) thick layer of Dow XPS type foam, the type oft used for carving tombstones here on this side of the pond. Does it make a difference? Immeasurably. I used 80 lbs. of ice last year in that chiller, the first year I'd run it. It took 5 days for the ice to melt, if that answers your question. It might be too effective at insulating... whoops. :D If you choose this style, do yourself a favor, and do it like I did. Be sure to put a drain port at the bottom, because a column weighing around 200 lbs is difficult enough to move by itself, much more so when another 80 lbs of liquid weight tossed in the mix.


As for the "Y" pipe/piping question; it helps to leave a gap, giving the fog time to expand & mix with the air before entering the pipe. 4-6" (10-120 cm) is plenty of space, because the fan on the other inlet will help that along quite a bit. You'll be fine with any "Y" pipe or dryer duct of 4" (10 cm) diameter.


Oh, & the Chauvet 1300, it definitely will put out near about's it's full rating. Running 2 H-1100's, and a couple of small 400w cheap machines for spot effects, blankets my entire neighborhood with pea soup if I don't chill it. The year before I moved into my current home, the police had to set up officers to direct traffic due to the fact that my setup had obscured a major throughway 100 m away. Froggy's Fog & those machines were the culprit. :D


Speaking of: I don't know if it's available in the U.K. Pacman, but if you can get Froggy's Fog there, I highly recommend you do so. I looked on Amazon.co.uk, but didn't see it available. Which is a shame, because the U.S. site carries it in stock. You might check with stage lighting, dj supply co.'s, & theater effect companies. Perhaps Amazon could ship direct, it's worth asking about.
 

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Thanks Ravens hollow cemetery for the tip on using froggys fog , i will have a good look but i,m guessing as with 90% of things available in the states it may not be available here , again thanks for your help and advice its so reassuring to get backup from highly experienced haunters as regards these haunting issues , i love this forum .
 
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