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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've mentioned that I want to build a ghost train. Well...everything but the train. The illusion of a train: horn blowing, rushing wind moving objects, train lights and a crossing signal, all synchronized with Light-o-Rama controllers and software. Cabin fever inspired me to try making a crossing signal and to experiment with crossing gate mechanics. I'm not sure I'll have the opportunity to create the whole display this year due to a scheduling conflict, but I'm enjoying the challenge of trying to figure out how it could all work.

 

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Not sure if the actuator you got on eBay was necessarily low quality - it just has different specs than what you were looking for. Linear actuators usually come in different configurations depending on if you want more torque or more speed. The one you got may be slow but it is probably ridiculously strong. Servo City also sells linear actuators with different speeds and shaft lengths if you are interested:
Heavy Duty Linear Actuators
 

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Neat idea. What are you planning for the wind effect?

I bought a couple of linear actuators off ebay/aliexpress for a moving hand prop. The first one was so fast I didn't use it as I was worried it would knock some child out if they happened to be close to it when it activated :oops:
There is usually a speed listed in the sellers description, something like millimetres per second (mm/s), but I found that hard to visualise how fast/slow that would be until I'd bought it.
Turns out 230mm/s is quite fast, 10mm/s quite slow. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not sure if the actuator you got on eBay was necessarily low quality - it just has different specs than what you were looking for. Linear actuators usually come in different configurations depending on if you want more torque or more speed. The one you got may be slow but it is probably ridiculously strong. Servo City also sells linear actuators with different speeds and shaft lengths if you are interested:
Heavy Duty Linear Actuators
Thanks for the link, JW. I'll check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Neat idea. What are you planning for the wind effect?

I bought a couple of linear actuators off ebay/aliexpress for a moving hand prop. The first one was so fast I didn't use it as I was worried it would knock some child out if they happened to be close to it when it activated :oops:
There is usually a speed listed in the sellers description, something like millimetres per second (mm/s), but I found that hard to visualise how fast/slow that would be until I'd bought it.
Turns out 230mm/s is quite fast, 10mm/s quite slow. :D
For wind, I was thinking of hanging strings of miniature orange lights from saplings placed in a staggered row along the imaginary path of the train. I would use--haven't tested yet--cheap leaf blowers ($17 each on Amazon) to blow the strings back and forth. A Light-o-Rama controller would turn on the blowers in rapid succession, as if a train was passing, though I'm not sure what the power draw would be. Thanks...I'm getting an education regarding actuators.
 

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So, I've mentioned that I want to build a ghost train. Well...everything but the train. The illusion of a train: horn blowing, rushing wind moving objects, train lights and a crossing signal, all synchronized with Light-o-Rama controllers and software. Cabin fever inspired me to try making a crossing signal and to experiment with crossing gate mechanics. I'm not sure I'll have the opportunity to create the whole display this year due to a scheduling conflict, but I'm enjoying the challenge of trying to figure out how it could all work.

Not sure if you ever enjoyed the ride back in the day at Disney but Mr Toads Wild Ride had the best simulated train experience.... Ever!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Why not use pneumatic? You would get far better control. You can also slow down motorised actuators with an limit adjuster. If your audience gets close to this have a proximity sensor which momentarily self interrupts your program.
If I used pneumatic, I'd have a pretty long run and am afraid something would happen to one of the lines.
 

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If I used pneumatic, I'd have a pretty long run and am afraid something would happen to one of the lines.
I run about 8 to 10 lines in my yard for pneumatic props and all the runs are over 25 feet I use dot approved break tubing with is cheap, flexible, and very rugged . We’re always walking / tripping on it and it never has an issue
727722
 
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