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Hiya!

I recently began to build a Hellevator prop. It's a elevator guest enter, then continues to simulate falling.

I am using a 'Scissor table' frame to support the guests and elevator. Here is my progress so far. I am making it out of wood first to get an idea or size. If it is not strong enough I will start again with steel.



http://s1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb379/benhowardmagic/?action=view&current=hellevator.jpg

I need a way to lift this thing, and I think pneumatics if my best bet. However, I am completely new to pneumatics and have a low budget. It seems I need a strong cylinder to lift this. I’m looking for around 3-4 people to be in the lift at once.

I have explored the area of airbags, air springs, car jacks ect. However, I'm keen to look into cylinders.

If anyone could help me with were to begin, what cylinders, air tank ect Any info or opinions would be useful! :D I also need a way to automate the cylinder, but I will come to that later!

Thanks, Ben.
 

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You might need Hydraulics for that rig man. 3-4 people, depending on their size prob weigh around 500lbs, not sure if there is a pneumatic cylinder (that's not industrial sized) can lift that much weight. I imagine you would need a pretty powerful air compressor for that much weight too.

Also, many people are going to give you a heads up about safety. Remember, if you let people on your "ride" and they get hurt, you could be held liable for these injuries.

Airbags might work for this though as they can usually lift quite a bit of weight, but you might need bags designed for vehicle suspension. Could end up being kind of pricy when your done too
 

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hydraulics is the way too go cylinders will not work well unless you put a good 15 cylinders in there. think of the same method a cable repair truck is made where they lift the hyralic cart in teh hair to repait telephone lines. cylinders are used for much lighter opbjects it would take an enormous amount of pressure and every cylinder has max psi maybe about 250 and t would take much more then that. this will be an expensive project no matter what. i mean your making an elevator.
 

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Your could do this with 4 air bags on the corners. They lift a considerable amount of weight. One air bag can lift 2300lb at 100PSI.

For safty reasons you would have to put 4 on each corner.

It is really difficult to do this at a cheap price. Even you you try cylinders you would need at least 4 with a really large bore(2 inch or more). You can get away with a low stroke though(2-4 inches would be ideal. I would use a compact style cylinder because you will have more mounting area

Here is an airbag video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAE2XIElSzk&feature=player_embedded#at=20
 

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We made an elevator years ago and went the cheap route (though not the easiest for the poor sucker who had to make it move). We used a floor jack to raise and lower it a little. Whether this would work for you really depends on how many people you expect to run through it during the night and how many people you can get to run the jack.

They do make pneumatic floor jacks as well, but like I said we went cheap.
 

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Elevators are a tricky. I have worked for an elevator company for the last 15 years. A lot of people can’t believe how much goes into one. They also under estimate how unsafe they can be. Please be very careful!!! When dealing the weight of 3 of more people the forces can be deadly.

If you must make your elevator work, I suggest using counter weights in each corner. Set up a pulleys with 75-100 lb or so just as dead weight, then use your pneumatics to lift the load. If you are only traveling in the down direction then let gravity do the work.
 

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Is your Hellevator going to simulate falling to a different "floor level" or is it just simulate falling and then guests step out only to find they haven't moved at all? Just wondering. Sounds interesting!

If the Hellevator is to mimic a freefall, then shaking is probably more in line with what you would need. Or at least that's what I think when I envision a falling elevator. But I can see how a pneumatic drop, right at the end would add to the effect!:D

For a less technical, and safer version that's just as effective...maybe you can build some kind of shaking platform that shakes the elevator faster and faster as it mimics its freefall decent. For added effect a high powered fan could be simultaniously triggered to blow air faster and faster upwards thru the elevator "floor"

Lastly, if you want your guests to exit to a different "floor level", The entire platform can be made to slowly spin 180 degrees facing a new room, that was orginally obstucted from view behind the "hellevator".

Just an idea.

Oh, and congrats on your first post!
 

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Here is an idea I think you could use. You could probably use 2 cylinders mounted like this one is . It would certianly need to be made of steel. They also have the air cylinders you would need .
I don't think it would be too hard to do, but I would be concerned about the structure being safe and remain level.

View attachment 17817
 

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Here is an idea on changing the scene going in and out of the elevator. (see attached)
This way you can keep your guess right where they are and they think they moved floors.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi all,

Thank you for you input! For some reason I’m still really keen to use pneumatics for this thing! Probably because it is useful for many other things in the futre.

Iv asked around, and think sharing the weight between 2 cylinders would help. around a 2 inch bore. Price isn’t a major restriction, but of course a preference to keep it low. I'm looking around to put together a full kit to lift this. I understand hydraulics stronger, but also a lot more expensive and difficult.

Also, im beginning to look at safety as it is a major concern. I'm not planning to lift this more than 15ish inches, but a fall from this height is still dangerous.

Any opinions or advise will still be great, and i will keep you updated!
 

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At the weight of just the sturdy elevator room /prop & then people.... i think pneumatics are not the way to go unless your using airbag version.
Using pneumatics to violently shake the room is useful.
Visuals can help too, as it "falls" lites inside flicker / short out, & vid ( something HireRez can put together ) or scene on a roller thru a small window to look like the shaft wall is passing by fast.
 

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I'm going to jump on the airbag bandwagon. I think using pneumatic cylinders is just too risky. You have to take a lot of things into account if your dropping your guests from that height.

Even if it is only from 15 inches, your guests will be generating anywhere from 1-2 g forces (you create this much just from jumping up and down), and that's a lot of extra weight to put on a wooden scissor frame structure. You also have to think about the mounting of the cylinders. I'm looking at your picture and don't see that much metal. Were you planning on mounting the cylinders to the wooden part or are you adding more? Mounting the lifting cylinders to wood, probably isn't a great idea if you plan to support 2-3 people. It may be too much weight on these small cylinders mountings, not sure just a thought.

If you use airbags, you will get the dropping effect while not having to worry too much about the weight coming down too hard, since the bags are designed to support the weight on the bottom end anyways, and you can still get 3-6 inches of drop, which is MORE than enough to throw people off their balance if they don't know it's coming (You could even let the air out a little at a time, creating a shaking effect on the way down). You could also probably get away with just using two on one end.

I am by no means the local pneumatics expert, far from it, but I would personally stay away from using cylinders on this project as well. Airbags will be the safest and easiest, IMHO, especially if money isn't a huge issue.
 

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Somehow wooden scissor structure & all that weight & 15" raise & sudden action drop would scare me safety wise....... if it lasted more than a few times.....& with all the effort & money you'd invest.
 

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Hiya!

I recently began to build a Hellevator prop. It's a elevator guest enter, then continues to simulate falling.

I am using a 'Scissor table' frame to support the guests and elevator. Here is my progress so far. I am making it out of wood first to get an idea or size. If it is not strong enough I will start again with steel.



http://s1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb379/benhowardmagic/?action=view&current=hellevator.jpg

I need a way to lift this thing, and I think pneumatics if my best bet. However, I am completely new to pneumatics and have a low budget. It seems I need a strong cylinder to lift this. I’m looking for around 3-4 people to be in the lift at once.

I have explored the area of airbags, air springs, car jacks ect. However, I'm keen to look into cylinders.

If anyone could help me with were to begin, what cylinders, air tank ect Any info or opinions would be useful! :D I also need a way to automate the cylinder, but I will come to that later!

Thanks, Ben.

I think you could use air cylinders...not one but cylinders, like two or three but no way would I even consider using wood for this prop. It will never hold up to the force of a simulate fall with three people in it. Or the force the air cylinders would be putting on the Scissors or the mounting plate the cylinder(s) was mounted to.

I would use heavy springs mounted to help lift the prop and the weight will take care of the force needed to reset the springs. Along with a air cylinder mounted in the middle and on both ends to do the raising and lowering.

This will get you the raising and lowering but from your post I take it you want more of a free fall effect. To get that you have a huge safety issue of the prop pounding the base of the Scissor table in a sudden stop and not only putting a lot of force on the prop but also on the ToTs riding it. Make sure you have a ton of insurance because I see....back problems, cracked teeth, maybe someone biting their tongue half off and fingers in the eye as this prop comes to a sudden stop. Even at 15 inches.

Air shocks on each corner could stop the slamming affect but then you wouldn't get the free fall you are after
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks again for you input everyone!

I am re-enforcing the structure with steel big time.

Whether i use airbags or cylinders, is there a way to control them? to make them do a certain sequence? For example, rise to top, fall half way, fall all the way, raise the fall ect. I have VSA which i use for my SkulltroniX, and the open DMX USB device. I also need to control the lights inside the elevator.

Thanks again!
 

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Yeah--I would absolutely go the route of using airbags (you'd be surprised how much lift you can get out of them) and using something like a BooBox or a similar all-in-one controller that has a minimum of 4 output channels and audio output. Essentially you'd rig each airbag up to its own air solenoid and program the solenoids to activate in the sequence you want with the BooBox. The advantage of using a controller like that is that you get the combined power of multi-channel output with the ability to have both ambient and 'triggered' audio--ie your elevator music and your elevator malfunction/active state. The more channels you have, the more you'll be able to control (so 4 for the 4 corners of your elevator, 1 or 2 for lights, etc.)

I'd highly recommend changing your design to a safer one utilizing the airbags. Haunting is great fun, but with it comes a great responsibility for safety. You're going to be dealing with a LOT of weight (both patrons as well as your elevator structure), so you've got to have something that can handle it safely and get the effect you're looking for.
 

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Actually if you are using 4 air bags I would stick with making them all move at the same time. You want the motion to be elevator like. Now if you want an earthquake :)

You can use a standard 2 input prop controller. Just use one solenoid then tee off the output to the 4 air bags. If they are the same model, size...etc. They will all lift at the same time. On the other output put your lights. Then program the routine. If the airbags move to fast either dial down the air compressor, or put flow control valves on the input to each bag.

You can also use VSA, do not over think the program it is as simple as a sequence for lifting a sequence for falling. I do think a couple pauses from lifting to decending could seem like a elevator failure. Add some cable snapping sounds and you have a winner.
 
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