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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm new to this forum, although I have found it and read quite a few while searching for things. I'm currently working on some ideas for making a Laboratory in my garage for Halloween. I would really love to be able to dramatically flip an oversized switch and have a shower of sparks rain down for a moment. My plan is to do that then have whatever device will be "animating" my corpse on a table switch on.

I know that you can produce a sparking effect with a battery charger, but I'm looking for something more dramatic. Any ideas, other than paying out the nose for a high tech rental of a spark generator ?
 

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Use a cheap drill (Dremel clone?) with a grinder wheel on it, grinding against Zippo flint. You'll want to make a small metal tube holder for the flint, with a screw in the side to hold the flint in place. This is hidden next to the knife switch so the sparks shoot out.

Then make a knife switch which pushes a hidden button; the button is a momentary contact switch that turns on the batteries to your drill. For an idea of how to do this, check out this blog posting:

http://www.thingaweak.com/?p=142

Here's another on Instructables, this is a real switch but better explained:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Knife-Switch/

You can have a foot switch to turn on the animated corpse at the same time. Then the knife switch is just a unit on the wall.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Use a cheap drill (Dremel clone?) with a grinder wheel on it, grinding against Zippo flint. You'll want to make a small metal tube holder for the flint, with a screw in the side to hold the flint in place. This is hidden next to the knife switch so the sparks shoot out.

Then make a knife switch which pushes a hidden button; the button is a momentary contact switch that turns on the batteries to your drill. For an idea of how to do this, check out this blog posting:

http://www.thingaweak.com/?p=142

Here's another on Instructables, this is a real switch but better explained:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Knife-Switch/

You can have a foot switch to turn on the animated corpse at the same time. Then the knife switch is just a unit on the wall.

Wow...that's a great Idea....Sometimes doing things in a simple way escapes me. Thanks for the links. I'll definitely be looking into doing something similar to this.
 

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Undead Handyman
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I would take apart a propane torch starter and install the flint and steel into the knife switch. If those sparks aren't enough set up a small hopper to sprinkle magnesium onto the steel and watch the sparks fly. If you decide to go with JHs design the flints from the torch starters are bigger than the zippos and have a female thread to make mounting easier.
 

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Good info, I've never worked with a propane torch so that's good to know.

Remember that you may not want too many sparks - Halloween decorations can be flammable!
 

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Two things come to mind. One, my kind has a little red see-though futuristic gun. You squeeze the trigger and it makes pretty good sparks. think it has a rotating flint wheel that rubs agains metal, or a metal wheel that rubs against flint. You can probably pic one up at Toys-R-Us, wallmart, etc. Second is those spark lighters that you use to light a torch. I think it has a cupped shaped thingy at the end of a handle that sparks when you squeeze it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Good info, I've never worked with a propane torch so that's good to know.

Remember that you may not want too many sparks - Halloween decorations can be flammable!
Dually noted, but I'm a very safety conscious person. I would make sure that there would be nothing nearby that could catch fire, and have a fire extinguisher on hand just in case. I prefer not to end Halloween in the E.R.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm liking the screw on flint idea...I'm thinking to either have several of them clustered together, with the rotary grinding wheel....or make a wheel with several flints that could rotate onto some sandpaper or maybe the steel out of the torch starter...whichever would work. As far as magnesium goes...I wouldn't know where to obtain any. And I would be a little scared of it...lol
 

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Years ago I saw someone do what I described, he had a Dremel-type tool with a grinder wheel and a flint. I was impressed with how far the sparks shot out even though he was using regular Zippo flints.

And look at what I found... it's a practical joke gimmick that you hide in your hand. Wind it up and hit the button to trigger a quick shower of sparks. It's in Japanese but it shows how you would go about making something like this, just scale it up to a Dremel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8wQs39FKUM
 

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Here's an option for a larger flint. Amazon and Walmart (?) sell them for about 10 bucks. You can use 'em to make sparking gloves, too, which is where I saw them:

51N4r7UJR6L.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Years ago I saw someone do what I described, he had a Dremel-type tool with a grinder wheel and a flint. I was impressed with how far the sparks shot out even though he was using regular Zippo flints.

And look at what I found... it's a practical joke gimmick that you hide in your hand. Wind it up and hit the button to trigger a quick shower of sparks. It's in Japanese but it shows how you would go about making something like this, just scale it up to a Dremel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8wQs39FKUM
Pretty cool. Yeah I'm definitely sold on the dremel/flint idea. Once I find the time to start on it, and to take pics and figure out how to make them small enough to upload on this site I'll post some pics of the progress.
 
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