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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up a decently-sized, hinged wooden box at Michael's that I plan on turning into a wicked jack-in-the-box. I'd like to be able to make it open and have a creepy clown mask pop out of the box, but, unfortunately, don't have a clue as to how to accomplish this, since I am anything but a handyman and know nothing about electronics.

I've tried searching here, as well as on the Internet in general, for info on how to create a jack-in-the-box, with no luck whatsoever. If anyone who knows what they are doing could possibly offer some advice (dumbed down for me, please:p), it would be greatly appreciated; I'd like to keep it as simple as possible, yet still have it be effective (music and a turning crank would be nice, but are not absolutely necessary). Muchas gracias;)
 

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try a search for scissors mechanisms and possibly use the pneumatics from the posts about MIB's and such...use a cylinder to pop the lid and another on a wig head with a cool mask on it. Google prop-1 and prop-2 if you want a decent controller. it will take a bit of learning on your part, but I think what you have in mind could turn out to be a really creepy prop.

hope I helped somewhat...off to watch the fight!!

-DK
 

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Simplest way: attach the clown's hat to the inside of the lid; attach a piece of black fishing line to the top of the lid; run the fishing line up over a pulley or round piece of dowel; pull on the other end of the line when someone walks by.
 

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I hope that helped. A lot of people I have suggested the idea to have laughed, thinking I was joking. But I'm not and it works. You also can't beat the price: free if you check nearby lakes and rivers for pieces of fishing line laying around on the banks.

Some more tips: Paint the fishing line black or white or whatever color will help it blend in with the surrounding area; Put something heavy in the costume under the clown's head. This will help to lower the clown back down and pull the lid shut when you lower the string. Set it up so the lid of the box isn't standing straight up. A little less than 90 degrees will allow it to lower back down easily without you having to go over and push it back down manually.

A little secret that a lot of people don't know about the $10,000 penumatic animatronics you see in professional haunted houses: They break down - a lot. Many haunts have welders there all night long to make repairs. Most eventually take them apart and reweld everything. The real problem is that they require more engineering than is put into them. Many of the air cylinders don't follow the motion of the mechanism exactly and this puts stress on the metal and the welds. Many have cylinders that are too long and every time it is activated it tries to push the mechanism out as far as it (the cylinder) will go. After a while it wins and the weld breaks.
 

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hey made one of these last year i bought a double acting pneumatic cylinder kit from fright props attached to the lid in the box across the middle and bottom then hung a clown from spirits from the top when activated the lid lifted giving the illusion that the clown was jumping from the box email me for pics
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ryansmagicshow, thanks, but I think I'm going to use the tactic that Screaming Demons suggested.

I appreciate the input of everyone who replied to this thread;)
 

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For the turning crank, I went to a thrift store and bought a $5 rotisserie. I took it apart and used to rotation motor to make the crank turn constantly. To make the crank, I bought a 10' piece of 1/2" pvc, and painted it with Krylon plastic paint, in a gold color. I used an old door knob from a junk shop for the end of the crank. I put a cheapo mp3 player and a set of computer speakers inside the box with the jack in the box music on constant loop. A couple of battery operated strobes, and it was creepy as can be for less than $40 total in materials and paint. I'll look around and see if I can find pictures of it before I took it apart.
 
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