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Discussion Starter #1
OK - :mad: I am loosing my mind on this. I spent about 10 hours over the last week reading, watching, calculating, and learning all about Torque, wattage, RPMs, N-m*8.085, and prop building. (you should see the spread sheet) Unfortunately, I feel little closer to an understanding of what one looks for in a motor when designing a prop.

It seems that every tutorial out there has great pictures / footage of the motor they used (shaky cam time :p ), but absolutely zero explanation as to "why" they purchased the motor in question (aside from "I had this laying around"). Given the cost of many of the motors, I am not keen to buy one and see how it goes; or buy one and have it burn out the night before. And my bench grinder aside (>5000 rpm), I have no motors laying around!


What are you guys looking for in a motor for Cauldron Creeps, FCGs, and Axworthys? In my last thread, someone stated that you could use almost any motor - which is fine - but at this point I need to know WHY one motor and not another.


I am building an Axworthy this year - the line run will be 120-150 ft round trip, with ~5 bends. My fear is under-powering the motor for the job vs. spending way too much $$$ for a motor that could do the 5x the job.

Could someone please explain "why" one motor works, but the next motor down on the list wont???? If you could also provide a few examples (links) for context - it would help my sanity greatly!

Thank you. :eek:
 

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BAD INFLUENCE
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A lot has been done with certain motors purely based on cost. In your searches you have probably heard of the "vent Motor". It is a misconception that the supply has dried up, not true, you can go to almost any auto parts store and find them. They are a lot more costly ,but still around. The wiper motors are a good deal in as far they can be adapted for a lot of different props and are reasonably priced. To make the most of them you would need a PWM controller. The biggest problem people seem to have is not getting a good power supply and therefore getting poor performance from the motors. There are also a lot of props that require a certain type of movement and there are different motors for that . One that comes to mid is a linear movement on a track. You would need to extend and retract the prop, if your using an ac motor you would need one that is capable of reversing direction. This list can go on forever. If your just starting out I would suggest you pick one project , you have, and look for as much info as you can find . Here is a link that should be very helpful for an Axworthy http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/135817-axworthy-2014-project.html Hope this helps.
 
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My motor of choice over the years has been the wiper motor, for the following reasons:
1. Cost - You can get one from the local wreckers for $10 - $15 (your price may vary, so don't hold me to this) :)
2. Strength - You can throw all the numbers you want around... torque, RPMs, etc. But, the bottom line is these suckers are STRONG! I have not found an application where they WON'T do the job. Yes, sometimes they may be a bit large and over powered for the job, but by working with them almost exclusively, I have developed a good understanding of what they can.. AND CAN'T do.
3. Directional Control - They run on DC current, typically 12 volts, so they are directional. This means if you reverse the wires, you reverse the motor. Handy!
4. Braking Capability - This little-used feature can be a real benefit, is used properly. Many people don't realizde that DC motor like wiper motors has a unique property... they act like generators. Not that I'd use one to generate electricity, as it's not practical, but they generate a current in the opposite direction from the current being fed into them. This means you can disconnect the power to one and short the motor side out, and the motor is suddenly getting fed reverse voltage. This causes it to try and reverse direction almost instantly. But, of course, as it stops, so does the current, so it acts like a very effective brake. I have taken advantage of this in MANY of our props.
5. PWM and Low Voltage use - these motor are VERY forgiving, so they can run on much lower than their recommended 12 volts. I have used some running on 5 volts instead with great success. This gives me a slower speed, without losing too much strength. Because they are DC motors, PWM controllers also work very well, if you need that accurate speed control.
6. Indestructable (almost) - These things are built to last! I have yet to damage or burn one out, and God knows I've tried! LOL Put one of these babies in your prop, and it will run darn near forever!

I don't know if this helps or not, but this is this one guy's experience with these motors.
 

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Like bfjou812 says, some motors work for some props and others are better for other props. You can make almost any motor work, if you are willing to put in the time and money, but it's easier to get the "right" one to begin with if you don't have any lying around.

The three props you mentioned don't need a lot of power so almost any motor will work, as long as it's slow enough. Some would consider wiper motors overkill for most of them but they are readily available and fairly inexpensive so they are a popular choice. You could spend more on a vent motor than a wiper motor these days if you don't shop right.

Back when the props were first thought of, there were specific motors that everyone used for each but some of them have been discontinued or are now hard to find. So we've had to adapt out of necessity. The best thing to do is start a thread for a specific prop and ask for assistance if you run into any problems with it. I've found that things tend to fall into place once you get all your parts laid out on the table and start piecing it together.

Edited: Creepycreations was posting the same time I was and said everything better than I did, so listen to him.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I set some time aside tomorrow to wander into a scrap yard and attempt to pry a few of the wiper motors out of their respective cars (as I know nothing about cars past changing a flat - this should be fun!). They are listing them for <$30, so I think I am good. I also have been given the suggestion to plumb the depths of CraigsL to look for treadmills... to buy on the cheap and pull apart for their motor. So I sent some emails out for that. Now its a matter of which direction bears fruit first (or more cheaply).

Thank you again, everyone - this project is curling my hair, and I haven't actually built anything yet!

Additional suggestions welcome - don't close the thread yet please.
 

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Funeral Crasher
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To try to deduce what motor works best for what prop, I'd say it's more of a learning experience that you can't help but acquire after building motorized props for many years. Kind of like "on the job" training. And just learning from your mistakes. Not something that you can learn overnight.

I've been building motorized props for about 13 years, and I've only used a wiper motor once. And that was because it was given to me by a friend. The main thing I look for in a motor is RPMs over anything else. I also make sure it's a GEAR motor, not just a regular motor. Gear motors generally turn at slower RPMs than regular motors and seem to have a lot more torque. I also prefer DC motors over AC powered motors, mainly because you can easily change the direction of a DC motor if desired.

My Holy Grail would be a 6 RPM, 12 volt DC Gear motor, because this one works great for most of the type of animated props I build.
Other things to consider are: How long is the motor shaft? Can I easily attach a crank to the motor shaft? How loud is the motor? ( Some motors sound like thrashing machines.) Is it rated "Continuous" duty or "Intermittent" duty? (Intermittent duty motors run for a while, then shut off. Then re-start after they cool down a bit.)
Many things to consider.

My guess is that most prop builders (like me) that say they had a motor "just laying around" is because they probably ordered a few of a certain motor just to have on hand in case they ever sold out. Since I get most of my motors from surplus places, this happens VERY often. I've got motors I ordered over ten years ago just "lying around".

Of course with an Axworthy, you need more speed than 6 RPM. I think that was me that told you just about any motor will do, because I've heard of Axworthys being made using sewing machine motors, ceiling fan motors, wiper motors, etc. The main reason I gave a link that that particular motor is because it's available for purchase and I know where to get it. Also it's fairly east to attach a pulley to that motor. Will it be perfect for an Axworthy? I don't know myself until I try it. If it doesn't work, I'm not out that much money and I'll just keep it "lying around" for a future prop.

(I can't give any links to any 6 RPM gear motors now, since I don't know of any for sale anywhere.)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I sense a theme here - no two of you use the same damned type of motor! Which is why the tutorials are all over the place! Which means I'm not insane! I'm just confused! :p

i-m-not-insane-s-cooper_design.jpg

Let me throw this out to the group (and be brutal): http://www.frightprops.com/electric-motors-1/motors/dual-speed-high-torque-prop-motor-mot1.html

$25+shipping, 12vDC, 53 to 177 in-lb of torque, and 35-50 RPM (which I can gear or controller up/down anyway) - and I don't have to try to rip it out of a scrap yard car to pay $30 locally.

In your opinion, would this work for a long line/run Axworthy? Why/not? Think of it as education.
 

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BAD INFLUENCE
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Daveinthegrave has about the best advice so far . His props are just awesome. Check out his version of the axworthy, it is one of the better setups around. Your idea of frightprops is a good one to get started with. Good luck and keep us posted.......
 
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Human Candy Shovel
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OK - :mad: I am loosing my mind on this. I spent about 10 hours over the last week reading, watching, calculating, and learning all about Torque, wattage, RPMs, N-m*8.085, and prop building. (you should see the spread sheet) Unfortunately, I feel little closer to an understanding of what one looks for in a motor when designing a prop.

It seems that every tutorial out there has great pictures / footage of the motor they used (shaky cam time :p ), but absolutely zero explanation as to "why" they purchased the motor in question (aside from "I had this laying around"). Given the cost of many of the motors, I am not keen to buy one and see how it goes; or buy one and have it burn out the night before. And my bench grinder aside (>5000 rpm), I have no motors laying around!


What are you guys looking for in a motor for Cauldron Creeps, FCGs, and Axworthys? In my last thread, someone stated that you could use almost any motor - which is fine - but at this point I need to know WHY one motor and not another.


I am building an Axworthy this year - the line run will be 120-150 ft round trip, with ~5 bends. My fear is under-powering the motor for the job vs. spending way too much $$$ for a motor that could do the 5x the job.

Could someone please explain "why" one motor works, but the next motor down on the list wont???? If you could also provide a few examples (links) for context - it would help my sanity greatly!

Thank you. :eek:
Look at motor selection this way... Would overspending for a motor that can do 5 times what you need it to do still overspending when you compare it to buying a motor that's insufficient and then having to throw more money at buying a second motor that will get the job done?

I find myself using a fair number of powerwheels motors. They're 6v motors with a fair bit of power and they're quiet once you get them out of those damned plastic gearboxes the toys use.
 

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My favorite is the frightprops motor with the pico volt controller. So simple to hook up and I am no way a great technician when it comes to these things. For instance. I use it to control my pirate ships wheel. I can control the speed and record the actions of the motor in One tiny controller. I love it. I am by far the worst at prop building when it come to these things yet even I was able to learn this simple motor controller combo. So glad I bought it. If you go to frightprops you can watch videos on how the motors work. With the power supply and with the pico volt for programing movement of the motor.
 

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Finding motors is overwhelming. All i used to read about was vent motors. Well it turned out they were all older posts and the real cheap vent motors everyone talked about were no longer available at that price . Sure you could go to a junk yard and find some but thats not for me. I have had great luck with the simple "deer motor" from Kindys. $10 and dave is correct 6 rpm is perfect for most props. I use a deer motor in my FCG, Breathing grave & the head movement in my Cauldron Creep. I bought a wiper motor and power source from monster guts for the actual caldron portion of my creep. Ebay is great to buy motors. I prefer AC over DC simply that no need for a power converter. You can find brand new any rpm you need, and they will ship just one. I buy 2 at a time just for good measure...they are very cheap, don bid, just buy now. Takes about 2 weeks to get here. I did use a dayton gear motor on my sliding grave prop due to the extra weight, bought it from grainger, its the most $ i paid for a motor but its not your normal prop. Hope this helps. Dave is correct again about the shaft. It can be tricky but i have had great luck using jb weld when there is no way to use a bolt or screw to attach to shaft. Feel free to ask me any question.
 

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I think we can all agree... The answer is: There IS no right answer. A lot depends on the type of prop you are building, your budget... You name it!
 

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Something else to consider is shipping. I have a lot of motors "laying around" because it usually doesn't cost much more to ship five than it does one, so I usually buy extras when I order almost anything online. That applies to almost any parts.
 

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Like Creepy Creations, i exclusively use wiper motors for all my props. The props are usually on the heavy side and need to run all October - and i can take advantage of the parking brake feature, which bring the prop back to the original position after the main power shuts off. And you can natively run them in slow or fast speed.

American Science and Surplus or Mosnter Guts, or the one you have listed.
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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Kindy? First I've ever heard of them... They usually in stock?
Kindy's is an east coast christmas decor wholesaler based in Philadelphia,PA. They usually stock the deer motors in late July and sell out sometime in November. They may start selling out sooner due to the addition of some Halloween decor to their offerings.
 
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