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hey russ, i just got done building my last prop tonight. i want to go through your website before i send you a proper reply. happy halloween!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Is there a sticky that lists items I should be on the look out for during the year at garage sales or craigslist that would come in handy for custom props? e.g. air cylinders, pvc, motors, speakers, arduino, etc...
 

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Concerning air cylinders..

My situation is a bit different, I am building props for a haunted hay ride for the nieghborhood halloween party I host. So far my cylinders have been manually operated, single acting and only used ~10 times plus testing for the year. The props are reset manually.

Next year, I am building a cemetery with one effect, 4 pairs of hands pop out of the ground inspired by the movie Carrie. Using 1/2" PVC pipe, 3/8" threaded rod and 3/8" x 5/8" grommets, I can make a simple cylinder with a 12" stroke for ~$4. So for the price of one manufactured cylinder, I can build 8 of them.

My first prototype, the cylinder will be connected in series ie: a airline connected to the top of the cylinder will supply air to the next cylinder. Using this method, the hands will rise up one at a time. Note: these are single acting, the top is not sealed.

And my point here, cheap DIY cylinder may be quite effective for this prop. I may be able to build this prop for under $100 with the major cost being the fake hands.

For the trash can trauma prop, that cylinder is working hard and I would use a store bought cylinder .

Note: I did have a PVC spud gun explode long ago, I will not operate PVC cylinder above 50 psi. They should be wraped in duct tape or inside a wooden box to control the shrapnel in case of failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
...I can make a simple cylinder with a 12" stroke for ~$4.
How are you making your pvc cylinders? The videos I've seen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkUXuxrAtP4 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkUXuxrAtP4) make pvc cylinders with parts that seem to add up to >$10, maybe even >$15. And then the amount of build time and maintenance seems high, too. (For that amount of time and money, I'll spend the $30 on a 1" bore, 12" stroke cylinder from amazon [ https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FH81WFB/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?smid=A386KSEWCUN8Y5&psc=1 ] )

Are your cylinders able to move quickly, like what's needed for a trash can trauma (even though I know you didn't use the pvc cylinder for your trash can trauma?)
 

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To stay on the cheap side...I almost always go electrical instead of pneumatic. Hacking motors from oscilating fans, drills, massages, etc. has helped me make some pretty elaborate, weatherproof things for under $50.
Pneumatics are great, but they can be so costly.
 

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Is there an easy introduction to pneumatic props thread anywhere? I would like to go this route next year, but have a limited understanding of pneumatic (and by limited, I mean practically non-existent)
This year was the first time I use pneumatic, my biggest mistake was trying to use the hose and fittings I bought over the years from Home Depot.

What I should have done first, buy 100' of 1/4" tubing, a tubing cutter and a couple bags of Push to Connect air fittings from Amazon.
 
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