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Please reccomend a motor to lift a coffin lid

8166 Views 17 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Beaver State Rich
I could really use help here, i have tried a reindeer motor (wouldn't budge) and a prop motor from winfield collection. It seems i need something with more power or torque. I made the lid as light as i could using 1/4 inch plywood. I see motors like vent motors and wiper motors, etc. Being used by others but i would have no idea how to wire those up. I would prefer it plugs in out of the box and works. Would like to spend no more than $75.
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Would a desk fan be strong enough or give you the action you require?
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what linkage are you using to trying to lift it? you might make a reindeer motor work by changing the leverage.
I think the motor shown in the fright props link would work. The motor is $50. You would need a power supply. That would be about another $15 bucks. I don't think you need the prop controller shown in the link. You could hack a motion sensor flood light to power the coffin when someone walks by so it does not run continuously.
From your description I would say a wiper motor. Monster guts sells them for $24. For power try to find an old computer and get the power supply out of it. Plenty of people can help tell how to hook things up. Motion sensor would be a little more involved.
This is all you need from Monster Guts. Just plug in and go. I used this for my coffin lid.


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Are you wanting the coffin lid to bounce up and down, like a monster-in-a-box? Or just open?

If you just want it to open, one option might be to spring load the lid already OPEN, then just find a motor strong enough to pull it back CLOSED.
Then as the motor rotates around, the spring would open it again.
I may be wrong but if you go with a wiper motor and want the lid to go up and down slowly, you will need a speed controller to slow down the RPMs. You could rig up some gears to slow down the motion without a speed controller but that could be a bit involved. Monster guts does sell a speed controller. However, once you get the speed controller and the wiper motor, you might as well get the motor shown from Fright props. It is is a much slower RPM and would not need a speed controller. Just more food for thought.
Hello,Looking for a bigger motor is not always the solution. One trick is to make the lid light enough and/or counterbalanced with a spring or weights. I have done this with a door spring on a coffin lid.
If the lid is heavy, consider making a foam lid glued on to plywood for weight savings.
To make a lid lifter: Attach a lever arm to the hinge side of the lid, attach a spring to the lever arm, and the other end to the base of coffin. Tension the spring so the lid is balanced, or neutral when closed.
Then a small amount of power applied by a motor or pneumatic is needed to lift.
The motor can be a 6 rpm gear motor (Dayton) from Grainger with a crank arm and wheel on the end of the crank arm that lifts the lide every revolution. (Like used on Flying Crank Ghost Prop)
if you want a banger lid, same idea, only you may not need as much tension on spring so the lid falls quicker.Variable RPM drill motors work good for this.

Does your lid bang shut or open slowly and close slowly. The wiper motor you referred me to has a slow of 35 rpms and that seems a little fast.
Thanks to all that replied. Sounds like a lot of experienced haunters out there. hope I can return the favor someday.
fan idea

Would a desk fan be strong enough or give you the action you require?
No, I have used an oscilating fan for a prop to make the head go back and forth. Thanks for the suggestion.
reindeer motor

what linkage are you using to trying to lift it? you might make a reindeer motor work by changing the leverage.
I thought I saw a youtube video where someone used a reindeer motor but it would not move mine at all and mine was lighter than his. I think a lot of the problem is in the location of the motor and the attachment to the lid but, I struggle with the enginering part, Thanks for your help.
Is the coffin laying sorta flat, or standing up? And how much of the lid are you trying to raise - the whole thing, like a full-length toe-pincher, or maybe just a half-lid?
You may want the check out this kit from monster guts it has a speed controller and it is in your price range. http://www.monsterguts.com/store/product.php?productid=17761&cat=3&page=1
Is the coffin laying sorta flat, or standing up? And how much of the lid are you trying to raise - the whole thing, like a full-length toe-pincher, or maybe just a half-lid?
I bought the motor kit from Monster Guts and it works great. Had trouble with the motor arm not staying locked in place so I had it welded on.
I found it hard to mount the motor so it would stay still and not move around with force. Still don't know if I would pay the $15 for the mounting plate from monster guts. THANKS FOR THE SUGGESTION.
As my grandfather used to say, "Use the right tool for the right job." If you need a slower, longer motion, or just need to lift a lot of weight, a linear actuator is what you need. They are about $30+ on ebay. Pick the motor that fits your needs.
As others have mentioned a standard wiper motor will work fine. The high torque model from fright props linked above is too strong, I have one that I'm using on my Ezra HM ghost and it would be overkill for a lid.

You can control the speed of a standard wiper motor from Fright props or monster guts by the power supply. A 5w 5 amp power supply will give you ~6 rpm.

For a prop like a casket I like wiper motors when used outside because they are designed to be in wet locations. A/C motors like the Grainger motor (which I use on my FCG) are OK where it's dry but they don't like wet areas.

An assist for a heavy lid does help. My casket is made out of 1/2" plywood and very heavy. I originally had it hinged at the feet and put the motor near the head/hands in the HM "get me out of here" style. It was just too much to overcome. I ended up making a spring assist shock. Using 1 1/4" pvc, a 1" x6" spring I got from the hardware store with a 1" piece of PVC on top I was able to rig up a shock for $3. As noted above this took the stress off the motor and all it has do is force the lid down-the spring assists on the up stroke. After the top warped (lesson: plywood sucks for outdoor props) I attached the lid along the side like a "normal" casket and this eliminated the need for a heavy spring/shock. I still have a light spring because it smooths out the motion but it is not needed to make the prop work.

Oh, and if you want to save some $$ my local junk yard will let me pull a wiper assembly off a car for $5. There are usually a few more wires but that's not hard to figure out. Power supplies are super cheep at goodwill or electronic surplus stores. As a bonus the junkyard assembly has arms with ball/socket heads that are easy to make cranks out of.

I now use the commercial units from FP because they are consistent and easy to swap out and replace if needed.
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