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I have trouble drawing stick people, I was toying with using something like this to trace words and pictures onto Styrofoam for tombstones. It's probably overkill but I can't find anything cheaper. Do you think it would work or is it just for movies?


 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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It should work & you can use it with things like the AtmosFX stuff, movies, & other projections.

You could also try this tracer projector from Michaels. If you sign up for their coupons it can be less than $20. It's one of those rare things that actually cheaper to go in-store to buy than to get it on Amazon.

This is strictly for drawing. You put it over what you want enlarged & it projects on to the wall or whatever surface. It doesn't show moving pictures.
 

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Do you have a projector already? I would buy a projector before spending money on an opaque art/tracing projector.

You can usually get a fairly good projector for $50-60 if you watch for deals. But even a cheap toy one can do the job. That way, you can use the USB or PC connection to feed and trace your tombstones and still have a projector to add moving images to your haunt.

That said, I have one of these that I bought a thousand years ago. It still works great. It's super bright and very sharp. Don't know what you want to spend, but they crop up on eBay fairly regularly. Honestly, unless you will get a lot of tracing use out of it, I'd spend my money on a regular projector and just feed it a still image.

Seerite Opaque projector (c.1980)
728357
 

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OR - If you are just looking for a fast, cheap, down and dirty alternative, you can build a simple cardboard box projector using a large magnifying glass or dollar store magnifying sheet. You'll have to adjust the original image size as well as scoot the box projector itself nearer or farther from your drawing surface to focus. Before I ever had projectors, I used this method with a VCR-fed television to add window projections to my haunt.

 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I agree with boohoo, the first projector is way more flexible in use in general but it totally depends on what you wanna spend & if you'll use it later (which you could easily do).

So there's plenty of options out there.
 

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The tracing projector is great, but if you don’t get one you cold always use tracing paper. First print the image at the size you want it. Second lay tracing paper over the printed image and trace using a window or light table. Third turn over the tracing paper and use a soft pencil (2B) to copy your trace lines onto the back. Fourth lay the tracing paper over the styrofoam and retrace the lines transferring the lines on the back side to your styrofoam.
 

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The projector on Amazon is junk. I would consider it overpriced, even at $70. The brightness is quoted using "Lux" which is not the correct units, and even if they intended to use Lumens, it is likely an extreme exaggeration. Note that the actual resolution is only 800x480 . Much too course for the text you will probably want to project.

As an alternative, you could find an overhead projector, since those are being dumped in favor of video projectors. I've seen them in thrift stores for $20, but I've not seen them very often. You would print on transparency. There are transparencies designed for ink-jet, but the ones designed for Xerox-type printers has much more opaque blacks. I've printed at Staples to do it on a laser-printer, since I only have an ink jet.

-Joe
 

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I have a projector, and I think that if you are working with the EPS foam from HD or Lowes it is just as easy (or easier) to print what you want on printer paper (even if you have to use 4-6 sheets per tombstone & tape them together) and then place that on your stone. Use an Exacto knife or similar type blade to cut thru the paper & into the foam.

Then you can either paint over the foam (using your cut lines as lines) or pick out a little bit of the foam inside the cut spaces to look recessed. If you have one of those paint can openers they are GREAT for this. The little angled bit takes small bites from your foam and the handle shape is good to your hands.

Once you picked out the top layer of foam, you just paint black/charcoal in the green (or pink) areas, and you have "carved" letters in your stone. Being able to just cut right thru the paper makes it easy to use standard printer paper, even if you have to get creative on joining a few pieces together to make it span the full size of the stone. Good luck!
 

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I have a projector, and I think that if you are working with the EPS foam from HD or Lowes it is just as easy (or easier) to print what you want on printer paper (even if you have to use 4-6 sheets per tombstone & tape them together) and then place that on your stone. Use an Exacto knife or similar type blade to cut thru the paper & into the foam.

Then you can either paint over the foam (using your cut lines as lines) or pick out a little bit of the foam inside the cut spaces to look recessed. If you have one of those paint can openers they are GREAT for this. The little angled bit takes small bites from your foam and the handle shape is good to your hands.

Once you picked out the top layer of foam, you just paint black/charcoal in the green (or pink) areas, and you have "carved" letters in your stone. Being able to just cut right thru the paper makes it easy to use standard printer paper, even if you have to get creative on joining a few pieces together to make it span the full size of the stone. Good luck!
This is what I do and it works great. They may have slight flaws since I use photos of real stones and sometimes the finest detail is a little unclear, but in the middle of the night no one is ever going to notice. When I first started experimenting with a good way to do my stones, I tried an old version of the projector similar to the one RCIAG mentioned which I had laying around my house for years. It was completely useless. I ended up just tossing it in the trash.

This is basically what I do:

 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I love all the options.

Now that I think about it, I don't even know where my tracer is. They're useful for certain jobs but not others & you can't always get all of your image all at once. I also remember the bulb being super hot too.

Now I'd probably just do as Engineerchic suggested, just print it out on paper then carve it out. Which is what I tend to do with a lot of projects in general, create it in Word/Adobe/Powerpoint/etc. then print it, then use it.
 

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It helps to decide which way you intend on working with the foam tombstones you're making. If you're going to cut them out using an Exacto-knife or Dremel tool, your best approach is probably printing out your tombstone lettering the size you intend to make it and use those pages to cut out the tombstones. A great tutorial for doing that can be found at:

However, if you're going to use a foam burning tool for your lettering, the projector option might work best for you. We use free Styrofoam from a furniture store to make our tombstones. It doesn't cut well because of the nature of the loose beads from which it's made. The more expensive denser insulation foam has more flexibility for carving. We do all our tombstones using hot foam cutters and wood-burning tools for carving out the letters. It's just easier to trace the letters out onto the foam, instead of using a template or paper transfer. We then use our hot tools to melt the foam which both carves and seals the edges.

The video above really is a great approach for carving. But for us, it is too difficult and too complicated for using with foam burning tools. We use a projector to trace the drawings onto our tombstones. If you intend to use any kind of projector props in the future, spend a bit of time to find a popular unit that has USB capabilities. You can easily make a PDF file of whatever tombstone you wish to create and use the file to transfer the drawing or images to your foam with a permanent marker.

So, figure which way you want to go, and then go with which approach seems right for you.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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Threads like this are one of the many reasons I love this place! There's so many options & they all work depending on what you're making, your budget & how you wanna make it.
 

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I love all the options.

Now that I think about it, I don't even know where my tracer is. They're useful for certain jobs but not others & you can't always get all of your image all at once. I also remember the bulb being super hot too.
We have an old Artograph opaque projector. The original bulb that came with it was an incandescent 300 watt bulb. It was HOT; like "fry your fingers if you tried to open the lid after it ran awhile" hot. However, thanks to the wonderful world of LEDs, we purchased a 200 watt equivalent and resolved that issue. I have to have the room totally dark, but I can take my time and the bulb doesn't get hot. The nice thing about the bulbs are they take way less energy, don't heat up nearly as bad, and supply enough light to get the job done. If you have one of the older opaque style projectors that you don't use because the bulb is too hot, it's an option worth considering.
 

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Or Possibly just use either a cardboard cut out of a stone (or paint the foamboard white) and then project a tombstone on it??!?!?!! I attempted one a few years back. I also think Mr Chicken had some for sale:

 
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