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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at experimenting with a simple pneumatic prop idea, but I don't have the budget, space, or inclination to invest in a shop compressor at the moment. What I have is a decent-quality 12V portable compressor (like for cars) and access to a paintball compressed air tank (with Schrader valve). The tank is rated to 3000PSI, and I'm not looking at using more than 90. Is there a safety reason why this would be a bad idea? Is there a practical reason why this wouldn't work? I know the tank is small compared to even a small shop compressor's reserve tank, but I'm just experimenting at this point, and I don't need a lot of throw. Thanks!
 

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It will certainly work, but how many cycles and the size of the pneumatic cylinder will determine how long the air supply in the tank will last.
you probably won't need more than 40psi for most solenoids to activate. I would not cheap out on the cylinder or solenoid as far as DIY ones versus specifically designed for air pressure ones-safety first.
Pete
 

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It will certainly work, but how many cycles and the size of the pneumatic cylinder will determine how long the air supply in the tank will last.
you probably won't need more than 40psi for most solenoids to activate. I would not cheap out on the cylinder or solenoid as far as DIY ones versus specifically designed for air pressure ones-safety first.
Pete
http://www.ebay.com/itm/JacPac-18-gauge-Combination-Brad-Stapler-Kit-Hot-New-Price-/230954475824?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35c5f5a130

I have used these a few times with testing pneumatics, never to try and run a show, alot more for wearable pneumatics. It should be able to run them for a little while especially with a 20 oz tank.
Always worth a shot to try out and see what happens.
I agree with captpete on the good pistons and valves, the pvc ones are just a disaster waiting to happen. and you can get real pistons on ebay so cheap now its worth the small investment.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Which is exactly the basic idea I'm working on :D. It's an effect which goes way back to the old amusement park dark rides; Disney still has one in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Cybergeek1 posted a haunt video a while back with his own version. I've been experimenting with different launching methods, because I'd prefer non-pneumatic, but I wanted to play around with pneumatic as well. The video you're talking about used a single length of freestanding piano wire as a guide, as I recall; Disney uses two wires strung between the prop base and the ceiling of the show building. Since mine's fairly small for the moment and experimental, I'm working with Spiderwire fishing line and a wood frame.
 

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If im thinking of the same part of Disney your talking about (the graveyard scene) they had there props mounted on pneumatic rams to lift them up and drop them down. Its one of the reasons i love the haunted mansion in disney so much, i love the sound of working pneumatics, most of the rides have switched to the hydraulic compliance systems. there are still a few left with the awesome hissing sound of simple pneumatic systems.

I finished a 32 port DMX air port controller for my haunt last year. it makes setup alot easier, drop in the manifold, 3/8" air line, and a network wire to it and then run all my props from one computer
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You are thinking about the right part of the ride, and most of the pop-ups there are on pneumatic cylinders, but there really is one last air-blown blast-up left. It's only at Disneyland in California. Take a gander at this excellent video taken during the (IMO unfortunate) Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay:

Haunted Mansion Holiday (not embedded because the embedding software apparently can't handle timestamps)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I grew up in Florida, so WDW is still my default Disney. I love those times when you walk off the ride, make a right, and walk right back on :D.

Somewhat more on-topic, does anybody have any advice where one might find air-rated solenoid valves on a local basis? I ordered one, but I'd prefer not to pay shipping all the time if I get into this further. I live in a pretty big city (Phoenix), so it seems like there would be someone who carries them. What sort of (non-haunted) industries use the things?
 

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Which is exactly the basic idea I'm working on :D. It's an effect which goes way back to the old amusement park dark rides; Disney still has one in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Cybergeek1 posted a haunt video a while back with his own version. I've been experimenting with different launching methods, because I'd prefer non-pneumatic, but I wanted to play around with pneumatic as well. The video you're talking about used a single length of freestanding piano wire as a guide, as I recall; Disney uses two wires strung between the prop base and the ceiling of the show building. Since mine's fairly small for the moment and experimental, I'm working with Spiderwire fishing line and a wood frame.
I used a sprinkler valve to provide the burst of air to pop the heads. Normal pneumatic solenoids do not have enough CFM air flow to provide the needed lift. High CFM pneumatic solenoids can be purchased, but they are $$$. For safety, I encased the sprinkler valve in a plywood box. This was done to guard against catastrophic failure of the plastic valve as it is designed of water, not air pressure. No matter the type of high CFM valve you use, it will require an air reservoir/surge tank located as close to the valve as possible. You will need a somewhat beefy compressor to keep the surge tank filled as the high CFM valves consume great quantities of air.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I used a sprinkler valve to provide the burst of air to pop the heads. Normal pneumatic solenoids do not have enough CFM air flow to provide the needed lift. High CFM pneumatic solenoids can be purchased, but they are $$$. For safety, I encased the sprinkler valve in a plywood box. This was done to guard against catastrophic failure of the plastic valve as it is designed of water, not air pressure. No matter the type of high CFM valve you use, it will require an air reservoir/surge tank located as close to the valve as possible. You will need a somewhat beefy compressor to keep the surge tank filled as the high CFM valves consume great quantities of air.
Hey, thanks for responding! Interesting that such a high flow rate was needed - how heavy were the heads you used? And if you don't mind me asking all the details :D, what pressure were you operating at, and how did you do the guides? They were almost invisible in the video.

I know I won't be able to pull off something on the scale you did without a real compressor and tank (patience...), but for experimenting with significantly lighter loads, I'm hoping I can start out with less.
 

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There was a show someone did a while back i liked, it had ghosts popping from behind tombstones no pistons, just a single action solenoid and a burst of air, popped it up from behind on a metal rod. it was a cool effect.
Here is the link to the dancing ghosts. I always liked this. It probably takes some trial and error to get them to work correctly.
http://halloween.venuemagic.com/8/teaching-ghosts-to-dance/
Pete

The link doesn't seem to work? Anyway its at venuemagic.com (teaching ghosts to dance)
 
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