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Oak Lane Cemetery
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning on expanding the spider tree and victim I did for next year and would love to have some animation added. What I would like to do is have two or three of the hand sized spiders I have each move up and down on a strand of web coming from their rears. I had them just hanging this way last year and I though "Man it look awesome to have them slowly descend three or four feet, then lift back up!" Not like a drop spider, which I have already, where is just suddenly falls, then noisily and slowly cranks itself back up. I want it to be smooth and cycle endlessly sort of like a FCG does. The only way I have come up with would be to run the line down the tree to a deer motor with a long arm on it that would sit beside the tree and pull the string. But then I have this clunky awkward contraction to either try and hide, or just leave in view. I could set it a good distance away just by making the lines longer, but the longer the lines are the more chance something will snag or go wrong. Anybody come up with a cheap easy way to get this effect without a clunky hard to hide rig?
 

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Some form of FCG mechanism would certainly seem like the simplest and best option - could you hide it behind the tree? Or put it in a box and lay it flat on the ground?

If you really need it to be smaller, you could make a motorized spool for each spider, and use stops on the line to catch a switch or switches (depending on the configuration) to reverse the motor when it reaches each end of its intended travel. That kind of motion won't be as smooth as an crank, though, and would require some circuit-building.
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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Discussion Starter #5
My tree is in fact, not a tree. I have none in my yard at all and every year when I decorate I drive PVC into the ground where I want a tree and secure a large branch into it. Works great, and looks ok, but does not leave me with any options for hiding a large, or overhanging mechanism like a FCG setup. Next year my fake tree plan is to put a few pieces of pvc at different angles into a small bucket, pour cement around them, then cut the bucket off, leaving a basic form that I can sculpt onto with foam or clay to make an artificial stump to place branches into to create a larger fake tree. where I want to place it is over a water line and sewer line so I'm wary of driving pipe into the ground there. I'm thinking now about an auto-reversing motor with a spool attached to the shaft like CDW suggested. If I were to put a stop on the line somewhere the line would wind onto the spool till the stop hit, then reverse and un-spool till a second stop is hit. I could rig 2 spiders to it this way and they would move opposite to each other. (one goes up when the other goes down) Eliminating the entire arm of the crank ghost mechanism would greatly reduce the size of the mechanism I would have to hide.
 

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My tree is in fact, not a tree....Next year my fake tree plan is to put a few pieces of pvc at different angles into a small bucket, pour cement around them, then cut the bucket off, leaving a basic form that I can sculpt onto with foam or clay to make an artificial stump to place branches into to create a larger fake tree.
Ahh, I just looked at your albums - that's a whole different kettle of fish. Although, if you're making a great big fake tree base anyway, that would provide an opportunity for rigging a horizontal crank into a box under the stump that you could then run as many lines out of as you care to have spiders, and just channel them up the back of the branch.

I'm thinking now about an auto-reversing motor with a spool attached to the shaft like CDW suggested. If I were to put a stop on the line somewhere the line would wind onto the spool till the stop hit, then reverse and un-spool till a second stop is hit. I could rig 2 spiders to it this way and they would move opposite to each other. (one goes up when the other goes down) Eliminating the entire arm of the crank ghost mechanism would greatly reduce the size of the mechanism I would have to hide.
I like the double spiders idea - though the randomness of having their own spools running at slightly different speeds might be more realistic, it's also a lot more time-consuming to build. An easy, reliable, low-parts-count circuit for this would be a latching relay circuit:

MotorReverse.JPG

I've used it to make a dummy head turn back and forth, and it works well. You just have to make sure you've roughly matched the motor resistance to the relay coil resistance with the balance resistor so the motor doesn't suck up all the current.
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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Discussion Starter #8
I hear that you don't really have a tree, so the FCG setup could be problematic. That said, I'm including a Flying Crank Spider link here in case it might help others folks (like myself) later. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTcg1al43TI
Yep, that's exactly what I thought of when I first started thinking about this. That would be the simplest way. If only I had a real. At least I don't have to deal with leaves though. lol I actually take leaves from under the one tree we do have on the side of our house towards the back yard and scatter them over my graveyard in the front yard to make it look unkempt and hide extension cords. Neighbors probably think I'm freakin' nuts when they see me doing it. lmao! The thought has also came to me that as a fisherman I have a ton of old reels out in the shed. Now I'm considering the possibility that I could motorize one of them to serve as my spool. A spinning reel or a levelwind reel would work great as they self wind the line very neatly and tangle free. Spinning reels would be especially suited for it since they can be set to crank in both directions. Just replace the handle with a small strong reversible motor to the handle....hmmmmm
 

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Hide your mechanisim inside a phoney dog house. build it as large or small as you want to, just (of course) have enough room around it so nothing gets pinched or caught.
Build the house on a piece of plywood, then drive the stakes through the plywood to secure it.
Or make a gnome house. The fancier you make it , the less that people might think it really is phoney and a ruse for the machinery.
 

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Super cheap and easy way.... Motor mounted to tree near base, PVC arm Attached to the deer motor two long nails hammered into the tree part way (used to reverse the motor), some eye bolts,fishing line and spiders. 20 bucks, tops, image.jpg spiders included!
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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Discussion Starter #14
Super cheap and easy way.... Motor mounted to tree near base, PVC arm Attached to the deer motor two long nails hammered into the tree part way (used to reverse the motor), some eye bolts,fishing line and spiders. 20 bucks, tops, View attachment 187123 spiders included!
Good simple idea, but once again it involves a long arm that would be obvious and hard to hide.
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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Discussion Starter #15
Hide your mechanisim inside a phoney dog house. build it as large or small as you want to, just (of course) have enough room around it so nothing gets pinched or caught.
Build the house on a piece of plywood, then drive the stakes through the plywood to secure it.
Or make a gnome house. The fancier you make it , the less that people might think it really is phoney and a ruse for the machinery.
I've been considering making a "blind" for a FCG device, but not coming up with much. I don't think that a dog or gnome house would fit in very well with any part of a spider/victim tree display.
 

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What about a screen of branches and corn stalks? That could be a backdrop for other props too. Use a pallet to secure the corn and branches or use rebar and zip tie the corn stalks to the rebar. I get rebar (a 10 ft. piece of 1/2" which can be cut down into lengths with a hacksaw) at my local lumber yard. In fact, a piece of pvc pipe could be painted black and hidden inside a bunch of twigs or corn stalks to achieve the set-up jtmonsman described.
 

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image.jpg
Ok... So here's what I came up with.... Spider "climbing" down the tree. Rear leg has PVC arm inserted up to the joint. The joints are all linked together via fishing line. An eye screw connects that motor to the other sides legs too. Does this picture make sense?
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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Discussion Starter #20
What about a screen of branches and corn stalks? That could be a backdrop for other props too. Use a pallet to secure the corn and branches or use rebar and zip tie the corn stalks to the rebar. I get rebar (a 10 ft. piece of 1/2" which can be cut down into lengths with a hacksaw) at my local lumber yard. In fact, a piece of pvc pipe could be painted black and hidden inside a bunch of twigs or corn stalks to achieve the set-up jtmonsman described.
A great idea! ...but I'm moving the display out into the open yard next year and it will be viewable from all sides. The pallet does give me ideas about a raised platform underneath the stump I'll be making. 4 inches of gap underneath would be enough room to fit a motor and arm and not be so high as to be difficult to hide the edges. Would give a wider and more stable base for the tree too. Lines running out from one side would be simple to run through guides to direct back and up the branches. Might have a plan here!

Ok... So here's what I came up with.... Spider "climbing" down the tree. Rear leg has PVC arm inserted up to the joint. The joints are all linked together via fishing line. An eye screw connects that motor to the other sides legs too. Does this picture make sense?
That is a VERY creative idea! Not too sure I could pull that one off and still have it look good though. lol
 
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