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Discussion Starter #1
So I built this prop last year and I thought I would have the mechanism worked out by Halloween - NOT SO MUCH!!! Basically it is a little girl sitting on a rope swing, hanging from a tree branch, you know - wood seat/two ropes/tree branch. If anyone has seen Spirit Halloweens swinging dead girl prop, that is what I modeled it after. I bought a wiper motor and went through about five different designs to get her to swing, every one failed!!! My plan was to make it swing periodically during my light o rama music/light show. If anyone has any suggestions on a mechanism to make her swing, I'm all ears. I would attach pictures of her, but for some reason I can't get any pictures posted here.
 

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The only thing I can think of would be to install a pulley onto another tree branch and use some high test fishing line from the wiper motor, to the pulley, and then down to the back of the swing seat. How heavy is the whole dummy and seat setup?
 

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Funeral Crasher
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Undertaker, I built a swinging skeleton prop about six years ago. I display it in the yard hanging from a tree during most of October and it's a big hit in the neighborhood.
I actually wrote up a tutorial on how to build it, but I never posted it. Since then I've come up with some changes I'd like to try to make it work better.
But anyway, here's a few pics/videos of it.
Any help I can give, I'm more than happy to share.

The mechanism I built is in two parts: One is the motor and crank assembly mounted on one limb of a tree. Then on another limb of the same tree (at roughly the same height as the motor assy. limb) is the rocker mechanism. This consists of two arms that the swing hangs from, connected by a length of PVC pipe. The two ends of the PVC sit loosely inside larger PVC connectors. This allows it to rock as a fishing string from the motor crank pulls it the rocker assembly back and forth.
Kind of confusing, but the pics will help.







VIDEO:

http://smg.photobucket.com/user/DaveNTracy/media/Swinging Skeleton/011.mp4.html
 

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Dave, this is way better than having my five year old actually sit on the swing. It's hard making her eyes change colors!:eek: Thanks for the picks, I have to look at the tree she goes in but I think I may try this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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Soccer and Lacrosse Dad
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Dave, this is way better than having my five year old actually sit on the swing. It's hard making her eyes change colors!:eek: Thanks for the picks, I have to look at the tree she goes in but I think I may try this one.
Not sure if Ican help with the swinging but I can help with the changing eye colours...

I find if I don't let my kids go to the washroom it works with changing their eye colour. Depending if a #1 or a #2 is needed you get yellow or brown eyes. Once they relieve themselves and are angry or embarrased the eyes quickly turn red.

Hope this helps with changing eye colours.
 

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Undertaker,

Start with the swing itself. I'm picturing the rope swing with wooden seat (Little House on the Prairie style......way to age me, eh?). How about threading 1/4" steel rod into each rope from where it attaches to the tree limb all the way to the seat. This will make the whole thing rigid and move as one if you can attach the rod to the seat. If you have access to a welder, try welding some type of bolt to the end of each rod to attach the seat. At the top, weld on a couple of rod ends so that it can pivot to and fro. The whole motor and crank mechanism should work by attaching it to the top.......close to the rod ends. Hopefully you followed me on that rambling......whew!

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The only thing I can think of would be to install a pulley onto another tree branch and use some high test fishing line from the wiper motor, to the pulley, and then down to the back of the swing seat. How heavy is the whole dummy and seat setup?
That's kind of what I ended up with for last year. I put the motor on the ground behind her and ran fishing line to the seat, it worked sort of! I ended up not hooking her up Halloween night because of all the wind - I was afraid of the string getting wrapped around the motor arm and ripping everything apart. Her total weight is probably around 5 or so lbs. but I had to add a 5lbs weight to the seat to keep her from flipping over because most of the weight is up high.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Undertaker,

Start with the swing itself. I'm picturing the rope swing with wooden seat (Little House on the Prairie style......way to age me, eh?). How about threading 1/4" steel rod into each rope from where it attaches to the tree limb all the way to the seat. This will make the whole thing rigid and move as one if you can attach the rod to the seat. If you have access to a welder, try welding some type of bolt to the end of each rod to attach the seat. At the top, weld on a couple of rod ends so that it can pivot to and fro. The whole motor and crank mechanism should work by attaching it to the top.......close to the rod ends. Hopefully you followed me on that rambling......whew!

Steve
Steve, don't age yourself too much! Not only do I known exactly what your picturing, but yes! That's exactly what it is. I did try the threaded rod into the seat, the biggest problem I had with it was too much play and where it stopped. I have her sequenced to Rob Zombie's Living Dead Girl through Light O Rama, so she is supposed to start and stop throughout the song. I think a wiper motor with a park function would solve part of that problem but at the time I didn't have the time/money to get one. With the regular wiper motor, she could stop anywhere in her arc of travel and the threaded rod would keep her there. Picture a swing mid air w/a dead girl on it staring at the ground. What your describing somewhat sounds like a horizontal version of Fright Props head turning mechanism, I think that would work but only with the right motor. I don't have the know how to make my own parking motor with a switch. Thanks for the ideas, I may try going down that path again.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not sure if Ican help with the swinging but I can help with the changing eye colours...

I find if I don't let my kids go to the washroom it works with changing their eye colour. Depending if a #1 or a #2 is needed you get yellow or brown eyes. Once they relieve themselves and are angry or embarrased the eyes quickly turn red.

Hope this helps with changing eye colours.
Doto, while this is an effective way to make her eye's (and temperament) change quickly, I have a feeling it would be a sure fire way to get my wife's temperament to change quickly also! It might lead to ME becoming one of my own swinging props:eek:
 

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Wow Dave,

While reading your description I was thinking that driving the top of the swing would just create a pivot point with the rope absorbing the motion, resultiing in a jerky motion and not much swinging. I was thinking the rigid rope or PCV pipe instead of rope, but the swinging you got is excellent! What does the fishing line to the skelly head do? I'm a bit confused as where it attaches to the rocker assembly.
 

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Thanks, 65ragtop! Well, actually you are correct. When I first built it, I had the ropes attached below the rocker assembly arms. That caused the swing to sometimes stop swinging and just lift itself up and down. Looked awful!
So, what I did to fix the problem was to attach each rope to the backside of the rocker arm (about 3 inches up). I also wrapped a bit of bailing wire around the rope to an eyelet screwed into the bottom of each arm make sure it stayed tight against the rocker arm. This gave the rope less of a pivot point and made it stay more with the motion of the rocker. This made it swing a LOT better.

Here's a pic:



In this same pic you can see where the fishing string is attached. The other end is tied to the skelly's head. The skeleton's arms on the swing ropes don't do anything to support the upper body and it will just fall forward (or backward) on the swing. So the fishing string keeps his head and upper body upright.
This also helped to make a cool effect of the skelly kind of leaning forward as the swing arced to its most forward point, because since I wrapped the string several times around that horizontal piece of PVC, it would "unwind" just enough to give a small amount of slack to the skeleton. I thought that was pretty cool.
You just have to be careful when attaching the fishing line to only pull it as tight as it takes to keep the skellys head upright. If it's too tight, it will lift the whole swing slightly and it will swing crooked. Another thing I found out by making mistakes. LOL
 
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