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Psychomaniac
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to build a trashcan terror for my mad scientist lab haunted house scene. However, I don't really want to use a trashcan. A 55 gallon drum is much more in tune with the scene. There are a number of people selling these used locally. My question is what type to use... metal or plastic? It seems to be that the metal drum would look better (and could be easily aged) but it'll be pretty darn heavy. It could also clang some when opening but that's no essential. The plastic drum would be a lot lighter but couldn't be dented, etc. and may not look as authentic to most people.

I can get the metal drums in red which looks good or the plastic drums in black so I wouldn't have to do any painting.

Anyone care to make a recommendation?

Thanks!
 

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It's probably more a matter of personal preference. I do know that the metal drums come in two (well, at least two) different thicknesses. One is much heavier than the other and can be a real bear to move around. Make sure you get the lighter one if you go that route.
 

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If your prop design is going to put stress on the can or have a lot of movement I'd go with the metal can for weight and stability. If you are looking more into the guy leaning over the can spewing into it with a liquid I go with the plastic can.
 

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Psychomaniac
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Discussion Starter #5
Well, it'll be a straight popup (tire pump) prop with the lid attached to the head. The lighter plastic lid would seem to be a bonus in this case versus a prop made with a more powerful purpose built cylinder. I've worked with the plastic drums before and they're very solid. I think I'm answering my own question!

I guess I'll see if the guy has any black ones left.
 

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Personally, I like the metal ones! The raised rings around the side of the barrel provide structural support, if you are going to mount the cylinder, or any moving parts to the barrel wall. I also like the loud noise it makes. Adds a little extra startle.
 

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Personally, I like the metal ones! The raised rings around the side of the barrel provide structural support, if you are going to mount the cylinder, or any moving parts to the barrel wall. I also like the loud noise it makes. Adds a little extra startle.
Same here, I really like the extra sound effects from the can opening and then slamming closed on my popup, even the steel handles rattle on the sides.
 

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Psychomaniac
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Discussion Starter #13
I think I'll go with a steel drum. I've dropped the bike pump idea (even though I have it hooked to a solenoid and working already) and I'm going with the 20" double acting cylinder that Sam Animatronic was selling here. I'm getting it without the pressure pad and the price was too good to pass up. I should have plenty of stroke and power now to deal with the steel lid. I think I'll probably hinge it at the back (rather than attaching the lid to the head) so it makes more noise. Now to get the drum!
 

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Psychomaniac
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Discussion Starter #14
Just got my 55 gallon drum...



I just need to paint the lid and add some "Toxic Waste" signs and it's good to go cosmetically. I should have the air cylinder tomorrow and I already have the mask. I just received the audio boards I'm going to use for the monster scream sound when it opens and I'm redoing one of my prop controllers for this year so I need to finish that as well.

Now I need to decide if the whole lid is going to pop up or if I'm going to hinge it at the back.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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Just got my 55 gallon drum...



I just need to paint the lid and add some "Toxic Waste" signs and it's good to go cosmetically. I should have the air cylinder tomorrow and I already have the mask. I just received the audio boards I'm going to use for the monster scream sound when it opens and I'm redoing one of my prop controllers for this year so I need to finish that as well.

Now I need to decide if the whole lid is going to pop up or if I'm going to hinge it at the back.
I'm in the same boat...determining whether or not to hinge the lid...its pretty heavy
 

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The last one of those I did used a metal 55 gallon drum. They look great! I brazed brass fittings right to the steel for all the air and electric lines to the bottom side of the drum, as I have mine filled with water. I have a corpsed bucky torso that pops out and cackles at you (jaw moves with sound). Green lights in the bottom and a bubbler create the "acid" look. All pneumatic so the water won't damage any of the workings. An old school but still effective prop.

Bill.
 

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I used the blue plastic 55 gallon drums and painted them black.
I just think they are easier to work with if you have to drill holes. You will need holes in it if you plan on hiding your air hose.
Just my personal preference.
 

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Hate to complicate things here but it's a good idea to replace the lid with something lightweight (like plastic or aluminum) if you're going to attach the mask to the ram. You're going to have a stuffed plastic mask pushing up on the heavy lid all night. How long do you think that latex will last?

Some of the more expensive pop-ups use a second cylinder to open the lid, while some of the cheaper ones and homemade props actually lift the lid and the head is attached to the lid so it rises with it. This keeps it from going any higher than the top of the lid though.
 
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