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Fasttrack
10-22-2006, 10:14 PM
Ok guys - i'm trying to figure out a way to make an animated figure for my sister's halloween party. Problem is i've really only got a week to do it in, no money to spend on it and only an old 12 volt car battery with something like 800 cca. I really would like a solenoid with a lot of travel or one with small travel but gobs of force. Either way would be fine. So whats the best way to go about this?

Should i try making like a plunger with an electro magnet at the bottom or a solenoid with the coil around a piece of pipe and another piece inside it? If so, what diameter and etc?

Any suggestions would be helpful!

CCWKen
10-22-2006, 10:45 PM
Don't wind the coil around a pipe. All you'll do is magnetize the pipe. A solenoid has a winding around a non-magnetic spool with a plunger inside the spool. These are usually short stroke though. The magnetic field pulls the plunger to the center of the coil.

An old windshield wiper motor with a cam/arm would probably work better.

J. Tranter
10-22-2006, 10:52 PM
You can make a air piston out of scrap PVC pipe. You can look it up on the internet under Halloween and you will come up with something.

torker
10-22-2006, 11:35 PM
An old windshield wiper motor with a cam/arm would probably work better.

My thoughts exactly!

Evan
10-23-2006, 12:22 AM
What are you trying to move over what distance and how much does it weigh?

skeeter
10-23-2006, 10:30 AM
A starter solenoid thats used on GM cars is a strong one. Should me able to get one from an auto junk yard for cheap.

Fasttrack
10-23-2006, 11:49 AM
I thought about the air cylinder idea but that requires a portable air-tank and some sort of valve. Both of these things i would have to buy.

I also thought about the windshield wiper motor or a small motor to drive a screw mechanism for a slower movement but again i would have to buy the motor. Plus there's only one junkyard near hear and they are pretty expensive. I've actually gotten parts new from NAPA cheaper then they wanted used!!

I realized wraping the coil around a piece of steel pipe wouldnt get me anywhere - i was thinking about using some 2" pvc i have lying around.

Evan - i'm not exactly sure how much it will weigh or what distance. Part of that will be determined by how succesful i am at finding a motor or making a solenoid to move it. I'm thinking about something simple and lightweight like raising a head or turning a head to look at someone. It'd be neat to move the entire figure but i'll worry about that for next year. I like the idea of using an air cylinder to raise a figure out of a coffin or something like that.


Thanks for all of the replies! I'll keep poking around and hopefully i'll turn up an old motor or something.

Evan
10-23-2006, 11:57 AM
If you have an easy way to deal with the excess water maybe use a home built plastic hydraulic cylinder run from the water system. A little leakage shouldn't matter and it doesn't need to run for a long time.

Tinkerer
10-23-2006, 12:43 PM
If your looking at raising the dead out of a coffin. Why not use a spring catapult with a simple trip wire to trigger a gate latch and another to reset... you provide the power. If you want it to be automatic use a motor to retracted... a 12 v solenoid to release it trigger by a simple pressure switch made up of two pieces of sheet metal and duct tape to isolate the halves. Course you'd have to have a delayed switch to start the retract motor... with a limit switch he'd pop and drop. A bit more involved then the manually operated with no real gain in fright factor. :eek:

RPease
10-23-2006, 01:29 PM
I realize that you are looking at some sort of "mechanical" device, but..........have you considered just dressing up as a figure (corpse, creature, or whatever) and actually doing the "animation" yourself??

You'd only have to do it for a few hours (most likely 2-3) and then you don't have to worry about electricity, hydraulics, mechanical breakdowns, etc.

You'd be free to "ad lib" and would probably be much more impressive as a "scare tactic".

Besides.........your sister would probable appreciate it a lot more ..........and just think of the comments years from now.......

"Do you remember when you scared the "SH_T" out of so-and-so???

Just my $0.02 worth...........Rodg

torker
10-23-2006, 03:12 PM
I realize that you are looking at some sort of "mechanical" device, but..........have you considered just dressing up as a figure (corpse, creature, or whatever) and actually doing the "animation" yourself??

You'd only have to do it for a few hours (most likely 2-3) and then you don't have to worry about electricity, hydraulics, mechanical breakdowns, etc.

You'd be free to "ad lib" and would probably be much more impressive as a "scare tactic".

Besides.........your sister would probable appreciate it a lot more ..........and just think of the comments years from now.......

"Do you remember when you scared the "SH_T" out of so-and-so???

Just my $0.02 worth...........Rodg
I don't think I'd like that. That'd mean having a coffin prebuilt that I could fit in. I think that's a bad omen...layin in a coffin...well at least when you get to be my age.
Russ

Fasttrack
10-23-2006, 05:18 PM
Haha torker's got a point...

No actually i will already be stalking but was hoping to add to it this year by incorporating a few more animated figures. I think, by now, most of the guests suspect that i will be haunting the area so if there are more than one it might be kinda neat.

It was funny last year - i had followed a group for a while through the woods and then i snuck in-front of them and stood really still near some other props. A good freind of my brother-in-law came up to take a closer look and then he saw my eyes in the mask. I didn't even have a chance to actually do anything - he just screamed. He's a pretty big guy but he had an awful girly scream ... ;)

CCWKen
10-23-2006, 05:19 PM
Back in my city-slicker days, we strung a loop of cord between pulleys. We'd hang a sheet from one line and pull it across the yard. Keep it simple since cash flow is a priority. Don't make more of it than it is--Kids night out and giving candy.

Mad Scientist
10-23-2006, 10:54 PM
If you still are looking for a motor and don’t mind taking a little drive up north (Schaumburg) I have a couple junk boxes full of old motors.
I will probably never use all of them, but they are too nice to just throw away. AC, DC, gearhead, etc. So if you want a couple your welcome to them.

Swarf&Sparks
10-24-2006, 12:51 AM
Auto central-locking actuators are cheap, if not free. Fair bit of grunt over a longer range than a solenoid.
Rgds, Lin

Your Old Dog
10-24-2006, 09:09 AM
I realize that you are looking at some sort of "mechanical" device, but..........have you considered just dressing up as a figure (corpse, creature, or whatever) and actually doing the "animation" yourself??

You'd only have to do it for a few hours (most likely 2-3) and then you don't have to worry about electricity, hydraulics, mechanical breakdowns, etc.

You'd be free to "ad lib" and would probably be much more impressive as a "scare tactic".

Besides.........your sister would probable appreciate it a lot more ..........and just think of the comments years from now.......

"Do you remember when you scared the "SH_T" out of so-and-so???

Just my $0.02 worth...........Rodg

I heard of someone doing just that. They made a scarecrow and put it in the yard for over a week so the school kids to get used to seeing it. Then on holloween night they dressed up in a scarecrow outfit and took his place. As I hear it, somekids nealy soiled their pants!!

We usually just put our home movie camera into our tv so when we go get the candy dish the kids who look inside can see themselves on TV. It gets a lot of comments. Not only that but so far we have received no "tricks" of any kind. Our tv is opposite the living room door.