My friend Felicia volunteers at a small theater in Bend, Oregon. She acted in their production of Richard III, and mentioned to the director of their upcoming production of Evil Dead: The Musical that she might just know someone who could build them a new chainsaw arm to replace the one Bruce Campbell signed the last time they ran the play.
For the uninitiated, Evil Dead: The Musical is based on the movie Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, which was written and directed by Sam Raimi (of Spider-Man fame), and starring Bruce Campbell (of Army of Darkness, Bubba Hotep, and Brisco County Junior fame). The movie is a masterpiece of the comedic horror subgenre, both hilarious and disturbing at times. Crucially to this instructable, there is a scene where the main character, Ash, has to cut off his own hand with a chainsaw. He later replaces his removed hand with that same chainsaw, wielding that and a sawed off shotgun to do battle with the demons he has unwittingly summoned up.
When Felicia asked if I'd be interested in building them a chainsaw arm prop, I leaped at the chance! I'd put that Dalek I've been struggling with on indefinite hold and focus my energies on making the best darn chainsaw arm I could . . . and when they asked if I could, you know, maybe make it spray blood everywhere . . . well, let's just say I stopped chanting "Exterminate! Exterminate!" and started chanting, "Swallow your soul! Swallow your soul!" After that, they even asked me to make them a Necronomicon . . . and how could I not!?
Here's a video of me acting poorly and cutting off my hand:
Here's a hopefully complete list of the stuff I had to buy:
Large juice container
2 small plastic bottles
Roll of sheet metal
A bunch of 5/16" nuts and bolts
1/8"x1" thick aluminum bar
Wood trim about as wide as the aluminum
4" rubber plumbing coupling
1/4" clear plastic tubing
Small hose clamps
Reel of #41 roller chain (if you're not plumbing yours for blood, bicycle chain will work just as well)
A couple of small plastic bowls
With a lot of the things I make, I try and repurpose stuff I already have on hand. These are all things I happened to have lying around, some of it (particularly the CO2 system) might be a bit tricky to source:
CO2 charging system (from a homebrew mini-kegging system)
1" wooden dowel
Spray paint in a variety of colors
7" cedar 2x2
3/8", 7" long carriage bolt
1/4" thick piece of rubber or flexible plastic
Tools used in the manufacture:
Hot glue gun
Finally, I did a lot of research for this, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I based the design on images pulled from Google image search of the Homelite XL chainsaw used in the film, and also that I drew heavily on this instructable, and this one, for inspiration and ideas.