Introduction: Fog Chiller for Cheap Fog Machine

I purchased one of those cheap fog machines (30$) for Halloween this year. It works fine, and it even comes with an IR remote for stealthy operation! It did what it should, it spewed out some fog, but it was hardly as satisfying as I had hoped. The smoke dissipated quickly and didn't have a whole lot of substance to it. It was wispy, thin, and light, and I was starting to think to myself that I should have splurged on the more expensive model. Some reading on Google let me know that the secret to good thick billowy fog that clings is chilling it down. Blow the smoke over ice or dry ice. Well I cannot readily get my hands on dry ice, and initial tests of placing an ice pack in the path of the fog jet worked great. It really does improve the quality of the fog. I quickly set about looking through my junk bins to slap together a cheap chiller. I am pleased with the results.

Step 1: Gather Your Junk

There are only two key components for this project, and even those are flexible.
You will need :
-Something that will serve as a cooling chamber. (I used an old cooler, you need something that can withstand the ice and the heat of the fog)
-Something to direct the fog safely from the nozzle of the machine into your cooling chamber. (The thing to remember here is that fog machines get hot. I used 1.5 inch Diameter PVC pipe.)

Step 2: Fit Your Pipe

First thing to do is get the fog pipe fixed on. This particular machine has a nice little extrusion around the fogging nozzle that is a near perfect mate to the PVC. Lucky stuff! A little adjustment with the Dremel will give a nice pressure fit for your fog directing tube.

Step 3: Cut Some Holes Into Your Fog Chamber

Now you need some holes in your fog chamber. I used the pipe (fitted to the fog machine) to get the proper height, and then used a hole saw to cut out my holes. You are almost finished making your fog machine awesome.

Step 4: Seal It Up Tight

Now it is time to seal it up good as you can manage, and secure your fog feed pipe to your chamber. I just used whatever I could find to do the job, but I don't think this step is all that critical. I used foam tape to make a better seal around my cooler lid, and I used hot glue to seal around where the pipe enters the chamber. Some angled fittings came in to my design, but this was because I wanted to have a modular fog exit where I could change the dispensers at will. Once you are satisfied, fill your chamber up with your ice of choice, attach your fog machine and start making some thick clingy fog. I decided to omit pictures of the fog machine creating fog because it would be like spoiling a good movie. Try it out, it is a 15 minute hack, it works great. Now go incorporate it into your next Halloween Project. Happy Foggy Halloween!

If you really want to see it in action, here is a link to a video of it.
http://youtu.be/7i19JEyvdCA

Comments

author
juice1971 (author)2011-10-26

Hi Everyone, i've been reviewing all these fog chiller ideas and I love them all. One question though, all designs involve cutting one hole high and the other low for the fog to seep out. If I wanted to use the indoors I'd be worried about the ice melting and water going all over the floor. I am wondering if you could direct the fog to the bottom of the cooler and then back up to the top somehow ( perhaps with PVC) so you would have a resevoir for the water to collect in.

Anyone have any ideas to share. It important because in my particular setup, my fog machine would be near some lighting and sound and I can't afford any electrical issues or shorts.

Thanks for your thoughts.

author
fjordcarver (author)juice19712011-10-26

I use ice packs, much less mess, my holes are both low with ample room for condensation water to collect below the lip on the inside of the cooler, further to that, I sealed up where my hoses connect, so there is virtually no leakage. The fog will rise as it will always be hotter than the ice. so you don't need to redirect it. just pump it into a chamber that has ice in one form or another and let it out when and where you like. If you'll be running indoors, you'll want to have precise control over it as it really augments output, and you won't want to be asphyxiating anyone. the real trick in my opinion is having could seals, something safe connecting to the output of the machine because it gets hot. and a decent enough chamber to cool down the fog at a reasonable rate.

author
juice1971 (author)2011-10-26

Also what if I drilled the holes near the top instead of the bottom - anyone try that?

author
fjordcarver (author)juice19712011-10-26

It would work too. Remember heat rises. That is why I chose the bottom for both. My logic was this, hot smoke enters the chamber and rises up through cold ice packs, as it cools it drops back down low and rolls out the other side. My brother made one similar in design (after reading my instructable) where he allows all the smoke come out at the top end. He was going for a toxic cauldron effect, it works great because it is a nice tall container, so the fog has ample time to cool, which is really all we are after.

author
TOCO (author)2011-10-23

I have made ones like this and they worked great for my fog machine from menards for $14. But the cheap fog machine burned out and stopped working. So the day after halloween a couple years ago I bought the one from target with a built in fog chiller. But the ice compartment is so small and if you fill it all the way the fog doesnt come out. So this year I am going to try a few small pieces of dry ice at a time.

author
fjordcarver (author)TOCO2011-10-23

I think it is very important to clean them so as not to let to much residue build up and dry on during storage. I will have to let you know if/when mine burns out. So far I am pleased. Would love to put a hunk of dry ice in the chiller and see what it would produce, hard to find around here. Being that the fog from the machine enters the chamber hot, dry ice would probably increase the output to the point of requireing a fan. If anyone tries them together, post a picture or vid.

author
ryaneaton88 (author)2011-10-22

Cool way to do it! Made mine today, Works great!

author
fjordcarver (author)2011-10-20

Thanks for the comment khendar, I guess that you are right, although I hadn't thought about it so much. It works pretty darn good for my needs. And I would have to say that the smoke is quite clingy and hugs the ground great too. You can see it in my youTube video. This particular little fog/smoke machine is vaporizing a glycerin water mix. 30$ at the Walmarts and in my opinion better than the more expensive model. (The cheap one has an IR remote whereas the more expensive model is a corded remote, I'll show you why I think that is better in my next 'ible)

author
khendar (author)2011-10-20

I think its worth pointing out that there are two types of machines for making "fog". There's chilled fog machines, which use dry ice or niquid nitrogen, plus water to create ground-hugging fog, and there are heated fog machines, or smoke machines, which use mineral oil heated to a vapour. Fog machines tend to produce fog which hangs around longer, whereas heated smoke machines tend to dissipate faster.

It looks like you've created a kind of hybrid of the two, a mineral oil smoke machine with a chamber to cool the smoke to prevent it dissipating as quickly.

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