Fogscreen Projection Screen Replica - Freefloating images!

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Picture of Fogscreen Projection Screen Replica - Freefloating images!
First off: I would like to thank everyone for their support, comments, and votes! This has been an amazing experience and I'm so glad all of my trials and tribulations can help new people make their own displays :D

I've always have been into pushing my haunt to the next level each year (3-axis animatronic skulls I designed, home-made rgb led dmx lighting, the hearse, singing busts, projections, etc), and this project was no exception. It is by far my favorite creation and several hundred people stood in front of the yard for hours watching the effect.

After going to Disneyland, and seeing the new addition of Davy Jones and Black Beard to Pirates of the Caribbean the ride, I knew I would have to make my own! :D

Upon further research though.... the information on these is non-existent, as they sell for well over 100k new... which is wayyyyyyyyy out of my budget (and I'm guessing your's if you're on here reading this too!) so I set to work...

If you would like to see the commercial version that I am replicating... Click Here...

Goal- to make an 8ft wide fog projection screen for a penny on the dollar (1k or less - wait wait wait dont look away). What I achieved was an 8ft fog screen, at around $250-300... so that's 3/10's of a cent on the dollar as they say.... sound interesting?

Now I have to apologize at the forefront for the terrible video and low light shots, as all photos were just taken on my camera phone... and thats why I really hope I can win the contest so I can finally get great shots of all of my efforts!

Below are two tests of the unit, and honestly it is very quiet other than the sound of the fogger (thats all you hear in the video).

So if this peaks your interest... read on... and I will do my best to guide you to making your own! Happy Haunting!

And if you enjoy this please vote and check out my other halloween themed instructables. :D

Lastly, this project utilizes power tools, soldering irons, and electricity. Please exercise caution and always wear the proper safety gear! Pleaseeeee......

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maoptimus11 days ago

Great Job!!! I Can't wait to build it!!

axel58901 month ago

so i decided to make a newer dxf file that has an idea i was playing around with for how to mount the fan, the design is for a 4 ft version rather than an 8 so all the numbers are cut in half. basically all i did was add a way of actually attaching the fans with screws or vibration resistant mounting brackets so you can use ultra quite fans.

thedudedrummer (author)  axel589025 days ago

Vibration dampening would definitely cut down the noise on the unit. I just went with what I had available to me (cheap and powerful surplus fans/lumbar/zip-ties) and this allowed me to have the entire bank of fans only held in with 6-8 screws making fan change outs a breeze. But if you are trying to go more professional, I think its a great idea!

the big difference im thinking of doing will be to have the y fans (injectors) at each end of the unit and run a fog machine at each end, or possibly using a ground fogger to hide the fan unit and possibly add a bit of extra fog being pulled into the unit. as to the wiring i mentioned in my other comment attached is the basic drawings of how to wire it up.

thedudedrummer (author) 2 months ago

I tried multiple foggers (everything from 2000w units, to 400w target units, to Chauvet 1050's) but ultimately stuck with the American Dj 1200 HD it was a great output of fog for the money / had a optional dmx remote so I could control it / and I found one used that just needed a tiny fix so I got it for a great deal. They all worked well though. What would be really nice is a continuous output fogger but those typically cost more and go through a ton of fluid.

As to the files, they are linked to the bottom of the instructable step coming up :D it's a zip'd file with a multitude of 3d formats inside.

the solution might be a simple y and a switching controller, to control 2 fog machines. while one is on the other is on standby, then vice versa, cant be that hard to rig up a couple relays to do this.

thedudedrummer (author)  axel58901 month ago

Axel, thats the idea I initially had, using multiple foggers and dmx triggers to activate them, but unfortunately the Y connector caused fog to come out of the other inlet as well. We could take your idea one step further and make a moving door/shutter for the Y connector so that only one inlet is open at a time and I think this would solve the suggestion completely. Great suggestion!

i actually used this with a fog chiller design i was playing around with last year, i ended up using drain pipes, basically i found that 1.5" black drain pipe fits well on most fog machine outputs, so i built what i call an injector its basically a small 12v fan mounted inside a piece of pvc pipe to prevent the fog from coming out the top of the chiller. its just a small 40mm fan with the casing removed and super glued inside a pvc pipe but it works great, has just enough pressure coming in at the 45 degree angle that it prevents fog from flowing back out the inlet in addition to removing the need for that small gap between the fog machine and the pvc inlet. im planning to build a similar fogscreen, only half the length (less power and half the cost) my idea is make transporting it easier, think it would be possible to build it in 4ft linkable sections?

thedudedrummer (author)  axel589025 days ago

That's a pretty cool way to create a ducted fan axel, and that would definitely help increase the airflow into the system. As to the linkable sections, it should be do-able. That is how the commercial units work, though it would take a considerable amount of re-design to prevent seams in the image being visible. I'm definitely interested in checking out your progress.

thedudedrummer (author) 1 month ago

Hi Sean,

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of it attached, but the fog machine outputs fog into the portion of the white tubing that sticks out from the unit. There needs to be at least a 6" gap between the nozzle and pipe to allow air to enter as well, and prevent the hot fog from melting the pvc.

I hope this helps!

Where does the fog machine attach too ?

Does it attach at the end of the unit?

Do you have a picturet of fog machine attached?


Awesome project! What fog machine are you using for the screen?

Alex Hagios3 months ago

Could you send me the files please...

lisamarie3 months ago
This is beyond awesome!
ImLloyd4 months ago

Great job! I've been looking for something like this for months now! How noisy is it with everything running? I'd imagine the fans put out quite a bit of noise as well as noise from the air flow.

thedudedrummer (author)  ImLloyd3 months ago here is one of the very early test videos of the unit (excuse the mess in the background). You can hear the hum of the unit, but the main sound was from the fog machine, so figure it runs at ~1/2 the db of your fogger for a rough estimate. Switching to the ultrasonic misters would cut down on the noise considerably, but brings with it additional costs and it's own challenges.

thedudedrummer (author)  ImLloyd3 months ago

Hi ImLloyd, thank you very much (sorry for the delay, work has been crazy lately). The 12v fans in the center were not audible at all from 3ft or so away. The server fans were not...quiet per say. I was running the at only half the rated voltage, so from 15ft away or so it was a tolerable hum (think standing next to a fridge). I'm guessing around 42-48db (I never thought to measure this) and it was completely in audible over the music I was playing at my haunt. At full tilt though these server fans are 54+ db. You can definitely get much much quieter fans, but these were the best balance between price and performance I could find. As to the noise from the airflow, it was non-existent over the fans surprisingly. Feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

thedudedrummer (author) 8 months ago
Hi Jayepmills, those server ventilation panels are interesting, I've never seen them before. You could use something like that if you'd like, with a fewer number of fans, and it might work alright but honestly the gaps between fans will be visible in the final image. It sounds like perfect image quality is not the primary concern though so this may work out great for you and save a decent amount of build time. The fewer fans you run though, the higher speed you will need to run them at and therefore higher noise. Where you can cut down fans though is in the central portion of the screen. On performance night I actually didn't even use the low voltage central fans as my 12v power supply was being used for my led lighting and the image was 80-90% as good so you could just get away with the two outside banks of fans honestly as long as it is blowing upwards. I am designing a tabletop model and I have another concept for a simplified version as well that if I don't take then into production I will gladly place them on here as instructables. I hope this helps. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will try my best to answer them ASAP (I am in my final semester as a design student so I'm being pulled every which way lol).
jayepmills8 months ago

I am toying around with the idea of fog screen projection in a live theater project later this year. Your work is inspiring. Question about the fans. Is there any alternative to wiring up 80 of those bad boys that you think would result in a good image? What I would be projecting would be even better if it was obscured a little by a slightly less perfect fog screen. I am going for shadows projected on fog. If what I posted below could be found cheaper, what are your thoughts? Or even using just a few desk fans? Thanks in advance!

thedudedrummer (author) 9 months ago
Yes it can definitely be sized down. A member of my haunting group built a 4 foot version for his indoor haunt after seeing mine and it turned out great. He even used a tiny led projector for it since the walk through was extremely dark. :D
pohtaytoe10 months ago
This is incredible! Do you think it would be possible to do this same project in a smaller size, say 6ft or 4ft? Thanks!
tdhg1 year ago
Dang it I can't watch the videos on my iPhone! Could you let me know the youtube name to search for? I tried several combos and your name here and it didn't look like these vids? I voted for you anyway cause you a mad about halloween! Me too bit I could not wire a lamp much less these! And I live where it is hot and I would have to do something with smoke. I tried the chillers am all and it was a no go
Here is his link:
thedudedrummer (author) 10 months ago
Yes it definitely could be inverted if you would like. For me, blowing vertically allowed for the unit to be placed behind a low wall and seem invisible relative to the rest of the yard, vs having a roughly 2ftx2ftx8ft display hanging (and having to build supports/use a ladder to fill the fog machine). Having it on the ground, also allows the projected image to go into the sky vs going onto the floor in front of the unit (as the video is a rear projection). It really depends on your situation. Great suggestion! Thanks!
lukeyeagley10 months ago
Could the whole setup be inverted so the fog blows down? Then people could walk underneath it and through the projected images. This would solve the issues with people potentially walking over it and damaging the aluminum honeycomb.
thedudedrummer (author) 11 months ago
Files up and viewable on Step 2 :D in .c4d, .obj, .dxf, and .3ds formats
thedudedrummer (author) 11 months ago
Thank you very much! And update: I had to rma the radiator because of a leak so the replacement should be here by tomorrow afternoon and I should have the file up right after that. Again my apologies on the delay.
Macflame11 months ago
Excellent! What a really cool project.
thedudedrummer (author) 11 months ago
I will try to pull an all-nighter on it tonight so it can be up here by tomorrow night. I'm switching to watercooling so I need to run the loop for 24hrs before I power up the machine -to check for leaks-
thedudedrummer (author) 11 months ago
Hi BrittLiv, I will gladly do so. My computer is apart this week for some repairs but the second it is together I will have them up on here and email you a set directly. Thank you for your interest. Also please let me know if .obj or etc would be a preferable format.
BrittLiv11 months ago
Hi, you are talking about "template from the .c4d file", but I can't seem to find it. Any chance, that you can re upload it?
thedudedrummer (author) 1 year ago
The video loops I used were mostly from I believe. Some was stock footage I have from my work as a content creator as well. Videoblocks usually has a free trial that allows you to download a limited number of videos a day for two weeks, so it is a great way to source footage on a makers budget. Hope this helps!
kfrohock1 year ago
This is great, where did you get the video you used?
thedudedrummer (author) 1 year ago
As to the transparency issue, you can achieve a much more transparent image with a lower wattage fog machine. When I tested it with a 400w we couldn't see the fog at all at night, but this also resulted in a much dimmer image (and as this was our centerpiece for the haunt we wanted it as bright as possible - with as wide of a viewing angle as possible). But the water vapor has a lower operating cost than a fog machine because of the fluid and power costs (long term). But this design, even with the fans only running at half power was still able to project a great image with ~5mph wind. Thank you again for the amazing compliment! I put my heart and soul into this thing.
thedudedrummer (author) 1 year ago
Thank you very much tdhg and Davidandora! If you'd like to watch the videos on YouTube they're under my other YouTube account of Renderhof. Or my photobucket at Riddomike.
This is spectacular! I've rented one of the professional units for an event. No kidding about the expense of it! Your version with a traditional fog machine is perfect, especially for your outdoor use. The water vapor screen on the unit I used is more transparent, but super sensitive to drafts, wind, etc and for all it's expense would not look as good as yours does in your setting. Great Instructable- Thank you!
thedudedrummer (author) 1 year ago
Thank you very much for the compliment. I actually know the exact ultrasonic misters they use, but those even from china would be 800-1000 plus the additional need to a water pump, filtering sponge to keep the larger drops from escaping, a water level sensor, plus having to ensure everything is water-tight. So my design made some compromises to stay on a haunters budget but I am very pleased with the results. I just wish I had better photos and video of the final product, but the test videos still do a great job of showing the overall effect. Thank you again and best of luck in your fogscreen building ventures. :D
this is exactly what ive been looking for for about a month form looking at the pictures of the "official" fog screen and reading what online info i could about it (because like you said there isn't much info in the technology used) i surmised a pretty similar set up the only thing i was thinking different was the use of ultra sonic atomizers which are also really cheap, but your results are phenomenal either way
Wow,what an amazing setup. I always wanted to try this. You should have a feature jump through the fog timed with something onscreen, like throw a dummy through during a fight scene.
thedudedrummer (author)  Renard_Bleu1 year ago
Yeah, I was thinking about this too :D or make people walk though it ... but I was afraid the aluminum honeycomb would get damaged and I have no way to replace that cheaply. With a few design tweaks though its definitely possible! Thanks for the great idea!!