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How to Build a Spooky Working Drawbridge with Sounds and Light

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When we first conceived of the idea of adding a drawbridge to our Medieval themed haunted forest, we envisioned a simple wooden bridge with some spooky chains. But as I'm sure many of you know, "simple" ideas rarely stay that way when left in the minds of people who have the desire to create. Before we knew it, we had a fully working drawbridge complete with sound and burning torches. And we did it all with borrowed and recycled materials. However, we left the cost at medium, because depending on how much scrap material you have available, the cost could be anywhere from free (as it was for us) to very expensive.
 
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Step 1: Gathering Materials

Picture of Gathering Materials
drawbridge complete.JPG
Our first mission was to find something to use as the drawbridge itself. We had one weekend to finish this project, so we didn't want to build anything we could scavenge or borrow. We found an old sliding door from a derelict barn that worked perfectly (although we did have to add some reinforcement on one edge because of rotten wood). You will need to cut two holes in one side of the door (whichever side will be the top with the drawbridge closed), one on each edge big enough for a large chain to pass through-2"-3" diameter should do it. (We used a small chainsaw to make the cutout, but a hole saw or reciprocating saw would work well also.) If you don't have access to an old barn, we will include a step at the end on replicating the door using dimensional lumber. As for the frame, we happened to have some leftover material from a bridge building project. We used pressure treated 8" x 8", 3" x 12", and 6" x 6" timbers. This is where this project could get very pricey. Try to find as much scrap lumber as possible. It doesn't have to be these exact dimensions, but if you want the stability and ominous feeling ours possessed, then it should be close. The chains we used were heavy 3/8" binding and tow chains. If you don't have any heavy chains yourself, maybe you know someone who owns some heavy machinery who would loan their chains out. Some other options might be pawn shops, second hand stores, and metal recyclers. The metal screens we used on the sides of the drawbridge were bought (for another project) at a metal recycler.
tinker2342 years ago
wow you know i think a windsheild motor and a motion dector could make it go up and down on its own
hetwieg3 years ago
Rely this is a nice thing for the street salter @ halloween this year
ewilhelm6 years ago
Awesome! The sound of the chains when you lowered the drawbridge must have been amazing. I wish my front door looked like this all year round!
Well, technically, you could do that...
That would be one interesting front door...
lol!
rjtodd13 (author)  ewilhelm6 years ago
Thanks for the nice comment! We were a little suprised that the project turned out so much better than we'd planned. The sounds were perfect to send those little chills up your spine!
why can't it?
He's got a point...you could definitely just move the hinges to the bottom of the door, paint it and add some chains.
dutchboy125 years ago
hehe if you just let lay some humans with costumes under the bridge it will scare the sh*to out of them XD hehe or somethin with a pneumatic pump that pushes a ghost or other scary thing in air hehe and then from other side there come humans from under the bridge they will be scared as ** xD
Honus6 years ago
Wow- you really went all out! That's quite an entrance and would be a killer addition to any haunted house/attraction.
rjtodd13 (author)  Honus6 years ago
Thanks! We had a lot of fun building this for a Halloween party for our son's school. Last year the kids all bragged about not being scared, so this year we tried to step it up a little.
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