How to build a quick and easy pneumatic prop for Halloween

Picture of How to build a quick and easy pneumatic prop for Halloween
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A while ago, someone posted an instructable on a Halloween pneumatic which "popped" out of a toxic waste can.  I wanted to build it, but I didn't have any of the equipment and I'm somewhat frugal so I set out to see if I would be able to replicate it with items that I already had around the house.

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Step 1: Build your based for piping in compressed air

Picture of Build your based for piping in compressed air
I used 3/4 and 1/2 inch pvc pipe.  I just eyeballed the sizes, although I wanted all the pieced together to fit onto a piece of plywood which would then fit into the bottom of a trash can.  So you might start with measuring the bottom of your can (or box or whatever to see how large or small you need to make it.

As I said, I used items around the house - so I had a water hose splicer,

Step 2: Connect Pieces to build base.

Picture of Connect Pieces to build base.
As you can see, I used the 3/4 T with the 1/2 inch connector as the center.  I extended each end about 5-6 inches just to stabilize the base (I anchored it down with 3/4 pipe hangers - shown later).

Step 3: Build your pneumatic cylinder.

Picture of Build your pneumatic cylinder.

This was the really easy part for me.  I just needed to know how much I wanted my prop to be lifted up and cut a piece of 3/4 inch pipe just about that length.  This will house your piston and eventually connected to the base I build earlier.
esemjay3 years ago
So for next year I'd like to make some modification suggestions. Same concept and essentially the same set up just a different trigger idea.

I'd use a rigged box to trigger the pop up. A push rod attached to the lid triggers the air gun. What you put in the box is up to you.

The other idea is use a pull cord with a "Pull for treat" sign on it. Once again triggers the airgun and pop up.

Lastly for the pop up I'd mount the piston horizontally and on the end I'd place a fake hand. For a Quick and easy hand simply get a pair of rubber kitchen gloves. (Green ones are best...looks alien when done) Cut one of the gloves into tiny triangle shapes. Then using rubber cement, glue the shapes to the second glove for "scales". Inflate the modded glove and attach. Camoflage behind a curtain.

jbulot (author) 4 years ago
I've never measured it, but depending upon how small you make it and how tight the seal is, I think it would easily move the pin. That said, it won't lift 10 lbs, but i think the forward (or upward) momentum focused should be enough....If that makes any sense.
rocketman204 years ago
How much force does it push up with. I was thinking of using it to push a pin out to launch a rocket, and it takes about 10 lbs of force to pull it out.
jbulot (author) 4 years ago
I've read a little about them...may play around with something over the next year and see what I can come up with...I know have an entire garage to play with for next year too!
severepb4 years ago
nice idea. good job
jbulot (author)  severepb4 years ago
Thanks...someone else on here did it first, but it seemed to complicate..thought it could be easier.
carlos66ba4 years ago
Very cool!
jbulot (author)  carlos66ba4 years ago was a great success - until a blew a fuse - old house - only 2 outlets in my entire garage! couldn't run 2 fog machines and an air compressor for very long :(
ThawedHead4 years ago
Nice work. You could extend it with an Arduino and some sort of motion sensor or IR sensors (like at the bottom of a garage door) to have it go off automatically when victims are nearby. You could also have the Arduino play some audio to go with it.

Nicely done.
Everything could use more arduino :)