I wanted to build a decoration for Halloween to impress the trick or treaters. I searched Instructables and You tube for ideas. I want to give credit to DIYhaunter and also jarame for their projects. They both have great instructables and inspired me to build my own. I didn't plan on making an instructable, so I don't have pictures of all the steps. I did try to get pictures of everything after it was done. All of the parts for this project were recycled or reused. I wanted to do this as cheap as possible also. I know that a few of the parts might not be accessible to everyone, but alternatives can be used. I was able to salvage some of the parts from work.
Step 1: Step 1: Pallets From a Neighbor
A neighbor asked me if I wanted some pallets. My wife said yes with the intentions that I was going to build HER projects. The pallets laid behind the garage all summer. The beginning of October I started by dismantling the pallets. They were dry and cracked but in good shape otherwise. I used a sawzall to cut the nails instead of trying to pry them apart. I had a little help from the kids when I started building the box.
I have no 45 degree cuts or anything that would make this difficult while the kids were helping. I did have use of a chop saw and a table saw during the building of the box. We used screws for the entire project for ease of assembly and just in case we made a mistake or changed or minds.
I started by stacking the boards on top of each other to get an idea of how tall the sides would be. Stacking the boards 5 high equaled 17". This seemed big enough to get all of my future electronics in. The box is rectangular. The pallets were 42" wide, so I left the boards that length. The sides I cut to 15".
We used 1 1/4" all purpose screws to attach the picture framing to the boards.
Step 2: Step 2: the Lid
The bottom of the box and the lid are the same size as the long sides. 42" x 17". I used (2) 1" x 3" hinges to connect it. The lid will be lifted and dropped with the use of a motor.
Side note: At about this point my wife entered the garage. She asked what I was doing. She liked the box! She then asked what I was doing with the box when Halloween was over. I figured I would put the box in the garage and leave it for next year. She wanted to use it to put all the kids snow clothes in on our porch. This made me reconsider some of the things I wanted to do to the box. Everything from this point on, I made sure could be removed.
Step 3: Step 3: the Electronics
The circuit board is attached to a piece of plywood that is screwed to a 2x4 frame. The idea is that everything can be removed. I tried to make everything modular.
The box is powered by 120 volt AC and stepped down to 12 volt DC.
The box works as follows:
1. A person walks in front of the box and sets off the motion detector. The sensor is on the outside of the box mounted in a receptacle box.
2. The motion sensor will stay on and continue to complete the circuit until it no longer sees movement.
3. I want the box to shut off after 5 seconds. I want the trick or treaters to be surprised. I also want the box to reset for the next group to come through. Because the motion sensor would keep the box opening and closing the whole time, I added a second timer that opens the circuit after 5 seconds. It will reset after the motion sensor no longer sees movement. They are wired in series for this reason. The motion sensor resets after about 42-47 seconds of no movement.
4. The receptacle is energized for the 5 seconds the timer is active.
Step 4: Step 4: the Inner Workings
As the receptacle is energized, the box comes alive.
5. I connected a string of red Christmas lights inside the box to give of a glow when the box is energized.
6. The windshield wiper motor starts spinning and lifts the lid of the box. The lid has a wedge that rides on top of the wiper arm. When the arm reaches the end of the wedge, the lid drops.
7. After 5 seconds of running, the timer deenergizes and the box stops. After 45 seconds of no movement, the motion sensor resets and the box is ready for the next group of trick or treaters.
I cycled the box many times to see if i could make any improvements. I added
Step 5: Step 5:
I cycled the box many times and added a few things to make it better. I cut sections of chain and connected them to the box by hanging the links from screws. This was helpful to have the chain not actually screwed on because I opened the box many times to make small changes to the timing. The chain made a little extra noise and looked really good.
The box wasn't very scary though. It was quiet. I needed something to surprise the trick or treaters. I found a Dust Buster vacuum motor. I drilled a hole in the shaft and connected on a small length of chain. When the box energized, the vacuum motor spun and the chain made a horrible noise in the box. This really made them jump!! Many parents were caught off guard and pointed and laughed. It got great satisfaction from this. It worked.
Step 6: The Parts
(2) pallets (free)
(1) timer (free reclaimed)
(1) motion sensor (free reclaimed)
(1) Ford Focus wiper motor ($15 junk yard)
(1) set of Christmas lights ($4 store)
(1) Dust Buster motor (free reclaimed)
(1) 120v AC to 12v DC transformer (free reclaimed)
(1) receptacle (had it in my garage)
(2) receptacle boxes ( had in my garage)
(2) 1" x 3" hinges ($3 hardware store)
(4) fender washers (free reclaimed)
(1) terminal strip (free reclaimed)
misc: wire nuts, 14 gauge wire, plumbers strap, rope, screws, chain, electric tape, staples, screws, lock, lumber. All were in my garage so they were minimal to cost of project.