I wanted to come up with a more creative way of giving out candy to trick-or-treaters this year. I had the idea for turning the front of my garage into a lab with a monster that sits up. Originally, I was going to use a big garage opener motor to make the monster sit up but I really didn't know how to make it work properly so I decided to go manual by adding a big Frankenstein-style switch.
Step 1: Materials
I tried to use what I already had lying around as much as possible. All in all, I only had to buy the steel rod and the pipe insulation which added up to around $5
-Threaded steel rod
-1" Pipe insulation (for chains)
Step 2: Framework
For the main structure, I attached two pallets and ripped out the 6th plank from the head of the table. I rested them on crates I had lying around and covered them with dark sheets. I cut some spare PCV pipe a bit longer than my torso and attached it to the pallet with a bolt to create the main hinge. I tied rope to the end that is under the pallet and added "arms" with threaded rod and more pipe. The back end of the arms were tied to the pallet so that when the torso goes up, the arms are pulled up as well.
Step 3: Control Panel
For the switch that makes this monster move, I created a control panel with some plywood and spare wood I had. I cut a hole in the plywood, behind the switch in the "off" position, which I threaded my rope through so that I could attach it to the switch. I painted it gray and added some printouts and a twisty extension cord to make it look like it belongs in a mad scientist's lab. I got inspiration for the aesthetics from:
Step 4: Finishing Touches
The rest was just dressing up the dummy and adding some finishing touches. For the dummy, I used old clothes stuffed with newspaper and added a creepy mask and bowl between his hands. I hung up a sheet to block off the rest of the garage (which was starting to look quite messy). I added chains to the corners of the table by cutting the pipe insulation every 1/2 inch and linking the rings together. Credit for the idea goes to:
Step 5: IT IS ALIVE!!!...sorta
So I had to tweak this thing a whole lot by adding counterweights and switching to stronger rope. The extra load of the arms moving turned out to be too much for the switch to move without using a system of pulleys which I didn't have time to add so I ended up cutting the string that moves the arms. Not a huge loss since the torso still rises up and down but now the arms just lay in the dummy's lap.
In hindsight, I probably should have done some simple lever calculations to see how much force I would need to move it.
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