Introduction: Super Cheap and Easy Fog Chiller

Picture of Super Cheap and Easy Fog Chiller

A fog chiller cools down fog from a fog machine so that it stays low to the ground. This one costs around $5-$10. I had everything I needed already, you probably do also.

Step 1: Materials

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There is not much that you need for this project.

1. Foam cooler
2. Dryer hose
3. fog machine
4. Ice

1. compass
2. knife

Step 2: Measure

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You need to cut a hole in both sides of the cooler for the dryer hose, so:
set your compass to 6.5 cm and draw two circles, on opposite sides of the cooler (longways)

Step 3: Cut

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Cut out the circles you just drew, the cooler should now look like this

Step 4: Feed

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Feed the dryer hose through the two holes. leave one end longer that the other. one side should have about 4 in coming out, the other about 10. try bending the hose inside the cooler to get the most contact with ice.

Step 5: Ice

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Fill the cooler with ice

Step 6: Attach

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Attach The cooler to your fog machine by pushing the longer end of hose around the nozzle of the fog machine. just keep the two together and all of the fog will go into the hose.

Step 7: Fog!

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turn on the fog machine and enjoy your fog not floating away!


psychodj (author)2016-10-18

I made it, didn't really work. How long should the tube 'chill'? I let it chill for two hours then tried it with two different fog machines got the same results: a room full of smoke. No low-lying 'fog'. I think it's time to go back to dry ice.

dag4415 (author)2012-07-29

I have 2 fog machines. Never know when you need one.

JennyJ23 (author)dag44152016-08-30

I love this comment and I completely relate.

AndyH31 (author)2016-08-15

Awesome. Simple but very effective!!!

jasongroupindustries (author)2012-12-18

This is a brilliant discovery.

CaseFace5 (author)2012-10-30

This is brilliant! I always thought this effect would cost a lot more and hated my fog machine just spraying out smoke lol thanks for uploading this!

Aron313 (author)2011-12-24

It kinda sucks that its to big to hide if you have it at your front door.

butterninja (author)2011-10-25

Brilliant Idea. made our £20 purchase well worth it

lolligag (author)2011-10-16

I'd suggest using dry ice so there's no water to clean up.

Shadetree Engineer (author)2007-10-18

I just want to see this fog rolling out of the jaws of my pumpkin, that's all...

Dude,  just put a small glass jar in your pumpkin, fill with water, and add one of those floating pond foggers.  A couple of years ago I used a small salsa jar and one of those pond foggers you can buy at Menards... and it was the coolest effect.  Fog came drooping out of the jack-o-lantern and the foggers had a built in flickering blue LED that lit it up really well.

CodeKid1001 (author)Trivial272011-08-06

do you have any pics of that?

Trivial27 (author)CodeKid10012011-08-06

Unfortunately I don't, that's the one year I forgot to take photos during my "build frenzy" as the bosses call it... lol!  I've gotten better though... now I bring extra camera to let other people take photos as we work. :-)

Anyways, if it helps what I used was a Sunterra Mistmaker Fogger  that I picked up at Menards. It seems they have something similar listed on their website now. (the LED setup is different).

The first time I tried combining the jack-o-lanter, the pond pump, and the mister I put it in the "catch pond".  It wasn't bad but well... you can guess how much better it looked with the fog mister inside the pumpkin...

Trivial27 (author)Trivial272011-08-06

It looked something like this only using a real pumpkin.

If you want low lying fog for cheap, buy a 5 lb block of dry ice from a grocery store.  Krogers has them in my area.  They cost around $7.  Just throw a piece of dry ice in water and it makes low lying fog.  You could put a big piece in a tin can, and put the can on a hot plate, because the hotter the water, the more smoke you get, and the dry ice will eventually cool off the water it's submerged in.  You should stay with one big piece, because it will last longer than lots of little pieces.  Less surface area.  But if you want a TON of smoke, throw a bunch of smaller pieces in hot water.  wont last as long, but it works.  It may be safer to use  some sort of flame, or chemical heat packs for camping, rather than a hot plate, that way in case the water is spilled you won't electrocute anyone.  Safety first.

allenh (author)2007-10-18

I was very excited about this project, till I realized I didn't own a fog machine. Any ideas on how to build a cheap fog machine?

Longtimer (author)allenh2010-08-24

I've used this same principle for about 5 years in my home haunt. Our difference is size and placement. I use a fog machine setting on a table top (under the "machine" to the left of Franky in the 2nd pic), a $12 rubbermaid garbage "can" from Home Depot (behind Franky in the lab in 2nd pic) plus about 25 feet of that same dryer hose coiled inside the trash "can." The inlet for the fog is a couple of inches from the top of the can and the outlet is a couple of inches from the bottom (to hold the melting ice water). I fill it with 2+ LARGE bags of ice - don't skimp! Result is in the pic attached. The later in the night, the colder the ground and the better/longer the fog stays low. I've had it cross the sidewalk and dip down the curb to the street before it rises. Regarding Fog machines ... you get what you pay for. The more volume the more they cost. MOST important is to use a white vinager and water solution to clean the machine BEFORE you put it away for any length of time.

Longtimer (author)Longtimer2010-08-24

OK, I didn't attach the pics correctly. Trying again. Hopefully you will see the fog in the cemetary and the lab on the other side of the "wall" from the cemetary. The fog vents into the cemetary from the Chiller trash can that is behind Franky on the table.

cowsrock87 (author)allenh2009-07-09


T3Hprogrammer (author)allenh2007-10-21

Check the grocery store or walmart. I got mine last year at a grocery store for $13. I don't think it's worth it to build your own.

Hawaii00000 (author)allenh2007-10-19

Its Halloween so try your local party store.

admanrocks (author)allenh2007-10-19

well, I thought i saw a project on here "How to build an iron based Fog Machine" - But I couldn't find it just now when I searched. This one here is only $20 though.

MaXoR (author)2009-10-30

Alternatively if you were to go down to your local super store, or food mart (General Term), you can ask a manager if they sell their dry ice for science projects?

What I mean by "Their" dry ice, is that most of their cooled goods that have to travel by air, will be packed with dry ice. In fact, it could possibly be that they use it for a multitude of other packaging needs as well.

I have purchased pounds of dry ice this way. They have NO use for it after it has arrived, and a token sum is usually all they ask in return, if anything.

So I am thinking this: If you were to trade in your Styrofoam for a rubbermaid container, you could seal the holes around the flexible ducting, and then fill it with alcohol, isopropyl works.... anything with a LOW freezing point. You then put the dry ice into that, and you'll have a SUPER COLD source to cool your fog... you could BLAST TONS through here, and it would all get nicely cooled. (author)MaXoR2009-10-30

the best source i've found for dry ice is the local welding supply shop.  you can buy it in blocks or pellets and its super cheap.

the theater i work in has a couple of homebuilt dry ice foggers that are pretty nice.  all you need is a plastic drum, a  wooden lid, broom handle, wire basket, and dryer hose.  an immersion heater helps, too, but isn't absolutely necessary.  maybe i should make an instructable for that....

threeflags (author)jhvh.one2009-11-03

Yes you should on that instructable. Cheers

MaXoR (author)MaXoR2009-10-30

OH YEAH! another great thing about dry ice is if you put it in water... it AUTOMATICALLY makes "Cool Fog".

websherpa (author)2009-11-02

The ultimate low cost chiller is very simple (and practical for indoor/outdoor piping).  I simply purchase black plastic corrugated drainage tube (the 6" diameter type that is used as weeping tiles for draining house footings.  It comes in perforated and non-perforated and y adapters, end caps and other accessories.  I simply take a bunch of water bottles (that I empty and use year after year) which I throw in the freezer the week or so before Halloween.  They freeze solid.  When ready to chill I "stuff" the supply pipe full of these frozen waterbottles and the fog machine (I have relatively high capacity ones) blows into the tubes (which are laid out to direct the fog where I need it using y adapters and sometimes smaller tubes or black dryer venting.  I also use Froggy Swamp Fog Juice for nice low lying fog.  You can get colder if you do use the ice cubes and salt method in a cooler, but I haven't noticed enough of a difference because it's almost always windy around Halloween time here.  For outdoor displays, lack of wind and a cold night help the most in keeping fog near the ground.

sugarpie16 (author)2009-11-01

 hey thanks, I have a fog machine that I almost gave up on because I was wanting this may have very well saved it's life for next year!

astrong0 (author)2009-11-01

could you make the hose that is the same inner diameter as the nozzle of the fog machine and turn it around in a spiral to make a ultra-thick fog?

jarv34 (author)2007-10-12

has anyone tried this with dry ice instead to see if it makes a significant difference with how long the fog stays closer to the ground?

shroud (author)jarv342007-10-18

The professional chillers use the same design concept and always use Ice. Melted ice provides better surface area contact with the heat exchanger tube than dry ice. Adding salt ( or sidewalk de-icer granules) to the ice will lower the melting point, providing colder water. Dry ice in acetone is an old science class trick to maximize contact area and maintain extremely low temperatures - but on this scale the fumes pose a severe health problem and rather impressive explosion hazard (though to some of us around here a grand fiery explosion might be considered a feature rather than a hazard.)

Cabe (author)shroud2009-10-31

Free pyrotechnics! :)

RichardBronosky (author)shroud2007-10-18

Not to mention that acetone would melt the polystyrene cooler, and probably the foil infused plastic hose.

BlueFusion (author)jarv342007-10-18

Dry ice fog stays on the ground anyway. Get 3 blocks of dry ice, break them up and dump in a large crate of water. Bingo ground fog,

Hawaii00000 (author)BlueFusion2007-10-19

true but not as effective

BlueFusion (author)Hawaii000002007-10-19

not as effective??? Dude I have done it, got enough fog with those quantities to COVER the floor of a 200m2 hall!

T3Hprogrammer (author)BlueFusion2007-10-21

Its also more expensive for long runs and less controllable.

BlueFusion (author)T3Hprogrammer2007-10-21

true, but there are pro dry ice machines that simply heat the stuff to make the co2 sublime (change from solid to gas) faster. They have pipes and ducts attachable for greater control.

T3Hprogrammer (author)BlueFusion2007-10-22

I thought they moved away from dry ice fog because people started passing out from lack of oxygen...

BlueFusion (author)T3Hprogrammer2007-10-22

It's fairly safe, as long as you don't go overboard with the amount of dry ice. A block or two is enough for about 100 square metres, and the co2 stays so low to the ground you'd have to lie down to inhale it. Some simple googling and mathematics tells you exactly how much gaseous co2 there is in a single block, I think it's somewhere in the region of 15 cubic metres but I may be wrong, so don't take my word for it.

Hawaii00000 (author)BlueFusion2007-10-22

maybe your right but i'd rather stick with the fog machine because it looks neater (you don't have buckets of water everywhere) and is not as hard to get.

bitterbug (author)Hawaii000002009-10-30

Maybe not as hard as you think. Check with your local supermarkets to see if any of their deliveries come with dry ice.
You may be able to get some for free.

BlueFusion (author)Hawaii000002007-10-23

your right there. :)

Aud1073cH (author)T3Hprogrammer2007-10-25

Blue Fusion is right, if you calculate how much CO2 you are adding to the air, and know the capacity of fresh ventilation your room has, you will know how much Oxygen is being displaced by the CO2, and how much fresh O2 is coming back in. Then you can keep a safe level.

Professional systems known as cryo-fog (for cryogenic = cold) will use liquified gasses to chill the moisture already in the air to create fog. These systems will use liquid CO2, liquid nitrogen, and run into the same safety concerns. Or they can use liquid air (mix of liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen), but because of the extra oxygen, more fire protection may be required.

plopcow (author)BlueFusion2009-08-21

im in ottawa and where can i get dry ice

lil_brown_bat (author)2007-10-18

Who has a fog machine lying around? Other than that, sure, it's a $5-$10 project.

admanrocks (author)lil_brown_bat2007-10-18

the real question is who doesn't

Pyrowuzzup (author)admanrocks2009-10-18

 Normal people don't have 7 fog machines in their basement? What?

You forget, not all normal people have basements - my fog machine has to be stashed in my work shop/corner. Only one though, until I get a bigger shop.

But, thanks to Goodwill, I am cool like ballerboi because I have a fog machine. My wife still doesn't really understand this fact.

timbudtwo (author)admanrocks2007-10-18


About This Instructable




Bio: my name is Adam!
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