This project was my first attempt at a pneumatic Halloween prop 2 seasons ago. We got fired up to try this after reading MAKE: Special Edition on Halloween. On p. 80, they describe the whole process in good MAKE fashion. Their instructions are good and the magazine is worth purchasing. Just thought we would share our experience in making the project.
Since it was our first compressed air prop, we opted for the kit from Evilusions.com. They are some great guys and were very helpful.
Finally, this is not an inexpensive project since I purchased a few kits and an air compressor. Since I now have worked with the compressor and components for a few years now, I would feel more comfortable recommending purchasing the components separately and more cheaply.
Materials (Total around $300 or so; could be cheaper if you follow many articles on the web about the pneumatic components and purchase them directly and reuse some old Halloween props):
- pneumatic popup kit: http://evilusions.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=71&products_id=914
(shows $200 now)
- prop head: http://evilusions.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=580
- trash can with lid, we used a gray plastic one (about $50)
- a few lumber scraps to build the base, we used 12" or 2x4 and 2 pieces of 12" 2x6, this will vary for your can and angles you use (less than $10)
- wood screws and washers to mount the base in the can, additional screws to make the base and fasten the pneumatic controller and piston to the base
- additional decorations for the pop-up dude...some creativity required here. we -reused an old static prop
- paint and stencil for the can. we used fluorescent green paint and a Powerpoint stencil cut out with Exactos.
- saw to cut scraps for the base
- drill or something else (knife) to punch holes in the trash can (MAKE's project used a metal can)
- screwdriver and wrench/driver
- this project requires an air compressor. I was able to find a sufficient one at the Depot for under $100.