October 06, 2004 was when I took my
little Home Haunt; know as Village Haunt to the next level by going air powered. It all started one February morning. As I was eating breakfast while reading a day old newspaper, I came across Death Fest 2004. Unfortunately I did not make it out to the event, but I did however write down Wil Shock’s Deathlord.net web address. This was the first time I had ever looked to the Internet for anything Halloween related. As I browsed through all of Death Lord’s many prop pages, I discovered the wonderful world of bicycle pumps and washer machine valves. Holly smokes, I just could not wait to get started.
Hopefully these FREE instructions will help others to advance their Home Haunts.
Step 1: Part 1 the Start?
Out of all the
props I seen as I surfed, none hit me as hard as the Trash Can Trauma, or TCT, as most people refer to them.
The idea of hiding something scary inside an everyday item is ingenious!
Several projects I came across helped me to create my TCT.
I must give credit where credit is due...
I was inspired by these two Pop-ups seen on the Death Lord and Vile Things sites.
IS WHY SHARED INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT!!!! <<<
Here is a brief description of Village Haunt's TCT functions: The Haunt-Master built-in IR sensor triggers the prop operation. The Haunt-Master’s first controllable timer kicks on.
This applies AC power to both modified washer machine valves. The first modified washer machine valve sends regulated air to the lid’s bicycle pump, and the second modified washer machine valve sends regulated air to the Vertical Slide Assembly’s twin bicycle pumps. The Haunt-Master controller also kicks on the sound FX and the lighted eyes.
The Vertical Slide Assembly is timed to come up after the lid is at full open. The retractable mechanical arms then extend at the full raise position. Then, twin series micro switches insure the Vertical Slide Assembly has come to its full height. The twin series micro switches close the circuit to the tilt solenoid/cylinder system. This forces the prop to JUMP forward! (Excellent for scaring!)
At the moment the tilt occurs another switch triggers the air cannon, BLASTING the VICTIM with a big pulse of air!
Finally the Haunt-Master’s second timer kicks in, taking power away from the lid and Vertical Slide Assembly, which causes air bleeds to retract the bicycle pumps. This causes the twin series micro switches open the circuit to the tilt solenoid/cylinder system causing the 3 way tilt solenoid to apply full air pressure to the tilt back circuit. This kicks the prop back to its upright position, where it slowly decompresses and retracts back to it's resting place inside the trashcan.
To get all of this to work together and be self-contained is really nice! So now are ready to see how I did it? Well then, here we go.
Step 2: Home Made Air Solenoid
As per the Deathlord.net site, I modified my washer machine valves using parts from my local home improvement store.
Here is one of the modified washer machine valves after the surgery.
Step 3: Mounting a Bicycle Pump Into a Trashcan
I mounted a bicycle pump into the biggest trashcan that Home Depot offers. With the modified washer machine valve connected and a air regulator in place, I proceeded to apply about 30 psi to the bike pumps. This caused the trash can lid to raise when AC power was applied to the valve. An adjustable air bleed was added to allow the lid to closed when power was removed from the valve.
Step 4: Vertical Slide Assembly
Next I made the Vertical Slide Assembly. I welded 4 ball bearing draw slides together to make my rising linkage.
Two slides were welded back to back on each side..
Then I brace/welded them together on their non-moving rails, tops and base.
In the pictures you can see both the retracted and extended positions.
I mounted two more bicycle pumps so that the first pump lifted the lower rail stage, while the second lifted the upper rail stage. Another modified washer machine valve, air bleed and regulator were used to command the bicycle pumps. Again you can see both the retracted and extended positions.
Step 5: The Tilt and MAIN
I made the Tilt Base out of square tubing and heavy door hinges.
I welded the Vertical Slide Assembly to the Tilt Base and then I added a Bimba Air cylinder for tilt control.
I added two Micro Switches to the Vertical Slide Assembly. One switches on when the lower unit is fully extended and the other switches on when the upper unit is fully extended.
I wired the switches in series, so that both switches must be contacted before an output is generated. This insures the Vertical Slide Assembly has been fully extended before the next event occurs. The lowest arrow is pointing out the tilt switch. The tilt switch turns on at full tilt, sending power to the future shoulder air cannon.
Step 6: Gettin' Canned
I placed the Vertical/Tilt assembly into my modified trashcan.
At 6 foot 200 pounds, it was very difficult for me to craw inside and mount the assembly. I had to force my body inside the can to drill the holes and insert the fasteners. I telling you, it was like playing Twister in the trunk of your car.
Step 7: Up in Arms
Then I built the Extending Arm Linkage (Stolen from Vilethings.com).
This linkage extended and retracted out real nice.
Here is one side all together with its shoulder mount.
Both arms were welded to the Lift Assembly.
Cables were attached from the Vertical Slides to the Arm’s elbow linkages.
My buddy gave me a small FREE homemade air cannon. I attached a Jacuzzi flex hose to the cannon’s output port.
Then I mounted (STUFFED!) the air cannon to the inside of my trashcan and draped the flex hose over the shoulders of my TCT.
With all these hoses everywhere, it sure was challenging to keep everything happy.
Here is the crazy part were I mounted the two modified washer machine valves, air bleeds, hoses and wiring!
I connected up my TCT’s brain, the HauntMaster Timer with PIR sensor.
A quick test shows it’s ready for action. I added pool noodle foam over the arms to thicken them up.
Attaching the cables in this manner (ABOVE) caused the arms to be pulled up as the slides expanded upward.
Looking inside, you can see the chaotic mess of hoses, wires, valves, etc…
In this shot you can see the ECT, upper switch, Slide air cylinders, Tilt switch and tilt cylinder.
Step 8: Black Out
I sprayed flat black on everything to help hind the inners.
I covered the gauges and ECT so paint would not get on them.
Step 9: Head Out...
I moved on to building the TCT head.
I hung the mask upside down to simplify filling it with Great Stuff foam.
I filled just the very top of my mask with Great Stuff spray foam.(I kept the level from reaching the eye sockets.
I used LED taillights from Wal-Mart for the eyes. These cheap lights are terrible for your car, but work great for this project. Since they have a cluster of little LED’s, you won’t need to worry about one LED burning out and causing an eye not to light up.
I soldered wires onto the lights and glues them into a cardboard tube using 5-Minute Epoxy (My favorite glue). I also cut a ping-pong ball in two and glued the halves into the tubes. I TESTED THE LIGHTS BEFORE INSTALLING THEM (IMPORTANT).
I hot glued the eye tubes into the mask, tightly forcing the ping-pong eye lens against the inside of the mask.
After I placed both tubes in place, I covered them with another layer of Great Stuff foam. I kept the foam level about even with the mouth. Let it dry before going on to the next step.
Then I routed the wires up and out and placed a pcv tube with a tee fitting (Works as an anchor) into the mask void. More Great Stuff foam was added to the neckline.
I let the foam cure over night.
Step 10: Let's Make Some Noise!
Moving on to the sound FX. I found this little screaming witch at
Wal-Greens for about $3 bucks. I ripped out the sound box and wired it to a small 3VD power supply.
Hacked up my old homemade (Redneck) motorcycle tank topper stereo. Don’t laugh… I ripped out the twin $20 Radio Shack boosters. Hey, I said stop laughing at me.
I placed the witch sound box inside a metal enclosure and wired its speaker output into the first booster. I than took the first boosters output and wired it into the second boosters input. The second booster’s output was then connected to a single Radio Shack 3way speaker. Boosters were powered by a 12VDC power supply. (Yes, computer speakers would have been the right choice, but then I would still have all that Redneck junk lying around.)
I mounted an old piece of paneling to the front of the raise assembly, and then I bolted the single speaker to it. I added more Great Stuff foam around the speaker to reduce bass vibration. After the foam dried I sprayed everything again with flat black paint.
I dressed the TCT and installed the head. The shirt was from a zombie costume I bought and the rubber gloves were just crap I found.
I quick tip to the local Halloween store and $45 bucks later, I was able to install these cool hands. I tuned in all the different timers (ETC), regulators, and bleeds to get the props timing just right. Awe…very nice indeed.
I then went on to the biggest project of all… Cleaning up my mess!