Every year, my son and I do a grounds-up build of a new Halloween display. The goals are simple: the theme should be interactive for the kids, interesting, and give us an opportunity to work with new technologies. In 2007, we built a Monster Machine. We won second place in the Halloween contest Video category in 2008 for our Mutex Lab Tour. Last year, we took third place in the Gadgets and Gizmos category for the Recoiling Cannons of our Pirate-Themed display.
I've divided this year's Instructable into these following categories, with the car getting the most focus:
- James Bond Spy Car
- Spy School: Shoot the Enemy Agents
- Spy School: Bomb Diggity
- Spy School: Test Your Powers of Observation
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Step 1: Spy Car: Overview
Once I thought of the theme, I started thinking about the gadgets that I could put in the car and how I would pull it off. Here are the gadgets that we came with:
- Real honking car horn (signals the start and end of the simulation)
- Rear-facing machine guns
- Front-facing machine guns
- Missile launcher
To get these gadgets to work, I pulled these components together (more details in the following steps):
- 1 laptop in the car that controlled the gadgets
- 1 laptop that displayed a simulation of the chase (with music and sound effects)
- Simulation program
- 1 Phidgets circuit board for controlling a 5v circuit for LEDs
- 2 Phidgets circuit boards for controlling 110v circuits (4 circuits a piece)
- Various devices that can be controlled by 110v circuits
Step 2: Spy Car: Build Your 110v Circuit Boards
I use several products from a company called Phidgets. This year, I used 2 of their relay boards to build two devices that will get me 8 110v circuits that I can control via USB and program that I wrote in C#.net. This program would receive commands from the controller computer and would turn circuits on or off. My 10 year old son and I got a kick out of writing code blocks labeled "Flamethrower On" and "Missiles On".
I followed the instructions on this web site here to create the devices. I'm not going to recreate the instructions that he laid out so well there.
Step 3: Spy Car: Car Horn
Since the spy car chase simulation would take place in between rounds of the Shoot the Enemy Agent game, I wanted to grab everyone's attention. I set it up so that the car would honk at the beginning of the car chase.
The horn was lifted from an old truck that my brother has. We hooked it up to a 12v power supply and then hooked that up to a 110v circuit. I programmed a code block to honk the horn 2 times when a command came from the controller computer.
Step 4: Spy Car: Rear-Facing Machine Guns
The rear-facing machine guns, lasers, and flamethrower were designed as if they would target enemy vehicles chasing the car. I positioned my car so that it was facing forward so that the rear-facing weapons would be projected on the garage door.
To simulate the rear-facing machine guns, I hooked up a strobe light to a 110v circuit. I turned the intensity of the strobe for dramatic effect and set the frequency to match the sound effects being played.
Step 5: Spy Car: Lasers
Just like the rear-facing machine guns, the lasers use a strobe light. I cranked up the intensity, but reduced the frequency to match the laser sound effect that I created. I then hooked it up to a 110v circuit that would be controlled with a "LaserOn" and "LaserOff" code block in C#.Net.
Step 6: Spy Car: Flamethrower
The flamethrower uses a professional DJ light (Martin Mania DC2) that projects simulated flames on the wall. I wired that up to another 110v circuit that would turn on and off through commands from the controller computer. It looks pretty cool projected on the garage door, especially with sound effects.
Step 7: Spy Car: Forward-Facing Machine Guns
For this step, you will need the following:
- A Phidgets board that can control LEDs.
- Two ultra-bright LEDs from Radio Shack
- Some 24 gauge wire
- PCV piping
- Silver paint
- Soldering gun
Solder one wire (about 6 feet in length) to each connector of one LED. This will be the left gun. Solder the opposite ends of the wire to the other LED. This will be the right gun light. Solder about 15 feet of wire to the right LED's connectors.
Cut the PCV into two sections, about a foot long. Paint them silver (metallic paint is even better).
Once dry, insert one light per pipe so that the wire is running through the pipe and the light is just at the opposite end. Tape off the end where the wire is inserted so that the light and wires won't move on you when mounting them in the car.
The far end of the wire will be run to the trunk, where it will be hooked up to the Phidgets circuit board. The C#.Net code will turn the LEDs on and off quickly using a timer. Once the guns are commanded to shut off, the timer stops.
See the step labeled "Spy Car: Mounting the Missile Launcher and Guns" for details on how to mount them to the car.
Step 8: Spy Car: Missile Launcher
The air hose was hooked up in this order (most of this was run underneath the car leading towards the front):
- Air compressor (hidden in the garage)
- 15 feet of hose
- Auto electric drain valve
- Short piece of hose
- Tee connector which split the air hose in two
- 3 feet of hose per branch
- 1 foot of metal pipe per branch (this is what you would set the Nerf rockets upon)
See step labeled "Spy Car: Mounting the Missile Launcher and Guns" for details on mounting this in the car.
Step 9: Spy Car: Mounting the Missile Launcher and Guns
To mount the missile launcher and forward machines guns, follow these steps:
- On each side, locate and remove the 3 screws that hold in the protective covering underneath the small grill. This will give you better access.
- Remove the small grills. There are 4 little hooks on the bumper that you can jimmy a bit to get them off.
- Run the air hoses for the missile launcher through the gap between the protective cover and bumper.
- Secure the air hose to the chassis or other car part with a clamp. Route the pipe (where the rockets will attach) through the front of the car. Be careful not to break anything!
- Using some black foam core board, create two fake grills. Use the real ones for the dimensions. They don't have to be real exact.
- In the fake grills, cut holes for the missile launcher and PCV machine guns.
- Run the guns through the foam core board.
- Push the foam core board up through the gap made between the protective cover and bumper.
- Secure the foam core board with the Handyman's Helper, duct tape.
Step 10: Spy Car: Simulation Software
The simulation screen has four elements to it:
- Satellite view animation of the streets of Paris created using Google Earth
- A "Target" window that shows an animation of which enemy car is being targeted. Each weapon eliminates one enemy car.
- A window that shows James Bond's car and the weapon currently being used.
- A progress window that shows a history of the car chase.
Step 11: Spy Car: Car Positioning and Setup
Since I have two garage doors, I was able to position my car on one side of my driveway, facing at a slight angle towards the audience. This allowed the rear-facing weapons to be projected on the first garage door.
On the second garage door, I projected the car chase simulation (this was also the same program that showed the "Shoot the Enemy Agents" game highlighted later in this Instructable.
I ran all of the cables, wires and air hoses underneath the car, back to the trunk. I put the laptop in the trunk, along with all of the Phidgets controllers, and my wireless router (used for communication between the laptops). The strobe and fire lights I positioned just below the trunk and pointed up towards the garage door. Finally, I carefully closed the trunk so that the wires and cables didn't get sliced.
Step 12: Spy School: Overview
- "Shoot the Enemy Agents", a game that I wrote in C#.Net that allows the kids to shoot enemy spies using Wiimotes.
- "Bomb Diggity" a fun game where kids had dig through a box of objects to find the bomb.
- "Powers of Observation", a game where the kids studied a tray of objects and had to identify which one was removed after a curtain was placed on it.
Step 13: Spy School: Shoot the Enemy Agents
Here's how the game worked:
- An idle screen played at first. �It played some music from the Incredibles soundtrack (not a spy movie, but the music is very spy-ish) along with morse code and Russian transmissions.
- When the kids are ready to start, each would fire their guns while looking at a webcam. �The webcam would then capture their picture for display during the game with their scores.
- When all kids have registered their guns and had their pictures taken, a grid of targets would appear.
- The kids would have 90 seconds to shoot the targets. �Each target shot gets one point for the kid. �
- Also during the game, one of 14 different spy themes would play.
- At the end of the game, the scores would be displayed, along with the kids' pictures.
Step 14: Spy School: Bomb Diggity
- A box
- Enough black cloth to completely cover the box
- Lots of shredded paper
10 or so various circular objects:
- Fill the box with the objects and shredded paper
- Leaving top of the box open, wrap the cloth over the top and sides.
- Use tape to secure the cloth at the bottom.
- Cut a slit (about 6") in the part of fabric that covers the open end.
- On a piece of paper, write down the objects that are in the box.
- In a bad Russian accent, tell the kid that they have to find a bomb in 10 seconds.
- Tell them that the bomb is shaped like one of the objects on your list.
- If they get it right, give them some Halloween candy.
Step 15: Spy School: Test Your Powers of Observation
- A tray
20 or so various objects that will fit on the tray. If they are spy-related, even better. For example:
- Old cell phone
- Toy gun
- Black cloth
- Cut out enough black cloth to cover the tray, leaving a little extra.
- Sew or tape the one end of the cloth over the dowling.
- Arrange your objects over the tray.
- In a bad Russian accent, ask a trick-or-treater to study the objects on the tray.
- Cover the tray with the cloth and remove an object.
- Remove the cloth
- Ask the kid to identify the missing object.
- If they get it right, give them some Halloween goodies.
Step 16: Misc: Costumes
- Dark clothing (sunglasses and Bluetooth-type ear pieces would be a bonus)
- 1920's type spy gear (overcoats, fedoras)
- Austin Powers inspired clothing
- James Bond villain-inspired gear
- Bond girl type outfits
My wife was dressed up as a Russian double-agent Bond girl in 60's attire. Oh la la!
My son wanted to go as a gangster to his school parties and trick-or-treating. A 20's gangster doesn't look too far off from some spy type characters in B&W movies, especially at dark.
Second Prize in the