Ultimate DIY Fog Chiller

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About: We're Jaimie and Jay! We're a husband and wife maker team who host the Wicked Makers Youtube Channel and make rad stuff. Our projects include woodworking, metalworking, props, halloween decor, costumes, DnD ...

Intro: Ultimate DIY Fog Chiller

Every year at our house we do a huge New Orleans/"Voodoo" themed Halloween Haunt and one of the hallmarks of our setup is our creepy cemetery fog that continually rolls through the yard. This DIY Fog Chiller makes the fog stay about 2-3" off the grass and as the kids walk through the fog it swirls around and creates an amazing effect!

This is a REALLY SIMPLE AND FUN project that only takes 1-2 hours to make and can usually be made with materials you probably already have around the house. :)

If you're looking for a great way to up your Halloween game this year with an easy DIY project, you've found it!


HOW DOES IT WORK?

Since we know that hot air rises up and cold air sinks down, normally fog from a fog machine will rise up and spread out since it's hot when it comes out of the machine. We want it to be cold and sink down so we pump the fog into a container filled with ice. The fog goes into the container towards the top and then has to sink down through the cold ice to come out of the bottom. This chilling effect makes the fog super cold so when it comes out it stays low to the ground.

MATERIALS:

- Storage Bin, Bucket, Container, etc. (Something plastic with a lid.)

- Chicken Wire or Screen

- Paint

- Silicone or Glue

- Screws and Washers (Any Size)

- PVC Pipe (We used 2" Diameter but it can be any size)

- Drain Plug (Optional)

TOOLS USED:

- Drill

- Screwdriver

- Scissors

- Saw (Hacksaw, Jig Saw, Bandsaw, something to cut the PVC)

- Tape Measure

- Black Marker

- Hot Glue Gun

Step 1: The Container!

For our container, we used a plastic storage bin with a lid that we had around the house. You could also use a bucket, or a tupperware container, basically anything that has a lid and is made of plastic.

In both ends, we drilled a circular hole near the bottom. This hole should be the same diameter as the PVC pipe you're using. If you don't have a drill bit that big, you can also carefully cut it out with a razor blade.

Roughly halfway up the container, we then made 8 marks. 3 on each long end and 1 on each short end. With a small drill bit we drilled a pilot hole through the container on each of these marks.

We then used a small screw and a washer, with a dab of silicone and screwed it all the way in from the outside. If you don't have silicone you can also use super glue. We want it to be air tight. We'll see how these are used on the following steps.

Lastly on the container we drilled a 1" hole towards the bottom and used a basic drain plug. This will allow us to drain out the melted ice without needing to take apart the whole setup.

Step 2: The Plumbing!

Next we slide one piece of PVC into one of the holes, put on the 90 degree adapter, put on the second piece, and make a mark on it just below the top of the container. We then use a saw to cut the piece on that mark. We used a bandsaw because it was fast but you can also use a hacksaw or any saw capable of cutting plastic.

We also cut 4 small half inch rings and then cut a slit in each one. These can be slid over the other pieces to use as makeshift clamps. Very useful!

To hold all the pieces together, we use a few dabs of hot glue. This is plenty strong enough for our purposes but it's nice because you can get it back apart again if necessary using a heat gun.

We then install the Input and Output piping, use the "clamps" to hold them in place and then use hot glue to secure them. The hot glue also makes the openings air tight, so we glue it all the way around.

Step 3: The Chicken Wire!

We then take a piece of chicken wire, or screen, or any material that water and air can pass through, and we cut a piece a little bigger than the top of our container.

Next we push it down into the container, bending it as we go so it creates an almost "bowl" like shape. We then slide it back out, cut a second piece of chicken wire to the same size and lay it over top. This gives it more strength but also offsets the holes so ice can't fall through as easily. We also cut a small hole for the PVC pipe to pass through as we slide it down.

We then slide both pieces back into the container and hook the chicken wire onto the screws we put in on step one. This is plenty strong enough to hold up our ice but makes it easy for us to quickly remove the wire if we ever need to.

Step 4: Almost Done!

One of the last steps is to put some foam or cloth around the top edge to try to make it a little more air tight. We ran some hot glue around the edge and glued down a piece of foam we found. This doesn't need to be completely air tight, we just want to prevent any major leaks.

With all the pieces complete, we then used black spray paint to paint it...black. It took two coats and went on easily. We're going to decorate it further once we setup our whole Haunt but this is perfect for now.

We took a skull and cut a hole in the back and slid it onto the output so it would look like the fog is coming out of the skull's mouth. It's amazing.

We then did a leak test. We put no ice in it and ran some fog through to let it rise and see where it escaped. We found that it was actually leaking back out of the air intake. We'd read somewhere that using a dual intake, like shown, allows for more air to cycle through the fog chiller and increases....the science? It didn't work. It just made it leak. We ended up putting tape over the second intake. :)

Lastly, it was time to put in some ice and give it a test...

Step 5: The Results!

Even with filming the video, this whole project only took 2 hours. It's amazing how good the results are for such a quick and simple build. Give it a shot and let us know in the comments how yours turned out!

Any ideas on how we could make it better next time? Let us know what you think!

Interested in seeing more of our stuff? Come say hello!

Halloween Contest 2018

This is an entry in the
Halloween Contest 2018

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    19 Discussions

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    phdegnan

    8 days ago

    Back in the day for high school stage productions we would rent dry ice foggers from a local theater supply company. These consisted of a 50 gallon drum which would be filled 1/3- 1/2 with water that would be heated by a submersible heating element in the base. The drum had a hatch in the top of the drum which was used to load dry ice into a basket that could be raised and lowered in and out of the water. Towards the top were two ports which dryer vent tubes would be attached. The final element was a fan also in the lid, which would blow air in, forcing the fog out the tubes. With two of these we could fill a stage with 2ft of fog in about 5 minutes.

    1 reply
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    volkss

    15 days ago

    I cut a hole at the top of the container big enough to lay a small desktop fan on top of it blowing in. This helped to push the fog out of the container and get a bigger area that the fog spread over. Maybe that is what the air input in the video setup was suppose to be for?

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    WickedMakersvolkss

    Reply 14 days ago

    Oh nice, yeah that could definitely be it!

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    DougL61

    20 days ago

    A few years ago I made a similar device based on another tutorial, using an old styrofoam cooler instead of a storage bin. Instead of the ice resting on a chicken wire shelf, I had a tube formed of chicken wire running through the cooler from one hole to the other, which simplified the construction (no screws, screw holes or silicone). The styrofoam keeps the ice colder, so a couple bags of cheap ordinary ice worked fine, and my cooler already had a drain for the melt water. My fog generator was a thrift shop electric iron mounted upside-down in a box, with a jug of fog juice above it with a drip valve, and a 5" computer fan blowing through the box. As the juice (a mixture of glycerine (not ethylene glycol) and water) dripped on the plate of the electric iron it immediately turned into fog and was blown out of the box. The output end of the box was positioned against the input hole of the chiller, so it just blew through.

    It should be noted that weather is a big factor if you try to fog your yard (which was my purpose). The first year I used this system the air happened to be very still, with a very slight steady breeze moving south. I setup the machine to blow across the north end of the yard, creating a cloud of fog that drifted slowly through the fake graveyard, illuminated by ground lighting. It looked PERFECT. The following year it rained and the effect was much less impressive.

    2 replies
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    MichaelAtOzDougL61

    Reply 19 days ago

    ethylene glycol? Toxic! You want glycerin/glycerol or PROPYLENE glycol.

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    DougL61MichaelAtOz

    Reply 18 days ago

    Thanks, my bad (it was a long time ago). Specifically it was an ordinary bottle of glycerine from Bartell's Drugs. Comment corrected.

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    cybercapri

    22 days ago on Step 5

    Here is an idea that might help mask the Cooler, use Foam to create a Head Stone and make it appear that the Skull is emerging from the Grave... Or you could make the Cooler look like a Mini Casket... Either way would probably work... Great Job....

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    Wennix

    22 days ago

    Really easy indeed, what to you use as a fog machine? I'd like to try it

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    WickedMakersWennix

    Reply 22 days ago

    We just use one of the basic fog machines from the big box store. This method doesn't depend on any special type of fog so any machine should work fine. :)

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    seamster

    24 days ago

    Fantastic work guys - great project, excellent instructable and a top notch video too! Well done, keep it up! : )

    1 reply