I write this in January 2008 as I begin working on a few new props for October. One of them has been done before, and probably
done better than my version. It is essentially a full size person holding a lantern in his right hand, which will be raised pneumatically
when triggered by a motion sensor. I've got the frame for the body roughed out and I just finished converting a door closer to be a
pneumatic cylinder. The steps I followed for this conversion are listed below, but for my own future reference. As you most likely know,
this type of modification can be very dangerous and should not be attempted by anyone unwilling to take the risk of inflicting injury to
himself/herself and others.
The second planned prop is a torture rack that stretches the victim beyond the breaking point. I am hoping to use an extra wiper motor to
power this prop. The biggest question right now is whether to build the full rack as a free-standing device (which might be hard to store),
or prop it up with something else, like a few pieces of conduit.
Convert Door Closer to Pneumatic Cylinder:
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
- Purchase a Wright Products Door Closer, model V920 and a hose-repair fitting (about 1.5" of barbs on each end).
- Extend the cylinder and clamp it using the lock provided with the closer.
- Remove the screw from the end of the door closer.
- Using a hacksaw, cut the metal from the end of the closer to be even with the top of the screw "well".
- Use successively larger drill bits to widen the screw hole until it is a little smaller than 5/16" (be conservative and go slow).
- With the help of a Tap/Die set, add threads to the screw hole using a 5/16"NF24 tap. Once finished, throroughly remove all debris
from inside the door closer. Any metal filings left inside can damage/destroy the mechanism.
- Add threads to one end of the hose-repair fitting using a 5/16"NF24 die. Go slow, back off to let debris fall away. Also, get
a firm hold of the other end of the connector using vise grips or channel locks.
- After testing the fit of the two pieces, mix up some epoxy, cover the threads generously and insert into the closer. Be careful to
not get expoxy inside the closer. Hang the closer vertically with the epoxied end down, wipe off excess and allow to set.
- Allow longer than the recommended time to set, then test the connection. Gradually increase pressure until the cylinder extends
fully. It is best to clamp the cylinder in place and tie down the feeder line in the event of an explosive separation.
Props to be fixed/enhanced for 2008:
- Lawnmower Man-requires a complete overhaul. It worked in 2007, but only for about an hour before freezing. I plan to revisit the
- Fog Machines-two of my three foggers failed to operate in 2007.
- Lemonade Stand-the cardboard structure needs to be rebuilt of firmer stuff. Spilled "lemonade" weakened it.
- Skeleton on a Horse-add some kind of rocking motion to go with the soundtrack.
New Props to be added for 2008:
- Lantern Man (theme not yet determined)
- Torture Rack-Working on mechanism to stretch the victim beyond the breaking point.