Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

A happy Thanksgiving to everyone !

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin monster

We decided to get rid of the old pumpkin monster and make a new one.
The old one was made out of pvc pipe , covered in newspaper .
He served us well for the last couple of years.

The new one will be made out of electrical conduit ( metal )
to make him last longer.
To be continued....

Monday, November 1, 2010

Styrofoam cutter

I finally finished modifying my circle styrofoam cutter.
I decided not to use the motor to spin my pieces of styrofoam.
Instead I'm gonna use a 3" nail as my center point.
I also added a spring to the hot wire to keep the tension on the wire when it's hot.
The wire tends to loosen up when it's hot.

It's over.

Another Halloween has gone by.
We closed up shop last night at 8:30pm.
Not very many ToT's out on the streets ,
probably because it was Sunday night.
We are ready for next year's theme ,
which will be "detectives".
We'll be building crime scenes , alley ways and dead people.
It will a little gorey which is usually not up my alley.
We're not making a horror movie here.
I'm more interested in building props and scenery .

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween party

The party yesterday was a success.
We're fortunate that we have such great friends and
I feel that my work is appreciated.
If it wasn't for the guests , the party would be dull...
So , thanks to everyone who was able to make it .
I was also VERY surprised that a lot of people
showed up in costumes that matched the theme !
WOW ! 
That gives me even more courage to outdo ourselves next year.
Stay tuned for next year's theme....

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hieroglyphs II

Finished the walls for our Egyptian theme this year.
The partitions are made out of 3/4" styrofoam with the hieroglyphs burned in and then painted.
Here are a couple of pics of the finished walls...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hieroglyphs part 1

For my party , I will need 9 wall partitions.
I got white styrofoam panels ( 4x8) 3/4" thick.
The reason for that is so I can reuse the panels next year using the back side.

First ( and important ) thing to do is to take off the plastic layer of the styrofoam
because it'll be hard to get the paint to stick on plastic and it's easier to burn graphics into the foam.

I made graphics of my wall partitions on my computer ,
printed them out and put them on my iPod. Then I connected my iPod to
a cheap projector and projected my graphics onto the styrofoam.
To burn the graphics onto the foam , I used a wood burner.
You can burn one sheet of styrofoam in about 1/2 hour .
About 15 minutes for the graphics and 15 minutes for the brick/stone work.
The graphics are freehanded and for the bricks , I used a ruler .

This is how the foam looks with the graphics .
Not much to see since it's white on white.

Before I paint the background , I outlined the graphics with a dark paint.
This was done by airbrush but can be done with a small hand brush.
The latter will take longer.
Next pic shows you part of the outlined panel.

The next couple of pics show you the finished outlined panels.
These are ready for the lighter paint and will be detailed later on.

Hieroglyphic walls

Work has started on the hieroglyphic walls for our indoor party.
Every wall section will have a puzzle ( in hieroglyphs of course ) that will lead the guests from one section to another and eventually will reveal the Riddle of the Pharaoh.

The wall sections are constructed out of styrofoam .
The hieroglyphs will be burned into the styrofoam with a wood burner and then painted .

More to come...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hot wire automated styrofoam circle cutter.

Here's a step-by-step to build your own automated stryrofoam circle cutter for dirt cheap. Mine was free since I had all the parts laying around the shop.

The reason I made this cutter is because I need to cut round pieces of styrofoam that will be glued together to make large pillars.

The automation part is just a windshield wiper motor that is hooked up to a computer power supply . The power needed is 3.3V . 5V and 12V make the motor go too fast. The 12V part of the power supply is for the wire.

The first step is to cut a piece of mdf / particle board ,...or whatever you want to use to the size of the table that you would like .

My table is around 20" wide .

Then position the wiper motor to see where you need to cut your hole so the shank comes out the other side.


I marked where the slot is going to go and the 2 holes on the end .

One hole for the wiper motor , the other because it lookes better :-)

Now is also a good time to cut your angle aluminum to the length that you will need for the gantry to move.

My aluminum pieces are about 12" long.


Drill the holes with a spade bit .

Chamfer the sides of the board like this.

This is where the angled aluminum pieces will go.

Clamp a straight piece of lumber or metal to serve as a guide to cut out the groove where the hot wire will travel through.

Then cut the groove with a router.

Then you mark the position of the windshield wiper motor and drill the holes that are needed to screw the motor onto the board.

Attach the motor with either long bolts or a piece of 1/4" rod with nuts.

After screwing the aluminum pieces into place , your work table should look like this.

I attached 2x4 scrap pieces of wood to the bottom of the table so the motor is suspended plus there'll be enough clearance for the gantry.

Cut some 6" pieces of angled aluminum to accomodate your ball bearings.

The ball bearings will ride on the angled aluminum that is attached to the table and will be the moving part ( gantry ) for the hot wire.

Drill 2 holes per side in the short aluminum pieces to attach the ball bearings.

The inside diameter of the ball bearings are 1/4" . The screws are 2" long.

4 screws , 4 nuts and 4 ball bearings are needed for one setup.

You will need to make two setups.

Cut two strips of MDF ( around 6" wide and 15" long ) that are needed to set the height of the wire. In my case , I don't need more than 12" clearance.

Cut two slots per side and place the setups in the grooves.

Attach using one screw in the center.

Place the two gantry sides on the tracks ( you could use an extra set of hands ) and measure from one side to the other to determine how long you have to cut the top and bottom piece of lumber that will keep your gantry together.

Both top and bottom will need a hole in the center where the wire will go through.

Hand drawn tape measure to give me a clue how big the circle will be.

Attached the motor wires to the 3.3V input of the computer power supply and the hot wire wires to the 12V input.

Cut a couple of pieces with a guitar string as hot wire as a test.

I will need different type of wire plus a spring to keep the wire stretched out while it's hot. That will be something for later.

With the gantry setup , you can roll the wire back and forth to set the diameter for the styrofoam.

The motor keeps the styrofoam spinning so you don't have to do that.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mummies and deadies....

This is almost a wrap.
Still need to make one hand for one of the mummies .
Another cheap and easy build.
I guess we spent about $2 worth of lumber per mummy , the rest was free.
Here's how they were made.

The skulls were cast out of fiber insulation a couple of years ago.
The fiber insulation can be bought at your local home improvement store.
For a pic of the insulation , check my gargoyle post.
I finally got to use them for something.
These skulls were glued with liquid nails onto a plastic bottle. ( second pic ).
That plastic bottle is attached to the main body frame.

The main frame is made out of 1x2 scrap pieces of lumber that we reused from last year's tavern.
We used 2L bottles for the legs and body and small water bottles for the arms and lower legs + feet.
I cut the small bottles in half length-wise for the feet.

The cloth was soaked in tea but since we didn't have enough cloth , I had to use some white sheets that I stained afterwards with coffee . I used an air sprayer to stain the wrap.
I also had to restain the ones that were soaked in tea because of the color difference.
Then I brushed some black paint onto the skulls to make them stand out a little more.
I used some 1/2" PVC pipe for the arms , covered with small water bottles.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Old stuff

Here's a step-by-step for making a five foot gargoyle out of paper , pvc pipe and some plastic bottles. I built this prop last year .


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