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Archive for Friday, June 24th, 2011 05:15 pm GMT -5

A Picture is worth 1000 words – 2

Friday, June 24th, 2011 05:15 pm GMT -5

Every time I see my logo – I am inspired to work even harder to get this project farther…

I don’t remember how much I spent on the logo – but it was the best money I spent on the ride outside of equipment so far!

 Today, I picked up the truck after getting the graphics installed..

And here’s the side….

 I am excited to see if this gets me any more hits on my web page. Who knows, maybe someday – I could have as many as 6 people reading my blog!

 Have a great weekend everyone!

Electric Tampons….

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 09:44 pm GMT -5

Ok, it’s been a long while since I updated the world on what’s been going on at my place…

A few weeks ago while in Columbus OH, I wanted to buy some LED spotlights from a vendor at the Haunted House Convention. I got pissed off because I couldn’t get anyone to wait on me – so I left and decided to build my own.

 With the help of Rick, Pete and David, I gathered enough information to figure out how to do this. When I totaled the cost… I didn’t know why anyone would even think of buying them at $13.00 each when I could build 50 of them for around $50.00! It was a no-brainer!

 So, I bought 50 of the brightest LEDs on the market… 50 resistors… and sat down and began to soder them…

 After burning the hell out of myself – Pete clued me in on the trick – build a “jig” to hold the LEDs while I work on them! It was a huge help.. but boy was this boring. (but relaxing too!)

 Next , I soldered wires to each LED and then siliconed each lamp assembly into PVC tubes… the look like electric tampons to me…

 My lead wires are so short because I plan on having a “main lighting” wire running around the perimeter of my display this year…. and I did not drill holes in the PVC for mounting them as I want these to be 100% water tight. I will epoxy or glue brackets to the outside other the tubes once I paint them black.

 So far, I’ve been running three of them on a “burn-in” test for a week… this is a picture of one underwater. (I filled the ones for underwater use completely with silicone….)


 These things are crazy bright! (The labeled as 170,000 mcd) I can’t wait to see how the yard looks with 50 of them hidden all over the place.

 I fell in love with these things at Eric’s Haunted House in Wildwood. The have a “feel” to them that you don’t get with regular colored lights. They also don’t throw any heat and take up very little power. But the best part is they are so small you can hide them almost anywhere… and people can’t tell where the light is coming from.

 I hope to have the lamps done so I can post a picture of my entire yard glowing blue this weekend…

 But the moral of the story is when calculating how much I was going to save by building my own lights…  I neglected to account for the hours and hours of cutting, soldering, caulking and testing I was going to have to do…

 I hope this is a reminder to me next time!

I invented the Microwave!

Friday, June 17th, 2011 11:16 pm GMT -5

No, not really…

But I often point out that there’s not many (ANY) new products out there that turn people on anymore like the first microwaves, home computers, or VCRs did…

But tonight I got turned on by something I took for granted…

The “back story” is that my Rock-Afire show leaks a lot of air… So much that the compressor I use can’t keep up with the show while it is running… and sometimes has problems building pressure while the show is in intermission.

I wanted to build an electric air valve that would close off the air to the show to allow the pressure to build up between shows… and then this valve would open up when the show would start to allow to let the air go to thew show… (But only while it’s running.)

Long story short… my friend David Ferguson sent me a picture via facebook…

(The picture he sent me and the “thing” I built) I shall reward someone

Using his expert directions… I built a device using parts I picked up at Radio Shack for less than $20.00…. on my first try… when I connected the device to the show computer, it worked just as I needed it to!

How awesome is that? 30 Years ago, we didn’t have email… digital cameras…. the Internet …. all of these things I take for granted. I forgot how many awesome things we have today that I don’t even think about. I felt like I invented the microwave!

So, it was not a huge deal…. at least not to any of you reading this. But the awesome thing is I built what felt like “alien technology” using only a picture that was “beamed” to my house from a thousand miles away…. and it worked.

Now, my Rock-Afire show can run and run for hours without using up all it’s air. Where this does this fit in with my Haunted House? Well, it’s a nice device that can help conserve a lot of energy when any type of animatronic show is not in use. (Because anything with 265 different air valves and hundreds of feet of air line WILL leak… at least a little bit.)

Any what does a RAE show have to do with my haunted house? Well, it helps me think…. watching the show and drinking beer reminds me of when I was 14 (yes, I drank beer at Showbiz Pizza) and I used to just sit and dream for hours about building cool stuff to entertain people.

Now for an awesome weekend….

KISS me….

Monday, June 13th, 2011 09:56 am GMT -5

Have you heard that phrase before? It stands for “Keep It Simple Sweetie” (Or shit-head depending on who you are talking to!)

I’ve heard this phrase a thousand times if I’ve heard it once – but I keep forgetting it! I tend to make some things over complicated… and the more complicated they are – the more stuff that goes wrong with it.

 This week’s lesson was with the curtains for my Rock Afire show on my backyard. I have had problems with my original set up for years…

The original design was using “real” (home use) curtain rods. The problem is they were never designed for the constant open / close use, nor could they hold up to the torque of the curtain motor pulling and pushing 50 pounds of curtains open and close over and over. The tracks needed to be tweeked weekly…. oilied constantly (which then dripped oil onto the curtains…) and God forbid they would jam up, the Motor would rip the entire set up down.

 Well, it hit me… and I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner… but  since I just use ropes to pull open and close the curtains, something as simple as a shower curtain set up should work. But since my stage is 16 feet long, I’d need to make my own…

 Long story short – I ended up using copper pipe and steel pipe flanges I welded fitting onto. I then cut the fittings and ground the threads out so that the pipe would sit into them easily. (See pictures below – David, if you’re reading this – I sized all the pictures the same just for you!)