Building It Halloween Prop (Part II)

It looks a bit like I’m building an outhouse. I had a good building day. It started with drawing up plans—the best laid plans of mice and men…as they say.

The first priority was to get an overall size for the box. The prop will contain a clown that ducks down in a toilet seat. It will also include a jumping spider that I bought from the Spirit store. The front of the prop will have the toilet seat and clown. The rear will have the jumping spider. The height of the box was determined by the dimensions of the linear actuator that will lift the clown and toilet lid. The width is determined by the size of the jumping spider’s base and the length is determined by the distance that the spider will move forward before it jumps at the viewer.

The next step was a trip to the hardware store for the 2×2 lumber. I bought four 8 foot lengths, brought them home and commenced to cutting. The compound miter saw I bought for previous Halloween builds sure came in handy. The build was easy using simple butt joints along with 3 inch dry wall screws, and glue.

I had enough 1×4 lumber on hand to build the frame like structure that will hold the toilet seat. Once again the compound miter saw came in handy along with the biscuit joiner. I applied glue and went out to do other things.

Everything was going so well up to this point but it was time to prove out the old adage about “best laid plans.” Adjustments will have to be made. Originally, I was going to have the spider come out of the rear of the prop at an angle but trial fitting the remaining components and considering the strength of the automotive radio aerial that I’m using as a linear actuator, caused me to revisit the plan. It’s not unusual, of course. Also, I know with confidence that I can make a Spirit prop move horizontally since I built a doghouse for a jumping dog prop that I bought from the Spirit store in 2015. Besides, it will make the build simpler.

I have to wait for the drawer rails to arrive before I build the moving tray for the spider. However, I’m ready. I’m going to skin the project with the political signs that I picked up after the last election. The culvert structure on the back of the prop will be covered with silver insulation material that I happen to have on hand from another project. The tracking data says I won’t have to wait long.

The final steps will involve automating the prop after all the parts are assembled and manually tested.

*Spoiler Alert* the way the prop will function:

A small clown holding a red balloon will be standing up in the toilet seat. The clown will say “They all float down here” and start to descend when someone approaches. A bright light will come from the inside of the culvert on the back of the prop when the clown finishes sinking into toilet and the seat closes over the top. Next, the spider will slide over the top of the toilet seat and pop up when it reaches the end.

Finally, the spider will retract, slide back into the culvert, the light goes off, and the clown will once again rise out of the toilet and wait for the next activation.

Stay tuned!

About AZAtheist

Retired--Researcher, Developer, Program Manager, Arizona Regional Director--American Atheists, Organizer--Tucson Atheists, Organizer--Skeptics of Tucson
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