View Full Version : Does anyone make a Pop up + Pan motorized arm?

01-03-2017, 10:56 PM
Hello Christmas light nerds! With the start of 2017, I'm already dreaming of my next light show addition. One thing I'd like to investigate is adding some popup characters into my show. I happen to have a good sized covered porch with a waist high wall. It'd be perfect for having something like blowmold Santas or Peanut characters pop up from. So what I need is a DMX controlled arm, that can extend upward about 2 feet and ideally rotate maybe 90 degrees. Does anyone make something like this? My first thought is to mount like 6 of them side by side attached to 6 different Peanuts character blow molds. I think the kids would really get a kick out of this little surprise. Of course it cannot be too loud either.


01-04-2017, 11:43 AM
frightprops have telescoping pneumatic cylinders that can extend up to 5 feet:


Alternatively you can in theory use a 3ft lead screw and a motor:

But even with a 50 rpm prop motor it will take 2 minutes to lift something 2 feet. Probably not the effect you're going for.

01-04-2017, 01:00 PM
The Halloween haunt forums are all over this kind of prop. Search some variation of "haunt forum". For a haunt, however, noise is usually a good thing.

Pneumatic is the way to go but a nosiey air compressor is required.
Careful on DIY pneumatic cylinders. PVC can be an explosively bad choice.

There is one DIY pneumatic cylinder design I've seen that uses 1 PVC pipe loose fitted into another (1" inside a 1.25" maybe?). It is not sealed so I -think- it is safer (still not safe) and it likely has some lift weight restrictions.

Inexpensive purpose built cylinders usually have short throws so you have to use some sort of mechanical extender (see Frightprops for references: Here (http://www.frightprops.com/props/air-electric-props/airkits/horizontal-scissor-mech.html) and Here (http://www.frightprops.com/props/air-electric-props/airkits/small-pop-up-mech-32479.html)). These can be built much cheaper.

Frightprops.com (http://www.frightprops.com/) is very professional and typically out of my price range but it is great for ideas. They have a lot of how-to's and instructions for pnuematics. Site is highly recommended.