Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Grave Popper!

Hey guys,

Okay. I thought it was time I introduce you to our new pneumatic prop for this year. 

The Grave Popper!

The idea is simple enough. A zombie has dug his way out of his grave and is stuck. It's design is simple enough so let's take a look at what we have so far. Of course, click each pic and you'll get a bigger image.

I made his frame from scrap 2x4 I had lying around. Gate hinges make the shoulders, elbows and wrists. The PVC pipe is for the neck and the part that extends below the shoulders is for stability. All of this is mounted on a scrap piece of 3/4" plywood. The pneumatic cylinders were purchased from as was the mounting hardware. I used wood screws and bolts with stop nuts on the hinges. Here, you will also see wood screws holding the cylinder hardware in place. 

Here you see the pneumatic lines attached to the cylinders as well as the solenoids that controls the direction of the airflow to the cylinders. You can also see where the air supply attaches to a regulator that limits the airflow into the prop. I've also added a jug to the neck for the eventual mask that will be added. He also has a tie around his neck. He was buried after all. You will also notice I have removed the wood screws from the cylinder hardware and upgraded to bolts. Running this prop for 5 minutes proved the screws would not hold (something I was warned about but didn't pay any attention to).

A closer look.

And a look from behind. The big, black box is the prop controller I ordered from With this little box I record the movements of the prop and then loop it. Very cool! So professional! :)

I also added some foam at the bottom of the prop support (something not shown in the above pics nor in the video below). This helps to muffle the "thump" heard when the support rod slams into the base.

And of course, here's a video...

So, this is not what he will look like. although I love it when his hat falls off and the mask spins to look directly at the camera. That mask is the mask I wear Halloween night so the Grave Popper clearly can't have that!  I'm going to find a zombie mask and some zombie hands as well as an old, second hand shirt and possibly jacket, provided I can find a cheap one.

I will of course show you what he looks like when he's complete.