Here is one of our DIY Halloween props our pneumatic air cannon ankle blaster prop for our haunted house walkthrough in our home haunt and yard display. We hide it inside our maze during Halloween each year. There are several videos on how to make, build, and construct these noisy and scary air powered props. We hope this tutorial video gives you some ideas and insight as well as learn some of the parts and basic operation. These air cannons can be extremely loud and are a sure guarantee to scare or startle the pants off many individuals that go through your haunt or haunted house. Some of the issues we had was that when the air releases it caused a honk or other unwanted noises. Although the loudness of these cannons are what steal the scare from innocent victims we were concerned that because we had it in a confined walk through maze type space that it could possibly harm someone’s ears so we decided to modify it to quieter and stronger directed blasting air bursts and gushes. We trigger the activation of our air powered cannon to go off with a modified motion sensor hidden and mounted to wood framing inside the wall panels and covered with burlap or set behind a coffin popper skeleton near the exit of the maze. We switch the setting to the quickest recovery resetting mode so it won’t fire for very long. You can also narrow the range of motion sensed by taping the sensor eye up a little or covering with material around the outside edges, folded foil works also. We set ours up so that it would only go off if you were walking or standing directly in front of the hose that shot air in your direction. The air hose outlet is placed on the floor and aimed at their ankles and the unexpected noise and blast of air will make them jump. The only drawback to using the motion sensors is if you had a crowd close together which would keep the cannon going off for longer periods of time which will drain your air system quicker. To prevent this we only sent groups of 4 to 6 people through the maze every couple of minutes or so. You can also trigger these props manually with hand held buttons as much as you want or connect them to automation controllers and pressure mats that are walked across. You can also hide these compressed air cannons in a wood crates with small holes for air passage or hidden behind a tombstone, gravestone, or head stone in the cemetery or graveyard where an unsuspecting guest or trick or tr-eater can pass by unsuspecting. I try to always keep the area and ground the air shoots towards clean as possible to prevent dirt and particles from blowing up into peoples eyes. We also use our cannon tank to store and help supply air to other pneumatic props throughout the home haunt. Three different compressors fill up the two storage tanks and we have yet to have any air supply issues. For this video we use a manual controller that can set off at least six different props at a time. Other than some of the parts I go over in the video there are several different fittings I either bought or already had to make all the connections needed to build this prop. The 5 gallon air supply tanks with multiple ports were designed for truck air ride systems and trailer brakes and range $70 and up in price. It has (7) ports total (6) 1/2″ and (1) smaller one for the pressure safety relief valve. The tanks are rated for 150 PSI max and our compressors max out at 120 PSI so I place regulators right before all the individual props to control their outputs. There are several ways to construct or plumb these types of props so you aren’t restricted to one set up design. Expense and time spent varies depending on what products you use. If you are just starting out be sure to do some research of basic pneumatic set ups to get an idea of the different components needed and used with air powered props. Low pressure systems are pretty safe and you can get the parts almost anywhere.
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