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Fun with Fog Generators 223

Posted by michael
from the alone-in-the-dark dept.
BoomZilla writes "Only 10 or so shopping days to Halloween. If you're at a loss for a project this weekend check out gotfog.com for a full set of detailed instructions on the construction of a Fog chiller. "What's a fog chiller?" you may ask. And rightly so. Let me explain. A fog machine dumps fog juice on a heating plate to produce oodles of the white, floaty stuff. Problem is that it doesn't hug the ground like you see in the movies. An alternative that is employed to create the ground-hugging variety of fog is a dry ice machine (which heats up dry ice and disperses the resultant cloud of fog). The problem is that dry ice is (a) expensive and (b) not always that easy to get. Enter the fog chiller. The chiller can be built very inexpensively (major cost is the sacrifice of a largish cooler) and works with a regular fog machine that consumes low-cost fog juice. Go on, give it a try. You know you want to. And just imagine the look on the faces of your little ghouls and ghosts come the 31st when your house looks like boot hill on steroids."
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Fun with Fog Generators

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  • Dry Ice (Score:5, Funny)

    by ++good-duckspeak (584950) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:46PM (#4486128)
    The problem is that dry ice is (a) expensive and (b) not always that easy to get.

    (c) could get you put on a list of suspected pot growers faster than a subscription to High Times.

    • Re:Dry Ice (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jigokukoinu (549392) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:49PM (#4486146) Journal
      At least in the city where I live, dry ice is as easy to get as an ice cream cone. Baskin-Robbins sells it for a few dollars a pound or so. What this has to do with growing marijuana, I have NO idea!
      • Re:Dry Ice (Score:4, Funny)

        by Imperial Tacohead (216035) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:54PM (#4486170)
        Geez, another amateur. It's guys like you that gives professional dealers like me a bad name!
      • Re:Dry Ice (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:54PM (#4486172)
        How Do I Freeze Dry Grass?

        Use a container (I use a Tupperware box) that is twice as big as the volume of grass you wish to dry. Make a few small holes in the lid, to allow the gas to escape. Put equal volumes of bud and dry ice inside, loosely packed, with the dry ice underneath the bud. Put the lid on and make sure it is properly sealed so that the only way for gas to escape is through the holes in the lid. Put the box into a freezer, lid upwards. This is to keep the material as cold as possible, prolonging the sublimation process for as long as possible. The dry ice will begin to sublime pushing all air out of the box and surrounding your buds with bone dry co2. The totally dry atmosphere will begin drawing water molecules out of the plant material. Check the tub after 24 hours and then every 24 hours until the dry ice has all gone. When the ice is all gone -the buds should be completely dry and smokeable. If you find that they are not quite dry then put some more dry ice into the box, place the lot back in the freezer and wait until they are done.

        • Re:Dry Ice (Score:2, Funny)

          by BigJim.fr (40893)
          Good tip. Mod this up guys !
        • Re:Dry Ice (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          This comment isn't flame bait; it's about how to *make* smokable flame bait!
      • Re:Dry Ice (Score:2, Informative)

        Where I live, all the Wal-Mart supercenters carry it. And some of the grocery stores, too. Now, if we're talking liquid nitrogen, you can get that locally, too. Just a little less common. And they require that you have an 'approved' container.
    • Re:Dry Ice (Score:2, Funny)

      by Zenjive (247697)
      (c) could get you put on a list of suspected pot growers faster than a subscription to High Times.

      Dude, that is sooo pre-9/11! Now it would get you on a list of suspected terrorists. Why? Because, uh... only terrorists would buy something off-the-wall like dry ice!
  • by jigokukoinu (549392) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:46PM (#4486131) Journal
    In only a few hours, I will be helping in the construction of one of these! We already have all of the materials.

    Glow sticks and some tin foil reflectors make for good glowing green fog, by the way. :)
    • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @06:54PM (#4486745) Homepage

      In only a few hours, I will be helping in the construction of one of these! We already have all of the materials.

      A fog chiller like this will work almost as well as a professional one. The professional fog coolers essentially blow the fog through an refrigerator evaporator.

      Halloween of 1994, I had the police at my house 6 times, each time with them begging me to stop doing what I was doing... he so badly wanted a reason to arrest me, but could think of none.

      Picture it: The doorbell was connected through an optocoupler to my computer's keyboard. Everytime the doorbell rang, there was a pause (as the stereo audio file loaded) then a loud scream played from a speaker (left) hidden in the trunk of one of the cars in the driveway. The right channel had a nasty kind of chewing sound, and it was played through a speaker hidden in the engine compartment of another car which was parked close to the door.

      My roommate and I were car nuts, and we had a junked Toyota that we were waiting for the scrapyard to haul off. With the chain hoist, we put it on its side in the front yard, with a mannequin's arm sticking out from underneath. We hooked its electrical system up to a car battery charger and left some of the parking lights on, with a turnblinker flashing and the AM radio playing quietly inside.

      I was working in the professional sound and lighting business then, so I borrowed a fog machine, fog chiller and 6,000 watts of Leko stagelighting.

      The fog machine and the chiller from work went outside to provide a ground mist, but not too much. I needed for the kids to see, by the light of the flashing signal, the arm sticking out from under the Toyota.

      The Lekos and my own fog machine were set up inside. The Leko dimmer pack was powered off the 40 amp 240V service to the stove outlet, and all 6 lights, at 1000W apiece, were pointed and focused to a point 1 foot outside of my front door.

      And then there was the chainsaw. Beg, borrow, steal or rent a chainsaw. Take off the chain and protect the kids from the potentially sharp edge of the chain guide with a rubber edging like people use around the outlines of their car doors.

      The Spectacle:

      Mom or Dad would stand at the end of the driveway as Little Tommy would walk past the Toyota with the flashing lights and the arm poking out of the ground mist.

      Little Tommy, dressed in his finest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume would press the doorbell. He'd hear the ring of the bell, then a couple of seconds later, the scream from the trunk of one of the cars he'd just passed. Gradually, he'd become aware of a wet chewing sound right behind him.

      If Little Tommy was still standing at the door by the time I got downstairs, he'd be greeted to the sound of the door opening, and a wall of fog in front of him; invisible foggy blackness.

      Of course, wearing black and a black ski mask, I'd be standing there watching the look of fear on the kid's face as it flashed on and off in time with the doomed Toyota's right turn. And then, just when we thought Tommy was getting ready to leave, Mike would kick the foot-pedal that turned on all 6kW of stagelights, focused right at the kid's face.

      Blinded and disoriented, Little Tommy would start to retreat as I started up the chainsaw. And his first sight of me would be the silhouette, through the fog, of a black shadow with a running gas chainsaw.

      Frozen, the kid would stand there, a deer caught in the headlights, as the chainsaw-wielding black shadow pressed the blade of the saw to his neck and revved the motor.

      Of course at this point, the parent, standing at the end of the driveway, would feel that Little Tommy was in mortal danger, scream, drop the bag of candy, and attempt to rescue him from the chainsaw which would have already taken off the kid's head if it still had a chain.

      The next morning, I had 4 broken windows, hate messages spray-painted onto the side of my roommate's car, the smell of two-cycle oil in my living room, and a hell of a lot of toilet paper and broken eggs to clean up. But I only had to give out 1/2 bag of candies, so I think I did okay.

      Linux isn't ready for the desktop yet. [glowingplate.com]

      • by JonTurner (178845) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @08:58PM (#4487421) Journal
        4 broken windows, $350.00
        Paint job to cover hate messages spray-painted onto the side of your roommate's car, $1800
        Carpet cleaning to remove the smell of two-cycle oil from the living room, $85.00

        Being known to your neighbors as "that Damned Nutcase at the end of the street" and forming a first-name relationship with the police... Priceless!


        • Being known to your neighbors as "that Damned Nutcase at the end of the street" and forming a first-name relationship with the police... Priceless!

          Lest you forget, I'm the Bobo guy [glowingplate.com]. And Mike's car was a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in primer. But we did find out that Tremclad (based on the empty spray can in the middle of the street) is very hard to sand off a quarter panel.

          Heh. Those were fun days.

      • by rweir (96112) on Sunday October 20, 2002 @10:22AM (#4489553) Homepage Journal
        This post is the best reason for increasing the mod cap up from 5 that I have seen in years.
  • by xactoguy (555443) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:46PM (#4486132)
    Heh... they'll need a lot more than a Fog Chiller to cool down their overheating processors as the /. wave hits ;)
  • by svwolfpack (411870) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:47PM (#4486133) Homepage
    My friend bought a fog machine for his dorm room last year, and because he thought his fire alarm was heat and not particle detecting, he filled his room with fog. Turns out, it was a particle detector after all, the fire alarm went off, school security came and made fun of him mercilessly for intentionally filling a room with smoke... then they wrote him up. It was funny...
    • We did *exactly* the same thing in college... A friend was testing it out b/c he was going to use it at a rock show. It puts out *a lot* of smoke.

      He got a misdimeanor from the fire dept. When they knocked on the door, he tried to play it off like he was in the bathroom and didn't know what had happened.

      Oh, one thing: these things leave oily residue all over *everything*....

      • Oh, one thing: these things leave oily residue all over *everything*.

        That's actually something I've wondered about: Obviously they're also leaving oily residue all over the inside of your lungs. How safe are those things? At least the dry ice ones are just carbon dioxide, but the oil based ones just seem a little risky.
    • by rabidcow (209019) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:42PM (#4486363) Homepage
      That's nothing.

      I was doing some work for a laser light show company last year in Las Vegas. We were going to try some air effects in the huge conference room in the Paris Hotel. I was told to fill the room with fog, but no one told me how much it would take. (Apparently it takes so little that you can't even see it...)

      So I ended up filling a football field sized room with fog so thick you couldn't see the walls and setting off the fire alarm in the Paris Hotel at about 2 AM.

      Luckily I was just a pitiful underling, and we did have permission to use fog...
  • dry ice (Score:4, Informative)

    by sheol (153979) <chris@@@lammah...com> on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:48PM (#4486142) Homepage
    The problem is that dry ice is (a) expensive and (b) not always that easy to get.

    He obviously hasn't heard of the wonder which I like to call a "grocery store." It's sold at most supermarkets for $0.99/lb. around here...
    • Oh, so if you have it your grocery store so must the rest of the world. Kinda self-centered of you, don't you think. In the silicon valley there are about three places you can buy dry ice from -- and it's *expensive*. So there.
      • And the dry ice is needed to save Kilamanjaros Melting Snowcap [yahoo.com]
      • My grocery store down the street has a huge cooler of it. What third world country do you live in?

        • My grocery store down the street has a huge cooler of it. What third world country do you live in?

          Florida, at least for another few months.
      • Well I just checked the yellow pages and there are a few wholesale suppliers in the Bay Area. These are probably the cheapest places for you to get dry ice.

        It does seem sort of odd that Seattle has more dry ice suppliers than the entire state of California. Probably due to the large fishing industry here.

        If you are looking for dry ice in quantity in the US or Canada look under "Dry Ice" in your yellow pages. Check several places for quantities available (wholesale dealers may have a minimum) and pricing.

        www.dryiceinfo.com [dryiceinfo.com] has some information on dry ice applications and a directory of dealers.
    • they have dry ice for $1.25 a lb at BP gas stations around here, its in the back in a large cooler, on top of the coller is a large work glove(to handle it with) and next to the cooler are papaer bags and a scale, many a good times w/ a few lbs of dry ice and some 2 liter bottles...
  • oh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by kampit (48398) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:49PM (#4486145)
    And just imagine the look on the faces of your little ghouls and ghosts come the 31st when your house looks like boot hill on steroids.

    Or you could just use mustard gas instead of some silly fog, that'll teach the little buggers right enough and betcha they wont come around bothering you the next year anymore. :)
    • by devphil (51341) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:54PM (#4486400) Homepage


      My father used to (jokingly) complain about neighborhood kids on our lawn. (There never were, which was part of the joke.) Then he would confide that he knew the perfect way to keep them off the lawn.

      Land mines.

      "Tough on that first kid, but they learn quickly," he'd add.

      • A friend of mine, a bit of a chemist, had issues with university kids cutting through his lawn on the way back from the bar. His solution? Homemade flash-bangs. His neighbours weren't impressed but the kids stopped cutting through..
  • by Rui del-Negro (531098) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:49PM (#4486147) Homepage
    The problem with dry ice is there are organised networks that specialise in stealing it. I've tried to dry ice several times (by leaving it out in the sun) and when I got back it was all gone.

    RMN
    ~~~
  • Google Cache (Score:4, Informative)

    by lannocc (568669) <shawn@lannocc.com> on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:51PM (#4486160) Homepage
    Here's the Google cache [216.239.53.100] of the page on building a fog chiller.
  • by Nobo (606465) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:52PM (#4486165)
    Hmmmm. Fog. So it's pretty when you shine colored lights in it... and it's cold. So we've seen cases bathing the entire mobo in chilled mineral water, and ice-mods for mice. How long before we combine the end goals, and see smoke-machine-chilled casemods? :)

    And gosh, come to think of it, who'd ever have thought that smoke coming out of your case was an indication of a successful mod?

    • Oh gooooooood. Condensation on your mobo; just what you need. Oh wait: NOT.

      Or you could go the fog juice route; yeah grease all over your mobo, just what you need.

      • by mythr (260723)
        You could use just the dry ice. Dry ice + warm air = really cold fog that doesn't condense at the temperatures in question. Sure, you'd run out and your processor would start making real smoke, but it'd be a cool temporary thing.
        • I'd still be worried that it would cool some part of my mobo (obviously not near the processor) down to the dew point; and then "bad things happen"...
          • Motherboards can take a surprising ammount of abuse. My water cooling case had a massive failure (resiviour and radiator cracked at the same time!!) and just soaked my motherboard and about half the carpet while it was running.

            The machine shut off about 30 seconds after the ordeal when it overheated but, for that 30 seconds she was running wet...

            I dried everything off, replaced the parts that blew, and she runs like a trooper!

            • You were lucky I feel. I blew my PSU by taking it in from subzero temperatures into my house, leaving it for an hour and powering it up ;-(

              Took it apart- could see the burn mark. Luckily we had the parts and managed to repair it.

  • Dry ice? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by xercist (161422)
    Expensive? Hard to find?

    I think you're on crack. Grocery stores sell dry ice for about a dollar per pound.
    • Well to be fair, perhaps he lives in a rural area and can't get to a store that sells dry ice? Or maybe he has a very limited budget and $1.00 a pound is too much.
  • alternative plans (Score:4, Informative)

    by 10 Speed (519184) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @04:58PM (#4486193)
    the site seems to be slashdotted now (is this happening more frequently than it used to?)

    but here are plans to build your own fog/smoke machine http://www.juggling.org/help/misc/fog.html [juggling.org]
  • by httpamphibio.us (579491) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:01PM (#4486201)
    A couple years ago I was working at Guitar Center and our store manager had just been promoted to regional manager so we had a new manager coming in. They went out to lunch to go over some store specifics and one of them employees decided to break out the fog machine and fill up the new managers office. They came back from lunch everyone said their goodbyes and he left. The new manager introduced himself to everyone then went into the back to check out his office. Bye now the room was absolutely packed with "strawberry" fog, he opened the door, walked in, and sat down like nothing was wrong. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:02PM (#4486205)
    I built one of these (with directions from the linked website) last year for my Halloween party. All the people milling around stirs up the fog almost as much as without the chiller.

    Packing the chiller with ice, then shoving some dry ice inside the cooling tube works a little better. The dry ice cools the fog, and the regular ice keeps the dry ice from evaporating too fast.

    • I agree - I too built one of these last year and was a bit disappointed in it. Outdoors, any sort of breeze at all screwed up the effect and indoors the movement of party guests whipped it up and a room filled with oil-fog isn't very much fun at all. I haven't tried putting dry ice in the tube in order to make the fog colder and therefore heavier. This year I'm mostly hoping that the air on Halloween will be much calmer so I can just fill my front yard with creepiness. I suppose I should hope for warmer weather as well, since that should make the chilled fog cling to the ground better too. These things only take a couple of hours to build once you have everything, but don't get your hopes up too high for Vincent Price-quality English moor effect or anything.
    • Did you have any problems with the carpet getting all oily?

      I was thinking about setting one up this weekend using dry ice and a Target fog machine...

      I figure the dry ice should cool it down enough so it clings the to floor longer...
  • Dry Ice Fog (Score:5, Informative)

    by mu_wtfo (224511) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:10PM (#4486233) Homepage
    OOh, finally, something on Slashdot that I can comment authoritatively on! (I'm a stagehand, and often use atmospheric effects)
    I would just like to refute the posters assertations about dry ice foggers. Firstly, dry ice is certainly NOT expensive. Prices usually fall in the $0.50 to $1.00 / lb range, depending on the form (block, pellets, etc.) and supplier. Which brings me to the second point, availability - Go to your local grocery store. If they don't have it (most in southern and western states usually will), they'll be able to tell you who will.
    Once you have the dry ice (I'd suggest about 25-35 lbs. for a good, long show), it's very easy to turn it into fog. Step 1 - pour hot water over it. Step 2 - there is no step 2! There are many many pre-made machines for this purpose, such as the City Theatrical Aquafogger, which are available for rental, but it's such a simple device, anyone here should easily be able to make one on their own.
    The basic things you need are as follows - a barrel - big enough to hold the dry ice, plus all the hot water that will be poured through it. A basket, to hold the dry ice in, above the level of the water. A fan and a tube, to take the resultant fog, and put it where you want it (dryer hose works very well for this). And finally, a method for pouring large amounts of very hot water over the dry ice - the faster the rate of pour, the faster the sublimation of the dry ice, and hence, the larger the volume of fog generated. For the water-pouring, something as simple as a 5-gallon pail is quite sufficient.
    One down side to a dry-ice fogger, however - that 25lb load will only last about 10 minutes, and the fog only a few minutes longer than that. If the effect that you're looking for is a long-lasting, room-filling, hanging haze, then you'll be better off with an oil-based fogger. (Just avoid prolonged breathing of concentrated amounts of the fog - it's been shown to produce many respiratory ailments - and that was the professional stuff)
    • Re:Dry Ice Fog (Score:4, Informative)

      by mu_wtfo (224511) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:16PM (#4486258) Homepage
      Ooh, I almost forgot - surface area of the ice, as well as teh rate of pour, affects the volume of fog. Therefore, if you buy your ice in block form, smash it into little tiny pieces before use. But, for god's sake - don't TOUCH the stuff! It *will* burn you if it comes in contact with your bare skin - it's about 100 below zero, Farenheit.
      • I think this is a variation of the Leidenfrost effect that allows you to dip your fingers in LN2 for VERY short periods of time.

        It is more than possible to touch dry ice without "burning" yourself. In fact, you can pick it up and toss it without any problems.

        My senior year in college, the Society of Physics Students put on a school-sponsored party. (Basically, they got paid to host a non-alcoholic event...)

        Among the attractions were - Liquid Nitrogen ice cream (Make IC in 5 minutes or less...)
        Misc. optics crap
        Model of the Mars Rover
        LOTS of dry ice for various demos. People were playing air hockey with a small chunk. (The sublimation gave you air hockey w/o the air table). It also makes this neat whining sound when you cut it with warm metal.
        A bunch of us also played "Hot Potato" (or more appropriately, Cold Potato) with it. No burns.
    • Re:Dry Ice Fog (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ShinmaWa (449201)
      • Firstly, dry ice is certainly NOT expensive. Prices usually fall in the $0.50 to $1.00 / lb range
      • 25lb load will only last about 10 minutes

      That sounds pretty expensive to me. At $0.50 to $1.00 per pound, the hourly cost to fog an area is $75 to $150. Using your figures, a basic 4-hour halloween evening of fog effects could run upwards of $600!

      It might be that a pound of dry ice is inexpensive, but if its used up in only 25 seconds, it adds up quick.
  • by mu_wtfo (224511) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:12PM (#4486244) Homepage
    I've always wanted to find cannabis oil, if such a thing exists - imagine, a few drops of that, mixed with the fog juice - man, what a party!!
  • dry ice (Score:5, Informative)

    by loxosceles (580563) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:13PM (#4486246)
    The problem with dry ice is that it's dangerous (CO2 asphyxiation) in closed areas, and outdoors nothing will work terribly well.
    • Re:dry ice (Score:3, Informative)

      The problem with dry ice is that it's dangerous (CO2 asphyxiation) in closed areas. Not if you ventillate right. Remember that CO2 is heavier than air, so a high vent and a low vent solvethe problem.
  • mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by WhiteChocolate42 (618371) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:13PM (#4486248)
    I've put up a mirror of the special projects page at gotfog.com, as well as the "making fog hug the ground" and "vortex" special projects. The mirror should be significantly faster than the original, and can be found at http://www.msu.edu/~brownd41/mirror/gotfog/index.h tml
  • Hum (Score:4, Informative)

    by BrodyVess (455213) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:15PM (#4486252)
    I built one of these for my drama class in high school. The problem was, we used DRY ICE as the chilling mechanism for the fog. Blow fog though a cooler full of dry ice, and it'll chill down pretty fast. The good news about this is 1) no water from regular ice. 2) dont need much dry ice. We found that 1-2 pounds of the stuff was more than sufficent to last us through a day of competition. Plus, you can toss some pennies on it for a neat metal contracting sound. The problem we ran into was forcing the fog through with the correct speed to both chill the fog into hugging the floor and also producing any kind of fog volume. We fixed that with a fan from radio shak wired into a battery pack so it would be portable enough. After that the only problem was rolling huge blankets of fog off the edge of the stage and into the audience.
  • Fog + Lasers = Fun! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:17PM (#4486268) Homepage Journal
    Combine with a green laser (http://www.megalaser.com/) and you've got the ultimate geek experience. Yes they do exist. I'm keeping an eye out for a blue one to complete my set :-)

    Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the abovementioned web site.

    Warning: Do not look into laser with remaining eye.

    • there are blue lasers, but they dont have blue laser pointers (yet), and i dont think theyve gotten blue lasers to the point where they can last the required 10000 hours or whatever it is, soon hopefully, blue LEDs r perdy *flips over mosue, gets hypnotized by blue glow*
  • by stefanlasiewski (63134) <slashdot@@@stefanco...com> on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:22PM (#4486285) Homepage Journal
    Dry ice shouldn't be too expensive if you get it from your local industrial chemical supply store (A place that sekks propane, helium, dry ice, etc) . Dry ice is probably more expensive from a party outlet.

    Last halloween I bought several pounds of dry ice from a local industrial chemical supply store for about $15 total. I placed the dry ice in a cheap black 5 gallon "witches cauldron", which I got from the local Haloween store.

    To create the fog, I simply placed the ice in the cauldron, and periodically added warm water when I saw trick-or-treaters. The warm water melts the ice, and you get fog.

    The dry-ice provided enough fog rolling down my front steps to freak out the neighborhood kids. This fog lasted approximately 4 hours.

    For added effect, I placed a couple of those green and red glow sticks inside the cauldron (Since glow sticks glow less when cold, I placed the sticks on a pedestal above the cold ice and water), replaced my porch light with a black light, and added a bunch of those green-spiderwebs from the halloween store.

    This gave the whole porch a nice eerie glow, especially with the green-glow eminating from the cauldron.

    Whole cost of this operation, including dry ice $15 for several pounds), cauldron ($5 at halloween store), black light ($2 at hardware store), glow sticks ($2 each) and spiderwebs ($3 a pack) was probably $25. I'm going to do the same thing this year.
  • Shopping! (Score:3, Funny)

    by mojowantshappy (605815) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:28PM (#4486308)
    "Only 10 or so shopping days to Halloween." I never really thought of this as an issue...
    • A lot of people (myself included) do look forward to Halloween like other people do to Christmas. It gives me more to do, has more community involvement than Christmas does (especially since I'm not a Christian), and it's when I throw my largest party of the year.
      • Likewise... it's just kinda neat that lots of people are out and coming to your door. Makes the night seem very much alive, like no other holiday.

  • by dilute (74234) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:35PM (#4486337)
    Plenty of it around. It certainly makes oodles of thick, ground-hugging fog, especially on a humid or drizzling day. Careful not to "burn" yourself with it, though.
    • Re:Liquid Nitrogen? (Score:3, Informative)

      by mu_wtfo (224511)
      No, not "Funny" - "Informative". LN2 is a very common high-end fogging method. Very expensive and complicated, though, not to mention dangerous. Interesting Products, Inc., out of Chicago, is, as far as I know, the best-known manufacturer of LN2 fogging effects.
      But yeah, don't try this at home.
      • Re:Liquid Nitrogen? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dahan (130247)
        Very expensive and complicated, though

        You're talking about the fogging equiment, right? Liquid nitrogen itself is, as the saying goes, cheaper than beer. It's around US$0.50 a liter... plus dewar rental fees for a container to transport the stuff around.

  • I am a theatrical sound & lighting designer and these are the fog products that I have used for years ... but it might be more fun to build one yourself. :-) Rosco Fog Products [rosco-ca.com]
  • by spun (1352)
    Use a little dry ice in a tube, put the tube in front of the fog machine, the dry ice cools the fog and adds some of its own. I just did this for a play I was stage managing. Makes great cooled fog. Heck, even regular ice will work. As long as the fog passes over something cool, it will cool down and hug the ground.
  • Mirror (with images) (Score:3, Informative)

    by vidnet (580068) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @05:53PM (#4486396) Homepage
    Mirror [homelinux.net] with as many images as wget could fetch. The box can't handle much load, but every little bit helps.
  • Dry ICE Expensive? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It is funny how many people actually think this. Then when you ask them where they checked on prices lately, "I heard it from a friend". I have purchased dry ice a few times over the past few years for camping trips to keep some perishables cool. I usually pay less then $0.75/lb. Here is an example for a company in Tampa, FL. http://www.dryicesales.com/products.htm
  • Ran a horror chaimber once using the ol' dry ice + hot water trick but noticed a cool effect along the way.
    The blocks of dry ice we had were quite large, large enough to take the full blades of the replica swords we had (and convenient to run through, at least compared to the consequences of trying on customers...). If we left the blades in the ice for a couple of minutes they'd be completely coated with a layer. When you took the blade out you get a small scale fog effect coming off the sword - very impressive if you've always dreamed of having an enchanted sword (reality has always let me down on this).
    A little experimentation showed this to work on just about anything (coolest was the swords though). A black leather glove was also effective (up to the point fragments started falling inside ...
  • Built mine last week - saw the plans last year on http://www.halloween-magazine.com/sfx/index.html [halloween-magazine.com], and thought it'd be a good idea if it actually worked. I haven't tried it with a full cooler of ice (used 20 lbs, filled about half), but there was a noticable "low lying" quality to the fog, and I expect even better results when I have a full cooler, or one with dry ice. Well worth the $25-$30 total price tag.

    On the subject of dry ice, there are several posts talking about dry ice being "cheap" at $1 a pound. Sure, $1 isn't very expensive, until you realize that in order to have party/stage effects, and fog for the duration of an evening of trick-or-treaters or a party, you're going to need at least 100lbs of the stuff. At that, it's not even a thick/can't see through it amount, it's just the "creepy fog" effect. As ShinmaWa noted [slashdot.org], you'd need upwards of hundreds of pounds for a true movie like effect. Sufficently chilled fog through a cooler (while not as think as dry ice fog) will run you less than $20 in fog juice.

    I don't know about you, but spending hundreds on one night of fog is expensive for me, and is probably expensive for most people.
  • by Cheffo Jeffo (556675) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @07:02PM (#4486795)
    Someone else has already said that this is finally a topic that they can contribute to, but I've been generating a nice, low-lying, thick and clingy fog for my "haunted yard" for the past 8 years.

    The "classic" fog chiller, using coolers, fans and regular ice is a good start, but misses the key points for cold environments.

    In order to make a thick, low-lying fog using a cheap fog machine, you need to do two things (particularly here in Canada, where we often get Halloween close to freezing):

    1) Humidify the fog (often forgotten)
    2) Cool the fog below the ambient temperature

    The classic technique accomplishes both of these by passing the fog through a cooler of "wet" ice. As my friends in New England and Minnesota know, this don't do squat when the ambient temperature is around freezing ...

    So ... pass the fog through a cooler of wet ice (some cooling, but significant humidification), THEN pass it through an aluminum duct (flexible dryer ducting works best) full (to half-height) of dry ice (that's chilling) ... solves all of the world's fog problems.

    But, remember:

    1) Don't cuddle with the dry ice
    2) Don't use any of this to cool a processor

  • by cybergibbons (554352) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @07:17PM (#4486881) Homepage
    Most of this discussion seems to have veered off onto how cheaply you can get dry ice. Over here in the UK it is used rarely for theatrical effects, for many reasons.

    It's awkward to store, and will sublime even in a freezer. The room you store it in needs to be ventilated or dangerous levels of C02 can build up.

    It's hard to control. Most people just pour hot water onto it. There are some better commercial devices that heat water or whatever, but it is hard to turn the fog on and off.

    It stays for a long time. Quite often people want the low lying fog to go before the next scene. Dry ice based fog remains for a long time.

    Fog chillers however don't have these problems. Yes, the fluid for them costs a fair bit (up to £60 for 5 litres), but you can control the flow, density, and type of fog. Some machines will do chilled fog, smoke, and haze (very low level smoke, used to show beams of light). You can sit at the other end of the room and control it remotely using DMX. It disperses very quickly as well, so when you kill the machine, the fog is gone very very quickly.

    Saying this, there are now machines that use C02 cylinders which solve a lot of the problems of solid dry ice.

    Dry ice is also better for on stage effects (witches cauldron) and practical jokes. We tipped a lot of C02 pellets down a toilet once, and found it quite funny when all the other toilets in the block started bubbling and smoking.
    • We got something frozen delivered at work, and it came packed in about 5 kg of dry ice. We proceeded to put it into the urinals and and toilets for laughs. The urinals were the best, since warm piss worked better than cold water in the toilet.
  • by syukton (256348) on Saturday October 19, 2002 @08:41PM (#4487330)
    Just about every supermarket I've ever been to uses dry ice. Generally in the seafood section; they use it to pack seafood for shipment. Once the seafood arrives however, the store has great big freezers to put it in, so they don't need the ice anymore. In my area (Seattle, Washington) it's 98 cents/pound at the average QFC or Albertsons.

    The only difficulty in getting the dry ice is that you need to be 18. They check IDs, generally speaking.

    See, dry ice can also be used to make very very loud explosive devices. Take your average two-liter bottle, fill it about 20% of the way with warm water, add a few chunks of dry ice, screw the cap on. When the dry ice hits the warm water, it begins to turn into a gas. Eventually this gas buildup will cause the bottle to explode.

    I wonder if dry ice is ever mentioned in the patriot act...
    • A coworker of mine likes to do this.

      A few years back, he thought it may even be a 'cool' idea to toss a few chunks of dry ice into a super soaker. Long range and continuous stream... for the first 20 seconds or so. Then, it slowed (freezing the internal valves) and only took another second or two to explode.

      He's still got the scars from having the emergency room pull the plastic from his arm... but even he can't tell the story without laughing.
  • Fog juice is made, as everyone knows, by gathering a bunch of fog and squeezing it until you get the juice out. The trick is, of course, making sure that you don't get any smog mixed in with the fog, or else you'll get sfog juice, better known as Mountain Dew.
  • Easier option (Score:2, Informative)

    by Beowulfto (169354)
    This is a great idea and I will have to build one for myself the next time I am involved with a haunted house. I just thought I would let you know of an easier method for the lazy people out there. When faced with the problem of floating fog, I also decided on using dry ice to cool the fog, but having a million other problems to solve in my haunted house, I struck upon a very simple solution. Use a piece of PVC pipe that is of the same diameter as the fog machine's output nozzle, and place the dry ice in the PVC. Since the pipe is rather narrow, the fog passes over the dry ice, and if you place the ice along a 2-3 foot segment, it is cooled down very nicely. For best results, use crushed dry ice (larger surface area means better cooling) and check/ re-fill the pipe every hour or so. That is the easiest method, but I do like the slick package they put together with the cooler and all.
  • Cheaper Cooler (Score:2, Informative)

    by jtree (612760)

    The chiller can be built very inexpensively (major cost is the sacrifice of a largish cooler)

    I built one of these for my high school theater. I used a cheaper ($3 - $5) plain Styrofoam cooler. It won't hold up as long as the nice plastic/Styrofoam cooler in the article, but works just as well for the yearly Halloween party.

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless. -- Sinclair Lewis

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