if it is good enough
for Universal Studios
then it is good for you too.
A seriously cool and easy Halloween Haunt project
anyone can make.
you make any improvements to this design please let us know here at
Castle Nottingham - we may want to steal . . uh, er, I mean borrow
them. Also, if you want a link to you Halloween AirZooka MegaZooka
prop cannon let me know.
some other useful
to visit regarding this project
Stick Handheld fogger
This is one of
those things that you look at and say, "I coulda’ thought of
this." And then you realize you didn’t, and nor will you be
getting any of the profit from it either.
Lt. Brian Jordan, a United States Naval Aviator, who flies an E-6 jet,
came up with the idea as a youngster while trying to make a smoke ring
generator out of cardboard boxes. It wasn't until a few years ago that
he re-tried to develop his idea and make something happen with it.
"Back then I used cardboard which was too flimsy, but then, using
my Aeronautical training, scientific principles and my imagination I
found that plastic cans and other elastic materials seemed to work
great," says Jordan, who was actually flying over Washington DC on
September 11th, 2001. "I added a handgrip for easier portability
and the AirZooka was born -- minus the smoke, of course." Like many
toy inventors, Lt. Jordan didn't have a clue as to how to break into the
toy market. He was rejected almost everywhere he went. "It was
really taxing to the point where I wanted to give up, but with my wife's
assistance, I got the break I needed," he says.
Studios used the AirZooka at their Halloween Horror Nights last year to
shoot a ball of fog and smoke rings at passers by.
Lt. Jordan is quite a story himself, overcoming a learning disability
and being one of only 300 African American Aviators out of the
approximately 11,000 in the Navy, he is an example of dedication and
Creative Group Marketing (CGM), helped Lt. Jordan to transform the AirZooka
from an idea into the finished product. Company President, Gary Ahlert,
worked almost three years in getting the product to the marketplace.
"Brian got quite an education in the realities of the toy business
and we encountered hundreds of rejections. It was a period of many ups a
downs." The AirZooka was finally licensed by Can You Imagine,
Incorporated out of Chatsworth, California and like the jets Lt. Jordan
flies, things are really taking off. "This toy is incredible, safe,
fun and has a kind of mysterious 'gee-whiz' quality that makes everyone
want to try it."
How It Works
simplest-looking apparatus can turn out to be surprisingly complex. The
AirZooka is just a big, brightly colored plastic barrel, a little
narrower at the front, with a loose plastic sheet attached to a pair of
elastic cords at the back. Pull back on the sheet, let it go, and—whump!
—you've fired a (harmless) 60-mile-per-hour blast of air at an
unwitting bystander 20 feet away.
unless you're the target. You were just hit by something that wasn't
just wind but wasn't entirely solid either. Yet after traveling a fair
distance, it still felt compact. The directions on the box say it's a
ball of air, but how do you make a ball out of air? And why should it
hold together for any distance at all? Herb Tranthum, one of the
engineers who designed the AirZooka, explains it this way: When you fire
an AirZooka, a high-pressure shock wave leaves the toy first, quickly
followed by an air ball. The shock wave creates a vortex of swirling air
in its wake, which keeps the air ball intact and in place. If you've
pulled the plastic sheet back just right, the ball threads the spinning
ring of air and carries it on to your target. If your shooting angle is
a bit off, however, you shoot a ring of air, not an air ball—though it
feels the same to your target.
Keys to making your
1. Slightly conical
barrel shaped container.
2. Spring loaded
(bungee strap) diaphragm.
Using the same proportions as a real AirZooka cut a hole in the bottom
of your garbage can using a jig saw. It goes without saying - OK I’ll
say it. Use all safety equipment (IE gloves, protective eyewear, etc).
Multiply the diameter of the bottom of your can by 0.2 and this will
approximate the rim thickness.
3. The business
end (the end with the hole that air comes out) must have a rim to
slow the outer edge of the air coming out so that it begins to fold
into itself. This is what keep it cohesive for 20-30 feet as a ring
of moving air traveling at 60MPH with a rotating ball of air behind
it. Simple fluid physics.
2. Using Liquid Nails
glue one wood circle to the center of your canvas, flip it and glue the
other one exactly opposite so that the canvas is sandwiched between it.
Yes my circles are green because I’m reusing wood from another project.
Recycling is a good thing.
3. Once sandwiched
together use drywall screws to secure it together. Flip it and do it to the
other side offsetting the screws. Always pre-drill all holes for screws to
avoid sad mishaps
4. Drill four 1/4in holes
equidistant around the large hole in the bottom of the can using one of the
large washers as a guide to how close to the edge you can come. Then place one
nut and lock washer on the eye bolts. The eye will be on the inside of the can
for the bungee straps to attach to. Insert them and then top them with one
large washer, one lock washer, and one nut and tighten down. The large washer
is to prevent the bolt from pulling through the metal when the bungee are
5. Now hang the canvas and paint on a
mixture of latex thinned with water. Don’t use carpet latex for this.
Alternatively a mix of silicone caulking thinned with naphtha may also work.
6. While this is drying I inserted the lag bolts 16in from the can’s
bottom using nuts and washers as mentioned above. I’ll use this to mount it
later. If you wish to mount it in some other way then skip this step.
7. Pre-drill a hole
for the eyehole screw and insert it into the center of one side of your
wood disk. This should extend into both pieces of wood but not through.
It will have to hold up to much of the force so make sure it is secure.
Then using the link fastener (the kind with a nut closure on it, not the
snap kind that can come undone) attach the bungee to the eyehole screw
8. Put the bungee and canvas into the
top of the can and secure the bungee hooks to the four eye bolts with Duct
Tape so that they will not come loose when firing.
9. Now turn the can right side up
and situate your canvas diaphragm across the opening. The wood center should
just pull the bungee tight without actually stretching them. The can top has
basically two ridges on it. Using the 48in bungee secure the canvas below the
Then fold the
canvas up over then bungee into the can and secure the canvas with the
ratcheting tie down strap between the first and second ridges. Do not
over tighten or you may crush the can.
10. Cut off any
excess canvas and attach a handle. I used a fog machine bracket and
secured it with drywall screws. Then I coated the canvas with straight
latex for good measure to make it more airtight.
Here’s how we used a standard AirZooka
last year. It was a last minute idea that paid off. The AirZooka was attached
to the back of a wall with drywall screws and aimed through a hole. The hole
turned into a cheesy monster mouth with Great Stuff foam, and was situated
behind guests as they looked at some eye candy. Whomp, and they got blasted in
the back. It worked extremely well for very little money.
1 - 33 gallon galvanized metal garbage can.
1 - piece of painter's canvas 6ft square
1 - 12ft ratcheting tie down strap
Many, Many 1 1/2in drywall screws
1 - nut type link fastener
4 - eye bolts 1/4-20
2 - 1/4 in X 6in lag bolts for mounting the MegaZooka
6 - 1/4 in x 1.5in fender washers
12 - 1/4in lock washers
12 - 1/4in jam nuts
2 - 36in bungee straps
1 - 48in bungee strap
1 - eye screw 0-2 7/8
2 - 10in diameter wood circles cut from 1in thick wood
1 - handle (I used a fog machine bracket)
Chip Brush for the latex
I may have
missed something so use your best judgment.