Tips on Popup Building
Here's some pointers when building an animated prop.
Always, always remember to be safe first. If you can't, DON'T BUILD
- Never be Cheap over Safe.
If you can't afford to do it safely, don't do it!
- Determine the effect you're after before you build.
- Always start with the scare!
Work the scare as the center of your design process.
- Find the simplest mechanical design that will give the movement you're
Always evaluate simple manually activated levers and simple pulleys
Your scare may not need pneumatics or hydraulics.
- Prototype the design using wood scrap and PVC pipe.
- Test your design for movement.
- Move the prototype by hand first!
- Look for signs of binding, seizing, or improper motion.
- Attach a pneumatic piston (if needed) and test at low air pressure
(20 psi or less) first.
- Gradually increase pressure and continue to test.
- Look for signs of binding, seizing, or improper motion in your design.
- If, at any time, you find problems with the mechanism,
STOP! Remove air pressure from the prop, and fix the problem.
- Do not use pvc levers with air pressures exceeding 70 psi!
Pvc is a very sturdy material, but its still plastic, its not nearly
as strong as metal.
- Using pvc pipe really simplifies the testing process.
Its very easy to cut, attach, cut again, and re-attach until you get
a popup that 'pops'.
- If your prototype works well, use it - go ahead and detail it for
- If you need to move a heavy prop, use steel tubing for your final
Use your pvc prototype as a guide to cut and assemble your final metal
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