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In need of a tiny fog/smoke effect that doesnt cost $1800 or use pyro

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by Julian Amrine, Apr 28, 2018.

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  1. Julian Amrine

    Julian Amrine Member

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    Hey all,

    The director wants smoke to come out of the toaster for that scene in Company... the toaster is set on a peice of scenery-the peice moves, but the TD says there is a possibility of getting a mains circuit to the peice if we need it.

    Any ideas?

    Oh yea, it needs to be triggered remotely. Not necessarily by the lx board, but I do happen to have a spare ShoW Baby and a DMX relay on hand--that might be fancy. I've considered USB powered humidifiers, but I worry they won't have a thick enough effect to read from the house. http://www.instructables.com/id/Battery-Powered-Fog-Machine/ something like that could work (if I can find a way for a remote trigger), but I dont know--so many moving parts! Surely there is a simple way to do this...?
     
  2. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Julian Amrine Have you considered actually toasting dry, stale, bread? If you use stale bread its moisture content will be low and with a little experimentation you should be able to achieve a predictable time. I've used this once with an electric oven on stage when the cast were supposed to have forgotten their dinner in the oven and incinerated it. I was able to use two 6Kw dimmers on two different phases to power the oven. It took a few rehearsals to learn when to power the oven but an auto-follow in the cue stack took care of being sure it was turned off. The dry bread charred safely within the closed oven with a distinctive burning aroma and a quite wonderful puff of smoke when the cast briefly opened the oven door and extracted their prop food with their oven mitts.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
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  3. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Totally for realism for this effect.

    Buy some bread hook the toaster up and make it smoke.
     
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  4. Dover

    Dover Active Member

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    I would strongly recommend that you invest in a CO2 fire extinguisher if you are going to go this route.
     
  5. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Julian Amrine Can I assume the Rosco Labs Pencil Fogger is beyond your budget? We used to leave the fluid and pump in the basement trap room in The Who's Rock Opera 'Tommy' and hide the comparatively tiny heat exchanger within the production's automated show deck up stage centre. It was a great little fogger when you needed to deliver small quantities of precisely DMX controlled fog in places where you had neither space nor access for a traditional, larger, single piece unit. Google tells me Rosco has the pencil fogger back in their line again. Even more fun if / when you've got an air compressor available.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
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  6. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    Doubt your prop budget would cover this, but I can vouch for the reliability of these guys. http://looksolutionsusa.com/products/tiny-fx/. I would say worth it to convince the high ups to consider this as an investment for future productions...
     
  7. DrPinto

    DrPinto Active Member

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    I'd use a Smoke Pencil. They're less than $40. With a little creativity, you can operate it remotely.
     
  8. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I wonder if you could rig a solenoid to "smoke in a can"?

    EDIT: Oh I nearly forgot this one, check out model railroading suppliers for the tiny smoke generators for model steam engines.
     
  9. Chase P.

    Chase P. Active Member

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    Any chance of a standard smoke machine in the scenery below the toaster? Drill a few holes in the surface surrounding the toaster prop, and let the smoke drift up around it?

    If your venue is small enough, the realism of the practical burnt toast smell could be awesome.

    Remember when you had to choose a "flavor" for your smoke fluid? I never saw "burnt toast" as an option.
     
  10. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Chase P. You're triggering several memories. A few years ago, bureaucrats decreed I could no longer remain in our condo with my lady and it was decreed I had to move into a room on the fourth (highest) floor of a home for the aged plus physically and mentally impaired. (We're an "interesting" lot to say the least.) A little over two years ago a Dutch couple who used to live in room 103 on the ground floor made toast one morning and burnt a slice setting off their smoke detector, sounding our fire alarm bells, evacuating our residents in the snows of winter and summoning the fire department. The Dutch couple were ragged about their toast making skills for the remainder of their time here. You mentioned the the realism of the practical burnt toast smell, I'm countering with the realism of the practical burnt toast smoke; It sure convinced their smoke detector. While I'm on a roll, I was once installing new conduit and back-boxes in an amateur theatre in the heart of a city. Around two or three a.m. I had the last of my shiny new EMT installed and opted to spray on a coat of matte black spray paint to dry overnight prior to calling it a night and heading home. I started just below the stage ceiling and was spraying my way down and well into my second spray can when the smoke detector interpreted the excess spray as smoke and summoned the fire fighters. Granted the closest fire station was only 4 blocks away but they had 3 vehicles outside our front door by the time I walked across the auditorium and opened my nearest exit door to greet them. I showed them my empty spray cans. They could see the wet paint and smell the fumes but they displayed zero sense of humour. I've never set off a smoke detector with a spay can since. I'm a slow learner but once was all it took to learn my lesson.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
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  11. Chase P.

    Chase P. Active Member

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    Yeah, those optical sensors don't realize there's any difference between toast, theatrical haze, or the real deal. I've even heard tell of folks rappelling off the catwalk (to change house lights) and setting off some sort of long throw sensor across the room with their butts.

    If you were spraying enough to trigger the alarms, I sure hope you were wearing a proper air filter! I've made that mistake before, and can't help but wonder how many show files I erased from my brain in the process.
     
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  12. Amiers

    Amiers Lighting Phoenix 1 Lamp at a Time

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    Always needs a good brain reset every once in a while.
     
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  13. Leo Mauler

    Leo Mauler Member

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    If you are keen on soldering already, you might be able to save money going the homemade route. The Instructables design above makes the device unnecessarily complicated by using all of the e-cig device to produce the glycerin-based smoke, when the heating element is the only part needed. Another Instructable (http://www.instructables.com/id/An-Inexpensive-Smoke-Fog-Generator/) goes into some detail on obtaining heating elements on their own, and how to wire it all together.

    Remote activation just requires that DMX relay. Use the relay to switch in 3.7v for the heating element to make the fog happen, and a conventional small fan wired to household voltage (on an Edison plug wired into your control system) could provide the vacumn space needed to make the smoke come out. The DMX relay could also be used to activate two other relays inside the toaster, to allow you to power both the fogger and the fan off batteries concealed inside the toaster.
     
  14. Julian Amrine

    Julian Amrine Member

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    Just anyone is curious as to what we did...

    It sure was simpler than trying to build a miniature/remote control fogger! All we did was put 6 drops of vegetable glycerin on each side of a piece of white bread. We wired the set with a receptacle, and the toaster got plugged in during a scene change. So long as the toaster was set to high and the actor moving the set peice with the toaster turned it on just before the scene started, a perfect amount of vapor would rise up at the perfect time, about 50 seconds into the scene.

    Still trying to DIY a mini smoke machine for fun though...
     
  15. Chris Stolz

    Chris Stolz Member

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    Pick up a mist lamp. The lamp goes in the body of the toaster and the "smoke" comes out the top. If you find one with a light, put a gel in there to change the color and make it look like fire.
     
  16. remiii

    remiii New Member

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    Put a spoon full of Ammonium Cloride (Salamoniac) $6 amazon in a Cone heating element $10 amazon and plug in. Makes cheap, great, long lasting, haze like smoke. It was done this way for 60 years befoe it went out of style
     
  17. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    It may have gone out of style due to how unpleasant it was.
    ammoniumchloride.PNG
     
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  18. remiii

    remiii New Member

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    "overexposure" "Large doses" I get complaints about modern hazers as well. - he was just trying to make a wisp - cheaply.
     
  19. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    A Squib or electric match ought to do the job.
     
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  20. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Difference is, there are studies done to know the types of haze/fog fluid exposures which are known to be safe. There are a lot of psychosomatic reactions to modern atmospherics as well. I was on a dark ride where they were using mist for a projection effect. The people in the ride car with me started coughing as we went through (complaining about the fog chemicals), but it was pure water mist. However, it is nice to remember how things used to be done.
     
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