Simple Pop-Up

My variation on Vile Things “simple pop-up” but it will be standing in the barrel and will appear static.  This will use my Bimba “24 cylinder that I’ve been itching to use. I figure I’ll put this prop on the opposite side of the deck to the display so that when the people are checking out the wedding scene, they will get hit in the back by a blast of air. When they turn to investigate… POP!

I gave the pop-up a new theme this year and gave it a decaying zombie look using an old costume I wore a few years ago.

24″ Bimba Pneumatic Cylinder
Mac Valves 3-Way 120volt Solenoid
8′ of 3/4″ Tubular Steel
12 – M6x6 Hex Bolts
12 – Nylon Locking Nuts
36 – M6x3/4″ Fender Washers
1″ PVC “T”
12″ of 1″ Schedule 40 PVC
2 – 4″ Steel “ELL” Brackets
Air Blaster (see how-to)
Light activated screaming voice and laugh
Homebrew Optical Relay to trigger sound
Prop Mask and Hands

I picked up these at the local Value Village. The mask is a hard thick latex and has built-in large glowing eyes circuit running of AA batteries. I would like to put the axe in one hand and the mace in the other. They are of relatively equal weight so they shouldn’t throw anything off balance.


I screwed two wooden supports through the side of the barrel to support the piston in the middle. I piston JUST squeezes through the hole in the wood so it is held very tight.


The photo is deceiving but the piston is quite straight.






Something I discovered today is that 3/4″ steel tube fits PERFECTLY inside 1″ schedule 40 PVC pipe. I’m going to run the steel though the pipe instead of the wooden dowel that Vilethings uses in order to eliminate weak points. Now this steel slides so smoothly inside the PVC that it could be used for a lot of things requiring a sliding support. Note to self.

Some progress today… I had some time tomount the shoulder section. I figured out how grind down both sides of the cylinder top nut so that it would slide into the 3/4″ steel tubing. After it was centered over the hole. I bolted the 2 corner braces to the ends of the tube with 5×40 bolts and locking nuts.

Here is the top section mounted to the top of the cylinder. It was threaded on blindly by turning the whole unit onto the top of the cylinder until it was tight. The center piece is an 1″ PVC “T” with two 3″ sections if PVC glued in. A hole is drilled in the bottom of the “T” and the whole unit is assembled and threaded on. The Vile Things version uses PVC for the entire cross brace with wood dowel in the center. I figured I’d go steel all the way and I don’t have to worry about any weak points snapping. I want this thing to really POP-UP!

So here the 16″ rack and the 12″ follower has been attached to the lower holes in the “ell”bracket. The holes are drilled in the ends for the attachment of the uprights.

Here you can see the eye hooks which will be used to attach the cords (bungee or steel aircraft cable?)

Here I have attached the rest of the armature. I drilled multiple holes to try different angles but in the end there way only one that even remotely worked.

Here is a close-up of the retracted armature.


Here is a close-up of the extended armature.Mind the pen as it is only there to keep it extended.



One arm open and one closed… gives a good indication of the height gained by just the arms without the piston.

Here he is all hooked up to air. The mask has a built in glowing eyes circuit.  This is the retracted position at 42 inches tall.







In the air powered position at 71 inches tall.








I’ve started to flesh him out with chicken wire… I have to sew a costume onto him now… The store bought one didn’t fit…




All dressed up and nowhere to go… I had to sew the costume on and to the wire frame but over all I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Here it is sprayed with black light hairspray.



Cylinder – EBAY
Steel – Home Depot
Air Regulator – Harbour Freight
Mask and Hands – Shoppers Drug Mart

Simple Pop-up – Eric (