View Full Version : Vortex tunnel

08-13-2007, 03:41 PM
need lts of help on this one, i need to build a spinning vortex tunnel and on top of that my haunt is oing to be 3 times bigger.

I can handle making the haunt bigger but i need ideas of how to make this tunnel.

i can make the bridge but i need help on the large rings which will make up the tunnel

08-16-2007, 07:16 AM
k, my bridge idea didnt work so i need any help you can give me related to spinning tunnels

08-16-2007, 08:33 AM
Try Scary-terry.com He has ,"a how to and how not to" ,page.
it's a start..

08-16-2007, 08:41 AM
thanks, i dont have access to a cnc router, so i cant do that but the bridge is probably similiar to what i will be doing

let me know if nyone has any other ways of making the rings

08-19-2007, 07:55 PM
yea, scary terry did a great job making a vortex tunnel...i have always wanted to build one but haven't had the time. Good luck

09-09-2007, 08:43 AM
i need more help on this vortex tunnel, very limited time so any help you can give me is greatly appreciated.

09-10-2007, 12:41 PM
I've never built one, but I've crawled over and under several.

Essentially, it's a sturdy bridge that goes thru the middle of a fabric-and-ring tunnel with the tunnel being cradled in two shafts-with-wheels; one shaft is driven by a motor.

I've seen the rings made out of aluminum tubing and also cut from plywood. The rings are about 3ft apart and 8-10 ft diameter on the ones I saw. Black fabric is run laterally inside the rings, edges sewn together, to form the tube. Paint stripes or fluorescent stars or whatever on the fabric. Mount the UV lights under and aside the bridge. Run aluminum or wooden "spacers" in between the rings to hold them apart.

Now, make a "cradle" to hold the tunnel. This is made from two long pipes supported by roller bearings at the ends and a few places in the middle. Have rubber tires (wheelbarrow tires, for example) on the pipes aligned wherever a tunnel ring ends up. The rings sit on the tires. I don't recall the mechanics used to insure that the ring stays riding on the tire and doesn't slip off.

Use a gear motor on one of the pipes to drive the whole thing.

Hope this helps!
- Steve

09-10-2007, 06:10 PM
thanks any ideas of ways to make the rings out of plywood without wasting a lot of it

09-10-2007, 09:55 PM
The best I can come up with is to use six plywood arc sections per ring. Make each section represent 1/3 of the circle (120-degrees), and have two circles of three sections each for each ring - so the front circle overlaps the joints of the back circle. Screw and glue it very well. Not sure I'm explaining it right, but if you start with 3/4" plywood (not OSB !) then each ring is 1.5" thick (double the 3/4"). I'd make the sections 4 to 6" wide but that's just a guess.

You'll be doing LOTS of cutting with a scroll saw or band saw or sawzall, so have plenty of spare blades handy.

Jim Warfield
09-11-2007, 12:46 AM
Of course the other name for the Vortex Tunnel is "Yak Tube" since many lose their lunch(or probably supper?) from this dizzing effect.
A small child died in one of these at Navy Pier in Chicago(if memory serves me?)
He fell under it.
Sewing alot of fabric is pretty slow, I glue fabric, buy those little plastic spring clamps to hold it while the glue dries.
Long live "GOOP!"

09-11-2007, 01:23 PM
When we built wooden rings (never again...), we actually cut each sheet of plywood into 48" x 8" strips, and used a router at the end of a 5' stick to cut out the arcs. A quick chop through a miter saw set at a 22.5 degree angle, and 8 peices make a circle.

You need two layers for each ring (to have something to adhere to), use lots (LOTS!) of glue, and some short sheetrock screws to hold everything together.

When you finally get tired of it, go make the rings out of plastic or metal (or both, which is what we did).

Lastly, save yourself the effort and drive all three wheels on one side. Driving just one wheel can cause too much torque and binding in the tube. A 5/8" cold rolled steel shaft set in pillow blocks and bearings do a great job.

WELD everything. Do a good job. Paint it.

You don't have to spend 7 grand to buy one, but you will need to spend a few thousand making one. Don't cut corners, you will just have to do it again.

Oh, and make sure you use a 10 foot inside diameter ring, especially if you are an event that has to be inspected to open. They like the headroom in there, and it's harder for people to mess up your tunnel.

-- I

09-12-2007, 01:35 PM
i can make the bridge but i need help on the large rings which will make up the tunnel

Before you build your plywood rings, I suggest that you check the price on 1 inch sq. aluminum tubing. Then talk to someone at a local Fabrication shop about having the Tubing "Rolled" to form the 5 foot radius. You MAY find that the cost is not too far out of reach. Just a thought...

note: I find that when talking to "Fab Guys" it helps to make the project sound cool and fun. These guys are like us, and love to work on something interesting. ;)