View Full Version : Vortex Tunnel Rings

11-25-2006, 02:59 PM
I have looked at the plans of making a vortex tunnel that are on the web. I just don't know about making the rings out of plywood as the cuts have to be dead on. Have any of you done this? Do you know of a place that you can get large rings that are not wood but steel or aluminum? Thanks for any help, this is one of what I'm calling the big three. I want to add three big effects to my home haunt and this is the one that will take the most time and effort. If I can get the rings out of the way the rest should fall into place over the coming months. Thanks for any help, Ice :)

Jim Warfield
11-25-2006, 05:45 PM
I have always wondered if say 400 people go through a vortex tunnel, how many of them throw up? They call these "Yak Tubes" for some reason?
If just one or two people per/400 puke in my house that is one or two too many, I have other things I need and want to do instead of being a janitor on a busy and hopefully profitable October night.
Maybe I just have a weak stomach..Let me look inside of it...yup, weak, too weak to contain it's contents, look out, stand back here it comes!!!

...Or maybe they just have a latex Yak standing inside a big tube?
Does a real Yak smell so bad that this makes people...yak?

11-27-2006, 07:46 AM
Of the years we've had the vortex, only one person has ever thrown up.

We always tell people: "Don't throw up in the vortex tunnel. It will come back to haunt you!"

And, to answer the original question, it can be done out of plywood. The cuts don't have to be 100% perfect... the arcs are a bit more important and you can get pretty even ones using a router or jigsaw at the end of a stick.

The problem with wood rings:
- They soak up water and get heavy. Use outdoors can be a problem.
- They tend to get "sanded" away by the metal wheels. You can get a couple seasons out of them before they need replaced.

-- I

11-27-2006, 02:56 PM
I found a wood shop that has a cnc router for the rings but the more I think about I would like to buy professional set up. It just a lot of money to part with. I'll have to see what the wood shop quotes for the cutting and go from there.

11-28-2006, 09:19 AM
Call a local welding shop with your specs and see if they can give you an estimate. :)

11-28-2006, 04:01 PM
Now why would I do that, I know how to weld. :lol:

11-28-2006, 05:37 PM
Welding's not the issue...how you gonna get the perfect bends?

Jim Warfield
11-28-2006, 06:47 PM
Right. "Perfect Bends."
It is always amazing to me when I see a 90 degree angle channel bent into a perfectly round piece (like for a glass topped coffee table) and the sidewall of the steel has no kinks or ripples in it. This is knowledge and talent at work.

11-29-2006, 03:37 PM
I've been dwelling on this same issue for years too and have wanted to add one to our place. Luckily I found a guy that operates one of our local muffler shops that has the tools to give that "perfect" bend. Maybe you can find someone in your area that has the same capability?

While we are on the "do it yourself" topic, does anyone have elevator plans or suggestions?

11-29-2006, 05:42 PM
Oliver Holler published a video on how to build a Vortex using aluminum tubes. It is a great video. He can be reached at the Ghosts and Legends Theater in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.


Contact Oli and he can tell you where to get one.


11-29-2006, 05:44 PM
I understand the "bend" part of it all. Was just a suggestion as I know that one of the welding shops/metal working shops here has made one. :)

11-30-2006, 04:41 PM
Thanks SpFXChic, by the way, awsome aveator.

Greg Chrise
11-30-2006, 06:40 PM
There are two ways to bend the metal

1. is a set up of three metal rollers with one up above the piece and one below (generally square tubing) a force is applied by the top wheel by a screw or hydraulic cylinder and a large assist wheel is put on one of the lower rollers. The length is put through the contraption bending only slightly as it goes through each time and then a bit more force and then through again amaybe 20 times until the proper arch is achieved. This is the cold rolled menthod that you might find this machine at most welding type machine shops.

The other would be the hot rolled method where a wooden form is prepared and the metal is heated with a torch to near red hot and bent over the form.

Some interesting designs I have seen have bolt together tabs on the end of lenths to come apart, taking maybe 3 or 4 sections to make a ring but, it could be one piece looped under the long bridge.

Some thought should be given as to how this thing will be moved once all this stuff is welded together. A good metal bridge might approach 800 pounds pretty easy and tough to load on the roof of a Ford Pinto to get it to the event.

Greg Chrise
11-30-2006, 06:45 PM
A wood ring can have a metal flat stock band put on the outside edge like an ancient wagon wheel but, a metal sqare tube ring would be lighter. Lighter means longer motor life.

Jim Warfield
11-30-2006, 09:55 PM
Or lay a steel bar across the curb, run over it with a Pinto to bend it, unless your Pinto is so old it has wooden wheels on it with steel pieces on the sides.
Of course precision will be hard to achieve or maintain using the Pinto method but then your rotating tunnel would have it's own peculair wobble, no two tunnels alike!