View Full Version : A bar illusion that bends?

Dr. Giggles
03-17-2009, 03:35 PM
Alright everyone this is what i am trying to achieve.
I have built almost boxes out of plywood that are six feet five inches tall and about 4 feet wide. Now here is my problem, i need a way to put bars on them or rather "bars" because obviously they arent gunna be real. So i need to find a way to put "bars" on these cages that actors can either pull away at a moments notice or "break" through or slid through. I thought about using bike tires. But i cant get them long enough to fit 6 feet 5 inches. I have also tried mending the tires together, it just doesnt look good. The whole room is going to be lit in blacklight. So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
-Dr. G.

03-17-2009, 03:55 PM

Try using thick black electrical cable. Remember, only the bars that need to be broken through have to move. Use wooden dowels or something else for the static bars & paint them to match.

Hope this helps...............Tom.

03-17-2009, 04:01 PM
What about something like this in Black. a solid rubber cord with a large enough diameter:http://www.simolexrubber.com/html/cord_01.html

03-17-2009, 04:11 PM
or black rubber garden hose...

http://www.hardwarestore.com/media/product/279844_front200.jpg (http://www.hardwarestore.com/pop-print/larger-image.aspx?prodNo=7892)

03-17-2009, 04:16 PM
or black rubber garden hose...

http://www.hardwarestore.com/media/product/279844_front200.jpg (http://www.hardwarestore.com/pop-print/larger-image.aspx?prodNo=7892)

Good choice

Dr. Giggles
03-17-2009, 04:18 PM
Thanks for the outpouring of ideas everyone.
Will hose be flexible enough? I mean our actors...are....festively plump. Or some are anyway. hahaha they are excellent actors and i dont want to not put them in there because of their size. Thats why i was thinking more elasticy like rubber tires or even a way so that the bars could come free quickly.

creep house
03-17-2009, 04:20 PM
I used 1/2 inch PVC......painted them black..., mount them to the bottom of the cage with wood screws.....
drill the holes 1 inch size at the top of your box.....
leave about 1 1/2 ft.-2ft. extra of the PVC pipe sticking out of the top so when you bend the pipe it can slide easily through the holes..........

Dr. Giggles
03-17-2009, 04:22 PM
Wait...that wasnt very clear. So i secure the pipes to the floor, then drill a hole in the roof and they can bend? Hahah sorry im not getting it

03-17-2009, 04:47 PM
No. Get bungey chords long enough to atleast stretch the 6 foot span. you duct tape with black tape 3 or 4 bungeys together depending on the thickness and then secure them at each end. You can ad a coat of latex paint if youd like. Vincent This Time!

Allen H
03-17-2009, 05:08 PM
Oak, the ideas posted were valid, starting your post with "No" is rude to all those trying to help. and Latex paint wont stretch enough but they do sell black bungee cord.
Allen H

creep house
03-17-2009, 05:13 PM
hey OAK ! I have been doing this longer than you have been alive!!!

03-17-2009, 05:34 PM
I saw this effect at the Spookyworld auction a few years back. Some sort of bungie cord goes from the bottom to the top of the display which is threaded through swimming noodles. The noodles are flexible themselves so they can be spread apart easily for an actor to come through, but they are hard enough that they look like actual bars.

03-17-2009, 07:50 PM
1/2 inch PVC is quite flexible. If you secure the bottom of the pipe with wood screws and then run the pipes through holes in the roof you have created a way for the pipes to bend. If you secured the top and the bottom the pipe would be fixed and not flexible. If you secure only the bottom, it will allow the top part of the pipe to slid up and down in the hole there by allowing the pipe to flex. The pipe must be long enough to stick up through the roof or when you bend the pipe it will just fall out of the hole and possibly into the crowd or maybe even tripping your actor. So if it's well lighted in the scene everyone will see the pipes in the middle are longer and ruin the effect. Hope that helps.
I don't even know how to describe my idea without a picture but basically take some 1x4's and build a frame for your cell opening. If you think of the bottom piece on the ground laying flat (not upright but the actual 4 inch piece on the ground) this is how I would orient all the pieces going around the frame. Then take more 1x4's screwing them to the first frame to create a 90 degree angle or a "L" shaped frame.
Then go get some of the individually packaged broom/mop hangers that are spring loaded. Screw these to the upright piece of the "L" you have created where you want the middle two bars located. Then measure out and drill holes in the top and bottom of the first, or bottom, of the "L" shaped frame. Distancing them the same amount from the frame face that the mop hangers will be. Slip the two middle bars into the mop hangers you have installed on the top and bottom and when you look at it they will all look the same and they will all give the impression of being securely attached.
When the time comes the actor grabs the two middle bars, shakes them slightly to give the impression they are also attached and then suddenly pulls them towards the back of the cage (out of the mop hangers), leaving them behind him and making a quick exit towards the crowd. This leaves nothing in the way for the actor to trip on as he's trying to get out (like bungie cord material ) and when he gets back in he just picks up the pipes and pushes them back into the holders while waiting for the next group.

03-17-2009, 08:01 PM
We used bicycle innertubes from a racing bike. we contacted a bike shop and they held all their old innertubes for us and gave them to us for free. We cut the valve stem out and sandwiched the innertubes between 2 peices of 2x4 every 6 inches apart. secure the 2x4 block on the floor and the other block on the ceiling and there ya go. Instant bars. We got alot of reactions from this effect and they loved it.I recommend strobes in this area so it gives a more impressive sight when they come out of the bars. Also have your actors pause at the bars and the customers will taunt him thinking he cant get at them. Thats when you come tearing out at them. It worked great for us a few years ago.

Dr. Giggles
03-18-2009, 12:40 PM
Thanks for the input everyone!
And thanks to you Casey! That diagram really helped!
I have figured it out how im going to work it everyone. But thanks again for the input.

03-19-2009, 04:06 PM
For the non-bending bars we've used EMT conduit - that cheap metal conduit you get a home depot etc. Paint it blank, it clangs like metal 'cuz it is. You can also charge 'em with a battery charger and make a spark cage for your inmate.

For the flexing ones we used 1/2" PVC pipe, painted black, but they only bend enuf for the skinny actors.