(Close Window)
Topic: Making a Zombie Gimmick
Message: Posted by: davbut50 (Nov 28, 2010 04:52PM)
I am looking for ideas on making my own zombie gimmick. I've ruined a few trying to adapt them to what I want. Any information regarding materials or improvements will be appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Nov 28, 2010 06:28PM)
Wire coathanger, common wine bottle cork.
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Nov 28, 2010 06:32PM)
Car antena. I picked up a fistfull for $1.00 each at the local wrecked car lot. PM me if you would like photos.

Mulee
Message: Posted by: davbut50 (Nov 28, 2010 06:40PM)
Thanks for the productive replies. I am actually trying a coat hanger. It is amazing at the difference of stiffness. I have not thought of an antenna. That is a good idea, especially the one piece ones; however, I could think of some ideas behind a telescoping antenna, if it is rigid enough.
Message: Posted by: donrodrigo (Nov 29, 2010 04:56AM)
Spellbinder is on.
coat hanger and black hollow shoe laces.

good bottle cork, magic felt marker to paint cork. If you need more details?
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Nov 29, 2010 07:38AM)
You can buy steel rod the same size as a coat hanger but it is a lot stiffer.
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Nov 29, 2010 08:13AM)
Car antenna is a good idea for both stiffness and durability. Car antenna do not rust!
Message: Posted by: Servante (Nov 29, 2010 09:28AM)
I've been playing around with magnets rather than corks. Seems like the bits don't fit nearly as well as they used to on my dear old Zombie (about forty years old now). I've found some large, lightweight plastic Christmas ornaments that are large and look for all the world like Zombies. Just now trying to figure out how to smoothly eliminate the ornament top thingy.
Never thought about the antenna idea. Good tip. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: davbut50 (Nov 29, 2010 04:16PM)
It's funny you should mention Christmas ornaments. I was thinking of those yesterday while watching my wife and niece decorate the tree. I plan on snatching a few of the really large ones and trying to use my dremel tool to get rid of the top and make a place for the gimmick. It would have to be a permanent gimmick since there would not be a "tunnel" to hold the cork steady.
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Nov 29, 2010 05:16PM)
I have been playing with 1" PVC fittings and tube for the "tunnel" in a syrafoam skull. Gorilla glued it in place. Works very well. Also changed the finger loop for a wood handle, gives better grip and control. Found that a long gental curve of the antenna yeilds some interesting angles for the illusion.

Mulee
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Nov 29, 2010 05:39PM)
If you use coat-hangers, then a brom handle makes a great "form" to twist the finger part around.
Message: Posted by: davbut50 (Nov 29, 2010 06:33PM)
Mulee, The pvc for the "tunnel" makes sense. I have not thought of that. Would you be willing to give me ideas on your wood handle? It sounds interesting to try.

Cyberqat, The broom handle is a good idea; however, my fingers are fairly small so I have been looking for smaller "molds". I have actually been trying anything that will not be ruined by scratching trying to find the right fit.

I've found that the wood/wire hangers that come with dress suits are much stiffer (the wire). I am waiting for finding the time to deal with this type of material and finding the best way to bend it. I would also like to use a rubber cork for better adhesion to the zombie ball, yet I am having a hard time finding rubber corks without ordering special items from specialty distributors (ie - scientific supplies). The art of finding specialty items without the cost of specialty items, or ordering in bulk, is not one of my fortes.
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Nov 29, 2010 08:05PM)
Davbut50, I suggest you look in the hardware store(Ace,HD,Lowes) in the specialty hardware drawers for rubber corks. They have the rubber stoppers like we used in the sicence labs to seal bottles. You don't have to buy a grunch.

Stiff wire worked around a round surface a bit at a time will give you the bend you want. I put a 1" bow in my antenna this way.

Find a dowel diameter that fits your hand comfortably. I used 1", but you can find multipul sizes at the hardware store. Drill a hole to match the diameter of the wire used, close to edge. Cut a groove for the wire to fit into from the hole to the oppisite edge. Bend wire end 90 degrees and glue into hole in dowel, running it in groove and out to whatever length you want. After determining the wire length, bend 90 degrees and cut to length to glue in to rubber stopper. CAREFULLY drill hole in rubber stopper, and glue wire end in place. Cut dowel down to fit in your hand. Paint whatever needs it flat black.

Give that a try, or design the next great zombie gimmick. I'll look forward to your results.

Mulee
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Dec 1, 2010 11:31AM)
I use the broom handle and then adjust with a pair of needle nose pliers.

YMMV
Message: Posted by: IDOTRIX (Dec 11, 2010 11:57AM)
I solder two cooper fittings together that fit my middle and ring finger. than I attach the bar to the fittings. very comfortable and a lot of stress off forearm
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Dec 11, 2010 12:06PM)
I've found welding rod and brazing rods make good gimmicks for the zombie, cheap and available from any welding supply place.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 11, 2010 06:56PM)
For years, I had made my gimmicks the coil end way, but a year ago I made a big floating eyeball, and quickly discovered that the coil gimmick was going to break my finger. I made a new one using a short length of metal tubing soldered to the arm, and it was 1000% more comfortable. The 2 fingered gimmicks described by IDOTRIX are great, too. I just prefer more free fingers.
Message: Posted by: scottds80 (Dec 17, 2010 12:57AM)
Do many of you scrap the idea of the coil, and use just a ball-type item to fit inside your closed fist? Is this effective?


I have tried time and time again but never gelled with the coil!
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Dec 17, 2010 01:38PM)
For me it depends on feel of the weight at the end of the rod. The foam formed skull I use is easier to use with a "handle", but much lighter zombie balls seem to work better with the finger coil.

Make a couple and see what works best for your performance. that's the nice thing about making some of your own devices, they can be customized.

Mulee
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Mar 28, 2011 04:27PM)
The coil I use hurts after a very short while...looking for alternatives.
Message: Posted by: oso2you (Mar 28, 2011 05:40PM)
Wrap plastic/rubber tubing around the coils to save your finger.

Should have said, "slide plastic/rubber tubing over the wire".
Message: Posted by: illusiontech (Mar 28, 2011 06:40PM)
Melinda's was a double fingered Owen Gimmick, it provided much control, especially because ladies and certain male performers have smaller fingers.

The ball was permanently attached. And was covered in shoelace.

Just my 2 cents!

--Vinny
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Mar 28, 2011 06:45PM)
[quote]
On 2010-12-01 12:31, Cyberqat wrote:
I use the broom handle and then adjust with a pair of needle nose pliers.

YMMV
[/quote]
You could also go to the hardware store store and find a piece of dowel rod that is the same size as your finger...wrap the wire around that...no adjustment necessary!
Message: Posted by: mrmetropolis (Mar 29, 2011 04:32AM)
If you're still building this... I made one using shrink tubing to cover the wire "hanger" portion. I made it like a typical zombie except I hooked a battery and switch up to it. I turned the "cork" portion into a flash pot. Hence, the need for shrink tubing to hide the wires going down the gimmick.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Mar 29, 2011 07:47AM)
Interesting idea, Metropolis! I assume you finish the routine with a flash?
Message: Posted by: mrmetropolis (Mar 29, 2011 10:29AM)
Nope... It was just an idea and something I wanted to make. My routine at the time was the first one that I came up with and was powerful enough, it didn't need any extra. I took the minimalist approach on it so just it rising a couple of feet seemed like a gigantic feat. I also had a system rigged on my table for stealing the gimmick as I was moving the foulard over the top and ditching it in just the same way. So, I started clean and ended clean. I just love the simple elegance of the zombie and think the illusion is ruined by making it "play games" with you... dance around your body etc. So, the flash gimmick was just a weekend project. It is finished, it works, just never use it. I also should put a safety system in it... an additional toggle switch alongside the momentary... I also had a fear of it going off inside the ball... Totally destroying the effect, along with the ball as it launches out into the audience. :-/
Message: Posted by: mrmetropolis (Mar 29, 2011 10:38AM)
Oh, one last thing. I think I remember seeing a gimmick about 20 years ago or so that was made from square telescopic tubing. I have seen the tubing at hardware stores and tried to make my own, the only issue I ran into was, I couldn't figure out a way to stop the brass tubes from telescoping. The circular telescopic "antennas" have a way of doing this. If anyone has ideas on this route or if you remember or have seen this gimmick please let me know.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Mar 29, 2011 12:05PM)
Mr. M

In highschool I also built a "catcher" on the back of my table to ditch the gimmick.

I used a Styrofoam "Miracle Ball" which as small enough tht I could ditch the ball itself in a well. I'd make a ball like shape with my left hand under the cloth, "carry" it with my right hand out to the midel of the audience, then toss it in the air and "vanish" it Asrah style.

I now own multiple balls, but none are small enough to ditch in my table top or fake with a hand under the cloth.:/ I've tried a few times to come up with an Asrah-like gimmick for the cloth but so far I havent had much success.

for that reason I still get drawn back to my old Miracle Ball.
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Apr 4, 2011 02:57PM)
I used a long thumb tip and wrapped the wire around that, then poured some construction adhesiveon the outside to seal them together. I then painted that part flesh color and the wire & cork black. This allows your fingers to be in front of the cloth, you have great control with just a pinch of cloth between thumb and forefinger. I drilled a small hole in the thumb tip to prevent air pressure problems, so it goes right on and off. This method has much less finger strain for me.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 4, 2011 03:35PM)
[quote]
On 2011-03-29 13:05, Cyberqat wrote:
Mr. M

In highschool I also built a "catcher" on the back of my table to ditch the gimmick.

I used a Styrofoam "Miracle Ball" which as small enough tht I could ditch the ball itself in a well. I'd make a ball like shape with my left hand under the cloth, "carry" it with my right hand out to the midel of the audience, then toss it in the air and "vanish" it Asrah style.

I now own multiple balls, but none are small enough to ditch in my table top or fake with a hand under the cloth.:/ I've tried a few times to come up with an Asrah-like gimmick for the cloth but so far I havent had much success.

for that reason I still get drawn back to my old Miracle Ball.
[/quote]

I had "Miracle Ball" when I was a kid. Loved it! Where can you buy that type of styrofoam ball now? It had a slick finish. All the styrofoam balls I find in stores now are that rough, crumbly styrofoam... lousy for the trick.
Message: Posted by: mrmetropolis (Apr 4, 2011 09:07PM)
[/quote]

I had "Miracle Ball" when I was a kid. Loved it! Where can you buy that type of styrofoam ball now? It had a slick finish. All the styrofoam balls I find in stores now are that rough, crumbly styrofoam... lousy for the trick.
[/quote]

A quick coat of paper mache would slick it up.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Apr 6, 2011 03:45PM)
[quote]
On 2011-04-04 22:07, mrmetropolis wrote:
[/quote]
I had "Miracle Ball" when I was a kid. Loved it! Where can you buy that type of styrofoam ball now? It had a slick finish. All the styrofoam balls I find in stores now are that rough, crumbly styrofoam... lousy for the trick.
[/quote]
A quick coat of paper mache would slick it up.
[/quote]
I just read in the April issue of the Linking Ring that they have released the "dream Zombie", which is a plastic ball that has a polished chrome finish, and apparently hard to distinguish from the metal ones. They only weigh three ounces, don't dent or come apart, and the kit is advertised at $35, which includes ball, gimmick, foulard and stand.

Can't remember who makes it, though.

Just went back and looked. It is made by FAB Magic.
Message: Posted by: jnrussell (Jun 14, 2011 10:53PM)
[quote]

I had "Miracle Ball" when I was a kid. Loved it! Where can you buy that type of styrofoam ball now? It had a slick finish. All the styrofoam balls I find in stores now are that rough, crumbly styrofoam... lousy for the trick. [/quote]

Just depends on the craft store. I found the smooth ones at an independent place near me.

BTW, I replaced my smaller "Miracle Ball" with a larger one; removing the gimmick from the first and inserting it in the second. Works great!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 14, 2011 11:11PM)
[quote]
On 2011-06-14 23:53, jnrussell wrote:
[quote]

I had "Miracle Ball" when I was a kid. Loved it! Where can you buy that type of styrofoam ball now? It had a slick finish. All the styrofoam balls I find in stores now are that rough, crumbly styrofoam... lousy for the trick. [/quote]

Just depends on the craft store. I found the smooth ones at an independent place near me.

BTW, I replaced my smaller "Miracle Ball" with a larger one; removing the gimmick from the first and inserting it in the second. Works great!
[/quote]
Thanks! At least I know now they are out there somewhere.