It’s one thing to mount a big skull—human or animal—to the front of your car. Really, though, a good hood skull should breathe fire to truly inspire enmity or awe. Thankfully, when [Anthony] went about modifying his ex-school bus, he was sure to equip it with suitably flaming equipment. It’s dangerous, so don’t try this one at home and melt your car, you hear?
The build started with an off-the-shelf replica cow skull, in lovely flame-resistant metal. It was then plumbed with a propane feed that could be triggered by a 12-volt solenoid. This was combined with a high-voltage coil driving a grill igniter to provide the necessary initiating spark.
To go forth with flames, first, a missile switch must be flipped up and engaged to arm the system. Then, hitting the skull-and-crossbones button will send fire surging forth from the front of the vehicle. Alternatively, a wireless keyfob can be used, which bypasses the arming system—so leaving the remote in a pocket is ill-advised.
Halloween is looming, and [Jonathan Gleich] decided that an ideal centerpiece would be a flame-spitting dragon’s head. It started with an economical wall-mount dragon’s head, combined with a variety of off-the-shelf components to become something greater.
The fire comes from a kind of propane torch sold as a weed killer set, which looks a little like a miniature tiger torch. The flow of propane is limited by a regulator (which keeps the flame short and fixed), and controlled with a gas-rated 12 V solenoid valve. Ignition is done with the help of a spark igniter that fires up on demand, fed by a high-voltage ignition coil. The two combine at the Dragon’s mouth, where the flame originates, but the electrical components are otherwise isolated from the gas elements as much as possible.
The dragon head is made of acrylic, and if exposed to enough heat acrylic will first melt, then burn. To help avoid a meltdown, the dragon breathes fire only intermittently. [Jonathan] also gave the mouth area a heat-resistant barrier made from generous layers of flame-blocking mortar and sealants from the hardware store. The finishing touch comes in the form of bright red LEDs in the eyes, which give the head a bit more life.
Watch the ignitor in action and see the head spewing flames in the two short videos embedded below. The head should make for some good pictures come Halloween, and is a good example of how repurposing off-the-shelf items can sometimes be just what is needed for a project.
[Lvl_joe] has been having a little fun with fire and an animatronic pony. The skeletal horse seen above is a child’s toy denuded of its original plush shell. That’s a good thing, because those synthetic fibers don’t play very nicely with flames. The toy originally retailed for around $300 bucks, but if you’re lucky, like [Joe], you can get one second-hand for $25 or less.
Since the horse is already motorized, it’s not too hard to patch into the drivers. Here an Arduino is used to take input from a Wii Nunchuck, letting you swing the fire sprayer to and fro. A grill igniter makes sure it’s not just spraying automotive starter fluid everywhere. You can hear the click of that tiny spark repeatedly firing in the demo video after the break. The starter fluid comes in an aerosol can. A custom trigger system holds the can in a PVC pipe, and actuates the valve with a Bowden cable.