What's all this, then?

Each Halloween season, when the Greenwood Reaper inhabits my yard, people ask me “How did you make it?” and “What is it made from?”.

Since I’m making a bigger and better reaper I figured I’d make this blog to answer those questions. This is also a way for interested parties to ask questions and see the progress of the project.

The only regular time I spend building is on the week-ends, so it’s likely posts will appear early in the week.

The posts appear with the newest on top, so if you're new to the sight scroll to the bottom to read the beginning.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Structure Basics

A few years ago I made another 18 foot Halloween creature. Her name was Mary Annette and she was so big and heavy and cumbersome that I nearly killed two of my neighbors while trying to put her up.
The problem was the design.
With the original Reaper (at 13 feet) I could stand on a ladder and put on the head and arms without too much of a problem. At 18 feet that tactic was not an option for Mary. I would have no way to put on her head or arms. The plan was to have her fully assembled while laying down and simply stand her up. 'Simple' it was not. After much pushing and pulling and grunting we finally got her standing. Even though I lashed her down very securely, I stressed out every time the wind blew and I was certain she would become the target of vandals. Taking her down was pretty easy, I just loosened the tie-downs and let gravity do it's thing. I really didn't care if she got damaged.

Although Mary had a short life, her parts will live on. I re-used the central truss for the new Reaper. The new strategy for erecting such a tall piece is to take a lesson from nature (one of my favorite engineers), and have the Reaper bend at the waist. Using a steel pipe and some round-stock I made a very large hinge. This hinge will connect the bottom section to the top section.

Since I need to be able to store the Reaper during those dreaded 'non-Halloween' months, and since I have somewhat limited storage space, the whole thing needs to be as modular as possible without compromising safety. (my motto for building is "Why just build it when you can over-build it?")