Wicked Beernut Home - Halloween Home - Drawing Board


E-mail: wbn@wickedbeernut.com

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The Premise

A soft white light lights a whimsical jack-in-the-box of adult proportions. The handle begins to slowly turn, emanating a tinny rendition of the well-known children's verse. "All around the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel, the monkey stopped to pull up his sox ...". Suddenly, the lighting shifts, the lid flies open and a demented clown springs forth. The whimsical verse shifts to a dark, maniacal ... Pop goes the Evil.


Pop goes the Evil was inspired by Spooky F/X's Shock in the Box.

The Shock in the Box was adapted from a concept by Denny Dahm of Terror by Design.

Pop goes the Evil's design was based on my son's Jester Jack in the Box by Schylling,

Pop goes the Evil will use Death Studio's Slim Klown mask,

Pop goes the Evil will use a Rainbow Clown Costume,

 Materials (Tentative)

3/8" Plywood


I'm planning on the box being a 3' cube. I plan to construct all six sides from 3/8" plywood.

2" x 4" - 10' Pine Boards


I plan to use 2" x 4" pine boards in each of the four corners. The sides of the 2" x 4" boards will be cut at a 45 angle and positioned in the corners at a 45 angle. The plywood sides of the box will attach to the beveled sides of the 2" x 4" boards.

1" x 4" - 10' Pine Boards


I plan to make "ribs" like I did with my coffin. I will attach the ribs to the outer edge of the 2" x 4" boards that form the corners.

(2) 4' x 8' - 1/8" Flexible Italian Poplar


I plan to wrap all four sides of the box with flexible Italian poplar as I did with the domed lid of my coffin. The flexible Italian poplar, in conjunction with the ribs, will create rounded corners. I plan to apply flexible Italian poplar to the top and lid of the box as well.

12' 1/2-Round Flexible Molding


The idea here is to wrap 1/2-round flexible molding around the bottom of the box. I'm not even sure they make such a thing.

12' 3/4-Round Flexible Molding


The idea here is to wrap 3/4-round flexible molding around the top of the box. I'm not even sure they make such a thing. I may consider using a combination of 1/4-Round and 1/2-Round.

10' Full-Round Flexible Molding


O.K. I just made this up. The idea is to wrap flexible molding around the lid. I may consider using a pair of 1/2-Round.



I haven't settled on a style of hinge yet.




Death Studio's Slim Klown Mask



Rainbow Clown Costume


The plan is to cut and drape the clown costume to the edge of the round opening in the top, just as with a real jack in the box.

White Gloves



Clown Wallpaper or Mural


I'd like to wrap the box in either clown wallpaper or a clown mural. Bozo the Clown would be perfect. I want the outside of the jack in the box to appear whimsical. If I can't find suitable wallpaper, I'll likely end up projecting the design of my son's jack in the box on the sides of Pop goes the Evil using an opaque projector and painting the clown design by hand. Yikes!




(1) 8" x 16" 1/2" Plywood (Shoulder Plate)


I may consider a lighter frame.

(1) 2x4-20" (Shoulders)



(2) 2x3-13 1/2" (Upper Arms)



(2) 2x3-8 1/2" (Lower Arms)



1" Chicken Wire



Drywall Screws



1" Wood Dowel



Styrofoam Wighead



XR-1592 Two-Part Expanding Rigid Urethane Foam


The rigid urethane foam is used to fill in between the mask and the Styrofoam wighead.




Dayton Gear Motor


I plan to use a gear motor to turn the handle. I haven't settled on the RPM of the gear motor yet. I'm thinking about 12 RPM.

Aluminum Tubing


I plan to have a length of aluminum tubing bent into the shape of the Jack in the box handle.

Red Plastic Ball


I plan to use a red plastic ball to serve as the handle knob.




Mannesmann-Rexroth 8" Air Cylinder, M-12DXP-80, Motion Industries, Inc.

$46.10 x 2 = $92.20

I plan to use one 8" cylinder to lift the lid and one 8" cylinder to lift the clown.

SMC Corporation Sub-plate, SPF0191-02, Motion Industries, Inc.


I'm debating whether to use a single solenoid valve or a pair of solenoid valves to actuate the cylinders. I could probably use the flow control valves to sequence the lid and the clown, but it would be more reliable to actuate the lid and the clown using separate solenoid valves. I don't want to smash a $110 foam-filled mask through the box lid.

SMC Corporation Valve Body and Solenoid (1), NVFS2100-3FZ, Motion Industries, Inc.


(refer to Sub-plate)

Mannesmann-Rexroth Flow Control Valves (4), 540-632-600-1, Motion Industries, Inc.

$12.80 x 4 = $51.20

I will use four flow control valves (two per cylinder).

Mannesmann-Rexroth Foot Bracket, ML073790048, Motion Industries, Inc.

$2.95 x 2 = $5.90

The foot bracket makes it much easier to connect the cylinder to the box.




K76 PIR Movement Detector Module, http://www.web-tronics.com/


I may just run Pop goes the Evil off a timer (maintained by the stamp of course).

Radio Shack, 20-Second Recording Module, 276-1323, http://www.radioshack.com

$9.99 x 2 = $19.98

I will likely stick with Radio Shack recording modules for the tinny rendition of Pop goes the Weasel and the dark, maniacal rendition of Pop goes the Evil. I may consider using a CD player for the maniacal rendition (or both) in order to get the added dynamic range.

First Step Microcontroller Kit (unassembled), #3-475, http://www.robotstore.com


The whole prop will be controlled by my favorite BASIC stamp I. The eight I/O will be used for,

  1. Lid Solenoid Valve (SSR) and Mini Strobe Light
  2. Clown Solenoid Valve (SSR)
  3. Handle Gear Motor (SSR)
  4. PIR (?)
  5. Tinny Recording Module (?)
  6. Maniacal Recording Module or CD Player
  7. Ready Indicator

Crydom Solid State 5A SIP DC, CX240D5, CC1063-ND, http://www.digikey.com

$9.02 x 3 = $27.06

SSRs are used to switch the solenoid valve(s) from the stamp.

Momentary SPST Switch, #275-618, http://www.radioshack.com


The momentary SPST switch serves as the reset button.

Green Blinking LED, #276-305, http://www.radioshack.com


The blinking green LED serves as a prop-ready indicator.

LED Holder, #276-079, http://www.radioshack.com


(refer to Green Blinking LED)

Mini Project Enclosure (2.125" x 1.375" x 0.580"), http://www.radioshack.com


The mini project enclosure encloses the PIR.

Dual Mini Grid-Style PC Board, #276-148, http://www.radioshack.com


The SSRs are soldered to the mini PC board.

VRI Variable-Speed, Mini 20-Watt DJ Strobe


I'm leaning towards using a mini strobe light to illuminate the clown after it springs from the box, although I might consider doing something different.

Metal Standoffs (10), #276-195, http://www.radioshack.com

$1.29 - Set of Four x 2 = $2.58

The metal standoffs are used in conjunction with the stamp and the Radio Shack recording modules.

3' 3-Conductor Intercom Wire, #278-871, http://www.radioshack.com

 $4.99 - 50'

The intercom wire is used to connect the PIR to the stamp [I may not use the PIR]

Four-Pin Male Connector and Four-Pin Female Connector, #274-224 and #274-234, http://www.radioshack.com

 $1.19 + $1.19

The four-pin connectors are used to disconnect the PIR from the stamp. I may permanently wire the PIR to the stamp. [I may not use the PIR]

(2) 1/8" Phono Plug Jack, http://www.radioshack.com


The phono plug jacks are used to connect the amplified speakers to the Radio Shack recording modules.

Heavy Duty 9 V Battery Snap Connectors, #270-324, http://www.radioshack.com

$1.89 - Package of Five

The 9 volt snap connectors are used to connect the stamp and the Radio Shack recording modules to the 9 volt transformer.

300 mA 9 V Transformer, #273-1767, http://www.radioshack.com


The 9 volt transformer is used to power the stamp and the Radio Shack recording modules.

Amplified Speakers


I've had good luck with inexpensive (as little as $3 brand new) amplified speakers in the past. I have had trouble using two Radio Shack recording modules with the same pair of amplified speakers. I may be able to get away with an inexpensive pair of amplified speakers for the tinny rendition, but I may use an amplified subwoofer in conjunction with the Radio Shack recording module or CD player that will produce the maniacal rendition.

Amplified Subwoofer



4" x 2 1/8" Handy Box (Single Outlet), Duplex Cover and White Duplex Receptacle, Orchard Supply Hardware

$0.59 + $0.39 + $0.49 = $1.47

The 4" x 2 1/8" handy box is used to supply power to the solenoid valve(s) and strobe light.

4" Square Outlet Box (Dual Outlet), Cover and White Duplex Receptacles (Two), Orchard Supply Hardware

$1.39 + $0.89 + 2 x $0.49 = $3.26

One 4" square outlet box serves as the main junction box. The SSRs, amplified speakers and 9 volt transformer connect to the main junction box.

4" Square Outlet Box (Dual Outlet) and Cover, Orchard Supply Hardware

$1.39 + $0.39 = $1.78

One 4" square outlet box serves as a project box for the stamp, SSRs and Radio Shack recording modules.

6' Household Extension Cord (1 or 2)

$1.49 x 1 or 2 = $1.49 or $2.98

The extension cords are used to wire the solenoid valve(s) to the 4" x 2 1/8" handy box.

3-Wire Electrical Cord with Grounded Plug


The 3-wire electrical cord will supply power to the main junction box.

3/8" Romex NM Connector (4), Orchard Supply Hardware

$0.99 - 4 Connectors

The connectors are used to secure the electrical cords to the junction boxes.

1/4" NPT x 1/4" Compression Fittings (3 or 6), Motion Industries, Inc.

$2.18 x 3 or 6 = $6.54 or $13.08

The compression fittings are used to connect the polyethylene tubing to the solenoid valves. You need three compression fittings per solenoid valve.

Teflon Thread Seal Tape



1/4" NPT Female Plug Air Quick-Disconnect Fitting


The air quick-disconnect fitting is used to connect the input air.

1/4" Brass Nipple


The brass nipple and couple are used to connect the air quick-disconnect fitting through the side of the box.

1/4" Brass Couple


(refer to 1/4" Brass Couple)

2' of 1/4" Polyethylene Tubing

$0.07 per foot

The polyethylene tubing is used to plumb the air quick-disconnect fitting to the solenoid valve(s) and the solenoid valve(s) to the cylinders.


$600 - $650


Wicked Beernut Home - Halloween Home - Drawing Board