Live Monster: DO NOT OPEN

If you’re looking for a good Halloween prop for this year, it would be hard to go wrong with something like Glen Akins’ “Monster in a Box.” As seen in the video below, the beast normally sleeps inside with a rather disturbing snoring sound and a red glow. When you hit a button labeled “press button to wake up the monster,” you’ll be greeted by a very scary wolf-like monster, which pops out of the crate to flashing lights and threatening animals sounds. You did ask for it!

While most will be content to have a bit of a fright, when you look a little closer, it’s actually quite an impressive build. First, the crate that contains everything is nicely constructed out of fence pickets and 1x3s, along with a laser-cut stencil that proclaims the danger inside. They box opening is handled by two pneumatic cylinders, with one used to push the lid up and down repeatedly, before the second swings it open entirely. A third cylinder pushes the monster up, with its glowing eyes, barred fangs, and a flannel shirt — like some sort of werewolf lumberjack.

Inside the box, an AutomationDirect Click PLC runs the show, along with custom PIC24 lighting controllers. These activate strips of red LEDs on the bottom for an ambient glow, and white LED strips on the top when the monster pops out. Finally, a sound effects board pumps audio to an external amplifier and speakers, completing what must by a very frightening display in person!

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Author: Jeremy S. Cook

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