Lets talk about fire!
A couple years ago Adam and I wanted to incorporate fire into some aspect of our decorations. It started with a pumpkin head, but a real one wouldn't last long near larger amounts of fire. We played with the idea (briefly) of small-ish fireballs, but we figured we might set some kids on fire.
We settled on propane torch that is used to get rid of weeds. We attached a piston to the trigger and presto! FIRE! Just bury the torch, add a zombie, and enjoy the fear.
The effect turned out great. The fire added a good accent and everybody enjoyed seeing something new. However, the mechanics were always an issue. When the trigger is on an air piston, you get dirt clogging the piston up. Also, the cramped space in the hole made repairs very difficult. When the trigger was in the house the pressure took forever to get to the flame, and the timing go all thrown off.
Enter Stepper Motor
Using a special motor that takes a given number of 'steps', we can control the torches regulator by turning it up and down varying degrees. This will allow us to use our computer program to tell the fire to be more or less intense based on a number of steps up on the regulator. This also gives us a safety switch. When we say off, the motor will shut the flow of gas completely off.
Lastly, the motor is small enough for the whole underground system to be placed in a box so everything stays clear of dirt.
This system will gives this year's fire a much smoother and better timed effect.