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How to Make a Rain Machine

by Erik Beck

You can read the full how to guide here or
check out this build in action, from Episode 13 of Backyard FX at Indy Mogul

Hey, everyone, and welcome to the technical blog for the rain machine. All you people who wanted a cheap way to recreate good-looking "movie rain" read below. The coolest thing about this project is you probably have a lot of the parts laying around the house.

Warning: I'm using power tools to build this project. Always have adult supervision when using power tools if you are younger than 18. Seriously, people, be careful.

Shopping List

  1. 25- to 50-ft garden hose.
    (I bought a 50 ft one, but the water only came out about halfway. I'd try a 25-footer)

  2. Some cheap wood.
    (I got about 20-ft of 1"x2" beams. If you have some old 2"X4"s laying around, just use those.)

  3. Cable ties.
    (I used these to fasten the hose to the frame. You could use duct tape in a pinch.)

  4. Plastic hose cap.
    (This was like a dollar and screws on to the end of a hose to cap it off.)

  5. Female-to-male hose adapter.
    (This is a simple piece that allows you to screw the end of one hose to the beginning of another. Mine came with a nifty valve.)

  6. Four eye bolts.
    (To provide a good place to hang ropes.)

  7. Rope.
    (I used some leftover nylon rope I had from the samurai armor project, but whatever you get, make sure it is strong enough to support the rig. You don't want this thing falling on your actors.)

  8. Some screws, nuts and bolts.
    (Basically something to hold the frame together. I used wood screws.)

The Frame
This can really be made out of anything that is reasonably light and will hold our hose in place. I chose to build a simple wood frame and would suggest you do the same. Start with two beams that are 5- to 6-ft long. Using some wood screws, or even better a bolt, nuts and a few washers, secure the two beams in the middle. You should end up with a big "X."

Now add some cross-bracing using more wood and wood screws.

Now add some eye bolts where the cross-braces meet the "X." Four in total. It should look like this when done.

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