If you’re thinking about building your own fog chiller, the best way to get ideas is to take a look at some of the best DIY fog chiller designs out there. Doing this research is a long and somewhat tedious process, but don’t worry - we’ve scoured the internet to find some of the best ideas for you. Creating a fog chiller may seem like a daunting task but with the right materials and inspiration, you could easily turn yourself into a fog-chiller-building professional in a matter of hours. By taking a close look at the designs that are already out there, you can find all kinds of tips and tricks that can make your fog chiller exactly what you wanted it to be.
What’s A Fog Chiller?
Before we get into what a fog chiller does, you need to know a little bit about fog machines in general. Most fog machines use heaters to produce fog. Here’s a simple breakdown of how they work. A pump pulls fogging fluid from a small tank through a heating element. The liquid is heated and then expelled from the machine as a gas. When this gas hits the cooler outside air, it cools and turns into fog. Usually, this fog floats around the room or up by the ceiling because, although it’s cooled since it left the machine, it’s still quite hot and, as we know, heat rises.
But what if you want fog that sinks and creeps along the floor? That’s where a fog chiller comes in. A fog chiller cools the hot fog released by a fog machine so instead of rising to the ceiling and spreading around the room, it sinks to the floor, giving you the effect you’re looking for. Fog chillers are useful for creating stunning, ethereal, dream-like effects. If you’re trying to create a spooky atmosphere for a Halloween party or a dreamy look for a photoshoot, using a fog chiller with your fog machine is an easy way to get a unique effect.
If you’re planning to build your own fog chiller, be prepared. It takes about one to two hours to build one, depending on the design and materials you use.
How Do Fog Machine Chillers Work?
So, you know what a fog chiller does. But how does it do it? Let’s get into the science of it all.
Everyone should know that hot air rises and cool air sinks. That’s the first and most important point to understanding how fog machines work. Probably the best example of this is a hot air balloon. The heater heats up the air which is then contained in the large balloon. When enough hot air accumulates, it lifts the balloon into the air because it is lighter or less dense than the air around it. When it’s time to land, the pilot lets out some of the hot air so that colder, heavier air fills the balloon, lowering it to the ground.
Now, let’s take a look at how a fog machine makes fog. To start, you need to add the right fog liquid for your machine into the tank. Then, turn the machine on. The machine then pumps the liquid into a hot chamber where it is heated and vaporized. The vapor is then pushed out of the machine’s spout and into the air. Because the fog vapor is very hot, it naturally rises.
It makes sense, then, that to bring the fog closer to the ground, you need to cool it. The best way to do this is to attach a fog machine cooler to the nozzle of your device so the fog cools a bit before entering the room, sinking to the floor instead of rising.
Fog Chillers vs. Fog Machines
If you’re wondering whether or not you should invest in a fog chiller, we’ve put together a guide with some differences between the effects that the two machines produce, the pros and cons of using one or both, and when you might use a fog machine with or without an added chiller.
Differences between Fog Machines and Fog Chillers
Fog machines are the devices that produce the fog-like effects, usually by vaporizing a special kind of liquid, or “fog juice” as it’s oftentimes lovingly referred to, until the faux fog is emitted into the air from the machine. As we explained, fog chillers, are external devices that connect directly to your fog machine to produce the ground-creeping fog effect. You can’t use a fog chiller without a fog machine because a fog chiller doesn’t produce fog on its own. Keep in mind that some hybrid devices actually combine the two, ie. fog machines with built-in chillers, but these are few and far between.
Pros and Cons
Here are some pros and cons of using fog machines with and without added fog chillers.
Fog Machines Without Chillers
Fog Machines With Added Chillers
The Ultimate Budget Fog Chiller
We highly recommend this Ultimate Budget Fog Chiller from Instructables. This is a great idea if you want something simple yet efficient. It costs under $10 to make and about an hour to 90 minutes of your time.
Here’s what you’ll need to achieve this design:
This is a very simple design that gets the job done and, compared to some of the other designs we found, it’s pretty compact. It would be easy to hide at a photoshoot but may not be effective enough for a large party.
The Fog On The Rocks Design
Instructables also another super cheap and easy fog chiller design that’s just as easy to put together. You may already have some of the materials lying around your house!
Here is what you’ll need:
This design is a little smaller than the previous one and just as easy and cheap to put together. We’re not sure how many times you could use it, though, because the foam cooler isn’t as durable as a storage tub made of heavy plastic. Still, it’s an easy and effective design.
MakeZine’s Ultimate Fog Chiller
This unique chiller design is advertised as winning the 2004 HauntCon Chill-Off competition so you know it was made by someone who knows what they’re doing. Many do-it-yourself fog chillers use a drink cooler with PVC tubing but these materials are unlikely to keep the fog in the holding area long enough to chill it properly. This design from MakeZine does a very good job of cooling fog plus it’s quite easy to build!
Here’s what you’ll need:
This fog chiller uses a garbage can so, obviously, it’s pretty big. That said, it’s big enough to hold the fog long enough to really chill it which means it delivers a much better creeping fog effect than some of the other fog chillers we mentioned. Do you need a fog chiller this big? It depends on what you’re doing with it. But, to be completely honest, finding the right fog chiller is always going to be finding something that’s a balance between being big enough to properly chill the fog and small enough to integrate into your space. If you care about the effects more than the look, this is the way to go.
DIY-FX’s fog chiller design is similar to MakeZine’s model in that they each use a trash can instead of a drink cooler with PVC tubing. This makes it easier for the chiller to remove the heat from the fog as it flows through. The fog is hot when it enters the trash can and has plenty of time to cool down as it travels through the coil around the can. Then, it exits from the other end of the coil nice and cold.
Here’s what you’ll need for this design:
Again, you need to ask yourself, how much does size matter? This is a large fog chiller that’s very effective but it’s not as small as some of the other options.
TeeDiddlyDee’s Cheap, Easy, DIY Professional Fog Chiller
Last but not least, we have this cheap and easy professional fog chiller from TeeDiddlyDee. They call this model the “Kitty Litter Fog Chiller” because, well, because it uses a kitty litter container to cool the ice! This is one of the easiest models to make yourself and the kitty litter container is surprisingly durable so it may last you quite a while.
Here’s what you need:
This project has a lot more materials than the others but they’re all affordable and the project is really easy. Don’t let that long list intimidate you!
There you have it, some of the easiest homemade fog chiller designs out there! Remember, although the process of making your own chiller may seem daunting, it’s the most affordable way of getting the effects that you want. Designing your fog chiller could also be a fun friend or family bonding activity, especially if you have a group of people enthusiastic and excited about whatever event you have coming up!