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 DIY smoke machine 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:
The fogger has a reservoir which you fill with fog machine fluid. A pump pulls fog fluid from a small tank and passes it through a heat exchanger. 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 output 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 low fog that sinks and creeps along the floor? That’s where a fog chiller comes in. A fog chiller cools the warm 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 DIY fog machine chiller, be prepared. It takes about one to two hours to build one, depending on the design and materials you use.
A chiller unit is highly effective, but it will also depend on the output of your fog machine. You need to be sure that the chiller you build will properly meet the needs of your machine, and is able to chill the amount of fog your machine produce. Below, we’ll give you more details on building your own fogging chiller.
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. Essentially, you’ll turn your regular fog machine into a low lying fog machine!
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.If you’re a visual learner, here’s a good outline of how these chiller machines work.
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 without chillers are a lot easier to set up.
- You won’t have to worry about safety-checking, configuring, or in some cases building two separate devices.
- You spend less money altogether.
- You spend less time on your set-up.
- Without fog chillers, you won’t be able to achieve the effect of fog creeping along your floor. All of the fog will rise and collect at the ceiling.
Fog Machines With Added Chillers
- The effects you can produce are dream-like and ethereal.
- Your party guests won’t be able to stop talking about your party’s atmosphere!
- Sometimes, depending on your fog machine and the environment you’re using it in, it’s really easy for the fog to just disappear once it’s emitted into the air. When you’re cooling the fog, it’ll become a lot more visible and easier to see.
- Chillers are cheap to make and many of the materials can be found lying around your home!
- The DIY process may be daunting for some.
- The DIY process may also be time-consuming and put people or families off from building the machine altogether.
- Fog chillers take up a lot of space that you may not have, depending on your setup.
- Although it doesn’t cost much to make, depending on the model, you have to be skilled in using some of the tools mentioned in the individual models. If you’re not very handy, you may want to invest in a machine with a built-in chiller — which can get quite expensive.
Best Uses for a Fog Chiller
Often, the best way to know whether you need something is to look at its intended usages. In this section, we’re telling you all the ways you can use your DIY fog chiller. Hopefully, you’ll get some inspiration for deciding whether it’s something you need to build!
Wedding or Event: Fog chillers are the perfect tool for adding some atmosphere to your next event! A low-lying fog creates a mystical, wondrous effect for any partygoers. It can suit the mood for anything from an elegant affair to an exciting rave. It’s a versatile effect, and perhaps its usage is limited only by your creativity.
Dance Floor: Low lying fog is the perfect effect for a dance floor. It covers a dance floor in a layer of mysterious fog. Attendants feel like they’re dancing on a cloud, as they cut through the fog with ease. It turns a regular dance floor into something extraordinary, attracting more people to keep the party going.
Haunted Display: A low lying for machine is perfect for a haunted house. It envelopes the ground in a spooky fog, leaving participants to wonder what lies beneath. Mystery is a key component to that spooky vibe, and no haunted house is complete without a fog machine.
Special Effects: Fog has long since been used by special effects artists, and low lying fog is no exception. Its usage is varied, and it can be used to imitate everything from regular fog to real smoke! Crafty special effects artists are constantly finding new ways to utilize fog machines in their work.
Performances: Low lying fog is commonly used as theatrical fog. Ground fog works great for various performances, concerts, and displays. It’s great for adding an ambience without distracting from the performance. Because the fog keeps to the ground, it is noticeable without getting the way. Audiences will remains focused on the presentation, while also enjoying the unique fog effect.
Best DIY Fog Chiller Designs
When it comes to making your own fog chiller, you have quite a bit of options. We’ve searched the net, and we’ve brought you our top picks. Scour this list to find the chiller that best suits your personal needs:
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:
- 10-gallon storage tub – can be purchased for $4.50
- 2 feet of chicken wire or hardware cloth – can be purchased for $0.86/foot
- 2 PVC couplings – can be purchased for $0.99 at a building supply store
- Glue gun and glue
- Metal shears
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:
- Foam cooler
- Dryer hose
- Fog machine
- A compass
- A knife
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:
- A trash can
- A hole saw or knife
- An aluminum dryer hose
- Water-resistant duct tape
- Fog machine
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:
- 30-gallon plastic trash can
- Rigid 4-inch dryer ducting
- 4-inch ducting band clamp
- Flexible aluminum dryer ducting
- Fog machine
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, 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:
- A 35-pound capacity flip lid kitty litter plastic container
- L-shaped PVC pipe
- Hand drill
- A 2.5-inch diameter hole saw
- Hack saw (for cutting PVC pipe)
- Wire nippers (for cutting wire mesh)
- One sheet of mesh
- Three 2-inch PVC couplings
- Two 2⅛-inch long pieces of 2-inch diameter PVC pipe
- Four 8½-inch pieces of ½-inch diameter PVC pipe
- One 8½-inch piece of 2-inch diameter PVC pipe
- One 2-inch diameter right angle coupling
- One ½-inch diameter cross connector
- Four 3¼-inch pieces of ½-inch diameter PVC pipe
- Four ½-inch diameter right angle couplings
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!
Alternative: ADJ Products Mister Kool II
We know that making your own fog chiller won’t be for everyone, and we want to give you all the alternatives to make the perfect decision for yourself. Therefore, if you’ve decided that making your own fog chiller isn’t for you, we’ll present you with our top store-bought alternative.
If you’d prefer to buy something for creating an excellent low lying for, then the ADJ Mister Kool II has everything you need! This is a standalone machine that has a self-chilling unit for creating excellent ground fog. This is more than just a chiller, it actually creates the fog as well, using regular water based fog juice!
The ADJ Mister Kool is a very popular machine for its practical applications. It creates a low lying fog using only fog juice and regular ice cubes. It functions similar to a normal fog machine, and cools the fog as it emits it.
Aside from the unique chilling, it’s simply a quality fog machine. ADJ is a trusted name in fog, and this is an example of their craftsmanship. The machine heats up fast, and is able to output 3000 CFM with its 700 Watt design.
A great choice if you decide that the DIY option isn’t right for you. And for more info, we’ve written a more extensive review here.
Best Fog Juice – Freezin Fog
No matter which option you choose (DIY or store-bought), you’re going to need a fog juice. A fog juice is much more important than some users give it credit for. In order to create the proper fog effect, you need to load your machine with the proper juice. A proper low lying fog requires a juice that was created to be passed through a chiller, and here’s our favorite product on the market!
Froggy’s Fog is one of the most trusted names in the fog market, and their juices are perhaps their most popular commodity. This one is no exception, and it was formulated for use with a fog chiller to create a perfect low fog.
Freezin Fog creates a fog that is thick, opaque, and keeps low to the ground. Froggy’s advertises a “graveyard effect”, which means that it will mask the ground for a spooky appearance. This also makes it ideal for dance floors and parties!
Froggy’s Fog is all manufactured to exacting standards in the USA. They only use pharmaceutical grade chemicals, so everything is high-quality and non-toxic. You don’t have to worry about this juice creating a residue that will harm your surfaces. It’s also odorless, which is a big plus!
Overall, a quality juice. As long as it’s compatible with your fog machine, we wouldn’t recommend any other fog juice for creating ground fog!
Here’s a video demo of Freezin Fog being used in an ADJ Mister Kool II – pretty impressive!
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!
Will Ground Fog Damage My Floors?
For the most part, no, but there are some aspects to be aware of. Most fog juice is made of a mixture of glycol and water. This means that it will leave some residue. However, if you use a high-quality juice, this residue won’t damage your floors. Of course, it will also depend on your type of flooring, and the amount of fog you use. For the most part, you’ll be fine with high-quality juice, but we still recommend you give your floors a good scrub if you’ve used a lot of low lying fog.