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Michael Messing
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Inner circle
Knoxville, TN
1813 Posts

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I have gotten the itch to purchase a fog machine and am looking for some recommendations. I have looked at the earlier posts on The Magic Café and have seen that most people recommend the Martin fog machines but they're a little too rich for my blood.

Here's my performing conditions. I do small illusion shows for banquets. Typically, I have a 16'x20' portable stage in a hotel banquet room. A normal show for me includes: Blammo, Zig-Zag, Harbin Chair Suspension, Electric Incisor (Owen Redwine illusion) and Metamorphosis.

I do my show with one female assistant so music is run by remote control (Cue Master Pro) and I don't do much with lighting except plain white light from quartz photo lights.

I'm looking for a unit that sells for under $100. I have seen the really inexpensive units selling for as little as $30 (Lite f/x brand). It seems to me that I will need a timer remote control so that the fog will come out regularly while I am using it.

Lite f/x has a model called the Fog Master that comes with a timer and has a 1,000 watt heater that I can get for $69.95. It's fairly high output (7,500 cubic feet per minute) but I noticed it leaks fog out quite a bit. Is that common?

Will a fogger meant for DJs, like a Chauvet, be a better unit? From what I can tell the Lite f/x units are meant to be used for parties or the home, although my use would be for fairly short periods and not hard use.

The other question is do I even want to use a fogger. What are the pros and cons?

Thanks for the help.

Michael
zigmont
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Regular user
140 Posts

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You get what you pay for in regard to performance.

Cheap foggers will require more recycling time and will not blow for more than 10-12 seconds at a time. They may not smoke on demand.

Their throw is poor and if you have never experienced a hose breaking on a cheap smoke machine, it is a mess. Plus they clog easy.

I would say invest in a Rossco 1000 for around $485.00 you'll get professional performance and a machine that's made for day in and out use, plus it's not made from cheap parts. This will last you the rest of your life.

You have illusions that cost thousands of dollars each. Why do you want to buy a toy smoke machine. You can buy a real professional machine for around $650.00 the rossco 1000 is a real bargain.
I have a Rossco 1000, 1500, 4500 and high end F-100. and each has a different job to do in my shows.

On stage you have air currents that will challenge the best of smoke machines.

Go to your stage equipment or a major music store like Mars and invest in a good machine.
Zigmont
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Grandillusionsmagic
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Loyal user
270 Posts

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I have had good luck with http://www.cheaplights.com you might look there. everything I have gotten looks like good Quality and has lasted.
hope this helps
Grand Illusions
Magically,
GI
www.boisemagic.com
Son of a Beat
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New user
Montréal, Canada
78 Posts

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Please go for the real professionnal machines, buy second hand stuff if the wallet talks: shop at the light&sound companies that sells their old machines for almost nothing. Since you don't make an industrial use of it, it will last for many years.

If you just want to make a fine, even haze in the room to define the light beams, I recommand this old roadies trick: find two or three old domestic pulse humidifiers in garage sales. Fill the tanks with fresh water and add 2 tablespoons of Glycerin (drugstore) to the water. Shake well. Use a fan to disperse the haze. The effect is worth the professionnal MDG or Martin Hazers.

Questions: marc_alexandreee@hotmail.com
muzicman
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LaCenter, Wa
989 Posts

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Fog machines are tricky beasts. I own several from the "toy" range up to the professional range. My first question is "what do you expect from your fogger"?
What effect are you going for? The reason I ask is because some people do not know about hazers and they think the effect is done with foggers. For the record, foggers produce very thick, short lived "smoke". Hazers produce longer life particles that are almost invisible until a light passes through it. Some people use foggers for hazers because they are cheaper but they really don't do the job as well as a real hazer would. I have a hazer that will produce invisible fog that will hang in the air for hours. I use this hazer to enhance my lights. I also have fog machines that produce thick smoke that will disappear totally in minutes.

All foggers that I know of have cycle times. This means there will be recovery periods that the fogger will be unusable. You may need a burst of fog at an exact moment in your show...with a fogger, don't count on it. All foggers "burp" which means a poof or 2 may occur when you don't want it to. It's part of being in the foggers union I think.

Foggers are also unpredicatble with their output. I have released 10 seconds of fog from a small fogger and it just hung on stage, making things difficult to see. The air circulation is different in every room, and even the same room can change conditions during a show.

Fog machines typically produce very thick, short lived fog. It disappates fairly quickly which could be good or bad depending on your needs. I have a Chauvet F-1700 fogger that produces 15,000 CFM. 5 seconds of fog released in my kitchen last week produced enough fog that I could not see 5 feet. My kitchen is not as large as a stage, but it is big and open. My conclusion from my tests with my new fogger leads me to believe I need an venue as large as a sports arena to use this big fogger. It produces so much that it is possible prevent the audience from seeing anything, for several minutes during the show. That is bad. Choose the right fogger for your needs. The bigger, more expensive foggers need a huge room or extrememly careful operation. The last thing you want is a fog cloud that prevents the audience from seeing what you worked so hard to perform.
Michael Messing
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Inner circle
Knoxville, TN
1813 Posts

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Wow, I can't believe this thread came back up. I first started it 3 1/2 years ago!

Michael
muzicman
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LaCenter, Wa
989 Posts

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Did you ever get a fogger??
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