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Low fog machines


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A quick question that someone might be able to answer immediately with experience.


We require a dry ice effect and I have seen the Showtec Ice fogger unit at a competitive price, (135 quid including delivery) Now, before anyone seriously professional slamms them, we're a school and so have a little stage and need a simple low fog effect for a graveyard scene. I know these units require ice cubes and all that hassle but does anyone know about these machines or have any experience with them? How long does the unit produce low fog on a full tank of ice? if no ice is added, can the unit still be used as a conventional fogger and thus extend it's usefulness? Any helpgreatly appreciated before I place an order tomorrow - or not!

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Hi there!

I have not used the machine you mention, but one similar, made by Antari. As to hassle of ice, get hold of those cool blocks that you stick in your freezer then into a cool box. Apparently they work just as well as ice.

We found that they make a fairly wispy low fog, for about 45 seconds, then it has to re-heat. The machine has no sensor to see if ice is there or not, so I guess it can work, I never tried it! The Antari machine needs to pump out the water made from the ice, and this is NOISY!, but I don't think the Soundlabs one has a pump for water. The stuff I can find says that "Water drainage valve system allows for easy cleanup [as the] water drains directly into the provided plastic bag." I believe that the machine can last for 3 hours on one batch of ice. We always had some left over at the end of each show. But as with all of this post, it refers to the Antari machine.

We recently contacted Antari about the lack staying power, and they simply, and politely told us that we needed a Dry Ice unit, which with the risks that go with that, we shall not even consider.


I think that for the price, and the safety of not using Dry Ice, these units are ideal for schools.


Also consider this chap, but is at the £350 ball-park.


And to be fair to Antari, I didn't know it needed 10kgs of ice, maybe we should try that then...a good example of not RTFMing!

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Something that works almost as well, if you already have a normal smoke machine, is to get a big polystyrene box (fish containers work well!), cut a hole in one end for the smoke machine nozzle and cut lots of small holes at the other end. Fill the bin with ice, put the lid on it and chuck a sandbag on top, and you'll have a fairly effective low smoke machine. The advantage of this is that it doesn't have to do the whole re-heat thing that the Antari machine does, as the better smoke machines, once they're warm, will still produce smoke while they re-heat. I used to use tubing between the smoke machine and the ice bin, purely to stop the polystyrene melting from the heat of the nozzle.
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The Antari manual says it should not be run at more that 80 percent if you want continuous operation otherwise you have to allow it time to reheat.


The cheaper copies work well when they are working, but there is a thermal fuse in series with the Source low fogger that blows regularly and stops the heater working.


The fan is very noisy on the Antari Ice low fogger as it is not primed when you switch it on. There are warnings not to use the pump in a noise sensitive environment. Some low foggers have a manual drain tap which is better.


The best results are when you use crushed ice as there is a larger surface area for the fog to cool down as it passes through the chamber.


They do run as a conventional smoke machine but the smoke outlet is low and wide.


If you can get them cheap enough then it is worth it for a school but you will need someone to replace the thermal fuse if it dies. I am fitting thermostats to the dead Source low foggers I repair so they are auto resetting.


There are previous thread covering low foggers such as http://www.blue-room.org.uk/index.php?showtopic=15762 have a look for more info.

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We used the Skytec unit on a season show in Blackpool, running one night a week. An Ice bucket full of ice from the bar was more than sufficient for what we required. At the front is a drain-tap to which can be connected a tube to drain excess water away without noise. Without ice in, it gives traditional smoke, but does not give as much volume as an equivalent sized conventional machine. It also runs through a lot more fluid when used without ice!

It only has a small smoke fluid container so you need to keep your eye on levels.

The unit we used, which I think is the same one you are enquiring about, also has DMX as well as local control (3 pin :P ) and we run it from the main LX desk with no problems.

And no, I am not a salesman for Skytec!


Have fun


Spelling corrected.



edit for over zealous profanity filter! :(

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Fantastic! Thanks for all the advice. I spent the afternoon today playing around with a plastic storage crate, lengths of tubing and scraping all the ice off the staff room fridge! I now have a fully functioning low fogger using our existing Martin machine at zero cost! Not sure it will really cover the stage area fully but will certainly give the effect we want. So many thanks for all your help. A virtual pint in the virtual pub on me for all those who have helped out!
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  • 3 weeks later...
to add my (late) tuppence, we used an antari low fogger at halloween on a band stage, it was excellent, really nice effect. It did need a lot of refilling with ice, though, a good 3 or 4 times over the course of 7 hours or so. Plenty long enough for a theatre show, mind you. It happily filled a 24' by 12' stage with a good bit of fog, probably would have done more too.
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