How to make pneumatic squibs

Written by alex smith
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How to make pneumatic squibs
Safely create realistic bullet hits. (man with gun image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com)

Squibs are small explosive devices used in film and television to simulate a bullet hit. The explosive is placed between a shield on the actor and a blood pack. When the charge is detonated, a spray of blood shoots from the actor's body. These explosive squibs are dangerous and illegal to use if you are not properly licensed. A much safer alternative is to use a pneumatic squib system, using compressed air to "fire" the blood.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Hand-pump garden sprayer
  • Quick-release valve
  • Vinyl tubing, at least 8 feet long, wide enough to fit on the valve
  • 5-minute epoxy
  • Zip-tie
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape
  • Fake blood
  • Water

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove the hose that comes attached to the garden sprayer.

  2. 2

    Attach a quick-release valve to the garden sprayer with five-minute epoxy.

  3. 3

    Attach the vinyl tube to the quick-release valve. If the valve has a nipple, simply push the tube onto it. Otherwise use epoxy or a zip-tie.

  4. 4

    Seal the other end of the tube shut with epoxy.

  5. 5

    Cut a small diamond shape into the tube 3 inches below the sealed end.

  6. 6

    Fill the sprayer's tank with fake blood. If it is thick, thin it a bit with water.

  7. 7

    Close the quick-release valve.

  8. 8

    Pump the garden sprayer 30 to 40 times to pressurise it.

  9. 9

    Duct tape the end of the tubing to the actor's skin. The diamond hole should be positioned facing out through a small hole in the clothing.

  10. 10

    Open the quick-release valve to allow all of the pressure (and blood) to be released through the diamond hole.

Tips and warnings

  • Different thicknesses of blood require different amounts of air pressure. Practice until you get a realistic effect before filming.
  • Do not over-pressurise the garden sprayer.

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