How to Make Your Own Low Smoke Machine

Written by robert boumis
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How to Make Your Own Low Smoke Machine
With a few modifications, an off-the-rack fog machine can mimic natural fog. (Fog image by dknowswd from

There are two common options to create realistic fog. Dry ice creates realistic fog, but is expensive and requires special handling. An off-the-rack fog machine can produce a large volume of fog, but the fog is thin, wispy, and does not behave like real fog. Fortunately, a cheap fog machine can be modified to produce a rich, thick fog. This provides realistic fog for stage, film, and Halloween applications without the problems associated with dry ice.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Fog machine
  • Fog juice
  • Three feet of PVC pipe 3-6 inches in diameter
  • Poster board
  • Masking tape
  • Ice (regular water ice, not dry ice)

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  1. 1

    Cut a piece of poster board into a circle with a diameter slightly larger than your PVC pipe. Punch six to nine pencil-sized holes, evenly spaced, in the poster board.

  2. 2

    Tape the poster board circle to your PVC pipe with masking tape.

  3. 3

    Fill the pipe at least halfway with ice. Be sure to angle the tube so melting ice will not run back into the fog machine.

  4. 4

    Slide the PVC over the nozzle of the fog machine. The fit does not need to be perfect. If too much of the fog is escaping through the space where the PVC meets the fog machine, you can tape up the space with the masking tape.

  5. 5

    Turn on the fog machine. The ice will cool the fog so that it sinks and comes out thicker and acts more realistically.

Tips and warnings

  • This fog will work best when it is cooler out. Intense sunlight will make it wisp away more quickly.
  • Always use fog machines in a ventilated area.
  • Be careful not to get water into your fog machine's electronics.

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