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Forum Home > Tutorials > June Contest / Flouroscope

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A working version of a Medical Innovation...made out of foam.

Jah- the inspiration for this project came from a couple ofpieces of styrofoam packing and a glow in the dark ribcage found at Walmart. The packing pieces were to protect a T.V. during shipping and the ribcage was separated from its costume and offered for sale after Halloween for $1.00.Other items you will need for this project are:


Gray Foam core

Black Foam core

Black Poster Board

3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive (beware of imitators)

Black Screen

18” Black Light and Fixture

Heavy Duty Music Stand


Drill bits


2 Molly Bolts

2 Knobs (These are just for show. Mine came from a discardedclothes dryer.)

Cardboard Tube

End Caps for Cardboard Tube (optional)      


The Rib Cage used is important as it must be Black Light re-active. This Rib Cage is the type that comes with many different costumes. It is supplied with a small hand pump to pump “blood” though out the cavity formed by 2 vacu-formed pieces sealed together. Look at the pics and you’ll see what I mean. The Styrofoam is necessary to provide a framework to attach everything.This can be purchased at a “Michael’s” or “Hobby Lobby” or other craft stores in various thicknesses and sizes. Or, if you’re like me, you may have some from that last T.V. you bought that you saved for a project just like this.



That’s all you need. Now down to business creating.

I actually made the fluoroscope in two sections, a front and a back. This way it can easily be opened to service the lamp or replace parts.The back is solid. The front has an opening that allows you to see through to the rib cage.

The first step was to use black poster board to “black out” the entire inside of the back. Cut the pieces to size and attach with spray adhesive. Next attach the rib cage to the Styrofoam. Cut off the straps that you tie around your neck and waist and discard. Then remove the pump and its hose and put aside. (I didn’t use them for this project but will someday, I’m sure.) I centered the rib cage and screwed it to the styrofoam back. Use a course thread screw so it bites into the foam.


I left the entire inside of the front white to reflect asmuch of the black light as possible.

I used black screen to “hide” the rib cage from view when the light is off. I attached some black screen over the opening with screws. I found that one piece of screen was not dark enough, three was too dark, so Idecided to use two, one on top of the other. That gave me the desired effect.Once that was done, I turned my attention to the black light.


The black light has an on and off switch that is attached to a detachable panel. Carefully pull this panel off and stretch out the wires, being careful not to disconnect any. If there is some kind of lamp shade or covering over the bulb, remove this as well. You want as much light as possible the shine up onto and into the rib cage.


The lamp should be mounted under the rib cage with the bulb on top, casting the black light into and up the front of the ribcage. You may have to Experiment a bit to get the effect you want. Once the lamp is mounted (use the mounting holes provided to attach the lamp with course thread screws) you are ready to move to the next step.

I fabricated a “Control Panel” to mount the light switch, and attached a couple of fake knobs to make it more convincing. At this point I cut and applied the gray foam core with spray adhesive. This is the outside layer that will be seen. Be careful and cut and dry fit all exterior pieces BEFORE you start to glue. You may need to make changes as you go.All this was made of foam core as well.

I also made a small shade visor and placed it over the opening where the rib cage is visible. It made a big difference to the appearance and also helps to keep light out of the opening. I trimmed everything out with ½ inch strips of black foam core.


Don’t forget to “dress up” the back as well. This is where your“patients” will stand and it’s important that they think this machine is real.So add a little light weight bling. At this point, the actual Flouroscope partshould be complete and you can move on to the base.


The base puzzled me for a while. I wanted something that would allow me to adjust the height easily for different size people. I had an old music stand that has a friction mechanism that will make it stay in any height  simply by raising or lowering the table. No knobs to tighten or clamps to unclamp. It simply moves up and down and stays where you want it to…perfect. This is pretty much the standard for this type of music stand. I got mine at an auction for a couple of bucks. I recently saw several of them at a thrift store for $15 each.They’re out there and just the thing to make this Flouroscope work.

 I used a card board tube painted gray and an HVAC gauge I bought at a yard sale to dress it up.

I drilled two holes in the table and inserted a small diameter molly bolt long enough to go through the bottom of the back section of the fluoroscope and secured it to the music stand.


Before closing it up, be sure the switch works. Black lights can take a little time to warm up, but once they do, they are quite reliable and quick to light.


Oh, one more thing. I attached the head band of a full face safety visor to use as a marker to know how high to raise or lower the fluoroscope. Your patient steps up to the machine and you raise or lower it till their face is in the targeted area and you are ready to X-ray. Good luck, have fun and Happy Halloween.

                                                                                 -The Maddockter





September 20, 2011 at 1:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 61

Wow.  That is a great build!


Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

September 20, 2011 at 6:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 6

I realized my pics on the Album page are all pixalated beyond recognition. " Damn it, Jim, I'm a Mad Doctor, not a Computer Geek!" Check out my pics here:

September 22, 2011 at 6:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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