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Bubble Show Smoke
Generators Review

Bubble Show Smoke Generators Review

The use of smoke in a bubble show is very spectacular. Viewers always react enthusiastically to this show element.
Bubbles filled with smoke become white, their outlines get sharper. Smoke does not affect the properties of bubbles neither for worse nor for better. With smoky bubbles you can do the same tricks, plus more spectacular elements are added, such as:
  • caterpillar with a white bubble filled with smoke.
  • a volcano, when the smoke slowly comes out of the bubble through the hole in the wand.
  • even the splitting (chopping or pinching off) a bubble turns into a very interesting trick.
Artificial smoke is very exciting in a bubble show and brings variety and entertainment to the program. Let's consider smoke generators along with the bubbles generators.
Smoke generators are of three types:
1) Tube-Shaped Smoke Generator for Bubble Shows
This kind of a smoke machine is a transparent tube with an electronic cigarette inserted into it. Normally, the tube is made of plexiglass. You blow into it, the smoke appears. Very light thing, it looks beautiful and aesthetic. As soon as you needed some smoke during your bubble show, you blow into the tube and smoke comes out of it. The electrical contacts are triggered there, and the evaporator, the heating element, is turned on. Everything is very simple, fast and without delay. It works great.
This is how this hand-held mini smoke generator looks like. You can blow hazy bubbles right away. It would be cool if it worked longer and failure-free. But, unfortunately, the electronics quickly burns out, or the liquid supply mechanism fails, and you have to throw it away. And before that, you tinker with it for a long time trying to repair these tiny parts. Besides, the price of such a tube generator is quite steep. I personally used such a tube in my shows, not for long, though, until it broke. I had to give it up.

I tested both my own developments and the ones of other people. There was always one drawback – the electronic cigarette broke down.
Why does this generator break?
  • The first and most important reason is that the mechanism inside the e-cigarette is not designed to blow smoke back. The evaporator, which does the heating of the liquid just gets flooded and it deteriorates very quickly.
  • Its design is not intended to endure such tough usage. Such prolonged loads for such a fragile mechanism are not bearable.
Maybe I haven't figured it out completely, and I haven't found my ultimate tube for smoky bubbles, but I think that 3 broken e-cigarettes is enough to understand that this is not a proper prop for my work. Figuring out the mechanisms is not my job. My job is to do a show of bubbles, and for this I need reliable props.
In the case of using an electronic cigarette, the principle of its operation changes. If we usually suck smoke in our mouths, here, everything happens the other way around: we blow smoke out of it. Hence, such a short lifespan of this manual smoke generator.
This is my broken electronic cigarette from the tube-shaped generator. A battery, a tank with liquid smoke and a device that evaporates smoke.
Well, I do not recommend tubes for making smoke. Even if it is lighter, more compact, more aesthetically-looking than other options and it has the fastest start. If you buy such a generator, you will have to disassemble it more than once, that's for sure.
2) Smoke Gun for Bubble Shows
This is another version of a smoke generator for a bubble show. Such kind of a smoke machine for bubble shoes is very widely used. It is a manual smoke machine, called the smoke gun. This is a children's toy, which is used to release rings of smoke. It can be slightly modified to obtain a gun that can be used during a bubble show for short periods of time.

With such a gun you can produce smoke in 10-30 seconds after switching it on, depending on how full the batteries are. With fresh batteries, the smoke generator heats up much faster.

Smoke guns come in two types.

Bulky (purple, gray, red, blue), as in the photo below. When there were no smoke generators available in Russia, I experimented and bought several such pistols, this photo is not mine (taken from the foreign Internet).

This is a more cumbersome option, such pistols are slightly cheaper than blue ones. They have several drawbacks: they are hefty and oblong, and they also have an extra device with a button that produces percussion movements on the membrane. That's how the rings are produced. But this extra device is not needed at all. We need an evaporator, a tank for liquids, a tank for smoke, a compartment with batteries and a switch. The rest can be scrapped.
And there is also a more compact version (blue)
There are no extra buttons and devices that cannot be removed. It's a rather aesthetically-looking smoke generator for bubble shows.

There's the tank, where the evaporator-heater fluid is located, from which smoke is produced. The fluid goes there after pressing the button.
This blue gun is definitely better – it makes more smoke and it lies steadier on the desktop. A wonderful thing, but there is one "but." It runs on batteries. No matter how hard you try, during operation the detergent gets inside the generator. Gradually, the oxidation process starts in the area of the batteries. The batteries themselves and the contacts on the smoke gun get rusty.
The detergent penetrates through this lid and the oxidation process begins. Sometimes you have to clean the contacts and replace the batteries frequently. There is still a Russian way of fixing things – hit the bottom with your hand, and it will work. Not for long, though.

Working with smoke is always attractive and fascinating for both children ...
... and adults.
Normally, such a prop lasts for six months of intensive work. Besides, its heating element (irreparable) may burn out, so you dispose of the smoke gun entirely.

This is the evaporator that makes smoke from liquid. In fact, this liquid consists of certain proportions of water, glycerin and alcohol. Alcohol is for rapid evaporation, glycerin is needed so that the steam does not mix with air for a long time. Indeed, hovering steam is smoke.
If you are ready to buy a new gun every six months, then suit yourself. But again the question arises – how often will you work with smoke?

This option is suitable for those who do not have a glowing desk. Since for the desk, there is not enough smoke that can be produced by a smoke gun or a tube.
Here's an example of a show element where smoke is used with a glowing desk. The trick is called "volcano". Such a bubble of smoke cannot be inflated with a smoke gun – you'll need a smoke generator with more power.
To work with a glowing desk it is more convenient to use a smoke generator. On the desk, you can inflate large spectacular bubbles, which require a large amount of smoke.
3) 220V Smoke Generator
These smoke generators are sold in music stores. In most cases they are bought for discos. They are also relevant for bubble shows. I personally use them in most cases.

This is the smoke generator that I use. Compact and lightweight. Lot of wires, though, but it gives a lot of smoke.
If you have a glowing desk, then this is the option you need. The generator must be with a footswitch. To make some smoke, you just have to step on the footswitch: it is very convenient for work.
Now it is heating up. Heat up time – 3 minutes.

Everything is standard for a smoke generator or bubbles. 220V mains cable, fuses, a power button, the connector for hooking a controller. In our case, it will be a footswitch or a remote control. The most interesting thing is that almost all smoke generators have such a connector, but not all of them are sold with footswitches. Be aware of that. For a bubble show this is very important. It is more convenient to work with a footswitch.
There are two types of such generators: small machines with a total weight of about 3 kg with wires (they are ideal for a bubble show, but they are not always sold with a footswitch) and bigger machines — 6-7 kg (they always have a footswitch included).
Power supply 220V / 50Hz
Power consumption: 400 W
Device weight: 1.8 kg
Most likely the weight is indicated without fluid, wires, remote controls and buttons.
Of course, weight matters. And the greater the mass of our props, the harder it is for us to move and prepare for the performance.
Working with a large smoke generator has a few nuances:
    • The smoke machine will not work immediately after turning it on; it needs time to warm up. This takes 3-10 minutes depending on the generator and its design.
    • It also has periodic automatic shutdowns if it is not used for a long time. In this case, its light goes out it cools down. At this time, any manipulation with it does not yield any results. You must be prepared for this during the show. If the light is off, you need to do some other trick and only then go back to the smoky bubbles.
    Here's a video about how this smoke machine operates:
    Let's summarize the info in our review article on smoke generators for bubble shows:
    Considering all the disadvantages of a large smoke generator, I still use the 220 volt smoke machine. For more entertainment, a lot of smoke is required, and this is the only option worthy in this regard.

    Smoke comes out of the generator when you press the button. I took the photo in my apartment, so I let out just a little smoke. By the way, when working with a large amount of smoke, the fire alarm might get triggered.
    And lastly, let's take a closer look at the power sources for smoke machines for a bubble show.

    Operation of a smoke generator from batteries or from 220V is not an advantage or disadvantage. Each power source has its pros and cons:
    Using a smoke machine is advisable – this is a spectacular element of the show.
    There are three types available: tube-shaped, a smoke gun and smoke generator. Each has its pros and cons.
    Tube: advantages – aesthetics and lightness; cons – extremely short service life, high price.
    Gun: pluses – the best option if there is no glowing desk; minuses – short service life, high price.
    Generator: pluses – the best option if there is a glowing desk; minuses – heats up for a long time, periodically turns off.
    Any power source for a smoke machine has its advantages and disadvantages.
    Props from my store
    Props, with which the artist looks decent
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